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Caris Life Sciences to Find Patients for Keytruda Pancreatic Cancer Trial

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Caris Life Sciences today announced a collaboration with the Lustgarten Foundation to enroll patients in a Phase 2 clinical trial for Merck's checkpoint inhibitor Keytruda (pembrolizumab).

Caris' MI Trials services will identify and recommend patients for the trial through its Caris Molecular Intelligence tumor profiling service. While the study is primarily investigating the effectiveness of Keytruda against tumors with high microsatellite instability (MSI), it is also looking for biomarkers correlated with MSI status, including DNA mismatch repair proteins (MMR). 

Microsatellites are regularly repeating stretches of DNA and MSI is the presence of random errors therein, usually the result of improperly functioning mismatch repair.

Upon identifying a patient with positive MMR deficiency biomarker expression status —  including the proteins MLH1, MSH2, MSH6 and PMS2 — Caris will "facilitate communication between treating physicians and study investigators," the firm said in a statement.

"A growing amount of evidence linking microsatellite instability and MMR pathway analysis to immunotherapy response is building and may provide a new treatment paradigm for pancreatic patients," David Spetzler, president and CSO of Caris Life Sciences, said in a statement.

The Lustgarten Foundation is sponsoring the study. Financial and other terms of the collaboration were not disclosed.