Hoag becomes first in nation to test innovative antibody brain cancer drug

Hoag Family Cancer Institute and Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute at Hoag, in collaboration with Nascent Biotech, Inc. announced Tuesday a “first in the nation clinical trial for a novel immunotherapy treatment” that holds considerable promise for glioblastoma (GBM), the deadliest form of brain cancer.

Pritumumab is a unique monoclonal antibody that attacks cancers originating in the cells lining an organ – referred to as epithelial cells. These include cancers of the brain, breast, colon and pancreas, as well as melanoma. Prior Phase I and II clinical trials in Japan focused on the treatment of high-grade gliomas including GBM.

This Phase I clinical trial leverages the Hoag Family Cancer Institute and Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute’s assets in their collaboration when treating all aspects of brain tumors. With more than 20,000 new cases of GBM diagnosed in the U.S. every year, Hoag’s infrastructure in its Center for Research Education, as well as Hoag’s neurosciences and cancer expertise and reputation, appealed to Nascent Biotech as they chose a national site.

Hoag become first in nation Cancer Institute

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Courtesy of Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian

The study will be conducted by Hoag’s Neuro-Oncology Clinic that helps guide the entire continuum of comprehensive care for patients with brain tumors.

“The trial is a natural fit for Hoag, which is devoted to compassionate patient-centric care, creative innovation and clinical excellence,” said Jose Carrillo, M.D., Hoag neuro-oncologist and principal investigator on the trial. “By offering our patients access to targeted immunotherapy, we expand our toolkit to include a treatment option that has the potential to turn the tables on brain cancer.”

“Targeted immunotherapy, unlike chemotherapy, fights only the cancer cells, without damaging healthy cells. This has the potential to improve outcomes and help our patients beat cancer while minimizing the debilitating side effects normally associated with cancer treatment,” added Dr. Carrillo.

Pritumumab works by targeting ectodomain vimentin, a protein expressed on the surface of epithelial cancers. Because vimentin is found in a variety of cancers, the clinical trial at Hoag could have implications for more common cancers, such as breast or lung. In fact, the Hoag trial will employ a unique Phase I design that can ultimately treat a variety of brain cancers from gliomas and other primary brain tumors to brain metastases and leptomeningeal cancers arising from breast, lung and other solid tumors. 

“There are significant unmet medical needs in a variety of cancers,” said Sean Carrick, CEO of Nascent Biotech, makers of the immunotherapy treatment. “Nascent is committed to changing patient expectations and outcomes in one of the world’s most debilitating cancers and Hoag is a natural partner towards achieving this goal. We’re highly encouraged by the potential of Pritumumab to deliver an innovative, first-in-class treatment option, and we are delighted to be working closely with Hoag in this study.” 

Hoag’s Phase I clinical trials and many aspects of its cancer research are significantly supported by philanthropy. For more information on the research studies and clinical trials at Hoag, visit

As the largest cancer program in Southern California outside of Los Angeles County, Hoag Family Cancer Institute treats more than 4,000 new patients annually. Hoag’s multidisciplinary cancer team orchestrates subspecialized, tumor-specific programs that provide leading edge cancer treatments and a full range of advanced cancer therapies, as well as Hoag’s Precision Medicine Program and new investigational treatments.