UVA Cancer Center Enrolls First Patient in National Phase 1 Immunotherapy Trial

January 31, 2024 by

Matthew Reilley and colleagues UVA

Matthew Reilley, MD, (second from left) with the trial’s first participant and colleagues. (contributed photo)

Led by Associate Professor of Hematology and Oncology Matthew Reilley, MD, the UVA Comprehensive Cancer Center (UVACCC) recently enrolled the first patient in a nationwide Phase 1 drug trial to evaluate a new immunotherapy drug’s potential to treat various forms of cancer.

The study is expected to enlist more 200 patients over five years to evaluate XmAb662. Manufactured by Xencor, the drug targets Interleukin-12, a cytokine that that stimulates immune responses against cancer. It will be tested both alone and in combination with pembrolizumab, known by its brand name Keytruda.

While later-stage studies evaluate drug efficacy, Phase 1 trials focus on dosing, side effects and toxicity, and because of their novelty, require added institutional resources including protocols and staff to ensure close monitoring. While UVACCC has long run Phase 1 trials, with the Cancer Center’s growth, a dedicated Phase 1 program was established in 2022 under Dr. Reilley that rapidly scaled up to undertake more.

“Phase 1 trials get patients access to therapies earlier,” Dr. Reilley said. “What’s exciting about this trial is that we were able to open it quickly enough to treat the first patient in the world with the is new drug. My goal is to give all Virginians early-access to the best potentially life-saving therapies.”

Dr. Reilley’s research focuses on gastrointestinal cancers, where immunotherapy drugs have only helped small subsets of patients.

“What I’m really passionate about is finding how to make the immunotherapies work in all the other patients. This is one that I think may work better in those cancers,” Dr. Reilley said.

In addition to colorectal, gastric and esophageal cancers, the study will evaluate XmAb662’s potential to treat head-and-neck squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma, small and non-small cell lung cancer, urothelial carcinoma, cervical cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, Merkel cell carcinoma, renal cell carcinoma, endometrial cancer, cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, breast cancer, epithelial ovarian cancer and adenocarcinoma.

For more information on UVA cancer clinical trials, email

Filed Under: Research