From Paula F. Weisenberger, MD, Medical Oncologist and Hematologist
May 28, 2021
Take a moment to imagine a world without cancer. According to the World Health Organization, more than 18 million people around the globe are diagnosed with cancer every year. Only through today’s research will we have a cancer-free tomorrow.
Without research, we would not understand what causes cancer, how to prevent it, how to treat it, and ultimately, how to cure it. My OHC colleagues and I agree: one cannot have a conversation about cancer treatment without a discussion about clinical trials.
Following are only a few recent highlights of OHC’s research program:
- Since bringing the revolutionary CAR-T therapy to the region in 2018, OHC has brought remission to the lives of many patients who lost hope. Now, we are on pace to be the first in the world to treat a B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma patient with a new CAR-T therapy, CB-010. And, in the coming weeks, we will be the first in Ohio to infuse multiple myeloma patients with a newly approved CAR-T, Abecma.
- OHC was one of the highest enrolling groups worldwide in the landmark study that lead to the FDA approval in 2018 for the first immunotherapy treatment for lung cancer, Opdivo.
- OHC is currently participating in the TAPISTRY trial to evaluate how genetic testing can help doctors customize an individual treatment for patients with advanced solid tumors.
Our research has brought newfound hope to patients who were given only months to live. Patients receiving our CAR-T therapies and personalized medicine experience remission and report a better quality of life. So, why are less than five percent of U.S. adult cancer patients participating in clinical trials? This National Cancer Research Month, my OHC colleagues and I have set out to debunk the myths surrounding clinical trial enrollment with the hope that patients will become comfortable seeking out possible lifesaving treatments.
MYTH #1: Clinical trial volunteers are human guinea pigs.
FACT: Before scientists can administer an investigational drug to volunteers, they must complete an extensive screening and pre-clinical testing process. All volunteers participate in an interactive informed consent procedure while receiving ongoing explanations of what will take place in the trial.
MYTH #2: If I join a clinical trial, I might receive the placebo instead of the real drug.
FACT: The decision to use a placebo depends upon how severe the illness is and whether an existing treatment is available. Those with a serious or life-threatening condition will receive the best available treatment instead of a placebo.
MYTH #3: Clinical trials are dangerous because they use new practices and medicines.
FACT: Participant safety is the utmost priority and is rigorously assessed by researchers throughout the trial. Participants receive investigational drugs only after they’ve completed a testing process indicating the drug is likely to be safe and effective in humans.
MYTH #4: Once I decide to enroll in a clinical trial, I can’t change my mind.
FACT: Because clinical trials are voluntary, participants can discontinue at any time. It is important to discuss your intentions with your care team as some medicines cannot be stopped safely without a doctor’s help.
MYTH #5: Being in a clinical trial won’t help me.
FACT: By participating, you might have access to an investigational drug that is not yet available to those outside the trial and may offer promising outcomes. Your healthcare team will closely monitor you and may provide you with additional tests and labs that might not be part of your typical care.
MYTH #6: Clinical trials are expensive and won’t be covered by my insurance.
FACT: Clinical trial volunteers rarely have to pay any costs related to the trial. Ask your research team and health insurance carrier if you are responsible for any costs before deciding to enroll.
More and more Americans are winning the fight against cancer because of groundbreaking research. Clinical trial volunteers have made a significant contribution to the science bringing a renewed sense of hope to so many patients.
Top photo: A portion of our nationally recognized research team paused from their important work to celebrate National Cancer Research Month.Comments (0)