Your Health: Controlling cancer cell spread
LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Roughly 64,000 Americans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year and 50,000 will die from it.
Experts said it’s a hard cancer to cure because it doesn’t respond well to standard chemotherapy. Researchers are testing a new therapy for patients with pancreatic and other cancers fueled by a genetic mutation.
Donna and Bob Baioni grew up in the same small town. Donna said they couldn’t stand each other in grade school, but at 16, something changed. They’ve now been married for 56 years.
Right after their 50th wedding anniversary, Bob started having abdominal and back pain that wouldn’t go away.
He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He had surgery and after multiple rounds of chemo, the cancer came back.
Bob had no energy and started missing family events, including his granddaughter’s graduation.
Bob’s doctor referred him to Dr. Sameek Roychowdhury, who determined that Bob had a rare FGFR mutation fueling his cancer. Roychowdhury and his colleagues were looking at treatments for patients with the same mutation in what’s called a basket trial.
“It’s a basket because we’re allowing patients with different cancer types to join the trial,” Roychowdhury said. “So, uterus cancer, cancer of the head and neck.”
Patients on the trial take a pill for two or three weeks with a one-week break. The treatment isn’t a cure, but Bob’s cancer has stopped growing and he’s looking forward to the next family adventure.
The researchers are also hoping to enroll patients for a trial that is specific to pancreatic cancer patients with the FGFR gene mutation.
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