Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Clinical trial offers hope for lung cancer

The research department at the Robert and Carol Weissman is proud to announce its new lung cancer vaccine trial. Don’t worry if you’ve seen “I Am Legend” – this vaccine will not turn the human race into bloodsucking zombies.

The vaccine trial, named MAGRIT, is for patients who have had a curative resection of their lung cancer. A piece of tumor tissue will be sent for analysis for a tumor specific antigen called MAGE-A3.

The presence of this antigen, expressed on tumor cells in lung cancer, melanoma, bladder and other cancers, is the main qualifying factor for possible participants. The vaccine will teach our immune system to identify and attack cancer cells; this is called immunotherapy and may prevent recurrence of lung cancer.

Patients who are eligible will have non-small cell lung cancer, stages IB-IIIA, that has been completely resected with a lobectomy or pneumonectomy; will have tumor tissue that tests positive for MAGE-A3 expression; and will have either had surgery alone or chemotherapy after surgery. Other eligibility criteria will be determined by the research team.

The MAGRIT study is sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline and taking place around the world, with 33 countries involved – roughly 400 centers. Only 33 percent of patients will express MAGE-A3 in their tumors, so approximately 15,000 patients will need to be screened to have 2,270 patients who are eligible to participate in the study.

Lung cancer is the leading cancer death in men and women, and clinical trials are critical to help advance cancer treatment. We would not be able to provide new, approved and effective therapies without participation.

If you think you or someone you know might qualify for this study, please call Lindsay Mattino at (772) 223-5945, ext. 1669 or Judy Johansen, at ext. 3739. You can also learn more about these trials by visiting www.immunotherapyforcancer.info or www.clinicaltrials.gov.

For a complete list of recruiting clinical trials available at Martin Memorial, visit www.mmhs.com, or call the cancer center, (772) 288-5858.

There are few resources for people diagnosed with lung cancer. At the Robert and Carol Weissman Cancer Center, we want to make a difference for patients in our community who receive this life-changing diagnosis.

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

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