Over the next few weeks, each Tuesday we'll be posting information and stories on our blog and social media about the importance of clinical trials for cancer patients and research.
First up are Annie Ellis, an ovarian cancer advocate, describing her participation in 2 clinical trials, and Chiara D'Agostino, who is living with metastatic breast cancer, in a short video on why the Keytruda clinical trial is important to her.
Annie became interested in remission vaccines nearing the end of first-line treatment when she wanted to do something more than watchful waiting, but didn’t want chemotherapy maintenance. She did not qualify at first remission and there were no trials available at second remission. Annie was able to participate in a Phase 1 trial for a protein remission vaccine at third remission. When the data was presented at ASCO several years later, Annie found out that she did not produce the antibodies, but did have a small increase in t-cells. Even though the study required additional CT scans and this vaccine probably did not contribute much to her long third remission, Annie would do it again because the investigational staff was caring and compassionate and she felt reassured to be so closely watched.
It’s helpful to check your hospital’s website for available clinical trials before decision-making appointments because doctors may not always be aware of every trial offered by their institution. When Annie was diagnosed with Stage I IDC breast cancer in 2010, her surgeon recommended a lumpectomy. Annie was expecting a mastectomy and requested an MRI because she was uncomfortable proceeding without evidence that the other breast was clear. Her surgeon did not believe an MRI was medically necessary. Annie remembered seeing an imaging clinical trial comparing mammogram with contrast to MRI as a possible more affordable method for early detection for underserved populations with limited access to MRI. Annie qualified for this trial as a new patient prior to surgery and was able to receive the MRI she wanted to increase her comfort level as well as feel good about helping science move forward.