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A special collaboration between UNC Linberger Comprehensive Cancer Center & Merck to advance immune therapy cancer research

Making an IMPACT on Cancer

Purpose: The development of the UNC Immuno-Oncology Patient Centered Translational Research (IMPACT) Biorepository involves the collection of tumor tissue and blood, as well as data (e.g., demographic, clinical, questionnaire) from patients attending Oncology Clinics at UNC Hospital and undergoing immune therapy through participation in a Merck IT trial at UNC.

Goals: The goal of this Biorepository is to collect tumor tissue, blood, and data from patients undergoing immune-based therapy that can be used for correlative evaluations in subsequent protocols. The specimens and data collected will be linked thus allowing for a unique and robust dataset. Ultimately, this will provide for current and future studies such as those that evaluate the correlation of biological markers with clinical variables and cancer outcomes, as well as those that identify interactions among biological markers.

Correlation of clinical and biological information on the individual level is a long-standing goal for a translational approach to oncological research. The creation of a clinically-linked specimen bank that includes patient-reported outcomes at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill cultivates translational research resulting in improved approaches to patient treatment and care.

To learn more about UNC IMPACT, please speak with your UNC provider.

“What was once available in only a handful of cancer centers will now be available to patients in North Carolina,” -Jon Serody, MD, associate director of translational science at UNC Lineberger and medical oncologist in the UNC Lineberger Leukemia and Lymphoma Program.

T-cell therapy and possible benefits

T-cell therapy involves genetically re-engineering a type of the patient’s own disease-fighting white blood cells, called T-cells, to fight cancer. T-cells are taken from the patient’s blood and altered in the lab by inserting a gene, which reprograms them to recognize and attack cancerous cells. The altered cells are then reinfused into the patient’s body, where they disperse and multiply in order to identify and destroy rapidly growing tumor cells.

  • Immunotherapy harnesses the body’s own immune system to fight and defeat cancer with fewer side effects for the patient.
  • Immunotherapy is a powerful approach that systematically attacks cancer in the body.
  • Immunotherapy trains the immune system to target only the cancerous cells in the body.
  • Early clinical trials for patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) have shown more than 70% of patients with refractory leukemia responded to the treatment.