Another clinical trial out of the Cross Cancer Institute has made a major contribution to cancer care that has set a new global treatment standard.
Researchers out of the Cross Cancer Institute along with 246 treatment centres around the globe, found that when two existing drugs were combined, survival rates for multiple myeloma patients improved. Even more compelling, the more continuous the treatment, the longer the patients lived.
Your investment to clinical trials, made this discovery happen.
For Lorelei Dalrymple, who was diagnosed with multiple myeloma five years ago, the clinical trials finding is good news.
"It lets me know that when my current treatment stops working, there are still options available to me to try and keep the disease under control"
- Lorelei Dalrymple
Until recently, multiple myeloma prognoses were grim. Even as little as five years ago, the life expectancy from date of diagnosis was just two to five years. Now, it’s up to eight to 10 years, with many patients living longer than that.
"We understand this disease much better than before, and treatments have improved remarkably over the past 15 years – patients are living twice as long as they used to, and their quality of life is also much improved."
- Dr. John Mackey, Director of the Clinical Trials Unit at the Cross Cancer Institute
Lorelei saw her remission officially end last fall, after hip pain became so severe she couldn’t lift her leg. She is currently on a new course of treatment with radiation and new drugs, and hopes that the clinical trial findings continue to expand options for multiple myeloma treatment.
“It’s also exciting for when they finally reach the point where they can tailor treatments to individuals based on their genetic make-up – reduce the trial and error associated with going through the standard drug regimens.”
Results from the phase III trial show that the combination of pomalidomide and low-dose dexamethasone may benefit some patients with multiple myeloma that has progressed despite other treatments.
Patients who received the combination therapy lived longer without the disease progressing than patients who received high-dose dexamethasone alone. Overall survival was also improved in the group that received the combination therapy compared with the other group.
The Cross Cancer Institute’s Clinical Trials Unit gives patients access to treatment years before it is available to the general public, and this discovery further shows that clinical trials are the key to improving cancer treatments and testing the next big discovery for patients.
“Many Albertans with myeloma received treatments that were years ahead of time, because of our internationally-recognized myeloma expert, Dr. Andrew Belch and his clinical trials,” says Mackey. “Many Albertans are alive because of his dedication to his patients, and his unwillingness to accept the status quo. Because hundreds of Dr. Belch’s patients were willing to try new treatments on his clinical trials, the outlook for a person with myeloma has never been better.”
The Alberta Cancer Foundation supports every single clinical trial that takes place in Alberta, and over the past five years you have given 6,000 Albertans the opportunity to take part in life-saving clinical trials.
That’s 6,000 Albertans who have more moments with their loved ones, because we made sure something good came out of your investment. Thank you for helping us deliver results.