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Dr. Angela Alistar, National Leader in Gastrointestinal Cancer Research, to Speak at International Oncology Conference

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Nationally renowned gastrointestinal (GI) cancer researcher Angela Alistar, MD, medical director of GI medical oncology at Morristown Medical Center, Atlantic Health System Cancer Care, has been invited to speak this week at the AACR-NCI-EORTC International Conference on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics:  Discovery, Biology, and Clinical Applications.

The conference will be held in Philadelphia October 26-30, and is sponsored by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC). It is considered the premier international meeting on novel cancer therapeutics. 

Dr. Alistar will speak on cancer metabolism and her pioneering study, published this summer in The Lancet Oncology, on CPI-613, an advanced, first-in-class drug that offers new hope for people with pancreatic cancer, one of the most difficult cancers to treat.  Her presentation will take place on October 28 at 4:30 p.m. ET, as part of a session on cancer metabolism chaired by Dr. Dimitrios Anastasiou from London’s Francis Crick Institute and Dr. W. Marston Lineham, from the NCI.

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“It is truly a great honor to be invited to speak at this meeting, along with this stellar lineup of internationally renowned cancer researchers,” said Dr. Alistar.  “I look forward to sharing the promise my studies have shown, and to discussing future research plans.”

Dr. Alistar will serve as the Co-Principal Investigator with Dr. Philip Philip of Karmanos Cancer Institute on a planned multi-center Phase III study of CPI-613 in combination with modified FOLFIRINOX, a multidrug treatment for metastatic pancreatic cancer.  She has led four other clinical trials of CPI-613 for GI cancers, as well as studies of other novel oncology drugs, and research to determine disease processes and genetic factors in cancers of the gastrointestinal tract. 

Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States, with a five-year survival rate of just seven percent.  Fifty-three percent of patients are diagnosed with advanced disease. *

“We are extremely proud of the fact that Dr. Alistar has been invited to share her groundbreaking clinical research at this distinguished international symposium,” said Eric Whitman, MD, medical director, Atlantic Health System Cancer Care. “She has continued to design and develop innovative cancer treatments since joining Atlantic Medical Group Oncology. We are pleased that our growing team of outstanding and compassionate physicians is able to offer patients in this community access to the latest treatment advances through clinical trials across a broad range of cancer types."

Dr. Alistar joined Atlantic Health System earlier this year from the Wake Forest School of Medicine, where she led the GI oncology team, bringing cutting-edge treatments to patients. While there, she designed, secured funding for and conducted five investigator-initiated therapeutic clinical trials. She was the Principal Investigator at Wake Forest University of the Precision Oncology study, which is poised to generate new hypotheses in the era of genomic driven clinical trials.

Study of Pancreatic Cancer Drug Provides Hope for Difficult-to-Treat Patients 

In the recent Lancet Oncology study, Dr. Alistar and colleagues conducted a Phase I clinical trial of CPI-613, in combination with a modified version of FOLFIRINOX, a current multidrug treatment regimen approved by the FDA for use in pancreatic cancer that has spread beyond the pancreas.  The trial was designed to determine the maximum tolerated dose of CPI-613 when used in combination with the modified FOLFIRINOX regimen in patients with Stage IV pancreatic cancer.  The study provided preliminary evidence of the drug combination’s efficacy, as well as demonstrating its safety and tolerability.

CPI-613, developed by New Jersey-based Rafael Pharmaceuticals, is a new type of medication known as an altered energy metabolism directed (AEMD) drug.  It is the first anticancer drug of its kind.  It is designed to disrupt the altered energy production pathways in cancer cells by selectively targeting a process in cell multiplication and survival. 

Background on Dr. Alistar

Dr. Alistar’s primary focus at Wake Forest School of Medicine was on immuno-oncology and its application in treatment of gastrointestinal cancers of the pancreas, colon, rectum, bile duct and esophagus, as well as in treating melanoma. Her clinical research projects involved active collaborative efforts with other medical departments, such as radiation oncology and surgical oncology, as well as genetics. An assistant professor of internal medicine at Wake Forest before joining Atlantic Health, she was also a member of the Translational Cancer Genomics Committee, the GI Tumor Board, Internal Medicine Grand Rounds Committee, and the Hepatobiliary Oncology Committee. She is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Society of Hospice and Palliative Care Medicine, and the American Society of Hematology, among many other professional societies. She also serves as a member and advisor to several other health care organizations.  She is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine, in both internal medicine and medical oncology.

Dr. Alistar received her medical degree from University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Cluj Napoca, Romania, and conducted her internship and residency at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, where she was chief resident. After her residency, she was a fellow in hematology and medical oncology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Tisch Cancer Institute. She currently serves as an ad hoc reviewer for JAMA and was recently the recipient of the Danny Danielson Translational Innovation Award for her dedication to clinical research.

Dr. Alistar is a physician with Atlantic Hematology Oncology at the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center -Morristown Medical Center campus.  She is affiliated with Atlantic Medical Group, and is a participating provider in the Atlantic Accountable Care Organization. Dr. Alistar can be reached at 973-971-7111

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