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Rush Testing Kinder, Gentler Therapy for Lung Cancer

Source: Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center


Oncologists at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center have begun testing a new medication that seeks to improve lung cancer treatment, reduce chemotherapy's common side effects and decrease infusion time from one hour to about 15 minutes.

The medication being studied is called Xyotax, which links paclitaxel, a commonly used chemotherapeutic agent, to a biodigestible polymer. This polymer creates a new chemical, designed to deliver higher and potentially more effective levels of paclitaxel to tumors. Paclitaxel is one of the families of chemotherapy agents known as taxanes, the most widely used anticancer drugs in the treatment of non-small cell lung, breast, ovarian, and prostate cancers. Patients with non-small cell lung cancer who qualify for this Phase III study will receive either Xyotax, or another therapy called docetaxel.

"It is a kinder, gentler treatment for lung cancer," said Dr. Philip Bonomi, director of the Rush section of Oncology and Hematology and the only Chicago investigator in this study. "Xyotax offers patients convenience, shorter time spent in doctors' offices, and I believe it will be less toxic."

Unlike blood vessels in healthy tissue, those in tumor tissues have openings that make them porous to large molecules. Xyotax flows through healthy blood vessels and because the chemotherapy is inactive when bound to the polymer, lower levels of the drug are seen in the bloodstream. However, in tumor blood vessels, Xyotax leaks through the pores and is trapped in tumor tissue.

Xyotax is taken up by tumor cells through a process called pinocytosis. Because the polymer is made up of biodigestible amino acids, it is metabolized inside the tumor, releasing the paclitexal. This allows Xyotax to bypass a primary mechanism by which tumor cells grow resistant. The result is that Xyotax should work better and be potentially safer than many existing chemotherapy agents.

Bonomi said that because this is a Phase III study, it is unclear just how well patients who take Xyotax will do. Bonomi believes that even if this drug shows a small improvement, the decreased side effects -- nausea, hair loss and fatigue -- it still might make Xyotax an attractive alternative to other chemotherapy agents if it gets Food and Drug Administration approval for widespread use.

Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in both men and women. There were an estimated 156,900 deaths from lung cancer in the United States in 2000 and non small cell lung cancer deaths account for 85 percent of the 164,000 news cases of lung cancer that develop each year.

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Just for the record, Dr. Bonomi did not help us for shi*. I can't help but wonder what the criteria would be to enter this trial, but I'm willing to bet you'd have to be newly diagnosed and not have had any kind of chemo yet. To his credit, he was kind and was one of the doctors who offered us Iressa. However, other than that he could only offer more chemo knowing that it would do nothing to help my mom's lung re-expand. He said it wouldn't happen unless there is a "miracle response" to the chemo. Oncologists seem scared to inherit patients that have been "touched" already by other doctors. He is also in the America's Top Doctor's book, and RUSH is supposed to be a great teaching hospital, but being a well-known lung cancer doctor who conducts lots of clinical trials does not translate into being a good lung cancer doctor. Compared to the elite doctors we've found, he is a nobody. He was one of the reasons why my mom gave up so easily in the beginning. My mom's new onc was irate when we told him about RUSH.

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Good info. Goes to show you that maybe the so-called TOP hospitals might not always be the best. thanks for the post Marlon.

There is so much info out there it is almost impossible to know, guess you just have to follow your instinct

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Hi John,

Please keep on posting all the wonderful information you have. It is amazing and definitely surpasses all the stuff I've ever found. I'm sure I would have asked Bonomi about this trial if it was going on when we went there. Not that it would have mattered though. You are right about following your instincts.


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Yea I practice aikido. I was just beginning and then 2 weeks later my mom got diagnosed so I only took it for 3 months. I will eventually get back into it, but I want to find another school, one that's not all older people in the class. I want to get into kendo or kenjutsu also.

Sigi pare.


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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Jonathan

I want you all to know that there is a cancer hospital the is ranked among the top ten in illinois. In fact it is the 6th best in the US, according to US News and World reports! The University of Chicago Hospitals and the Center for Advanced Medicine. just thought that the person from BOLINGBROOK IL. should know that. email me at te11t@aol.com or call me after 9pm at 773-817 2494


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To all my friends on here, I apologize beforehand for the tone of this post.


