CRI Funded Scientists

Valsamo Anagnostou, MD, PhD, Clinical Accelerator Investigator

Johns Hopkins University

Area of Research: Lung Cancer

Dr. Valsamo (Elsa) Anagnostou is the director of thoracic oncology biorepository and assistant professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins University. She is one of two study chairs for the clinical trial “Study of Molecular Response Adaptive Immuno-Chemotherapy in Patients with NSCLC” (NCT04093167).

This trial explores the impact of pembrolizumab (Keytruda®), a checkpoint immunotherapy that blocks the PD-1 pathway in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Lung cancer is the most common cancer worldwide, impacting 2.1 million people and causing an estimated 1.7 million deaths, with NSCLC comprising approximately 85–90% of all cases. The United States reported an estimated 228,000 new lung cancer cases and 142,000 deaths in 2019 alone. When most lung cancer patients become symptomatic and are diagnosed, the disease has already advanced to a stage where surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation are only minimally effective.

Dr. Anagnostou and others investigators are seeking to determine if circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA), a biomarker that can be obtained non-invasively through the blood, can help doctors detect treatment responses in patients sooner than conventional imaging can. Oncologists could then use this information to identity patients resistant to immunotherapy more quickly, and thus allow patients to receive alternative therapies in a more timely fashion.

Additional investigators working on this trial include:

  • Adrian Sacher, MD, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre
  • Andrea Fung, MD, PhD, Kingston Health Sciences Centre
  • Cheryl Ho, MD, Vancouver Cancer Centre (study chair)
  • Garth Nicholas, MD, The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
  • Peter Ellis, MD, Juravinski Cancer Centre at Hamilton Health Sciences

Projects and Grants

Study of Molecular Response Adaptive Immuno-Chemotherapy in Patients with NSCLC (NCT04093167)

Johns Hopkins University Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center | Lung Cancer | 2019

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