Dr. Rumey Ishizawar, Medical Director of the UNC Rheumatology Clinic, founded the multi-disciplinary UNC Immuno-Oncology Group (IOG) in 2017 to optimize clinical management of cancer patients who develop immune related adverse events (irAEs).
The goal of the IOG is to develop a research infrastructure to facilitate the study of mechanisms of autoimmunity versus tolerance in the immune system and the pathogenesis of rare autoimmune conditions. Since 2017, the IOG has engaged with over 30 clinicians and researchers across medical specialties in order to optimize care for cancer patients who developed irAEs.
The Immuno-Oncology Prospective Database — now open for patient enrollment — will be a well-characterized longitudinal cohort of patients with standardized clinical data and biological samples for biomarker analysis, immunophenotyping, microbiome research, and genetic analysis to facilitate basic, clinical and translational research.
Natalia Favoreto, jointly appointed through the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Thurston Arthritis Research Center, is the primary study coordinator conducting patient recruitment. Shruti Saxena Beem from the Thurston Arthritis Research Center has been the research coordinator for the IOG since inception and will continue as regulatory associate and provide study support and oversight.
This project is funded through the Thurston Arthritis Research Center and the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, and supported by all members of the UNC Immuno-Oncology Group.