QMG clinical trial leads to standard of care for form of breast cancer

Posted: Jan. 30, 2013 9:55 am Updated: Feb. 13, 2013 11:15 am

By MAGGIE MENDERSKIHerald-Whig Staff Writer

Quincy Medical Group recently participated in a clinical trial that has become the standard of care for patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer.

In June, the Food and Drug Administration approved a new drug called Perjeta, used in combination with Herceptin and chemotherapy for patients with this specific type of breast cancer. Kiley McGlauchlen, director of clinical research at QMG, said patients in the clinical trial saw minimal side effects with this drug. Many of the 15 participants had failed multiple treatments before.

"It's a great success story," McGlauchlen said. "We're really happy with this. We only wish we could have had more patients on the trial."

The new treatment provided participants, such as Bernice Smith, with a greater quality of life while living with cancer. After a lengthy battle with breast cancer that resulted in a mastectomy in 2005, Smith participated in the Clinical Evaluation of Pertuzumab and Trastuzumab offered at QMG with oncologist Dr. Raymond Smith.

"We are all born to die, but being part of this clinical trial gave me at least one good extra year," Smith said in a patient testimonial.

The study indicated that patients who receive this treatment had a 38 percent lower risk of death.

Smith said chemotherapy often destroys cancer-free cells during the treatments, but this targeted treatment focused on only cancer cells.

"It's nice to hit the cancer cells and leave the other cells intact," Smith said.

McGlauchlen said QMG runs 12 to 15 clinical trials a year. The clinical research team typically focuses on stage 3 clinical trials, which are known to be safe and effective. At stage 3, the trials measure where the treatment ranks among the current options and gathers information about the treatment so that it can be safely used once on the market.

"When it's Phase III, it's going head-to-head with the best standard current care," McGlauchlen said.

This is the second clinical trial that the clinical research team has done that has become the standard of care for patients. Participation in these trials allows QMG to bring new innovative care to the community before it's available at other places in the country

"You really feel like you provide a service to the community that not all communities do." Smith said.