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New immunotherapy Study Centers on Colorectal Cancer

Nov 29, 2016 11:30AM ● By MED Magazine
Sanford Health has opened another clinical trial exploring the power of the body’s immune system to fight cancer. The immunotherapy trial is focusing on colorectal cancer and involves the investigational checkpoint inhibitor pembrolizumab which Sanford is already studying as a potential therapy for other cancers.

Pembrolizumab inhibits a key protein allowing the immune system to recognize and attack cancer.
Oncologist Jonathan Bleeker, MD, is running the colon cancer trial, which is called KEYNOTE-177. His team will compare the effectiveness of treating participants with pembrolizumab or one of six standard treatment methods that include chemotherapy. Participants must have been recently diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer, with particular gene mutations and not have previously received chemotherapy.

Pembrolizumab is FDA-approved for melanoma, head and neck cancer and certain types of lung cancer. Sanford also has clinical trials open studying pembrolizumab for patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, esophageal cancer, lung cancer and prostate cancer.

Sanford has more than 20 immunotherapy clinical trials available to cancer patients. A complete list of clinical trials is available at