SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — March 11, 2010 — Many women live with breast
cancer that does not respond to standard medical treatment, a condition
that researchers at the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale
Healthcare want to change by aggressively targeting specific genes.
Improving quality of life and potentially keeping the cancer under
control for a longer period of time are goals of a new clinical trial at
the cancer center’s TGen Clinical Research Services, a partnership of
Scottsdale Healthcare and the Translational Genomics Research Institute
The pilot study is supported by the Side-Out Foundation, a group
founded by volleyball enthusiasts to help wage war on breast cancer.
Women or men with advanced breast cancer that has progressed through
three prior treatments are eligible for the trial, available in the
western U.S. only at Scottsdale Healthcare’s Virginia G. Piper Cancer
"Many are living with refractory, or advanced, breast cancer that
has not responded or continues to grow despite standard treatments,"
explains Nurse Practitioner Gayle Jameson, principal investigator. "What
we are offering here is a whole new approach for treating patients with
refractory breast cancer."
Biopsied tissue will be analyzed for unique characteristics and
abnormal genes in cancer cells, which are then targeted for treatment
with FDA-approved anticancer medications. "We may discover that a tumor
has a gene mutation that responds to a drug not typically used in a
‘one-size-fits-all’ approach," explains Jameson.
"What we are doing here is precisely matching a treatment to a
specific type of cancer cell mutation and abnormal protein signaling
pathways that may activate cancer cell growth. The patient would then be
treated with one or more medications based on the information provided
by the analyses."
Researchers call the Side-Out study the "next generation of breast
cancer treatment," expanding on what was learned about molecular
profiling in an earlier clinical trial at the Virginia G. Piper Cancer
Center. The new study, managed by TGen Drug Development (TD2), is open
to a total of 25 patients at only two sites, the Virginia G. Piper
Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare and Fairfax Northern Virginia
Results of the earlier trial, known as the Bisgrove Study, showed
that molecular profiling can identify specific treatments that help keep
cancer in check for significantly longer periods, and in some cases
even shrinking tumors. Clinical trials at the cancer center are
administered by the Scottsdale Healthcare Research Institute.
Research at the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare
allows molecular and genomic discoveries to reach the patient bedside
as quickly as possible through clinical trials of therapies directed at
specific targets in patients’ tumors.