An approved drug called pemetrexed is at the center of a new clinical trial being conducted at Providence Saint John Health Center’s Pacific Brain Tumor Center for patients diagnosed with chordoma, a rare, slow-growing cancer found in the bones at the base of the skull and the spine that is difficult to treat.
Chordoma is an extremely rare cancer, diagnosed in just one in 1 million people per year, and can affect individuals of all ages. The standard of care is surgery and/or radiation, but tumors tend to recur after treatment and it also can spread or metastasize to other parts in the body. There are currently no approved drugs for the treatment of chordoma, which is why clinical trials that test promising new therapies are important.
The Phase I study, sponsored by the John Wayne Cancer Institute, Eli Lilly and the Chordoma Foundation, will test the safety and tolerability of pemetrexed administered to people with chordoma. Other purposes of the study include 1) discover any side effects (good or bad) of the drug 2) learn about how the drug might affect the growth of cancer cells 3) evaluate tumor characteristics by collecting tumor tissue samples if available and 4) look at biomarkers (biochemical features that can be used to measure the progress of disease or the effects of a drug) in blood and cerebrospinal fluid if available.
Pemetrexed (Alimta) is a chemotherapy drug manufactured and marketed by Eli Lilly and Company. Its indications are the treatment of pleural mesothelioma and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
The Research Site
Based in Santa Monica, CA, Providence Saint John’s Health Center’s Pacific Brain Tumor Center offers a comprehensive and dedicated group of physicians and investigators dedicated to teamwork and collaboration—their Brain Tumor Center offers comprehensive treatments and compassionate care to patients with brain, skull base and pituitary tumors. Their professionals collaborate with each patient and their physicians to coordinate care and develop an appropriate treatment plan. The care is personalized to the needs of the patient and may include minimally invasive keyhole endonasal endoscopic surgery, stereotactic radiation treatment, cutting-edge cancer treatments, genomic sequencing and hormone replacement therapy.
They are part of Providence, with 119,000-plus caregiver/employee organization with 51 hospitals and more than 800 clinics not to mention a comprehensive range of health and social services across Alaska, California, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas and Washington.
Santosh Kesari, MD, PhD, John Wayne Cancer Institute
Tiffany Juarez, PhD, Program Manager