Just for your information, we have already dealt with U of C Hospital. In fact, they were the second hospital I called. I even have the little map they sent me. We were all set to meet with them, but my mom flaked on her appointment because of our bad experience with RUSH. She figured, "What's the point?" The U of C doctor I spoke with on the phone is a guy, who shall remain nameless but whose name rhymes with Dark Berguson. He was completely unprofessional and downright MEAN. He seemed bothered that a little "pion" like me would 'dare' contact him directly instead of dealing with perhaps one of his nurses. He answered my questions but told me that once there is pleural effusion, surgery is NOT an option and there is nothing you can do, and clean scans don't mean that the cancer hasn't spread. How's THAT for offering hope? Thanks to this guy's unwillingness to do something, my mom's pleural effusion eventually developed into a trapped lung.

You have to realize that just because a hospital has the latest technology and conducts scores of clinical trials doesn't mean that the people are WILLING TO HELP YOU. We learned that firsthand. Now let me ask you something smart guy. Why is it that this Dr. at your "wonderful" hospital(whose specialtly is Mesothelioma by the way), gave us no options whatsoever, but the surgeon who ultimately operated on my mom's trapped lung happens to be a colleague of his??? These two people teach a surgery class together at U of Chicago(or used to), but the guy wasn't willing to help me simply because he was an egotistical jackass who went by the books. I have all the research in the world to prove these two have worked together. The only difference between these two is that this lady happens to be very nice and has residence at a different hospital. We met with Dr. Olak at Lutheran and she operated on my mom RIGHT AWAY. One of her specialties happens to be surgery for malignant pleural effusion. Do you hear me? These two co-teach a surgery class for crying out loud, but for whatever reason the guy wasn't willing to help us, even though he knew someone who could! And Lutheran is #47 on the list. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Jonathan.

Ask anyone on here: On the 2002 version of this message board, there was one woman named Jen, whose mother had stage IV lung cancer, yet U of C did not offer her any clinical trials or even chemo. Strangely enough, they found a doctor at Northwestern Memorial who put them into a clinical trial. Hmmm..... In fact, there are many people on this board who go to the TOP teaching cancer hospitals in the country, but are extremely disappointed with their lack of options. Not only are they not willing to do what's logical, but they have certain rules and bureaucracies they have to follow in order to put people into trials. And most people who are Stage IIIB-IV have already undergone some kind of chemo, which automatically disqualifies them. In other words, they PICK only the ones they feel they can help. If I had not followed my instincts and 'just accepted the inevitable', my mom would have died. I saved my mom's life despite all these doctors' so-called "expertise."

You can say I'm bitter and you can troll around starting fights on this message board all you want to, but everything I've told you is true and I think the results speak for themselves. I am sure U of C would have had more options for my mom if it was caught earlier, but the fact is, most oncologists see a Stage IV as terminal. You need to get your facts straight before you subtly accuse people of defamation of character. Everyone's experience with a particular hospital, "ELITE" or not, is different. I've rambled long enough but I'll have you know that not only have I considered looking out-of-state, but I have also scoured the entire Chicagoland area for our options, starting at your prized hospital. Touche, pussycat.

In aikido, we learn to redirect our opponent's momentum in order to render their attacks useless.

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Marlon - I have to say I'm not sure why you're so angry at "Jonathan" because I couldn't find anything in the previous posts that seemed inflamatory. Maybe he sent you a direct e-amil we didn't see?

Anyway, for the record, I have to agree with Marlon. I also took my sister to some of the most highly acclaimed centers and was horrified at the way she was treated, including by our own dear Dave's Dr. Schiller at the U of Wisconsin. Yep, someone who has been through, and failed ("failed" is defined as "not cured" even though you'll be told up front that there IS no cure) is really treated as though they have leprosy. No one wants to screw up their data with tainted patients.

I seems like the biggest cancer centers with all their technology, research, and $$$ are too big to take a professional, much less personal, interest in individual patients. It's very scary.

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