A NEW COLLABORATION between two Western New York cancer research leaders will help oncologists learn whether Black and White patients with cancer respond differently to immunotherapy and seek to improve the safety and effectiveness of these newer drugs in diverse populations.
Funded by a 2-year, $2.08 million grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), with the possibility of additional funding after the initial phase of study concludes, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and the University of Rochester’s Wilmot Cancer Institute are working together to fill a major gap in the science around immune checkpoint inhibitors.
Christine Ambrosone, PhD
Charles Kamen, PhD, MPH
Gary Morrow, PhD
There are many opportunities to improve the care of patients who may benefit from immune checkpoint inhibitors. For example, few people of African ancestry participated in the original clinical trials to evaluate these treatments. The Roswell Park–Wilmot collaborators plan to collect data that will allow them to investigate side effects, toxicities, and outcomes with these agents among people of African ancestry. The research builds on discoveries from Roswell Park that helped explain why standard treatments are often less effective in patients of African ancestry.
“Checkpoint inhibitors have largely not been studied in Black patients with cancer, but our recent findings show there may be a particular benefit to these immunotherapies for cancer patients of African ancestry—across a variety of cancer types,” said Christine Ambrosone, PhD, Chair of Cancer Prevention & Control at Roswell Park and a co-principal investigator on the study.
The Wilmot team, under the leadership of co-principal investigator Charles Kamen, PhD, MPH, and co-principal investigator Gary Morrow, PhD, will leverage the center’s position as a hub for the National Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP). Dr. Morrow, Dean’s Professor of Surgery at the University of Rochester Medical Center, is co-principal investigator for the NCORP program, which is supported by a $29 million NCI grant.