Levine Cancer Institute Launches Breakthrough Clinical Trial

03.14.2016 News | Atrium Health News

TAPUR trial brings new hope to patients with advanced cancer, will give oncologists key insights into treating the disease.

CHARLOTTE, N.C., March 14, 2016As part of Carolinas HealthCare System’s Levine Cancer Institute’s ongoing mission of bringing patients increased access to the newest therapies and treatment options, the Institute will be one of only four centers nationwide enrolling patients in a first-of-its-kind clinical trial, with implications that could shape the future of how cancer is treated and diagnosed. 

In June 2015, the TAPUR (Targeted Agent and Profiling Utilization Registry) study was announced at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)’s annual meeting, as the first clinical trial to be sponsored by the organization. The study will give patients with various forms of advanced-stage cancer access to an increased number of molecularly-targeted drugs, while providing oncologists with new knowledge that could allow them to treat a wider range of patients more effectively and precisely.

“TAPUR signifies an important milestone towards our continued effort to better understand the emerging field of personalized medicine,” said Edward S. Kim, MD, Chair of Solid Tumor Oncology & Investigational Therapeutics at the Institute. “For patients who have stopped responding to traditional treatments, this trial will bring them unprecedented access to other, potentially life-saving, options. Levine Cancer Institute is honored to be one of the initial sites involved in this important study.”

Recent studies have demonstrated the value of tailoring treatment to a patients’ tumor, rather than just the cancer site itself. Due to varying gene expressions that make certain patients resistant to the current standards of care, such as chemotherapy, or radiation therapy, one of the goals of the TAPUR study will be to determine how subsets of cancer patients respond to targeted therapies that attack specific genetic mutations—and why.

Unique to TAPUR, is the fact that it will include a broader patient population than in most clinical trials. Any advanced solid tumor, multiple myeloma, or B cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma patient who is no longer benefitting from other treatments is eligible to participate. Along with Levine Cancer Institute, other participating sites include the Michigan Cancer Research Consortium, the Cancer Research Consortium of West Michigan and the University of Michigan Levine Cancer Institute has been heavily involved in other relevant trials, testing targeted therapies, and recently opened a Biospecimen Repository for the collection of sample tissue, from which researchers are able to draw important conclusions.

“For patients who join, this trial will mean access to targeted therapies that might offer benefits when no established options remain,” said ASCO President Julie Vose, MD, MBA, FASCO. “With TAPUR, these patients have the potential to benefit from precision medicine strategies

that have already demonstrated effectiveness in selected cancer types. Like other trial participants, they can also help tomorrow’s patients.”

About Carolinas HealthCare System

Carolinas HealthCare System (carolinashealthcare.org), one of the nation’s leading and most innovative healthcare organizations, provides a full spectrum of healthcare and wellness

programs throughout North and South Carolina. Its diverse network of care locations includes academic medical centers, hospitals, freestanding emergency departments, physician practices, surgical and rehabilitation centers, home health agencies, nursing homes and behavioral health centers, as well as hospice and palliative care services. Carolinas HealthCare System works to enhance the overall health and wellbeing of its communities through high quality patient care, education and research programs, and numerous collaborative partnerships and initiatives.