Tag Archives: tumors

medical.research

TGen, SHC begin clinical trial for anti-tumor drug

The Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) are studying the safety and effectiveness of a new drug, AG-120, for treatment of patients with solid tumors, especially those with brain tumors and gallbladder bile duct cancer.

“AG-120 is designed specifically for those patients who carry the IDH1 gene mutation,” said Dr. Daniel D. Von Hoff, Distinguished Professor and Physician-In-Chief at TGen, and Chief Scientific Officer for the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center Clinical Trials at Scottsdale Healthcare, a partnership between Scottsdale Healthcare and TGen that delivers new treatments to cancer patients based on precision medicine.

The IDH1 gene mutation is most commonly found in gliomas, which make up the largest group of “primary” brain tumors, those that start in the brain. Gliomas include all tumors arising from the gluey or supportive tissue of the brain. They represent about 30 percent of all brain tumors, and about 80 percent of all malignant brain tumors.

As with all brain cancers, gliomas are difficult to treat and many grow back after surgery, radiation and standard of care chemotherapy. Many drugs cannot get to the brain because of a filtering mechanism in the body called the blood-brain barrier.

“There is a great need for more effective treatments for patients with gliomas and other solid tumors, such as gallbladder bile duct cancer,” said Dr. Von Hoff, who is the Principal Investigator for AG-120 clinical trial. This study will enroll as many as 50 patients. Researchers will use precision medicine to match treatments to patient’s specific genomic, or molecular, makeups.

Mutations in isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) 1 and 2, originally discovered in 2008, occur in the vast majority of low-grade gliomas and secondary high-grade gliomas. IDH mutations are oncogenic, meaning they have the potential to cause cancer. These mutations occur early in the formation of gliomas and in gallbladder bile duct cancer.

AG-120 is produced by Agios Pharmaceuticals Inc., based in Cambridge, Mass.

IDH1 is a metabolic enzyme identified by Agios as a protein that is mutated in a wide range of malignant tumors. Agios and its collaborators recently demonstrated that IDH1 mutations initiate and drive cancer growth by blocking differentiation, or maturation, of primitive cells. According to Agios, the inhibition of these mutated proteins may lead to clinical benefit for those cancer patients whose tumors carry them.

brain cancer

Nation’s Largest Brain Cancer Foundation Moves To Scottsdale

The largest privately funded national foundation focusing solely on brain cancer research has moved from the San Francisco Bay area (Palo Alto, Calif.) to Scottsdale. The Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation is dedicated to funding research that improves the survival and quality of life for people with brain cancer, which are known as gliomas. Since 2005, it has contributed more than $50 million to brain cancer research in the United States and Canada, with much more funding planned.

“There is a cluster of excellent research institutions located in Phoenix, such as TGen, Barrow Neurological Institute and St. Joseph’s Hospital, with growing potential to make critical strides in brain cancer research,” said Founder and Board President Catherine Ivy, of the Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation. “Funding these institutions and encouraging collaborations will enhance the funding we have done previously and move us closer to our goal: Doubling the survival rate of people diagnosed with gliomas within seven years from now.”

The Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation was created in 2005 after Ben Ivy was diagnosed with a glioblastoma (GBM) and passed away four months later. A broad variety of tumors can form in the brain causing evident symptoms and approximately 40 percent of these will be diagnosed as GBM, the most aggressive form of brain cancer. Several well-known people have lost their lives due to GBM, including Senator Ted Kennedy in 2009 and Wall Street billionaire and CEO of IMG Worldwide Ted Forstmann in 2011.

Catherine Ivy is a native of Phoenix, where she grew up before moving to Palo Alto, Calif., for several years.

For more information on the Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation, visit the Ivy Foundation’s website at ivyfoundation.org.