CCR Research

Fuels International IGFR Inhibitor Trial for Ewing's Sarcoma

The basic and translational research conducted at CCR can impact the lives of patients around the globe. Nowhere is this more apparent than in an ongoing international clinical trial for patients with Ewing’s sarcoma, a soft tissue cancer primarily seen in children, teens, and young adults. This Phase II trial, which opened in December 2007, was devised as a collaboration between CCR, a consortium of U.S. centers, and sites throughout Europe.

IGF-1R world map image
CCR, a consortium of U.S. Cancer Centers, and sites throughout Europe and Australia are collaborating in a Phase II clinical trial to test R1507, an IGFR inhibitor produced by Hoffman La-Roche, for the treatment of Ewing's sarcoma in children. If the treatment proves effective in this trial, researchers may begin investigating the role of the IGFR pathway in other cancers.

The new antibody, produced by Hoffman- LaRoche under the name R1507, inhibits the insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF-1R). "Tumor cells, in particular Ewing’s tumor cells, appear to be dependent on signaling via an IGFR-mediated pathway," said Herbert Juergens, M.D., Professor of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at the University of Muenster, a study site in Germany. Other sites outside the U.S. are in France, Italy, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.

"There is a strong sense that, if this pathway drives the growth of Ewing’s sarcoma, there are other cancers that also may be driven by the same abnormality in the same pathway," explained Denise Reinke, N.P., President and Chief Executive Officer of the Sarcoma Alliance for Research through Collaboration (SARC), whose sites are accruing U.S. patients.

"This trial comes out of work by [CCR Scientific Director for Clinical Research] Lee Helman, M.D.," Reinke continued. "He extensively studied this pathway for more than 15 years, and now we have a drug that will go after that target."

Thirty to forty percent of patients with Ewing's sarcoma have a recurrence or have metastatic disease after frontline therapies. This study is recruiting patients whose disease is refractory to existing treatments. Patients include those with Ewing’s sarcoma and several other types of sarcoma. As of September 5, 2008, 169 patients had been accrued to the study. "We didn’t expect to be here at this point," said Reinke. The accrual goal is 305 patients. "There’s clearly interest in this as a potential treatment."

CCR's Elaine S. Jaffe, M.D., Receives High Honor from University of Barcelona

image of CCR's Elaine S. Jaffe, M.D., receiving high honor from University of Barcelona

In May 2008, Elaine S. Jaffe, M.D., Chief of the Hematopathology Section in CCR’s Laboratory of Pathology, was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Barcelona (UB), becoming only the third woman to receive the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa in the university’s 555-year history. Nominated for the award by Elias Campo, M.D., a Professor of Pathology at UB and a former research fellow in the Jaffe laboratory, she was credited for her contributions to understanding the genetic and molecular mechanisms of lymphoid neoplasms and for her generosity in sharing knowledge through her leadership in international forums, including World Health Organization committees.