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Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to lead Immunotherapy Clinical Trials Network
Date:4/6/2011

SEATTLE Research institutions at 27 sites in the U.S. and Canada have been selected to participate in the Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network (CITN), a new initiative in immunotherapy funded by the National Cancer Institute and headquartered at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. CITN will establish a network of top academic immunologists to conduct multicenter research on promising new agents that boost patients' own immune systems to fight their cancer.

Immunotherapies hold promise as an alternative to traditional treatments such as chemotherapy, surgery and radiation. The approach teaches the immune system to recognize a cancer cell as a foreign invader (such as a virus) and seek out and destroy residual tumor cells, typically with minimal side effects.

The mission of CITN is to select, design and conduct early-phase trials using priority agents with known and proven biologic function and to provide the high-quality research data essential to develop treatments for patients. By coordinating the efforts of academia, industry and philanthropic foundations CITN is charged with accelerating the development of new compounds that have already been discovered but are not commonly available for use to treat patients with cancer.

An open competition was held for institutions to apply for member site status in the network. Candidate institutions were evaluated on the experience, participation and collaboration of the investigators and their institutions in immunotherapy trials and their ability to provide laboratory expertise in tumor immunology to support the research.

In September 2010, the NCI awarded $17 million to the Hutchinson Center to serve as the network's Central Operations and Statistical Center, which will provide overall leadership and infrastructure for the network. Principal investigator Martin A. "Mac" Cheever, M.D., a member of the Hutchinson Center's Clinical Research Division, directs the network.

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Contact: Dean Forbes
dforbes@fhcrc.org
206-667-2896
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Source:Eurekalert

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