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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

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Dr. Eric Whitman Leads Study of Experimental Drug That Uses Cold Virus to Disable Cancer Cells in Patients Who Have Not Responded to Other Treatments

Morristown, NJ 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.

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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.

“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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AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 010

On this week’s AtlantiCast, we take you to the groundbreaking for an expansion to Morristown Medical Center, introduce you to the newest babies of 2018 at Atlantic Health System and share some must-see winter weather tips!

 

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Getting it Right From the Start; Roxbury Realtor Bob Idakaar

ROXBURY, NJ – Twenty years ago this month, Bob Idakaar experienced an unprofessional real estate agent. That’s when he decided to be a good one.

Idakaar, a lifelong Succasunna resident and TAPinto Roxbury sponsor, bought his fifth home in July 1997. A big event, one that could have been joyous, ended up being stressful and unenjoyable.

“I had a bad experience,” he ...

Roxbury Diner: Homespun Hospitality Through Thick and Thin

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Orthopedic Urgent Care in Roxbury - Open Late and on Weekends

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Love of His Hometown Drives Roxbury Realtor Ted Miller II

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Letters to TAPinto Roxbury

Proving yourself first

January 5, 2018

Dear Editor,

I have read with interest the reaction of the only Democrat member of Roxbury's Town Council regarding his appointments to committees.

I recently retired after over 40 years in senior leadership roles in both public and private sectors. I have always found that responsibility is earned through proving one's self through team work, due ...

Two From Roxbury Area Make UVM Dean's List

January 19, 2018

BURLINGTON, VT -- Zoe Quan-Shau of Flanders and Samantha Valerie Mae Meneses of Succasunna were named to the Dean's List at the University of Vermont. To be named to the dean's list, students must have a grade-point average of 3.0 or better and rank in the top 20 percent of their class in their respective college or school.

University of Rhode Island Dean's List Includes Students from Roxbury

KINGSTON, RI - The University of Rhode Island is pleased to announce that 5,500 undergraduates have qualified for the fall 2017 Dean's List. The students represent nearly all of Rhode Island's cities and towns, all six New England states, New York and New Jersey, and many other states and nations.

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Bedel-Franklin and Grady Make Emerson Dean's List

BOSTON, MA  - Hannah Bedel-Franklin, of Kenvil, and Matthew Grady, of Landing, were named to Emerson College's Dean's List for the Fall 2017 semester. The requirement to make the Dean's List is a grade point average of 3.7 or higher.

Samuel Sherwood makes Roger Williams University Dean's List

BRISTOL, RI -- Samuel Sherwood of Succasunna was named to the Fall 2017 Dean's List at Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I.

Full-time students who complete 12 or more credits per semester and earn a GPA of 3.4 or higher are placed on the Dean's List that semester.

 

Succasunna's Kent Libby Named to Worcester Polytechnic Institute Dean's List

WORCESTER, MA - Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has announced that Kent Libby of Succasunna,, a member of the class of 2020 majoring in robotics engineering, was named to the university's Dean's List for academic excellence for the fall 2017 semester.

A total of 1,608 undergraduate students achieved the criteria required for WPI's fall 2017 Dean's List. The criteria ...

Press Releases

First Energy Donates to Morris Habitat for Humanity ReStore

January 17, 2018

First Energy is pleased to partner with Morris Habitat for Humanity to provide a grant to support Operator Safety Training for the ReStore staff and volunteers. A check for $2,500 from First Energy Foundation was presented to Morris Habitat and the ReStore on January 16, 2018.  Pictured are Mel Oppenheimer, ReStore Advisory Committee; Blair Schleicher Bravo, CEO Morris Habitat; Michael ...

Brain Cancer Study Opens at Overlook Medical Center - One of Four Sites in Country

Kurt Jaeckle, MD, co-director of the Gerald J. Glasser Brain Tumor Center at Overlook Medical Center, and medical director of the Atlantic Center for Research, is leading a phase III study of novel drug VAL-083, which has already shown promise in Glioblastoma and other cancers. 

The study is for patients whose glioblastoma multiforme or gliosarcoma has progressed during or after treatment ...