The John Wayne Cancer Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center has enrolled the first cancer patient in a groundbreaking clinical trial of three immunotherapy drugs combined to use the body’s immune system to diminish tumors related to several types of cancer.

A woman being treated for advanced melanoma at the Santa Monica hospital has begun the trial, which also will be conducted at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina

Steven O’Day, M.D., professor of medical oncology and director of Immuno-Oncology and Clinical Research at the John Wayne Cancer Institute, is known globally for his expertise in melanoma and in immunotherapy for cancer. He brought the trial to the Santa Monica research program and he and the institute’s team of experts expect to enroll patients across a number tumor types.

The Incyte ECHO-208 trial tests the safety, tolerability and effectiveness of two novel combinations of three drugs that have been used individually and even in pairs, but never as a triplet where each medication provides a complementary function in tackling malignant tumors.

Previously immunotherapy combinations have shown promising results for patients with many different cancers including melanoma and lung, bladder, liver, ovarian and breast cancers, among others.

Incyte Corp. anticipates enrolling 141 candidates across the country. The study is open to patients whose disease has progressed despite treatment, who can’t tolerate treatment or who refuse standard treatment.