(CNN)Following two patient deaths last week and another earlier this year, Juno Therapeutics announced Thursday that it is putting its “ROCKET” trial on clinical hold, at the direction of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The patients enrolled in this Phase II trial are adults with relapsed or refractory B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, according to the biopharmaceutical company’s website. Immunotherapy is heralded as the new frontier in the war on cancer. It works by harnessing the body’s immune system fight the cancer from within. But many of these cutting-edge treatments are still in the experimentation phase. A Phase II clinical trial is designed to test the effectiveness of a new drug or treatment. It typically follows a Phase I trial, which evaluates safety and side effects. Before a new drug or treatment goes to market, it must also pass through a Phase III trial, as outlined by the National Institutes of Health.