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Atlantic Health System Cancer Care First in World to Begin Clinical Trial of Novel Virus-Based Immunotherapy for Late-Stage Melanoma; First Patient Enrolled


Atlantic Health System Cancer Care is the first oncology institution in the world to sign on to, and to enroll the first patient in, a multicenter Phase IIa clinical trial of OBP-301 (Telomelysin®), a virus-based immunotherapy for late-stage melanoma that has not responded to other treatments. 

This leading-edge experimental therapy, which is under development by Japanese biotechnology company Oncolys BioPharma, uses the common cold virus to modify a gene that can selectively replicate in, and destroy, cancer cells. The study protocol was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in June.

The clinical trial is being led locally by Eric D. Whitman, MD, FACS, medical director of Atlantic Health System Cancer Care and director of the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center’s Atlantic Melanoma Center at Morristown Medical Center and Overlook Medical Center.

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“This targeted immunotherapy holds great promise for improving survival rates in patients with unresectable and metastatic melanoma,” said Dr. Whitman.  “We are proud to have been chosen as the first site for this leading edge clinical trial, and happy to be able to offer a wide range of the latest established and experimental treatments to our patients.”

Melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, affects more than 50,000 people each year. Although the chances of having melanoma increase with age, the number of cases among young adults is rising every year. Melanoma can have serious health consequences and may even be fatal.

The OBP-301 trial is a multicenter, Phase IIa study to evaluate how melanoma tumors respond to injection of this drug in patients with Stage III and Stage IV melanoma that is, to determine how much the drug shrinks or destroys tumors after it is injected into them.  The study, which will also look at potential side effects, is “open label,” meaning that all participants in the study will receive OBP-301. 

OBP-301 is a type of virus known as an adenovirus. Adenoviruses are common in nature and when they multiply in normal human cells they may cause infections that result in symptoms like those of the common cold or the flu.  OBP-301 has been genetically changed from the original virus to reproduce in target cancer cells that are emitting a certain signal. As a result of this reproduction, OBP-301 is believed to burst and kill tumor cells.

Study participants will receive multiple injections into their tumors over a period of several weeks.  Blood tests will be done to evaluate the level of virus in patients’ systems, and for immune response monitoring. Dr. Whitman and colleagues will also evaluate how long it takes to get a response and how long responses last, as well as overall survival and progression-free survival rates.

In preclinical studies, Oncolys demonstrated OBP-301’s anti-tumor activity in various types of cancer cells.  A Phase I clinical trial in the U.S. demonstrated the drug’s safety, and showed that it shrank tumors in a majority of study participants, who had a variety of solid tumors.  Additional studies of the drug have been completed, or are underway, in Japan, Korea and Taiwan.

The Atlantic Melanoma Center, a clinical and research center of excellence, is an internationally-recognized program. The center’s multidisciplinary approach combining the expertise of board-certified surgeons, medical oncologists, pathologists, radiation oncologists and nurses – treats all forms of melanoma, including those in the skin, mucous membranes and eyes.  Patients receive the latest medical treatments, and when needed, melanoma surgery is also available. 

For more information on the OBP-301 clinical trial or other studies, please call the Atlantic Melanoma Center at 973-971-7111.  

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Berkeley Heights

LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA Cancer Recovery Program Session Begins March 20

March 16, 2018

A new spring session for The LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA program, a 12-week cancer recovery program, will begin at the Berkeley Heights YMCA on March 20, 2018. The program is a research-based physical and wellness program in which certified Summit Area YMCA trainers work with participants to achieve their goals. LIVESTRONG®  at the YMCA helps cancer survivors who find themselves in the ...

Discover Your Inner Ballet Dancer


This 8-WEEK class will be focusing on the classical technique of ballet in a fun and easy to understand manner. You can expect a full ballet class experience from working at the ballet barre, to leaping across the floor! No experience is necessary to participate. Easy to move in clothes, and socks or ballet shoes are recommended.


Diversity and Inclusion at the Summit Area YMCA

The Summit Area YMCA is more than a swim and gym. It is more than a childcare center. It is more than a nonprofit organization. It is a welcoming, safe, inclusive and globally diverse environment.

