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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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SOMA

Women's March Wear at Sadie's

Many are gathering this weekend and heading into New York City or over to Morristown to show their support for the Women's March 2018.

Sadie's is offering a few tee shirt options to show your support while marching as well as with your purchase.

The "Nasty Woman" shirt donates to Planned Parenthood and the "I Believe in Science" donates to the Sierra Club." ...

School Freeze Is Not New, And Not Acceptable

Another cold snap and apparently another string of cold classrooms.

Last week, many classes at Columbia High School -- and other schools -- saw frigid temperatures when the cold outside dropped to single digits on several days.

The snow helped a bit by closing schools last Thursday and Friday, although the Friday closing was originally a delayed opening and later switched ...

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!

 

South Orange Police Blotter - Two Arrests Reported

January 13, 2018

South Orange Police Blotter as of January 13

Adult Arrest CDS - Benjamin Orgera, an 18 year old South Orange resident was arrested on Sunday, Jan. 7, at approximately 10:20 p.m. for possession of CDS (marijuana). Officers stopped an auto for a motor vehicle violation near the intersection of Ridgewood Rd & Redmond Rd. During the traffic stop, officers determined that the driver ...

South Orange Police Blotter - Two Auto Thefts Reported

South Orange Police Blotter as of January 8

Auto Theft - A West End Rd resident reported that sometime between 12:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., Thursday, Dec. 28, actor(s) unknown stole his vehicle (2013 Honda), which was parked in his driveway at the time.

Auto Theft - A Montclair resident and South Orange business owner reported that on Tuesday, Jan. 2, at approximately 6:20 ...

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Observance in SOMA; Luminary Photos

January 17, 2018

MAPLEWOOD AND SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - The South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race held their 17th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Observance, with an interfaith service at 2 p.m., followed by a volunteer fair at 3:30 p.m. at Columbia High School, and an evening MLK Luminary Lighting Ceremony at Maplewood Town Hall and in Spiotta Park in South Orange.

In addition, ...

Harlem Wizards Play Maplewood Teachers and Town Officials at 'Family Night' on Jan. 29

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - The Maplewood Recreation Department is hosting a night of trick hoops and alley oops on Monday, Jan. 29, at Maplewood Middle School.

Two members of the Harlem Wizards will be playing with Maplewood teachers and other town officials at Maplewood “Family Night,"according to an email from Maplewood Recreation.

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Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel, South Orange

The Purposes and Rhythms of Jewish Living

Education Religions And Spirituality

Wed, January 24, 2:00 PM

Millburn Free Public Library, Millburn

Beginning Mindfulness Meditation Series at ...

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Wed, January 24, 7:00 PM

Winchester Gardens, Maplewood

Tax Planning: Preparing for What Lies Ahead

Business & Finance Government

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Wed, January 24, 7:00 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, Short Hills

The Extra Rich In Class Dinner Show with E.R.I.C.

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Newark Makes the Short List for Amazon's next HQ2

January 19, 2018

NEWARK, NJ--Newark has been named as one of 20 finalists to host Amazon’s next headquarters in North America.

Amazon announced the short-listed cities on Thursday.

Other cities that made the cut include Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, Montgomery County, ...

Millburn Teen Gives Laptops New Life for Charity

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Rutgers Historians Collecting 2018 Women's March Signs

January 21, 2018

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People who took part in Saturday's women's march in Morristown, or one of the "sister" marches across the state can consider donating their signs and protest memorabilia to ...

Director of Gallery U Boutique Says They Will Leave Westfield Over Parking Issues

WESTFIELD, NJ — Gallery U Boutique, an art space and boutique on South Avenue in Downtown Westfield, will relocate at the end of the summer due to ongoing parking issues, Executive Director Robert Greco said.

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Above Restaurant and Bar in South Orange Closing for Renovations and Revamping from Jan. 22 to Feb. 12

January 21, 2018

Above Restaurant and Bar, located at 1 South Orange Avenue in South Orange, will be closing for renovations and revamping from Jan. 22 to Feb. 12.

Above Restaurant and Bar in South Orange will re-open with new management, a new menu, and an updated dining and event space.

For information, please call 973-762-2683.

30 Columbia High School Students Recognized in the 64th Annual National Merit Scholarship Program

The National Merit Scholarship Program announced the names of 30 academically talented Columbia High School (CHS) students who have been honored as part of the 64th annual Merit Scholarship competition:

CHS Senior Sarah Braka was selected as a National Merit Semifinalist. Semifinalists have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National ...

Men of Bronze, Harlem’s Rattlers Featured in Union County Black History Month Celebration

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Keynote speaker Dr. Jeffery Sammons, Professor of History at New York University, will provide commentary on the film and present his ...