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Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian announced Wednesday it has been selected to conduct a Phase 2 clinical trial of a new combination therapy that researchers hope will prove effective for treatment of pancreatic cancer.

“Hoag will be the first in Orange County to offer cell therapy for solid tumors, and was exclusively selected as the only hospital in Orange County to offer this pancreatic cancer trial as part of its new cell therapy program,” said Dr. Burton L. Eisenberg, executive medical director of the Hoag Family Cancer Institute.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest forms of cancer, with a five-year survival rate of 5%.

“Our present-day therapies are better than they use to be, but science is not anywhere near where it needs to be for these patients,” Eisenberg said. “Hoag continues to push forward and expand our ability to offer patients with advanced pancreatic cancer new hope as we deliver on innovative treatments, such as immunotherapy clinical trials.”

This type of immunotherapy, also known as cell therapy, harnesses the body’s own immune system to target, kill and “remember” cancer cells.

According to a Hoag statement, the “agents involved in this pancreatic cancer clinical trial have been `designed’ to find pancreatic cancer cells and initiate a large immune response against them. This may allow the body to develop its own antibodies to fight the cancer.”

The treatment combines standard-of-care chemotherapy with investigational therapies, including cell therapy company NantKwest’s tumor-targeted natural killer cells, PD-L1 t-haNK; ImmunityBio’s superagonist, N-803; and the drug aldoxorubicin HCI.

The trial will compare the results of the combination therapy against the use of chemotherapy alone in patients with locally advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer.

“This unique approach to orchestrating the innate and adaptive immune systems to target and kill cancer cells may be an important new approach for pancreatic cancer patients,” said Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, chairman and CEO of NantKwest and ImmunityBio and owner of the Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union-Tribune.

“We are excited to collaborate with Hoag to offer this investigational approach to more patients who suffer from pancreatic cancer,” Soon-Shiong said.

For more information, email clinicalresearch@hoag.org or call 949-764-4577.

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