NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The National Comprehensive Cancer Network's Oncology Research Program has awarded grants to four researchers who will investigate the efficacy of the drug nintedanib in non-small cell lung, colorectal, and gastrointestinal cancers.
The grants, totaling $2 million, were funded by nintedanib sponsor Boehringer Ingelheim. According to the company's pipeline, Boehringer is developing nintedanib, an angiogenic inhibitor targeting FGFR, PDGFR, and VEGFR, in NSCLC, ovarian cancer, and for the lung disease idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Several of the studies ongoing for nintedanib are focused on advancing precision medicine approaches.
For example, through a collaboration between Roswell Park Cancer Institute and the NCI, Boehringer is comparing the response to nintedanib in NSCLC who have failed up to two chemo regimens and have either FGFRI amplified tumors or are wild-type. Meanwhile, the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer is studying the drug in thyroid cancer and exploring molecular biomarkers associated with response.
By funding these academic researchers through the NCCN ORP, Boehringer Ingelheim is hoping to garner additional insights about the drug's efficacy against different tumors types and in molecularly defined patient subgroups. For example, one of the grants will go to Ramaswamy Govindan at the Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine, who will conduct a pilot study of nintedanib in NSCLC patients who harbor certain molecular markers.
The NCCN has awarded the other grants to three researchers from Roswell Park Cancer Institute: Patrick Boland, who will run a Phase I/II trial of nintedanib in combination with capecitabine in refractory metastatic colorectal cancer; Renuka Iyer, who will conduct a Phase II trial of the drug in patients with carcinoid tumors; and Alex Adjei, who will compare nintedanib against placebo as prophylaxis against radiation pneumonitis in unresectable NSCLC patients undergoing chemoradiation.
The NCCN ORP funds clinical research through collaborations with pharmaceutical and biotech firms and to date has received close to $50 million in research grants with which it has supported 113 studies that have resulted in published data. For the latest nintedanib effort, the NCCN ORP put out a request for proposals to its 25 member institutions and a peer review committee looked at the submissions and selected the winners based on scientific merit, existing data about the drug in the literature, and the kinds of studies needed to advance further understanding and development.