Tag Archive for: lung cancer

Clinical trials at CarolinaEast offer cancer patients best care close to home

From New Bern Sun Journal
Posted Sep 2, 2020

Margaret Pardini of Havelock had lung cancer surgery Oct. 30 at the SECU Comprehensive Cancer Center at CarolinaEast Medical Center.

As with most cancer patients preparing to undergo chemotherapy, Pardini was concerned about its common side effects – nausea and vomiting. A widow, Pardini also was concerned about the financial burden she might face from taking an expensive drug routinely given to combat those side effects.

“Granted, I do have insurance, but I don’t know how far the insurance would have paid and how I would have survived having to pay for an expensive drug,” she said.

Because CarolinaEast is part of the Southeast Clinical Research Consortium, supported by the National Cancer Institute, Pardini was able to enroll in a clinical trial at the hospital before starting chemo in January.

The trial tests the effectiveness of Olanzapine, an FDA-approved anti-psychotic drug, with or without the more expensive standard-of-care drug fosaprepitant in preventing nausea and vomiting in patients receiving chemotherapy, said Lynn Harrison, clinical research nurse at the cancer center.

“One of the major fears of patients when they are about to get chemotherapy is that they’re going to have nausea and vomiting,” Harrison said. “It is considered by patients to be a severe side effect.”

The study is gathering further evidence that Olanzapine should be recommended for use to help with chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, she said.

Study participants are divided into two groups. One group receives Olanzapine and three other drugs, including fosaprepitant. The second group receives the same drugs except for the fosaprepitant, which is replaced with a placebo, a substance with no effects.

Pardini later found out she was in the group that received Olanzapine and the other drugs, but a placebo instead of fosaprepitant.

She said she was a little afraid of receiving chemo because everybody told her she would get sick.

“I never got sick, which was great on my part,” Pardini said. “I had no ill effects from being in this study at all.”

Harrison said just because Pardini’s experience during chemotherapy was side-effect free, researchers can’t generalize that’s going to be the result of the study overall.

“That’s just this patient’s experience,” she said.

Harrison said Pardini’s participation in the trial was double-blind during the first cycle of chemotherapy.

“I don’t know what she’s getting, the doctor doesn’t know what she’s getting, and the patient doesn’t know what she’s getting,” Harrison said, referring to the anti-nausea drugs. “In her case, she got placebo.”

If the patients have no nausea and vomiting, and they want to continue with the study for the remainder of their chemotherapy, they let the research staff know, she said.

“We unblind everyone so that we know what the patient got and then we continue to let them receive exactly what they got in the first cycle,” Harrison said. “Then we continue to collect data about their side effects, nausea and vomiting, and whether they had to take any relief medication for breaks from nausea.”

Pardini said she had a great experience at the cancer center and in the trial.

“I couldn’t ask for better care than what I got,” she said. “They kept me informed. They were always there for me.”

Her fourth and final cycle of chemo was March 10, but Pardini’s participation in the trial continued for a month afterward so she could be monitored for side effects and adverse events, Harrison said. Pardini completed the study April 10.

So far, the hospital has had five patients complete the phase III randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial that was opened in 2018, Harrison said.

“In the cancer center we have about 10 interventional trials – sometimes called treatment trials – open,” she said.

Including other trials, such as those that look at the way the center delivers cancer care, the hospital has a total of about 13 studies currently open.

Harrison said she joined CarolinaEast in 2016 because the cancer center needed a research program at the community level to offer its patients opportunities to participate in clinical trials.

Clinical trials are now considered the best care of a patient who has cancer, Harrison said.

“There’s a misconception that trials are only to be offered to patients who don’t have any other alternatives, or they’ve exhausted all other therapies,” she said. “But that’s not the case anymore. Trials should be looked at as treatment options. We have so many different types of trials that they can sometimes be used from the point of diagnosis.”

Trials are generally covered by health insurances and Medicare, Harrison said. Patients still should get prior authorization before participating, she said.

Because CarolinaEast is a member of the Southeast Clinical Research Consortium, funded by the National Cancer Institute, the hospital has access to multiple research organizations that write research protocols and offer those at the community level, Harrison said.

The trial Pardini participated in is a National Cancer Institute-supported trial and the research base for the trial is the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology, Harrison said.

