Diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, Jimmy Alexander had a year or less to live. The family man with two daughters and five grandchildren, as well as six great-grandchildren, was preparing to say good bye. Prisma Health-Update Cancer Institute was able to sign Jimmy up to an investigational trial, which saved his life. Now the program is expanding thanks to an $8 million NCI NCORP grant.

Once the Prisma Health-Upstate Cancer Institute doctors enrolled him into a study with a new chemotherapy cocktail, eight years later Jimmy is still alive enjoying Clemson football and spending time with his large family, reports Greenville Online. Alexander declared to the Greenville Online, “People just don’t realize what clinicals may be able to do” and continued, “they can be a lifesaver.”

Thankfully, the South Carolina community now benefits from more clinical research as a care option for cancer patients as the program that helped Jimmy is now expanding into the Midlands with an $8.2 million grant awarded by the National Cancer Institute’s Community Oncology Program (NCORP).

The Clinical Trial Investigational Drug:  Erbitux

Jimmy Alexander, the retired engineer, is now in a stable condition and has beat out death thanks to the clinical research options at Prisma, as well as a weekly infusion of an drug called Erbitux, which was part of the clinical trial.

What is Erbitux?

Called Cetuximab, it is an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitor used for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer, metastatic non-small cell lung cancer, and head and neck cancer. Cetuximab is a chimeric (mouse/human) monoclonal antibody given by intravenous infusion that is distributed under the trade name Erbitux in the U.S. and Canada by Eli Lilly and outside the North America by Merck KGaA in Japan and Merck KGaA, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Eli Lilly.

In July 2009, the FDA approved the drug for the treatment of colon cancer with wild type KRAS, since it had little or no effect in colorectal tumors harboring a KRAS mutation (this also applied to EGFR antibody panitumumab). This was the first genetic test to guide treatment of cancer. In July 2012, the FDA approved a real time PCR companion diagnostic test for KRAS, the therascreen KRAS.

Prisma Health-Update Cancer Institute

The Prisma Health-Update Cancer Institute offers some of the most advanced, effective, and targeted cancer care available in the world right in South Carolina. They are dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for those with cancer in the local community and beyond through clinical excellence and research.

They understand and emphasize the importance of comfort, compassion, and enhanced access to care and focus on treating the “Whole Person” and not just the disease. What does this mean? No longer do patients have to leave the Upstate to receive high-quality cancer care. In fact, now many patients are traveling from other parts of the South and the country to Prisma Health Cancer Institute.

Prisma health Cancer Centers is one of the Southeast’s largest cancer programs with over 3,000 patients diagnosed each year. Physicians and health care professionals from all of their Prisma Health Hospitals and the University of South Carolina Medical School are part of their Cancer Centers’ interdisciplinary team approach.

Hundreds of Clinical Trials ongoing

More than 300 clinical trials are underway at Prisma’s Cancer Institute at any time, and the hospital has been awarded more than $30 million in NCI grants since 1995 according to Prisma, which was formerly called Greenville Health System. Because of NCI support, the health system can offer clinical research as care options for those in true need.

The latest grant affords Prisma the opportunity to offer advanced medicines for lymphoma, leukemia, and solid tumors in the Midlands this fall.

Lead Research/Investigators

Dr. Larry Gluck, Medical Director, Prisma

Dr. Jeff Giguere, Oncologist

Call to Action: Are you interested in participating in a cancer-focused clinical trial focusing on lymphoma, leukemia or solid tumors? Contact Prisma or leverage TrialSite News health broker services. Are you a sponsor seeking to contact Prisma to partner—contact them or let TrialSite News make an introduction.

Source: Greenville News

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