I am pleased to announce that we have opened a trial for patients with cancer starting in their mouth or throat (Head and Neck Cancer). The trial is for patients who are unable to have surgery because their cancer is too advanced. Patients recieve both chemotherapy and radiation therapy as their main treatment, this is considered standard of care. However, instead of just watching patients after this treatment and hoping that the cancer does not return, this trial allows two thirds of patients to receive a medication by mouth that we hope will significantly increase their chance of staying in remission.
The drug is called afatinib. Afatinib blocks the action of several receptors common on cancer cells from head and neck cancer patients. It blocks the EGFR receptor as well as other receptors in the Her2neu family. By blocking these receptors the drug keeps them from binding together and causing cell growth signals to be sent internally that would keep these cancer cells dividing and growing. The hope is that if any cancer cells still are present despite being attacked with both chemotherapy and radiation therapy, this drug will not let them grow or divide and the final remnant of the cancer will go away forever.
I am excited to announce that we are the FIRST SITE to have this trial available to head and neck cancer patients in the United States.
As I have described before, we are committed to bringing the most scientifically promising and novel therapies to cancer patients in North Central Washington. Certainly if any patients from Seattle, Spokane, Oregon or Idaho are looking for a clinical trial that may increase their odds for surviving their cancer, we would be happy to see them as well.
As always I wish you and your loved ones the very best,