White Plains Hospital adds clinical trial of Opdivo for advanced lung cancer

By Ryan Deffenbaugh

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White Plains Hospital announced that it will be the first hospital in Westchester to offer the “CheckMate” study, a nationwide clinical trial aimed at patients with late-stage locally advanced or metastatic lung cancer.

Researchers at the White Plains Hospital Center for Cancer Care are evaluating patients to participate in the phase 3 clinical trial, which evaluates treatment regimens in patients with stage 4 lung cancer for improved overall survival and progression-free survival.

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-11-48-45-amThe CheckMate trials are associated with the drug Opdivo, an immunotherapy cancer treatment produced by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. Opdivo was approved by the FDA in 2014 as a new treatment for patients with advanced melanoma who no longer respond to other drugs. The FDA then expanded the approved use of the drug to patients with advanced lung cancer. But the drug knocked more than $20 billion off Bristol-Myers’ market value in August after Opdivo did not provide significantly better results than chemotherapy in patients with newly diagnosed lung cancer in a trial dubbed “CheckMate 026”, the Wall Street Journal reported.

A spokesperson for White Plains Hospital said the trial it is offering, CheckMate 370, tests a different cohort of patients. The CheckMate 026 study included patients with advanced lung cancer who received no treatment prior to study enrollment. The CheckMate 370 study at White Plains Hospital includes patients who have either either received previous treatment or have not received previous treatment but present with one of two genetic mutations.

“These cohorts were not included in the previous (CheckMate) 026 study,” said Diana Zondorak, clinical research coordinator at White Plains Hospital Center for Cancer Care. “Genetics is playing an increasingly important role in cancer treatment. This trial will help determine if this therapy will work in other patient cohorts, including patients who have specific genetic mutations.”

The study is taking place at six sites in New York state.

White Plains Hospital’s cancer center, which underwent a $60 million expansion this year,  is a study site for clinical trials of treatments for almost every type of lung cancer, the hospital said in a release, as well as a trial for the screening of lung cancer in high-risk individuals.

“In an age of increasingly personalized medicine, we now have the ability to find clinical trials of cancer medicines specific to a particular patient’s type and stage of cancer,” said Randy Stevens, director of radiation oncology and chair of the Institutional Review Board at White Plains Hospital.

The 292-bed hospital joined the Montefiore Health System last year.

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About the author

Ryan Deffenbaugh covers energy, education, food and beverage and the Sound Shore for the Westchester County Business Journal. He previously worked for Westchester Magazine and The Citizen daily newspaper (Auburn, N.Y.). He started with the Westchester County Business Journal in March 2016.

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