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Cancer Patients in Central Florida will be Able to Enroll in Phase I Trials, Receive Experimental Drugs

Immunotherapy could be the cure for late-stage lung cancer. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

Immunotherapy could be the cure for late-stage lung cancer. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

AdventHealth and Moffitt Cancer Center are teaming up to offer life-saving therapies to patients with hard-to-treat cancers in Central Florida. 

Patients with cancers that haven’t responded to standard therapies will now be able to enroll in phase I clinical trials conducted at AdventHealth Celebration.

Moffitt Cancer Center’s Dr. Dan Sullivan says these patients will receive experimental drugs that have only been tested on small groups of people. 

He says the drugs can be a last chance at remission for patients with cancers that have low survival outcomes.

“There are some diseases that there really isn’t a very good standard of care for treating right? Gastric cancer, esophageal cancer, pancreatic cancer. So patients with those diseases don’t have a lot of treatment options.”

Sullivan says patients with lymphoma and myeloma will also be able to receive CAR T-cell therapy treatments from AdventHealth and Moffit technicians on site. 

He says the treatment turns a patients T-cells into cancer-killing machines that attack tumors. 

“This is really changing the field of treating patients with lymphoma and will probably be moved up earlier on in the treatment of these patients. Another example would be patients with multiple myeloma.”

Sullivan says patients in Orlando wouldn’t usually be able to get these treatments or enroll in phase I clinical trials because of the long commute to his facilities in Tampa.

“It’s often very burdensome for them, sometimes impossible for them to participate in early phase trials because of the frequency with which we need to see them to treat them and to assess them for toxicity. So a lot of them just really can’t participate in early phase trials.”

AdventHealth is also building a Moffitt satellite outpatient cancer center in Wesley Chapel at AdventHealth West Florida. 

If you’d like to listen to the story, click on the clips. 

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Danielle Prieur

About Danielle Prieur

Reporter & Fill-in Host

Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter at WMFE. You can hear her reporting on a daily basis on the station. She also fills-in as a host during the morning and afternoon drive times. Her reporting has been featured on NPR, Marketplace, Here & Now, and Vox. Danielle is originally from Rochester Hills, ... Read Full Bio »