First cancer patient treated with a new experimental viral immunotherapy combination in a clinical trial
The Ottawa Hospital and Hamilton Health Sciences have begun a clinical trial to determine if an experimental therapy that combines two viruses and a drug may be able to treat non-small cell lung cancer. This approach is designed to stimulate the immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells while also killing the cancer directly. It is considered a kind of immunotherapy.
The first trial participant was recently treated at Hamilton Health Sciences. An additional 54 patients are expected to be enrolled in the trial and treated in Hamilton and Ottawa as well as other sites.
“In recent years, immunotherapy has shown great promise in treating certain kinds of cancer, but we’re still at the early stages of understanding and optimizing this approach.” said Dr. Garth Nicholas, medical oncologist and trial leader at The Ottawa Hospital, and assistant professor at the University of Ottawa. “We hope that this new combination of immunotherapies will make a difference for people with lung cancer.”
“Lung cancer is the most common kind of cancer in Canada, with more than 28,000 new diagnoses each year,” said trial leader Dr. Rosalyn Juergens, oncologist at Hamilton Health Sciences and associate professor of oncology at McMaster University. “We’ve come a long way in improving our patients’ survival rates and outcomes, but we can do more. Immunotherapy is the leading edge of a new wave of cancer treatment – we’re excited about the potential that it offers to patients with this devastating disease.”