Morristown Medical Center Program

Study of Pancreatic Cancer Drug Provides Hope for Difficult-to-Treat Patients

In June 2017, Angela Alistar, MD, joined Atlantic Health System Cancer Care as Medical Director of GI Medical Oncology at the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center of Morristown Medical Center. Dr. Alistar, a board-certified medical oncologist who specializes in translational research, published a pioneering study in The Lancet Oncology on an advanced, first-in-class drug that offers new hope for people with pancreatic cancer, one of the most difficult cancers to treat.

In the study, Dr. Alistar and colleagues conducted a Phase I clinical trial of CPI-613, in combination with a modified version of FOLFIRINOX, a current multidrug treatment regimen approved by the FDA for use in pancreatic cancer that has spread beyond the pancreas. The trial was designed to determine the maximum tolerated dose of CPI-613 when used in combination with the modified FOLFIRINOX regimen in patients with Stage IV pancreatic cancer. The study provided preliminary evidence of the drug combination’s efficacy, and demonstrated its safety and tolerability.

The results of this study provide oncologists reason for hope in that patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer have a dismal prognosis, and the toxicity of current therapies limits their usefulness, underscoring the desperate need for safer, more effective treatments.

Dr. Alistar will serve as the Co-Principal on a Phase II/III study of CPI-613 in combination with modified FOLFIRINOX for metastatic pancreatic cancer.

CPI-613, developed by New Jersey-based Cornerstone Pharmaceuticals, is a new type of medication known as an altered energy metabolism directed (AEMD) drug. It is the first anticancer drug of its kind. It is designed to disrupt the altered energy production pathways in cancer cells by selectively targeting a process in cell multiplication and survival.

Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States, with a five-year survival rate of just seven percent. Fifty-three percent of patients are diagnosed with advanced disease.

The Carol G. Simon Cancer Center-Morristown Medical Center

Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Morristown Medical Center treats all cancers with novel therapies, cutting-edge technology, and unfailing compassion. It boasts 50 board-certified, top-ranked physicians –many from leading academic medical centers – and the largest number of experienced cancer surgeons in NJ. It has 113,000 outpatient visits and 3,600 inpatient admissions annually, participates in 40+ clinical trials, and provides essential supportive care for patients throughout their cancer journey.

Nationally-ranked Morristown Medical Center is part of Atlantic Health System, one of New Jersey’s largest nonprofit health care networks. Named one of America’s 50 Best Hospitals (Healthgrades 2016 and 2017), Morristown is certified as a Level I Regional Trauma Center (American College of Surgeons) and a Level II Trauma Center (NJ).