“What we’re doing here is participating in practice-changing research,” she said. “It’s really exciting for us to be able to offer this to our patients locally at home instead of them having to travel to UNC or Duke to get a therapy that’s cutting edge.”

Sanford’s Cook is the First to Undergo Procedure to “Zap” Lung Cancer

From FirstHealth.org
Nov 20, 2019

Pinehurst patient first in NC to undergo clinical trial for lung cancer.

Terri Cook of Pinehurst, NC

PINEHURST—A routine physical in 2015 revealed lung cancer in non-smoker Terri Cook. A surgeon removed her upper right lobe and scans every six months for two years revealed no more cancer. Then in November 2017, the only time she went to a scan without her husband, the doctor reported “one, maybe two” concerning lesions on her lower right lobe. Cook held it together in front of her physician, but that brave face didn’t last when she told her husband.

Since Cook had a previous lobectomy, a second surgery was not an ideal situation, so her doctor offered two options: radiation or microwave ablation, the latter offered through a clinical trial to determine efficacy of a new type of lung cancer treatment. “When I heard ‘clinical trial’ I immediately thought ‘guinea pig,’” she said.

Her physician explained that colleague Michael Pritchett, D.O, MPH, pulmonary specialist at Pinehurst Medical Clinic and director of the Chest Center of the Carolinas, had just returned from the United Kingdom where he assisted with a bronchoscopy with microwave ablation, a procedure in which a flexible probe is inserted through the mouth, routed directly to the cancerous lesion and “zapped” with microwave energy. Dr. Pritchett had been selected as one of the few providers in the United States to offer this procedure through a clinical trial.

“My physician and I had developed a good rapport over the years, and he said if it were his wife, he would recommend the clinical trial,” said Cook. She and her husband acted on his recommendation and Dr. Pritchett performed the procedure on June 29, 2018.

Cook made national history that day in June, explaining, “I was the very first person in the United States to receive this procedure. Everyone was so excited and there were lots of people in the room watching.” She reported minimal discomfort after the procedure and after an overnight stay in the hospital, she recovered quickly at home.

The second of the concerning lesions initially reported also turned out to be cancerous, so Dr. Pritchett made a special request for Cook to be not only the first American to receive the procedure, but also the ninth. He was granted the second procedure for her and completed it on March 15, 2019. The United States received 20 slots for the clinical trial, and Cook was a good candidate to have it twice. The Mayo Clinic is the only other site for this trial.

“I feel wonderful now!” said the 64-year-old grandmother of two with a third on the way. “I can breathe!”

Cook is now almost a year and half out from her initial ablation, and the follow-up CT scans show no evidence of cancer.

Cook reported that everyone she worked with, including Dr. Pritchett and the entire staff at Reid Heart Center, was wonderful. “I felt truly cared for,” she said.

A substitute teacher from Sanford, Cook reflected on her participation in this clinical trial and reported, “I think it’s amazing what can be done now — and right in Pinehurst! Every time I teach in Pittsboro, my colleagues assume my medical care was in Chapel Hill. When I told them Pinehurst, they said, ‘really?’ and I replied, “Yes, really!”


Patients and their families seeking more information about clinical trials at FirstHealth of the Carolinas can visit https://www.firsthealth.org/reference/clinical-trials or talk with the patient’s physician.  Find cancer clinical trials in your community by visiting https://southeastclinicaloncology.org/clinical-trials/


Clinical trial evaluates T-cell therapy for advanced mesothelin-expressing cancers

Killer T cells therapy for advanced mesothelin expressing cancer

Superresolution image of a group of killer T cells (green and red) surrounding a cancer cell (blue, center). Photo courtesy of NCI Visuals Online

Patients with advanced mesothelin-expressing solid tumors may be eligible to participate in a new clinical trial at the NIH Clinical Center.

Mesothelin is a protein found on the surface of normal, healthy cells that may help the cells stick together and send signals. Some cancer cells express a higher-than-normal amount of mesothelin, which makes them more likely to multiply and spread to other parts of the body. Raffit Hassan, M.D., of the Thoracic and GI Malignancies Branch, is leading a trial that tests T-cell immunotherapy for patients with cancer of the lung and its lining, ovarian cancer and bile duct cancer that express high levels of mesothelin. This therapy harnesses a patient’s T cells, altered to recognize mesothelin, with the aim of attacking cancer cells.  For more information about this and more clinical trials, click here.


Source: ccr.cancer.gov