Early Phase Clinical Research Support


Olivier Rixe, MD, PhD

The Early Phase Clinical Research Support (EPCRS) clinical component supports the development and the conduct of early phase investigator-initiated trials. Translating research findings and discoveries into early phase investigator-initiated trials has been — and continues to be — a high priority for the UNM Cancer Center. Early phase clinical trials enable physicians and scientists to verify the effectiveness of a treatment in humans, gauge its safety, determine the appropriate dose of the treatment, and learn about side effects. They are critical to launching new treatments for cancer.

Olivier Rixe, MD, PhD, leads to EPCRS. He joined the UNM Cancer Center on July 1, 2014. He brings significant expertise in early phase clinical trials and drug development to lead efforts to increase the number of early phase investigator-initiated trials at the UNM Cancer Center.

The UNM Cancer Center EPCRS clinical component focuses on:

  • Evaluating first-in-human studies of novel therapeutic cancer agents (nanoparticles, virus-like particles, small molecules, monoclonal antibodies) discovered in the UNMCC Research Programs;
  • Continuing the development of Phase 0, I, and early Phase II trials based on compounds identified through drug repurposing strategies in collaboration with members of the CT Research Program;
  • Predicting drug sensitivity/resistance based on new biomarkers identified by UNMCC members using highly sophisticated genomic, computational, imaging, and modeling approaches; and,
  • Selecting patients for enrollment in early phase clinical trials by evaluating molecularly targeted therapies based on new biomarkers identified by UNMCC members.

The infrastructure for the UNM Cancer Center Phase I unit has been reorganized and expanded to enhance the impact of the EPCRS component. In addition, we have established new processes to stimulate direct collaborations between UNM Cancer Center Clinical Working Group members and members of the four UNM Cancer Center Research Programs. These collaborations focus on developing novel concepts for early phase clinical trials based on UNM Cancer Center members’ research findings. More than 27 concepts are currently being investigated for further clinical development.

In addition, Dr. Rixe is working with Anita Kinney, PhD, RN, Associate Director for Cancer Population Sciences, and members of the Cancer Control Research Program to increase the participation of racial/ethnic and socioeconomically underserved populations in early phase clinical trials. These populations are currently underrepresented in clinical trials nationwide.