Sarah Cannon
December 14, 2015

NASHVILLE, TENN., December 11, 2015 – Sarah Cannon today announced highlights of data presented by its researchers during the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) from December 8-12. Sarah Cannon has participated in more than 20 presentations at the annual research meeting, which brings together fellow physicians, researchers and clinicians from around the world to discuss the latest in breast cancer research and care. The research focuses on targeted therapies, including novel agents designed to treat hormonally-driven, HER-2 and triple negative breast cancers.

Erika P. Hamilton, MD, who was recently promoted to director of the breast and gynecologic cancer research program for Sarah Cannon, was lead and co-author on several studies that have been reviewed at the meeting. One of the highlighted studies focused on the use of, ONT-380 (Oncothyreon), which has demonstrated clinical benefit for HER-2 positive breast cancer patients with brain metastases.

Approximately 20 percent of breast cancers overexpress HER-2, a more aggressive subtype. Therapies that target HER-2 with either antibodies or small molecules have been shown to improve both progression free and overall survival. Despite these improvements, up to a quarter of all patients treated with anti-HER-2 therapy in the adjuvant setting eventually relapse and most patients with metastatic breast cancer will eventually experience disease progression.

“One of the challenges in treating HER-2 positive breast cancer is the frequent development of brain metastases, which occur in up to 50 percent of patients with advanced disease. Most available therapies for this type of breast cancer do not cross into the brain well, and we desperately need new treatments to help this patient population,” said Hamilton. “We have observed that ONT-380 is showing promising early results in clinical trials, when used in combination with other standard medications, to safely treat HER-2 cancers in the brain and also in other areas of the body.”

In addition to ONT-380, Sarah Cannon research leaders discussed other clinical trials that are using targeted therapies to help tailor treatments at the molecular level based upon the genetic make-up of tumor profiling, as well as the growing use of immunotherapies.

“Being able to offer patients convenient access to alternatives that may replace current treatments with fewer side effects and greater efficacy are essential,” said Dr. Hamilton. “The data highlighted during the annual meeting marks the importance of clinical trials and the influence that we can make as a research community to advance care standards, and ultimately, to find cures for these aggressive types of cancer.”

Other Sarah Cannon investigators who had abstracts presented at the annual meeting include: Denise A. Yardley, MD, Howard A. Burris III, MD, Hendrik-Tobias Arkenau, MD, PhD, and John D. Hainsworth, MD, as well as partnering investigators from the following strategic research sites: Tennessee Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists, The Center for Blood and Cancer Disorders – Ft. Worth, and Oncology Hematology Care, Inc.

About Sarah Cannon Research Institute

Sarah Cannon Research Institute is the research arm of HCA’s global cancer institute, Sarah Cannon. Focused on advancing therapies for patients, it is one of the world’s leading clinical research organizations conducting community-based clinical trials through affiliations with a network of more than 1,000 physicians across the United States and United Kingdom. Sarah Cannon has led approximately 200 first-in-man clinical trials since its inception in 1993, and has been a clinical trial leader in nearly 80 percent of approved cancer therapies in the last 10 years. Additionally, Sarah Cannon offers management, regulatory, and other research support services for drug development and industry sponsors as well as strategic investigator sites through its contract research organization (CRO), Sarah Cannon - Development Innovations.