How promoting apoptosis in new study may help people with cancer

March 2024

A new clinical trial will evaluate IGM-8444 to determine if it can overcome some of the limitations of current medications and deliver new therapeutic options to patients with cancer. Earle A. Chiles Research Institute, a division of Providence Cancer Institute of Oregon, is currently enrolling patients in the trial. 

This phase I study will evaluate the safety and effectiveness of a new therapy called IGM-8444 (Aplitabart) for people with colorectal cancer and sarcoma. The study involves patients whose cancer has come back, didn't respond well to previous treatments, or those who are newly diagnosed. 

Why IGM-8444 is being studied 

IGM-8444 is an antibody created in a laboratory. It's designed to interact with a protein called death receptor 5 (DR5) found on the surface of some tumor cells. When IGM-8444 binds to DR5, it triggers a series of signals that lead to the death of the tumor cells. This process is known as apoptosis, an event where the body gets rid of unneeded or abnormal cells. Apoptosis can help reduce the growth of tumor cells expressing DR5. 

By targeting DR5, IGM-8444 aims to promote apoptosis, potentially slowing down the growth of DR5-positive tumor cells. 

The purpose of escalation and expansion 

In total, 340-460 patients are enrolled in two stages of this trial: dose escalation to find the right dose and see how safe it is, and dose expansion. These are strategies used in early-phase studies that maintain a balance between achieving therapeutic effectiveness and minimizing adverse effects. These types of studies offer valuable insight into the treatment before it progresses to later phases of research. 

In dose escalation: The study begins with a small group of participants receiving a low dose of the medication. If this initial dose is well-tolerated, the following groups receive higher doses. Study participants are closely monitored for side effects. The dose is only increased if safety and tolerability criteria are met.  

In dose expansion: After the maximum tolerated dose or an appropriate dose is determined, more participants are enrolled in that dose level. In dose expansion, there may be specific subgroups of participants, such as those with a particular type of cancer, as in this trial.  

This study is currently in the dose expansion stage.  

Providence Cancer Institute is the only site in Oregon enrolling patients in this trial. The principal investigator is Rachel Sanborn, M.D., medical director, Providence Thoracic Oncology Program and the Phase I Clinical Trials Program at Providence Cancer Institute.   

For more details about the study, go to: 

Phase 1a/1b Study of Aplitabart (IGM-8444) Alone or in Combination in Participants With Relapsed, Refractory, or Newly Diagnosed Cancers. 

Refer a patient to this trial. 

Contact our clinical research office:     

New research studies are added frequently.

To see more clinical studies, visit:    

Providence Center of Excellence for precision immuno-oncology and cellular therapy  

Since 1993, cancer research has been the primary focus of the Earle A. Chiles Research Institute, the research arm of Providence Cancer Institute of Oregon. Under the leadership of Walter J. Urba, M.D., Ph.D., our team of physicians and scientists work together to improve cancer treatment methods – seamlessly joining lab research and clinical trials with medical practice.  

Our main area of research is cancer immunotherapy, and with the advancements in genomic sequencing, we are bringing together the power of immunotherapy and personalized medicine to accelerate leading-edge research and groundbreaking discoveries for patients with cancer.  

Learn more about the latest research and clinical trials at the Earle A. Chiles Research Institute.  

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Finish Cancer Through Research (FCTR) is a monthly research newsletter about new clinical trials and research publications at Providence Cancer Institute. If you would like to receive future newsletters, sign up here.

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