Clinical trials results have contributed to a new standard of care for lung cancer patients. The results from several of the trials combining chemotherapy and immunotherapy transformed the standard of care for many lung cancer patients last year. The way it works, reports NBCDF 5: the chemo kills the cancer cells and the drug triggers the immune system to take care of business.

A Patient’s Story

Jim Brown, a firefighter, was exposed to many carcinogens after 25-years of firefighting and it is believe this led to stage 4 adenocarcinoma lung cancer diagnosed in 2015. Brown found out about the Keynote 021 clinical trial–the pivotal study adding Merck’s Keytruda to standard chemo for some participants. He didn’t get the Keytruda but his disease was stabilized by the chemo for 22 months. With a genetic mutation, he was able to get into a trial for lorlatinib (Pfizer), a targeted drug that was approved soon after in 2018

Brown, a snowboarder and climber, continues to be healthy and active pushing the envelope on the electronic mountain bike at times with his daughter. Brown continues, “I’m the last person in the world that people would think would get lung cancer.” He exclaimed that it was “pretty shocking.” Brown represents the courageous heroes that, from all walks of life, face life-threatening cancer and think about the bigger picture of not only looking at ways to keep alive and with family but also contribute to the broader medical advancements.

The Investigative Site

Seattle Cancer Care Alliance at University of Washington School of Medicine participated in Keynote021—establishing the new standard of care many lung cancer patients over the past year. Christina S. Baik, MD, MPH, a clinical investigator, noted, “All patients who don’t have a specific genetic mutation are receiving this drug combination of chemo and pembrolizumab as first treatment.”

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