Why is Now the Best Time for You to Support Clinical Trials in Ottawa?

By Cancer Foundation on October 3 / 2019

[Cancer, Clinical Trials, Uncategorized]Comments

Dr. Shawn Malone, Radiation Oncologist at the Ottawa Hospital and an investigator at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute stands outside his office where he conducts and evaluates clinical trials alongside a team of dedicated researchers.

“We run a considerable number of clinical trials at the Cancer Centre, here at the Ottawa Hospital,” says Dr. Shawn Malone. “We’ve had a tremendous amount of breakthroughs in a variety of cancers over the past decade.”

And Dr. Malone is quick to point out how donations are a huge part of making these breakthroughs happen.

“We’ve had great support from all of you in our community through your donations to the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation,” he says. “Your gifts support some developmental research going into the trials and the trials themselves.”

When patients are offered the chance to participate in a clinical trial, about eighty percent of them say yes. “You meet some amazing people when you’re treating cancer patients,” says Dr. Malone, who is encouraged by both their willingness and by the breakthroughs he has seen over the past ten years. “Even if it’s incurable they say ‘I’m okay to do it, just because I know future patients may benefit’.”

You may have heard of the SPARTAN clinical trial, which has identified a drug called Apalutamide that helps men with prostate cancer live years longer, and improve their quality of life before their disease spreads. It works by inhibiting the body’s androgen receptors, which control hormones like testosterone.

“Until SPARTAN, there were no approved treatments for men with castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) before their cancer metastasizes. So the preliminary results of the trial are exciting because they are showing a noticeable improvement in the length of time these men are living metastasis-free.”

Dr. Malone and his team are also taking part in a worldwide study known as IRONMAN, which aims to collect a variety of information that can help patients, oncologists and researchers alike. “This is the kind of stuff that is going to change things in the next 5-10 years,” says Dr. Malone.

By participating and learning from patients, researchers and physicians on a global scale, the outcomes of clinical trials like SPARTAN and IRONMAN have immediate and long-term benefits on cancer patients in the Ottawa area. “We have patients coming from Renfrew, Cornwall, Smiths Falls, Pembroke,” says Dr. Malone. “Some of those patients are adamant about participating, even though it might take a lot of follow ups and visits.”

Many trials are underfunded, and Dr. Malone notes that without you it would be very challenging to run some of these trials. But with willing patients, the unrelenting optimism of medical professionals and generous people like you, clinical trial outcomes in Ottawa and around the world will continue to extend lives and bring hope to families diagnosed with cancer.

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