Commentary: Clinical Trials Exclude Too Many Patients

By Dr. David Gerber

May 1, 2018. PSA Rising / UT Southwestern Medical Center.
Not long ago, I examined an otherwise healthy and active retiree in his 50s with newly diagnosed metastatic lung cancer. He had no heart disease, no kidney disease, no liver disease. He came to my practice at UT Southwestern Medical Center specifically for clinical trial options.

David Gerber MD
David Gerber, M.D., is associate director for clinical research at the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

Disappointingly, one detail in his medical history excluded him from all of our available trials. Four years earlier, he had been treated for stage 1 prostate cancer, a disease so prevalent and nonaggressive that the U.S. government no longer recommends routine screening for it. I couldn’t think of a single way in which the patient’s prior experience with cancer would interfere with treatments or assessments on a lung cancer trial. And yet I couldn’t enroll him.

Unfortunately, many sick patients are being denied the opportunity to test new drugs that might save their lives. It’s time for this to change. Continue reading “Commentary: Clinical Trials Exclude Too Many Patients”

This month, Prostatepedia focuses on Clinical Trials

This month’s issue of Prostatepedia, a patient-centered prostate cancer publication created and edited by Dr. Charles “Snuffy” Meyers, focuses on clinical trials.

One of the articles featured, “Clinical Trials for Prostate Cancer Patients,” is written by Tony Crispino, Us TOO Las Vegas Support Group Leader and Rick Bangs, bladder and prostate cancer survivor.  Both Tony and Rick serve as research advocates at SWOG and the National Cancer Institute. In their article, they outline the prostate cancer clinical trial process with additional commentary by prostate cancer warrior and clinical trial participant Bob Klingle and his wife Jean.

For the article click:  http://www.ustoo.org/pdfs/Prostatepedia_V3_9_May2018_Article.pdf

For the whole May issue click http://www.ustoo.org/pdfs/Prostatepedia_V3_9_May2018.pdf

Sedentary Lifestyle Drastically Increases Risk of Dying from Cancer

April 18 2018. PSA Rising /Roswell Park, Buffalo, N.Y/.  Researchers at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center have found that cancer patients who were physically active both before and after treatment were 40% more likely to survive than those who were physically inactive. This was true for many different disease types, including prostate, breast, colon, ovarian, bladder, endometrial, esophageal and skin cancer.

The associations between habitual inactivity and cancer mortality remained consistently strong regardless of the patient’s sex, tumor stage, smoking status or body-mass index (BMI).

The 40% higher probable survival rate in physically active patients  is “remarkable,” the Roswell teams says. Another striking observation was that previously inactive patients who began exercising after their diagnosis increased their odds of survival by nearly 30%.

Dr. Rikki Cannioto PhD, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

Patients participating in as few as one to two sessions of regular, weekly exercise experienced similar survival advantages as those who exercised more frequently, the researchers found. “In other words, when it comes to exercise, something is better than nothing but regular, weekly exercise seems to really make a difference,” says says lead author Rikki Cannioto, PhD, EdD, MS.  

“In fact, patients who were physically active three or four days a week experienced an even greater benefit than those who exercised daily, and patients who had only one or two days of regular activity per week did nearly as well. This is particularly encouraging, as cancer patients and survivors can be overwhelmed by current physical activity recommendations.” Continue reading “Sedentary Lifestyle Drastically Increases Risk of Dying from Cancer”

Taking Prostate Cancer Drug Abiraterone acetate (Zytiga) After a Meal Boosts Impact, Lowers Cost

Monday, 9 April 2018. By taking a high-cost drug with a low-fat meal—instead of on an empty stomach, as prescribed—prostate cancer patients could decrease their daily dose, prevent digestive issues and cut costs by 75 percent, according to a new study in the March 28, 2018, issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO).

Abiraterone acetate, marketed as Zytiga®, is a standard medicine prescribed for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. The pharmaceutical company tells patients on Zytiga to take four of the 250 milligram pills first thing in the morning. Then, having gone without food overnight, they must wait at least one more hour before eating breakfast.

“This schedule is not only inconvenient for patients, it’s also wasteful, in several ways,” said the study’s lead author, Russell Szmulewitz, MD, associate professor of medicine at the University of Chicago and a prostate cancer specialist.

Continue reading “Taking Prostate Cancer Drug Abiraterone acetate (Zytiga) After a Meal Boosts Impact, Lowers Cost”

Brachytherapy combination improves PSA-free Survival for patients with higher-risk localized prostate cancer, trial finds

Brachytherapuy seeds placement
Brachytherapy – where seeds are placed.

April 29, 2015. Many patients with higher-risk localized prostate cancer are treated with external beam radiation or with brachytherapy (seed implants). A clinical trial conducted by Dr James Miller (right) of Vancouver, Canada has found that patients receiving permanent implant brachytherapy “seeds” plus a boost of radiation have a better chance of long-term survival than those treated with higher dose-escalated external beam radiotherapy but without the implants.

Men receiving the radioactive “seeds” were more likely to be cancer-free five to nine years later. Continue reading “Brachytherapy combination improves PSA-free Survival for patients with higher-risk localized prostate cancer, trial finds”