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Drug Designed to Treat Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer May Help Extend Life

Minsig Choi, MD

Clinical Trial Provided at Stony Brook Cancer Center

STONY BROOK, NY, September 3, 2019 – A drug developed by researchers at the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University that targets enzymes involved in the development of pancreatic cancer cells is showing promise for improved treatment of metastatic pancreatic cancer. The drug, called CPI-613 (known as Devimistat), is being combined with the standard chemotherapy regimen (FOLFIRINOX) to treat pancreatic cancer. The Stony Brook Cancer Center has opened a clinical trial with this drug combination to treat patients with metastatic disease.

The phase three clinical trial, approved by the Food and Drug administration and sponsored by Rafael Pharmaceuticals, combines CPI-613 with FOLFIRINOX. A previous phase one study showed a median overall patient survival of 20 months with the drug combination, compared to 11 months when treated with chemotherapy alone. That same study showed a tumor response rate – or tumor reduction – of 61 percent with the combination treatment, compared to nearly 32 percent with the standard regimen.

“This additional option for patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer offers hope to significantly reduce their tumors and a way to potentially better control metastatic disease,” says Minsig Choi, MD, Principal Investigator of the clinical trial and a medical oncologist on Stony Brook Cancer Center’s Gastroenterology Oncology Team.

CPI-613 is designed to treat the mitochondrial tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, the process that produces energy for the tumor cells to survive and multiply. When CPI-613 attacks the TCA cycle it also increases the sensitivity of cancer cells to chemotherapeutic drugs, thus making it more effective in reducing tumors and less susceptible to chemotherapy resistance.

For more information about the clinical trial call Ryan Washington at 631-216-2970.


About Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University:

Established in 1971, Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University includes 25 academic departments. The three missions of the School are to advance the understanding of the origins of human health and disease; train the next generation of committed, curious and highly capable physicians; and deliver world-class compassionate healthcare. As a member of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and a Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) accredited medical school, Stony Brook is one of the foremost institutes of higher medical education in the country. Each year the School trains nearly 500 medical students and more than 600 medical residents and fellows. Faculty research includes National Institutes of Health-sponsored programs in neurological diseases, cancer, cardiovascular disorders, biomedical imaging, regenerative medicine, infectious diseases, and many other topics. Physicians on the School of Medicine faculty deliver world-class medical care through more than 31,000 inpatient, 108,000 emergency room, and 940,000 outpatient visits annually at Stony Brook University Hospital and affiliated clinical programs, making its clinical services one of the largest and highest quality medical schools on Long Island, New York. To learn more, visit

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