Our doctors are dreamers. They dream of conquering cancer
and adding meaningful years to our patients' lives. Our Investigational
Pharmacy Services team helps them turn those dreams into reality.
This highly specialized team of eight pharmacists and 11
pharmacy technicians enables MD Anderson to have the largest clinical
trials program in the world.
Every investigational drug that enters our institution
travels through the Investigational Pharmacy Services area on Floor 1 of the
Main Building. We have 1,100 clinical research protocols underway, involving
more than 8,000 patients. That translates to 35,000 investigational doses a
year, or one dose every 15 minutes.
By centralizing the way we administer investigational drug trials,
the team enables breakthroughs in cancer care for doctors and researchers like Hagop
Hugh Lokey travels 497 miles each time he comes to MD Anderson for thyroid cancer treatment. Then it's 497 miles back home to Broken Arrow, Okla. He's been making the trip for five years, sometimes twice a month.
"It's been tremendously worth it," says Hugh, a 70-year-old Marine Corps veteran who's benefited from, and perhaps even survived because of, lenvatinib. This new thyroid cancer drug was tested here and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in February.
Like Hugh, the drug had a long journey, and each step was taken at MD Anderson.
New hope after decades with one treatment Until recently, patients with radioiodine-refractory thyroid cancer had only one treatment option. And it didn't work for more than half.
Their fates took a turn for the better in 2006.
"In 2006, we began testing a drug called E7080 and found that several tumor types responded," says David Hong, M.D., in Investigational Cancer Therapeutics. "The response was particularly remarkable in thyroid cancer patients."
James (Jim) Boysen first met Jesse C. Selber, M.D., four years ago. The Austin-based software developer had come to MD Anderson for reconstructive surgery after successful treatment for leiomyosarcoma, a rare cancer of the smooth muscle, on his scalp had left him with a large, deep wound on his head.
But Jim, now age 55, didn't just need reconstructive surgery on his scalp and skull. He also needed another kidney and pancreas transplant. He'd previously received a kidney and pancreas transplant in 1992, due to complications from juvenile diabetes.
This presented a Catch-22 for Selber. The scalp and skull wound kept doctors from performing the second solid-organ transplant. Likewise, Jim's kidney and pancreas functions, along with his immunosuppression medications for his pancreas and kidney, complicated scalp reconstruction.
But Jim's wound, medication and organ failure ultimately became part of the solution. On May 22, he became the first person ever to receive a scalp and skull transplant simultaneously with solid organ transplants.
A transplant four years in the making "When I first met Jim, I made the connection between him needing a new kidney and pancreas and the ongoing anti-rejection medication to support them, and receiving a full scalp and skull transplant at the same time that would be protected by those same medications," says Selber, who came up with the idea of performing the scalp and skull transplant at the same time as the kidney and pancreas transplant. "This was a unique situation that created the opportunity to perform this complex transplant."
To better understand this new HPV vaccine, known as Gardasil 9 or HPV 9, and what it means for preventing HPV-related cancers, we spoke with Lois Ramondetta, M.D., in Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine. Here's what she had to say. What is the new HPV vaccine, and what does types of HPV does it guard against? This is the third FDA-approved HPV vaccine. The previous HPV vaccine, known as Gardasil, only protected against four strains of HPV. This one protects against nine different strains of HPV that have been linked to several types of cancer, including cervical cancer, anal cancer, penile cancer, oral cancer and head and neck cancers
This is great news for cervical cancer prevention. Whereas Gardasil was expected to prevent 70% of all cervical cancers, the new HPV vaccine will prevent closer to 90% of cervical cancers.
Keep in mind that these vaccines only work to prevent HPV. So, if you already have HPV, you can't get the vaccine to treat the HPV or to prevent HPV-related cancers.
across the world are mourning the death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs,
who passed away Wednesday, Oct 5, following a battle with pancreatic
cancer. Jobs' death has turned attention to rare form of cancer, for
which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration this May approved a new drug
- the first new option in nearly 30 years. Learn more about the drug,
everolimus, and how it's helping patients with pancreatic
By Lori Baker, MD Anderson Staff Writer
Not many emails make you cry. But tears
of joy rolled down Carmen Jacobs' face when she read that the drug
everolimus had been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) for patients with pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (pNET).
considers this treatment one of her biggest efforts as a research
nurse, and this news meant it had just been delivered to patients
everywhere. It's a much-anticipated arrival, since this is the first new
treatment option for these patients in nearly 30 years.
there when Dr. Yao treated the first patient in the very first clinical
trial about six years ago," says Jacobs, research nurse supervisor,
Gastrointestinal (GI) Medical Oncology, who also worked on each
subsequent trial. "I was so happy when I got his message saying it was
approved. Now all of these patients have access to a new treatment that
provides more hope for a longer and better life."
