Fredericksburg Oncology is now accepting patients for a new clinical trial supported by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to evaluate treatment for metastatic (advanced stage) melanoma. The current trial, designed at the Mayo Clinic, combines chemotherapy with targeted molecular agents in an effort to improve control of this difficult disease, reports Dr. Frederick C. Tucker, Jr., who heads this practice.
"When discovered early, Melanoma is a curable skin cancer. However, when skin cancer spreads to other organs in the body it has proved very difficult to treat," said Dr. Tucker, who is board certified in medical oncology, psychiatry and internal medicine.
"Some chemotherapies can result in remissions in a minority of patients, but have not been shown to prolong survival," he added. "That is the reason this trial is so important."
Fredericksburg Oncology has been participating in medical research through the NCI's Community Clinical Oncology Program since 2006. Dr. Tucker has been practicing in Fredericksburg for 14 years.
"Today's standards of care are the result of yesterday's clinical research," Dr. Tucker said. "Whenever possible we encourage patients to participate in trials. We recognize that some patients are unsure about research, but the fact remains that until we have a cure for cancer any treatment is experimental. Participating in trials provides access to the most current developing treatments for cancer, and allows patients to make a contribution toward the cure."
Clinical Research Nurse Brenda McClafferty has coordinated the group's participation in more than a dozen trials to date, including those that have contributed to advances in the treatment of breast, lung, and colon cancer. "Clinical trials are the key to finding new ways to prevent cancer in people at risk and to prevent it from returning to patients who have had cancer."
The new study is a Phase II randomized trial of the chemotherapy medications Carboplatin, Paclitaxel, and Bevacizumab, with or without the drug, Everolimus. The drugs are FDA approved to treat some other cancers, but their use for metastatic malignant melanoma is considered investigational, according to McClafferty. It is expected that the trial will enroll 148 patients across the country. "Such trials help us find the most effective doses, monitor side effects and evaluate the efficacy of new treatments," said McClafferty. "In the case of melanoma, we are still at the starting lines, and we need clinical trials to find treatments that will truly make a difference."
SOURCE Fredericksburg Oncology