Cancer patient getting promising results after starting new immunotherapy clinical trial
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The American Cancer Society reported the rate of people dying from cancer in the United States has been declining for the past three decades. Baton Rouge doctors said clinical trials are helping move the needle.
“I see people all the time suffering who are in worse condition than I am, and I just thank the man upstairs that I was able to go through this clinical trial,” said Emmett Haas, a kidney cancer patient at the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center.
He started going in August of 2022 after doctors found a large mass on his side. Emmett is now on a new immunotherapy clinical trial. It’s basically a substitute for chemotherapy with fewer harsh side effects.
“The cool thing about it, I’m not going through a machine to get chemotherapy, and it kind of gives me a way to enjoy life a little bit better,” said Haas. “So it’s not tying you up having to go to doctors.”
A new report by the American Cancer Society said since 1991, the U.S. cancer death rate has fallen by a full third.
“A lot of that is tied to the fact that we run clinical trials on cancer patients to try and improve care, improve the prevention of cancer,” Dr. Victor Lin, Medical Director of Clinical Research at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center.
Dr. Lin said people eligible for trials are beneficial for people like Emmett. Doctors put him on two experimental drugs as they work to determine which one works better.
“I think that there’s a lot of fear about participating in clinical trials, but I think I would emphasize that trials offer opportunities to be treated with things that you wouldn’t otherwise be treated with.”
Every patient is screened to see if they’re eligible for a clinical trial.
“Before the patient walks in, we start to screen the patient so we’re able to use our electronic medical record system to help identify patients that may match some of the criteria for our clinical trials,” said Director of Clinical Research, Mandy Shipp.
Emmett has received positive news so far. Dr. Lin said adding every kind of cancer treatment they have today is a result of a clinical trial and it’s their best hope in finding better ways to treat the disease.
You can ask your doctor if you’re interested in participating in one of these trials.
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