Tailored treatments for hard-to-treat cancer
Perhaps chemotherapy was successful at first, but now the cancer is back and growing quickly. Or radiation failed to obliterate all of a tumor.
Patients who may have been told that there is nothing else doctors can do are now being sought for a trial of targeted drugs matched to their genetic profiles.
A study launched last fall, the Targeted Agent and Profiling Utilization Registry (TAPUR) Study, is a clinical trial for patients with advanced cancer who have not responded, or have stopped responding, to standard treatment, and who possibly have a gene variation that can be targeted with anti-cancer drugs — so-called “actionable genomic variants.”
Although all of the drugs in the TAPUR study are approved by the FDA for at least one type of cancer, the therapies patients will receive in the study have not yet been approved for their specific type of cancer.
About three-quarters of the patients who would like to be included in the trial will be matched with a drug or drugs that can potentially help them. The drugs will be provided at no charge.
“This trial will help evaluate whether certain targeted therapies offer benefits when no established options remain, and [will] provide access to these therapies for patients who participate,” said American Society of Clinical Oncology President Dr. Daniel F. Hayes.
“With TAPUR, these patients have the potential to benefit from targeted therapies that have already demonstrated effectiveness in other cancer types. Like other clinical trial participants, they can also help tomorrow’s patients.”
Local site in Fairfax
The study is being conducted at 113 sites nationwide and is underway locally at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Fairfax, Va. Patients will need to be seen by an Inova oncologist during the study.
All patients who qualify for the study will get a targeted drug. This is not a randomized study in which a placebo, or a non-active drug is used.
Because each treatment is tailored to individual patients, treatment methods and timing will be different for each patient. Patients will end their participation in the study when the drug or drugs are no longer controlling the tumor.
Who qualifies for the study?
To qualify for the study, patients must have an advanced or metastatic solid tumor, multiple myeloma, or B cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
They must be no longer be benefiting from standard anti-cancer treatment, or in the opinion of the treating physician, no treatment is available or indicated. Participants must have had a genomic or molecular test performed on their tumor.
Patients must be well enough to be out of bed and active at least half of each day. Their white blood cells, as well as their platelets, must be above a specified level.
Patients with primary brain tumors cannot take part in the study, as well as those with progressive brain metastases. However, patients with previously treated brain metastases are eligible, provided they have not experienced a seizure or had a clinically significant change in neurological status within the three months prior to starting the study.
More information on the study is available at http://www.TAPUR.org or by calling the Inova Fairfax study office at (703) 970-6447.