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'Breakthrough' Lung Cancer Therapy Tested


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'Breakthrough' Lung Cancer Therapy Tested in Colorado

Combination Therapy May Give Patients Second Chance

Doug Schepman, 7NEWS Reporter

AURORA, Colo. -- Two-and-a-half years ago, Joe Trujillo, a non-smoker, was diagnosed with stage-4 lung cancer.

"I didn't have very many options," Trujillo said. "I couldn't have surgery or radiation, so the only option was chemo."

That is, until he heard about a clinical trial, underway at the University of Colorado Cancer Center.

"This is actually a combination of two drugs, and it's the combination which seems magical here," said Dr. Ross Camidge, director of the thoracic oncology clinical program at UCCC.

During the course of the clinical trial, Camidge has seen the combination therapy help patients with a specific lung cancer mutation, called EGFR, who had initial success with the drug Tarceva, but whose cancer became resistant to it.

"What we are now starting to see is the second miracle," Camidge said. "So when your first miracle stops working, you start looking for the second one."

Every two weeks, Trujillo travels from his home in Albuquerque to get an infusion of the drugs. He's reported dramatic results.

"I'm doing fantastic. I'm doing very well," Trujillo said. "After my last infusion, probably the best two weeks I've had."

Camidge says this improvement is also reflected in CT scans of Trujillo's lung tumors.

"Some of them are actually hollowing out, so there's a hole in the middle of it as the cancer dies off," Camidge said. "This is a terrible disease and the only way we are going to make progress is to understand it better and to treat it better, and [Mr. Trujillo] is a great example of where that field is moving."

The clinical trial is still open for patients diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer with the EGFR mutation.

The University of Colorado Cancer Center is one of only four hospitals in the U.S. conducting this study.

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This sounds like really promising news, especially for those with the mutation!

I just wish the drug approval process could work a little faster, especially when the trial is only in four locations around the country and so makes it very difficult for some, who would qualify, to take part and benefit. I understand the reasons behind it, but I sometimes wonder why a patient couldn't go to Colorado and get started in the trial, but then do the bi-weekly treatments at a local oncology center, perhaps traveling to the trial location quarterly or something. It would increase participation, as well as giving people out of the area a chance to benefit. I'd like to think I'm wrong, but I have a feeling money has something to do with it. Sorry, I think this is off the topic. Regardless, it is VERY GOOD news!

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Stephanie - thanks for those links.

They certainly did help clarify the questions and makes sense, also other good info that I didn't know regarding trials. I am old enough to remember the disaster with Thalidomide - so while I get impatient I know there are good reasons to do things right.

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