Dr. Kirane Receives SCI Grant

November 5, 2021

Dr. Amanda Kirane received a 2022 ACS IRG Pilot Grant from the Stanford Cancer Institute (SCI). The award will support her proposal, “Biomarker Analysis of Neoadjuvant Intralesional Therapy in High-Risk Melanoma."

"Survival remains poor for thick melanomas, with less than 40% survival at 10 years; these patients are not currently candidates for immunotherapy, in part due to concerns for adverse events with systemic therapy," said Kirane. "We proposed a novel application of oncolytic virus therapy, Talimogene laherparepvec (TVEC) in stage II melanoma prior to standard surgery to improve immune responses that may contribute to long term survival."

To date, five patients have enrolled and been treated with promising early responses as part of the trial. Enrollment will continue through 2022 at Stanford, UC Davis, and Emory.

Kirane says this study is the first of its kind to target earlier-stage melanoma pre-surgery with intratumoral immunotherapy. "We anticipate neoadjuvant intralesional therapy will present a viable strategy to improve outcomes in this high-risk population," she said.

Dr. Kirane will be mentored on the project by Professor Emeritus Dr. Stefanie Jeffrey and Dr. Ron Levy, from the Department of Medicine's Oncology Division.

Award reviewers wrote, "Promising surgeon-scientist committed to rigorous training (both in research as evidenced by her PhD work) and as a surgeon. Very rare profile. The project itself is strong, with significant synergies between her current work and scientific background."