IBJNews

2012 Health Care Heroes: Douglas J. Schwartzentruber, M.D.

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Health Care HeroesFINALIST: Advancements in Health Care

Douglas J. Schwartzentruber, M.D.

System Medical Director of Indiana University Health Cancer Services; Associate Director of Clinical Affairs at IU Simon Cancer Center

 

A therapeutic vaccine for advanced melanoma patients combined with an immune-boosting drug scored promising results in a large clinical trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine last June 2. Researchers saw tumors shrink significantly and stay progression-free longer with the vaccine and interleukin-2, than with the drug alone.
 

Schwartzentruber_Doug_AdvHC.jpg (IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

Douglas J. Schwartzentruber, M.D., lead author of the study, now serves as system medical director of IU Health Cancer Services. “This is proof of principle that vaccines can work to treat metastatic melanoma. The trial was one of the first of its kind, and the first to show a benefit of a peptide vaccine,” said Schwartzentruber, 55. A peptide is a small portion of a protein that is present on the surface of melanoma cancer cells.

Most vaccines are preventative. This melanoma vaccine is therapeutic, meant to boost the immune system enough to battle existing tumors.

The randomized Phase 3 clinical trial included 185 patients with metastatic melanoma at 21 care centers throughout the country. One group received the vaccine, along with interleukin-2, a drug that empowers the immune system. A second group only received interleukin-2.

Patients who received both the melanoma vaccine and drug did better than those who only got interleukin-2. Researchers saw tumors shrink 50 percent or more in 16 percent of the study population who received the vaccine and drug, compared to six percent with just interleukin-2.

Tumors grew slower when patients received the vaccine and drug. With the combination, tumors stopped growing for 2.2 months compared to 1.6 months with just interleukin-2. While the study was not designed to track survival rates, the median overall survival rate for those receiving the vaccine was 17.8 months versus 11.1 months. 

Before the trial, Schwartzentruber spent 16 years at the National Cancer Institute, the largest institute of the National Institutes of Health. He started as a fellow then moved up to senior investigator in the surgery branch, which studied melanoma.

Steven A. Rosenberg, M.D., PhD, surgery branch chief of the NCI, “taught me the research method and appreciation for melanoma. He’s the reason I pursued melanoma as a career. He also taught me how to deliver bad news to patients in a compassionate way,” Schwartzentruber said.

CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians recently reported a significant decline in overall cancer deaths in the last 20 years, but melanoma incidence and deaths have increased, and are expected to rise. Schwartzentruber’s research opens the door for vaccine treatments not only for melanoma, but other cancers as well.

His groundbreaking results were first presented during the American Society of Clinical Oncology conference in 2009, earning him recognition in 2010 on Time magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. 

Time hosted a red carpet affair in New York City that Schwartzentruber and his wife of 25 years, Diane White, attended. The magazine divides its “most influential” list into four categories: leaders, artists, thinkers and heroes. Time recognized Schwartzentruber in the thinkers category.

What’s next? The vaccine isn’t ready yet. It will be improved, there will be further study, and eventually it will go to market, Schwartzentruber said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Uh, sorry Johnnie, but you are incorrect. Despite the assertions by yourself and various defenders and captains, sports attendance is NOT off significantly at most sporting events in the US. Variances in attendance has been in the range of single digits, both + & - for years now. MLB has had most of its best overall attendance nubers in the last decade, and that trend has been consistent for most major sporting events. The number one issue cited by most fans when asked about attendance is the overall cost of attending. The presence of HD and big screen televisions in home doesn't even register, as a factor for not attending an event. VALUE in the product is the key, and apparently is something lacking in the current ICS. What other explanation is there when with what is routinely touted as the "best" racing on the planet, fans are staying away in DROVES. A "close" title battle into the last event at Fontana, with the "cars and stars" of the ICS, and who showed up? MAYBE 8K. Sorry, but HD TV isn't to blame for that kind of fan apathy.

  2. Do you need finance to establish your business ? Are you interested in getting a loan at 3% from our private company? If so please Email: suntrust_oil@blumail.org

  3. If she was worth the $ the public outcry over direct tv dropping them would have kept them on their dishes as we have seen with other companies. I too quit watching channel 13 after she showed up since I left channel 8 because of her all show rather than production results. When Randy on 8 corrected her she had a big head and incorrectly challenged his correction for pronunciation of a city. Other antics while she matures was too much for me with her very inaccurate forecasts. All the forecasters were predicting rain until Thursday except Chris. They predicted sunny on Thursday but instead of rain until Thursday upon which the sun would finally make it out in full glory Chris was right on the money just as I too predicted looking at the radar on weather.gov. One thing I love about Angela is the fear you can see in her every time it thunders in the winter. It far exceeds the entertainment value of her body language (high heel noise drags, depression, etc) when her forecasts are so incorrect. Her hair stands on end, you have to see it!!!

  4. Good Day, Apply For A Loan I am Mr Fernadez Antonio, a private Loan lender and a cooperate financial for real estate and any kinds of business financing. I also offer Loans to individuals, Firms and cooperate bodies at 3% interest rate We offer any kind of loans. email us via fernadezloaninvest@outlook.com LOAN APPLICATION FORM First name:......................... Middle name:......................... Last name:........................................ Date of birth (yyyy-mm-dd):....................... Gender:........................................... Marital status:................................... Total Amount Needed............................... Loan Duration.................................... Address:.......................................... City:............................................. State/province:................................... Zip/postal code:.................................. Country:.......................................... Phone:............................................ Fax:.............................................. Mobile/cellular:.................................. Monthly Income.................................... Occupation:....................................... Best Regard, Mr Fernadez Antonio.

  5. i will love to share my testimony to you all the people in world i got married to my husband about 2 year ago we start having problems at home like we stop sleeping on the same bed,fighting about little things he always comes home late at night,drinking too much and sleeping with other women out side i have never love any man in my life except him. he is the father of my child and i don't want to loose him because we have worked so hard together to become what we are and have today .few month ago he now decided to live me and the kid,being a single mother can be hard sometimes and so i have nobody to turn to and i was heart broken.i called my mom and explain every thing to her,my mother told me about DR.okoro how he helped her solve the problem between her and my dad i was surprise about it because they have been without each other for three and a half years and it was like a miracle how they came back to each other. i was directed to DR. okoro on his email:okorospell@gmail.com and explain everything to him,so he promise me not to worry that he will cast a spell and make things come back to how we where so much in love again and that it was another female spirit that was controlling my husband he told me that my problem will be solved within two days if i believe i said OK So he cast a spell for me and after two days my love came back asking me to forgive him i Am so happy now. so that why i decided to share my experience with every body that have such problem contact Dr okoro the great spell caster on his email addresses spellcasterforlove@outlook.com

ADVERTISEMENT