A prostate cancer
diagnosis has the ability to strike fear in the hearts of many men. The
fear is a normal reaction as men diagnosed with the disease consider
the potential side effects from treatment and how it may affect their sexual relationships.
negative body image and performance anxiety are some of the symptoms
prostate cancer survivors face that can lead to a lack of intimacy and,
ultimately, to sexual dysfunction.
The ability to have a
satisfying sexual experience after treatment may vary, depending on the
patient and treatment dynamics. The reality is that men are not the
only ones affected by the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer.
Positive future Leslie Schover, Ph.D.
a behavioral scientist at MD Anderson, was lead investigator on the
CAREss (Counseling About Regaining Erections and Sexual Satisfaction)
trial that focused on determining whether couples counseling after
prostate cancer treatment had a positive effect on sexual outcomes.
This year, approximately 11,000 patients combined will be diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) and anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL). Compared to other cancers, such as breast and lung, these two lymphomas are considered relatively rare cancers. So, chances are, you didn't hear the news about brentuximab vedotin (SGN-35), which is now called Adcetris.
HL and ALCL are potentially highly curable types of lymphoma when conventional chemotherapy regimens and radiation therapy are used. For this reason, no new drugs have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for Hodgkin lymphoma since 1977.
But if you are one of the unlucky ones who aren't cured with these conventional regimens, today is a good day for you. Indeed, it's a good day for all of us. A good day for humanity. A new drug has been approved Today, the Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee/ODAC, an FDA advisory panel, voted 10-0 to recommend accelerated approval for Adcetris to treat patients with relapsed Hodgkin lymphoma after having a stem cell transplant, and for patients with relapsed or resistant systemic ALCL.
Up until now, the role of intensified therapy for newly diagnosed lymphoma in the rituximab era remained unknown.
This week at ASCO, four independent randomized trials, looking at different strategies, reported that more intensive front-line therapy offers no added advantage over standard chemotherapy regimens in patients with newly diagnosed diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL).
The study showed a 65% decrease in developing breast cancer when
compared to placebo in high-risk, postmenopausal women.
how this drug works, it is only effective in women who are
postmenopausal without ovarian estrogen production. Exemestane is a drug
that has been used for years when treating women with early breast
cancer and metastatic disease. Now, it may have another indication in
preventing breast cancer.
This is not surprising, as we saw a
decrease in second breast cancers that developed in the opposite breast
in the early breast cancer trials from this class of drugs. Tamoxifen,
which has been used in prevention for years, is a well-tolerated and
very effective drug. However, only a small percentage of women choose to
take the drug.
By Scott Merville and Laura Sussman, MD Anderson Staff Writers
Customized treatment that matches specialized cancer drugs to their
targets on each patient's tumor has been found to increase survival of
people with late-stage disease in a Phase I clinical trial at MD
Researchers presented results today at the annual meeting of the
American Society for Clinical Oncology in Chicago. ASCO also chose to
highlight this project to the news media from among thousands submitted
to the meeting.
Patients who enroll in Phase I clinical trials have no regular
treatment options left and have advanced disease that has spread to
other organs or can't be surgically removed.
How this research was done
In this trial, patients' tumors were analyzed for genetic flaws and when
there were drugs available to attack that defect, patients received
those drugs rather than those thought to target their type of cancer,
such as breast or lung. Patients with just about every type of solid
tumor -- lung, breast, colorectal, prostate, brain, pancreas, liver,
kidney, melanoma, thyroid and many others -- participated.
epidemiological research has shown that breast cancer is potentially
more likely to recur in the context of chronic stress and that
beta-blockers -- a class of drugs that help in diminishing the effects
of the stress pathway by blocking adrenergic stimulation -- may improve
breast cancer relapse. These drugs are often used for cardioprotection
after heart attacks and to control cardiac arrhythmias and hypertension.
This collaborative study led by Amal Melhem-Bertrandt, M.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Breast Medical Oncology
at MD Anderson, found that the use of beta-blockers in patients with
breast cancer was associated with an approximately 50% reduction in
breast cancer relapse after three years when compared to patients who
were not on beta-blockers. The associated improvement in three-year
overall survival in the beta-blocker group, although not significant,
was approximately 35%..
This trial enrolled over 300 patients with advanced cancer of the pancreas, who were treated with either the standard chemotherapy with gemcitabine or with a four-drug chemotherapy combination called FOLFIRINOX.
A five-month improvement in survival was noted with FOLFIRINOX; this regimen also delayed cancer progression. This study is important because for the first time a drug combination has been shown to extend survival of pancreatic cancer patients by a significant degree over that offered by gemcitabine, alone.