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New Clinical Trial and Cell Line Collaboration (May 2017)

The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute recently opened a phase II clinical trial of Pembrolizumab for ACC patients with recurrent or metastatic disease. Pembrolizumab (brand name "Keytruda") is an immune checkpoint inhibitor that is approved for melanoma, lung cancer, and squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. The drug works by targeting PD-1 receptors on T-cells to "release the breaks" on the immune system. This clinical trial will test pembrolizumab by itself and in combination with radiation. The study will help determine whether radiating tumors in ACC patients will enhance the effectiveness of pembrolizumab. Earlier studies of pembrolizumab have included subgroups for salivary gland cancer patients, but were not specifically focused on ACC patients. A full description is available at

This clinical trial grew out of an ACCRF grant to Drs. Glenn Dranoff and Jon Schoenfeld at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (Dr. Dranoff has since left to lead immunotherapy research at Novartis Pharmaceuticals). Their   study of immunologic markers in ACC suggested a particular approach to using immune checkpoint inhibitors in ACC. Dr. Nicole Chau is the Principal Investigator of the clinical trial. Interested patients with recurrent or metastatic disease may call 617-632-3090 or email In addition, the study will be opening soon at Massachusetts General Hospital.
ACCRF has updated its Current Studies webpage of clinical trials for ACC patients with progressive disease to consider in consultation with their physicians. The phase II study of Lenvatinib at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York has been removed from the list as it is no longer recruiting patients. However, the phase II study of Lenvatinib in Milan is still open.
twoto Develop Cell Lines
ACC patients are the cornerstone of all ACC research. Nothing may be achieved by scientists without the generous donation of tumor specimens.
ACCRF is excited to be working with to empower patients to direct their excess cancer tissue samples to research projects. Initially, samples donated via will be sent to the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, where they will be used to attempt to develop research models.
ACCRF's partnership with and the Broad Institute is part of a larger effort to establish and genetically characterize cancer cell lines, which are cancer cells that keep dividing and growing over time, under certain conditions in a laboratory. In developing these cancer cell lines, the Broad Institute is trying to enable the scientific community to improve our understanding of cancer, including ACC.
ACCRF is engaging its patient community to directly donate tissue samples from surgeries through This website contains information about research projects ACCRF is supporting.  Patt  links to an electronic consent form where patients can learn more about projects, find contact information for the protocol team at the Broad Institute so they can reach out should they have questions, and provide consent if they wish to contribute. Should a patient decide to provide consent, arranges for excess tissue to be shipped to a research lab.
If you or a patient you know has an upcoming surgery, you can visit  to learn more about the project. If you wish to learn more about the Cancer Cell Line Project from the Broad Institute directly, you can email them at
Researchers supported by ACCRF continue to publish articles in major scientific journals. The most recent papers cover a clinical trial of vorinostat , a clinical trial of dovitinib , and a preclinical drug combination to target cancer stem cells . Many more papers by grantees may be accessed on our Published Articles webpage.
We all are fortunate to have attracted such a brilliant and collaborative group of researchers!  

Your support makes this progress possible.