For the past 2 years, the Summit Area YMCA has been recognized as one of only 74 Y’s in the country with a Diversity and Inclusion and Global Innovation initiative. Our Y is made up of people ...

"You're the Star Tonight" Special Needs Prom at St. Bart's on May 5

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- "You're the Star Tonight" Prom will be sponsored by the St. Bartholomew the Apostle Church (2032 Westfield Ave.) and the YMCA and held on Saturday, May 5, 2018, from 7:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. This night is for "Special Needs Young Adults" from the ages of 14-21. The night will be a full blown prom with red carpet walk up, music, dancing, ...

NPHS Student's Response to After School Walk-out Plan at NPHS

March 14, 2018

A group of students file into a science classroom amid a nervous din of chatter, the air is electric with excitement and nervousness. This small group of approximately 30 students are a studious bunch, largely members of the sophomore class with squeaky clean administrative histories. They are currently preparing to defy authority and stand up for what they believe in, even though they had been ...

New Providence's Allen W. Roberts School Gets Security Walk Through by Police Department after Bomb Threat

March 12, 2018

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - The New Providence Police Department sent a letter to parents and guardians of students at Allen W. Roberts Elementary School after a non-specific bomb threat was reported on Monday afternoon.

It's the second threat  reported at a New Providence school in March. The first threat was reported on March 5th at New Providence High School.

Emergency ...

Rutgers voices support for proposed state budget

March 14, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK - Rutgers University officials have often been wary of the governor's annual budget message, wondering what type of budget cuts the university may sustain and how it would potentially impact tuition and the overall quality of education.

This budget message, delivered March 13, appears to be a sigh of relief.

Pete McDonough, Vice President of External Affairs at ...

Upcoming Events


Sat, March 17, 12:00 PM

K Primary Care & Medical Nutrition Center, New Providence

Cooking Class Teaches Portion, Calories and Food ...

Sat, March 17, 7:00 PM

Union County Performing Arts Center, Rahway

Footloose, The Musical @ UCPAC March 15-17, 2018

Arts & Entertainment


Sun, March 18, 10:00 AM


Camp Riverbend Open House

Sun, March 18, 2:00 PM

Miller-Cory House Museum, Westfield

Maple Sugar Sunday



Sun, March 18, 2:00 PM

New Providence Memorial Library, New Providence

Surreal Places, Imaginary Spaces: A Literary Tea

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Sun, March 18, 2:00 PM

Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts, Maplewood

Maplewood Strollers Present John Patrick ...

Arts & Entertainment

Berkeley Heights Boy Scout Troop 68 Hike Appalachian Trail

BLAIRSTOWN, NJ -- Berkeley Heights Boy Scout Troop 68 kept the tradition alive this past weekend with their Annual Cabin Camping at the Mohican Outdoor Center, in Blairstown, NJ.  

Nearly two dozen scouts and adults enjoyed a very challenging five mile hike on the Appalachian trail and braved a drenching rain at times (rain gear was in order for the day).  The weekend is geared ...

JCP&L Representative Describes Utility’s Actions During Storm Quinn, Answers Residents' Questions

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ – The format of this week’s  Berkeley Heights 'Here and Now' was turned on its head this week. Mayor Bob Woodruff reviewed what happened in the township following Storm Quinn and its predecessor Storm Riley, complete with statistics. He then asked a representative of JCP&L questions about the utility’s response, and how it was ...

Berkeley Heights, Here and Now: Redevelopment Updates

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The Mayor's Round Table has been rebranded to "Berkeley Heights, Here and Now." This new format will continue to provide updates from Mayor Bob Woodruff, municipal offices and the Communications Committee want to hear from citizens, businesses and community organizations.

Included in this episode, Mayor Bob Woodruff addresses the status of the ...

Now That The Dust Has Settled…Smart Tax Moves In 2018

Now that the dust has settled, here are some smart tax moves to lower your taxes and/or avoid higher taxes/penalties in 2018. These steps may be especially helpful if you live in high property and high income tax states (e.g. New Jersey, New York, California) since state and local tax deductions are capped.  Unfortunately all these changes mean you’ll need more time and energy to ...