Thomas Jefferson University Research Magazine



Jefferson scientists and clinicians continue to advance new approaches for cancer therapies. Two potential immune-prompting treatments—one for solid tumors and advanced non-small-cell lung carcinoma, and a second for recurrent gastrointestinal tumors—entered clinical trials in fall 2020.

The first drug is based on multi-functional immunorecruitment protein based on a fusion protein platform developed by Mark Tykocinski, MD, Jefferson provost and Anthony F. and Gertrude M. DePalma Dean of Sidney Kimmel Medical College. Created through the chimerization of proteins with carefully selected characteristics, the treatment is designed to have a two-part action: first, disabling cancer cells’ ability to camouflage themselves from the immune system; then, stimulating proliferation of T-cells that attack the tumor cells. The current Phase I/II multi-center clinical trial is evaluating the drug alone and in combination therapy with an existing PD-L1-blocking checkpoint inhibitor.