NET Research Foundation Launches Major Immunotherapy Initiative

After reviewing the research, consulting with experts, and engaging leading immunotherapy centers, the Neuroendocrine Tumor Research Foundation is thrilled to announce the launch of a major immunotherapy initiative. A treatment that uses the body’s own immune system to fight cancer, immunotherapy has led to dramatic results for some patients with other forms of cancer. We are eager to test the potential of immune-based therapy to provide similar breakthroughs for patients with neuroendocrine cancers.

The NET Research Foundation’s strategy brings leading experts – who have been involved in immunotherapy breakthroughs for other forms of cancer – to the cause of developing better treatments and cures for neuroendocrine cancers. It also includes a clinical trial for two major forms of neuroendocrine tumors (NETs): pancreatic and gastrointestinal (carcinoid) NETs.

In a further exciting development, Ron Hollander, Executive Director of the NET Research Foundation, announced that they have received a grant of $1 million to support half of the projected cost of the initial projects in this program. “We feel a real sense of urgency to test the potential of immunotherapy to provide treatment breakthroughs for NETs,” said Ron. “The grant from the TripAdvisor Charitable Foundation serves as a challenge to the NET Research Foundation and the entire NET community to rapidly raise the remaining $1 million to pursue these exciting projects. We are so grateful for the foundation’s commitment and couldn’t be more excited about this initiative.”

Specifically the initiative will initially fund projects in three major areas:

The first project will engage the team that developed a breakthrough immunotherapy technology to specifically target neuroendocrine tumors. This will include leading immunotherapy expert Dr. Carl June, neuroendocrine tumor researcher Dr. Xianxin Hua, and Dr. David Metz, Co-Director of the Neuroendocrine Tumor Center, all from the University of Pennsylvania. They will modify CAR T-cells to target and kill neuroendocrine tumor cells, a method that has had dramatic results in patients with other cancers. Success in this project could pave the way for trials of this breakthrough technology for neuroendocrine cancers.

The second project consists of conducting a clinical trial of two immunotherapy therapies in pancreatic and carcinoid neuroendocrine patients. This project includes a multidisciplinary team led by Dr. Pamela Kunz from Stanford University, and consists of a clinical trial, combining two immunotherapy drugs that are in clinical trials for other cancers. An innovative delivery technique will also be tested to reduce the risk of adverse effects.

Watch Dr. Pamela Kunz explaining the Stanford Immunotherapy Clinical Trial below:

Access Stanford Immunotherapy Clinical Trial FAQ

The third project studies the immune characteristics of neuroendocrine tumors to guide the NET Research Foundation’s testing of immunotherapy treatments. These grants are essential to maximizing the success of our immunotherapy initiative, including clinical trials and pre-clinical testing. The NET Research Foundation is inviting immunology experts to systematically characterize neuroendocrine tumors’ immune features and genomes, and multiple grants will be awarded to study and profile these tumors.

Watch Dr. Pamela Kunz in an OncLive video speaking about immunotherapy in neuroendocrine tumors:

For more information, contact Donna Dubuc, Director of Communication, at

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NET Research Foundation Launches Major Immunotherapy Initiative