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Consider Enrolling in a Clinical Trial

Posted 4/6/2015

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  Consider enrolling in a clinical trial. I have written a number of times about trials, but there are always new ones and they all need interested participants. The bottom line is that everything we know about effective treatments, not just in cancer, but for all diseases, we know because people were willing to enroll in trials.

  I could go on here for a long while, but I think it is most effective to share this essay by Susan Gubar. She says it all. Here is the start and a link:

Living With Cancer: Clinical Trials Looking for Patients
By Susan Gubar

President Obama’s initiative to advance personalized medicine depends on the sort of breakthroughs in cell
biology that have produced cancer drugs like the one extending my life. Yet very few adults with cancer enroll in
clinical trials. Why do many trials fail to enroll sufficient patients, when scientists now test less debilitating
therapies than those commonly used?
I entered a Phase I trial in August 2012. Recurrences had proved that standard treatments could not
eradicate my ovarian cancer. The pills from my trial, which I take at home, have kept the cancer at bay for more
than two years — without destroying my appetite, muddling my mind, or dampening my spirit the way three
cycles of chemotherapy did when infused intravenously in the hospital. A reader informs me that for seven
months this same drug gave him a “wonderful respite” from an aggressive prostate cancer.
Instead of destroying all quick-growing cells as well as tumors, targeted drugs pinpoint cancer cells,
enabling them to mature into normal cells or disabling them from reproducing. Researchers are using
personalized medicine on virtually every type of malignancy with some success. A significant percentage of
patients with leukemia have experienced a remission with the clinical drug AG-221, while the lives of a
significant population of women with metastatic breast cancer have been extended by the drugs Kadcyla and
Perjeta. Scientists in immunotherapy — which unleashes the immune system to kill cancer cells — have
produced medicines that help people survive with metastatic melanoma and lung cancer.

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