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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

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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Maplewood Town Hall Newspaper Thief Sparks Warning

A thief has been victimizing Maplewood Town Hall.

No, not some burglar breaking in at night to steal tax payments, or an armed gunman ripping off town workers at gunpoint.

We’re talking about a newspaper poacher who’s been making a habit of walking off with the Township’s copy of The Star-Ledger.

Such illegal activity prompted a sign to be placed prominently in ...

South Orange Police Blotter - Two Arrests for Burglary

August 15, 2017

South Orange Police Blotter as of August 15

Burglary to Auto - A Clark St resident reported that between 7 p.m., Monday, August 14, and 10 a.m., Tuesday, August 15, actor(s) unknown entered her unlocked vehicle, which was parked in her driveway and rummaged through the interior. Nothing appears to be missing at this time.

Burglary to Auto - A Milligan Pl resident reported that between ...

South Orange Police Blotter - Multiple Burglaries Reported

The South Orange Police Blotter as of August 9

Adult Arrest - Burglary - Joe Carr, a 22 year old Newark resident, was arrested on Sunday, July 30, at approximately 2:26 a.m. for burglary. Officers responded to a call from a Kingman Rd resident for a burglary in progress and upon arrival arrested Carr, who had been subdued by the homeowner, without further incident. Officers transported ...

Community Attends Eclipse Viewing Party at the South Orange Public Library

August 21, 2017

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - The South Orange Public Library hosted an Eclipse Viewing Party both inside the library and outside on Monday afternoon, August 21. 

Many people were inside the library watching the live-stream of the official NASA feed as the eclipse traveled across the country, while others experienced the eclipse first-hand on the lawn on the south side of and behind the ...

Eclipse Viewing Party on August 21 at the South Orange Public Library

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - There will be an eclipse viewing party on Monday, August 21, beginning at 1 p.m., at the South Orange Public Library (SOPL).

The eclipse on August 21 is the first total solar eclipse to occur in the United States in nearly 40 years, and it's the first time since 1776 that it's happening exclusively in the U.S., according to an update from the SOPL.

According to ...

Upcoming Events

Tue, August 22, 9:30 AM

Good Grief, Morristown

Good Grief Volunteer Facilitator Training

Giving Back Other

Thu, September 7, 4:30 PM

New Jersey Youth Symphony Music Center, New Providence

NJIO Invites Musicians to Open House Rehearsals ...

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_a949ec124654eea4c9de_7socialfacebook600x250-tomrushlivingstontaylor

Sat, September 16, 8:00 PM

South Orange Performing Arts Center, South Orange

Tom Rush and Livingston Taylor at SOPAC

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_a78b03d752f64c81a9eb_ymca_golf_outing

Mon, September 18, 8:30 AM

Montclair Golf Club, West Orange

Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges' 23rd Annual ...

Giving Back Health & Wellness

Turtle Back Zoo-vies to Show Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom Wednesday, August 16

August 14, 2017

WEST ORANGE, NJ -  Turtle Back Zoo's annual "Zoo-vies" continue this Wednesday, August 16 with 'Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom.'

On Wednesdays and Thursdays during the months of July and August, Turtle Back will have Family Nights with extended evening hours to 8:30 p.m., with the last admission to the Zoo at 8 p.m. 

On Wednesday ...

East Orange Mourns the Death of Rev. Dr. Leora Liggins, East Orange Resident, Founder and Pastor of Christ Resurrection Missionary Baptist Church

EAST ORANGE, NJ - Rev. Dr. Leora Liggins was the Founder and Pastor of Christ Resurrection Missionary Baptist Church in East Orange and active member of the East Orange Clergy until her demise. 

Rev. Liggins ministerial career began in 1994 when she was licensed to preach and joined the staff at Imani Baptist Church in East Orange, and she was ordained in 2000 by the late Rev. Moses ...

Cinemark Theater and 2 Anchors Receive Approvals to Replace Route 22 Sears

August 18, 2017

WATCHUNG, NJ — Plans for a theater and two of the stores in the new shopping center that will replace Sears and Sears Auto Center on Route 22 and Terrill Road received approvals at Tuesday night's Watchung Planning Board Meeting. The next meeting, where final approval on the cinema is expected, is scheduled for Sept.19.

HomeSense and Sierra Trading Post are the ...

Before Trump Broke Up Biz Council, Johnson & Johnson CEO Resigned

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — The head of Johnson & Johnson decided to step down from President Donald Trump's Manufacturing Council on Wednesday, prior to its disbandment, according to the company.

Alex Gorsky, chairman and CEO of the New Brunswick-based Johnson & Johnson, announced his exit in a statement, following reports published yesterday, Aug. 15., which said he planned to ...

Last Minute Ideas to Entertain the Family this Weekend

August 17, 2017

After last week’s dreary weekend, we are all looking forward to the nicer weather this coming Saturday and Sunday. Avoid the crowds at the shore and instead opt to attend one of the following family-friendly activities in the North Jersey area. Most of the events are free or inexpensive—ideal for those trying to save money after a jam-packed summer.

Canal Day Musical and Craft ...

Weekly Specials at Ashley Marketplace & Cafe - August 18 to August 24

August 19, 2017

Shop Ashley Marketplace & Cafe for your everyday needs!

This week's specials are:

The Greek Gods Greek Yogurt 24oz  $3.99
Talenti Gelato-Sorbetto 16oz $4.99
Salmon Steaks $8.99lb (Freeman’s Fish)
Grilled Lemon Chicken $5.99lb (Prepared Foods)
La Croix Sparkling Water 12pk $5.99
Black Angus T-Bone Steak $9.98lb (Meat)
Musette Limonades 25.4oz ...

Millburn Library Presents Genealogy 101 with Jake Garfinkle on Sept. 19

The Millburn Free Public Library is pleased to present Genealogy 101 with Jake Garfinkle on Tuesday, September 19 at 7pm.

Have you ever wondered where you came from? Who your ancestors were and what they were like? Have you started to research your past but not quite sure what to do? If you are lucky, perhaps you already have some of your family history from your parents or grandparents. Local ...

New Jersey American Water Performing Work in the Academy Heights Neighborhood

Over the next few weeks, residents can expect to regularly see New Jersey American Water crews performing work in the Academy Heights neighborhood. In anticipation of the upcoming repaving and roadway improvement work planned by the Village on Academy Street between Massel Terrace and the Maplewood border, crews will be exercising, repairing and replacing water valves and replacing fire hydrants.