Friday, November 23, 2007

Cancer on Trial

As a nurse coming from the ER, working at the Robert and Carol Weissman Cancer Center has opened my eyes to a lot of things we do at Martin Memorial that I didn’t even know about. Do you want to know one of the biggies? OK, get ready, get set…we do clinical trials!

We have protocols for different types of cancer through the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, cooperative groups and pharmaceutical companies. Now that you’re over the shock of finding out that our community hospital actually has a research department, I would like to tell you about some of our upcoming and ongoing trials.

For lung cancer, the MAGRIT trial will open in December. This is a vaccine trial through GlaxoSmithKline that tests for certain antigens that are only present on cancer cells called MAGE-A3. This is for non-small cell lung cancer, stages IB-IIIA that has been completely resected.

For pancreatic cancer, we have a trial through Pfizer. This is for cancer that is locally advanced, unresectable or metastatic. The regimen assigned would either be Gemcitabine (medication that is currently standard of care) and Axitinib (new medication), or Gemcitabine alone. Pfizer is trying to find out if adding Axitinib would change the survival rates for these patients.

For breast cancer, the SoftScan trial is still ongoing. We currently have 122 patients out of the 200 that are needed. The SoftScan machine could replace biopsies if proven effective. Women with an abnormal mammogram could have this non-invasive scan instead of a biopsy. The machine is approved for use in Europe and Canada.

For all cancer, Total Cancer Care is coming! Watch for more details on this (hint: it’s all very exciting!).

--Lindsay Mattino, RN
Clinical Research Coordinator and Genetics Nurse Educator

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