Prisma Health-Upstate’s Cancer Institute Awarded $8 million NCI grant to expand clinical trials for cancer treatmentsClinical trials are saving lives in South Carolina see more
When he was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in 2011, Jimmy Alexander wasn’t expected to live more than a year.
So doctors enrolled him in a clinical trial of a new chemotherapy cocktail hoping it might make a difference.
Eight years later, the Simpsonville man is still enjoying Clemson football and time with his family, including two daughters, five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
And now the program that helped Alexander is being expanded into the Midlands with an $8.2 million grant awarded Friday by the National Cancer Institute’s Community Oncology Program, or NCORP.
“People just don’t realize what clinicals may be able to do,” Alexander said. “They can be a lifesaver.”
Clinical trials are conducted to determine whether a treatment works while offering patients a shot at experimental therapies that aren’t otherwise available through normal channels.
They provide physicians with new weapons in the battle against cancer, said Dr. Larry Gluck, medical director of Prisma Health-Upstate’s Cancer Institute in Greenville, which was awarded the grant.
“Because of our NCI designation and support,” he said, “we can offer hundreds of leading-edge clinical trials that can provide treatments to patients years before approval by the FDA for general use.”
More than 300 clinical trials are underway at Prisma’s Cancer Institute at any time and the hospital has been awarded more than $30 million in NCI grants since 1995, according to Prisma, formerly Greenville Health System.
“What we learn from one patient helps that patient – but also many many more,” said Dr. Jeff Giguere, a Prisma oncologist.
“A unique aspect of research via the NCORP grant is that it interrogates every point on the cancer continuum from diagnosis, treatment, supportive care," he said, "as well as proactively evaluates cancer prevention and more effective and efficient ways of delivering cancer care.”
The latest six-year grant will enable trials for lymphoma, leukemia and solid tumors to begin in the Midlands this fall.
“Our goal ... is to continue to serve our Upstate patients with strengthened options here and extend our reach and expertise to the legacy Palmetto Health institutions via Prisma Health,” said Giguere. “We hope to meet an unmet need for our state.”
There was no guarantee when Alexander was enrolled in the trial that he would benefit from the drugs. But the 78-year-old said he would have participated anyway in case it would help others.
“If whatever I am doing helps other people, I was glad to do it,” he said. “But here I am eight years later.”
Alexander said his cancer is stable, thanks to a weekly infusion of a drug called Erbitux, which is provided through the trial.
Fortunately, the retired engineer was able to live to see a great-granddaughter born seven months ago.
“I’m doing pretty good. The only problem I have is old age,” he says with a chuckle. “I’m still around to play with her. It’s a great, great thing.”
KIYATEC Announces $3 Million Initial Closing of Series B2 Preferred Stock Financing and New Investor LabCorpKIYATEC closes on new round of financing see more
GREENVILLE, SC. – May 1, 2019 – KIYATEC, Inc. today announced the initial $3 million closing of the company’s series B2 financing round. The round was led by VentureSouth and included LabCorp® (NYSE: LH).
“This validation and confidence by our investors, coupled with the exciting progress of our clinical trials, puts us on the path toward the next phase of growth and development,” said Matthew Gevaert, CEO of KIYATEC. “We are particularly excited to welcome LabCorp as a new investor because of the depth and breadth of their expertise in oncology. With the preclinical and clinical development strengths of LabCorp’s Covance Drug Development business, and their corporate position as a world leader in clinical testing, there is great potential synergy across the many ways KIYATEC’s technology can be used to improve cancer care.”
Proceeds from the financing will go toward KIYATEC’s ongoing clinical study, 3D-PREDICT, to validate KIYATEC’s proprietary assay as a patient-specific predictor of response to cancer therapies for solid tumors. The test analyzes a patient’s live cancer cells, grown in KIYATEC’s laboratory within a biologically relevant 3D microenvironment, to determine whether those cells respond to guideline-recommended cancer drugs. The 3D-PREDICT study is a fully prospective, multi-institutional effort to validate the predictive accuracy of the test and correlate response predictions to clinical outcomes among patients with newly diagnosed and relapsed ovarian cancer, glioblastoma and certain rare tumors.
The company has gained significant momentum in 2019. Recently, at the 110th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), KIYATEC demonstrated leading capabilities in modeling and predicting response to immuno-oncology therapies including checkpoint inhibitors. On April 10, KIYATEC was one of 20 companies recognized nationally on Capitol Hill as part of the 2019 University Innovation & Entrepreneurship Showcase. In the first quarter of 2019, KIYATEC added three clinical sites to its 3D-PREDICT study and expects to continue its momentum by adding additional sites in the second and third quarters.
About KIYATEC, Inc.
KIYATEC is dedicated to accurately modeling and predicting cancer patient response to drug therapies, using ex vivo 3D cell culture technology, in order to inform clinical decision making and drive drug development. Our predictive clinical tests provide oncologists with patient-specific response profiles to current standard of care drugs prior to treatment selection. Our predictive 3D models are being used by leading biopharmaceutical companies to increase the success of their preclinical and clinical drug development programs as they develop the cancer therapies of the future. www.kiyatec.com.
MUSC Foundation for Research Development and Cumberland Emerging Technologies Announce Collaboration AgreementMUSC, Cumberland Emerging Technologies collaborate to develop biomedical products see more
The technology transfer organization for the Medical University of South Carolina, the MUSC Foundation for Research Development, and Cumberland Emerging Technologies Inc. have entered into a collaboration agreement to develop new biomedical products.
Consistent with their longstanding commitment to biomedical innovation and translational research, CET and the MUSC Foundation for Research Development have agreed to collaborate on future co-development programs that combine the strengths of each institution with the goal of advancing new technology to clinical practice. Under the agreement, CET will evaluate MUSC discoveries, license intellectual property rights to promising technologies, and partner with MUSC research scientists to advance product development toward commercialization. CET will pursue new sources of funding for these projects through the Small Business Technology Transfer and Small Business Innovation Research and other grant programs. New development programs are expected to span a variety of therapeutic areas including oncology, inflammatory diseases, and cardiovascular disease.
"Our office receives over 100 product ideas a year, most of which require an industry partner to be further developed," said Michael Rusnak, the executive director of the MUSC Foundation for Research Development. "We are very enthusiastic about having Cumberland as a collaborator to aid in getting technologies to market and ultimately to the patient."
"We are very pleased to have the opportunity to partner with the MUSC Foundation for Research Development to develop technologies invented at MUSC, a nationally-recognized biomedical research institution," said A.J. Kazimi, chief executive officer of Cumberland Pharmaceuticals and CET. "We are excited to facilitate the introduction of promising new products by combining our expertise in drug development and commercialization with the MUSC's research initiatives."