TAMPA, Fla. – Moffitt Cancer Center announced today it was awarded a $2.67 million grant from Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) to study a possible new immunotherapy for non-small cell lung cancer. This is one of 10 first-of-its-kind grants being awarded by the SU2C Catalyst® program. Under the program, pharmaceutical companies donate funds to support collaborative team research using products provided by the companies, such as compounds and agents in development or approved for investigational use. The Moffitt study will be in partnership with Bristol-Myers Squibb, with additional assistance from Iovance and Prometheus Laboratories.

Under the leadership of the study’s principal investigator Scott J. Antonia, M.D., Ph.D, chair of Moffitt’s Thoracic Oncology Department, the phase 1 study will investigate the use of nivolumab, a targeted immunotherapy drug from Bristol-Myers Squibb, in conjunction with adoptive T cell therapy. During adoptive therapy, a patient’s tumor is removed, immune cells found inside the tumor called tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) are extracted and sent to a lab where they are multiplied using the drug interleukin-2 (IL-2). The TILs, which are essentially cancer killing cells, are then infused back into the patient intravenously to find and destroy the cancer.

“Immunotherapy has changed the way we are treating lung cancer, but there are still opportunities to make these types of therapies even better for patients,” said Antonia. “This grant from Stand Up To Cancer is a big step toward accelerating a new therapy that could help the hundreds of thousands of patients diagnosed with this disease each year.”

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in males, and the second leading cause of death in females worldwide. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounts for 85 percent of all lung cancer.

The study is currently accruing patients. Antonia and his team would like to enroll 18 participants who will be treated and followed for three years.

About Moffitt Cancer Center
Moffitt is dedicated to one lifesaving mission: to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer. The Tampa-based facility is one of only 49 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, a distinction that recognizes Moffitt’s excellence in research, clinical trials, prevention and cancer control. Moffitt is listed as one of the top 10 cancer hospitals in the nation and has been listed in U.S. News & World Report as one of the “Best Hospitals” for cancer care since 1999. Moffitt devotes more than 2 million square feet to research and patient care. Moffitt’s expert nursing staff is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center with Magnet® status, its highest distinction. With more than 5,600 team members, Moffitt has an economic impact in the state of $2.1 billion. For more information, call 1-888-MOFFITT (1-888-663-3488), visit MOFFITT.org, and follow the momentum on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube