TGen jacket in a lab

TGen, HonorHealth and Irish biomedical team initiate promising ‘Nieto’ clinical trial against pancreatic cancer

TGen jacket in a lab

TGen, HonorHealth and Irish biomedical team initiate promising ‘Nieto’ clinical trial against pancreatic cancer


The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), an affiliate of City of Hope, in association with HonorHealth Research and Innovation Institute and Systems Biology Ireland (SBI), have begun a clinical trial, testing the combination of two drugs against advanced pancreatic cancer, one of the most deadly and difficult-to-treat malignancies.

The trial combines two drugs — Vemurafenib and Sorafenib — to treat advanced pancreatic cancer in patients whose cancer has spread following conventional chemotherapy.

The trial is named for Dr. Nate Nieto, a Northern Arizona University (NAU) microbiologist known for his insights into infectious diseases and wildlife ecology. He was a frequent collaborator with TGen on infectious-disease investigations, including those involving hantavirus and Lyme disease. Dr. Nieto succumbed to advanced pancreatic cancer in 2019 at age 44, at the height of his research career.

In the wake of his illness, Dr. Nieto’s friends came together and used their expertise in systems biology, mathematics and computational biology to find a new way to target pancreatic cancer. Their efforts identified Vemurafenib and Sorafenib as a drug combination that would target the KRAS gene, and resulted in a new mathematical modelling system to predict the effectiveness of this drug combination. KRAS mutations act as molecular on/off switches for this disease, and are believed responsible for up to 90% of pancreatic cancers.


Read Next:

Exploring the Intersection of Sleep Medicine and COVID Recovery
Joyce Lee-Iannotti, MD, studies long-haul symptoms and innovative solutions Joyce Lee-Iannotti, MD — an associate clinical professor in the Division of …
TGen’s Keri Ramsey named recipient of 2024 Claire Chee Award for Excellence in Child Neurology Nursing
Award honors an exceptional nurse or nurse practitioner dedicated to caring for children with neurological disorders The Translational Genomics …
Helitzer stepping down as dean of ASU College of Health Solutions
Vice Dean Michael Yudell will become interim dean on July 1 By Weldon B. Johnson | June 27, 2024 When Deborah Helitzer …