'Breakthrough' Lung Cancer Therapy Tested in Colorado
Combination Therapy May Give Patients Second Chance
Last Updated: 586 days ago
Two-and-a-half years ago, Joe Trujillo, a non-smoker, was diagnosed with stage-4 lung cancer."I didn't have very many options," Trujillo said. "I couldn't have surgery or radiation, so the only option was chemo."That is, until he heard about a clinical trial, underway at the University of Colorado Cancer Center."This is actually a combination of two drugs, and it's the combination which seems magical here," said Dr. Ross Camidge, director of the thoracic oncology clinical program at UCCC.During the course of the clinical trial, Camidge has seen the combination of two drugs, Afatinib and Cetuximab, help patients with a specific lung cancer mutation, called EGFR, who had initial success with the drug Tarceva, but whose cancer became resistant to it."What we are now starting to see is the second miracle," Camidge said. "So when your first miracle stops working, you start looking for the second one."Every two weeks, Trujillo travels from his home in Albuquerque to get an infusion of the drugs. He's reported dramatic results."I'm doing fantastic. I'm doing very well," Trujillo said. "After my last infusion, probably the best two weeks I've had."Camidge says this improvement is also reflected in CT scans of Trujillo's lung tumors."Some of them are actually hollowing out, so there's a hole in the middle of it as the cancer dies off," Camidge said. "This is a terrible disease and the only way we are going to make progress is to understand it better and to treat it better, and [Mr. Trujillo] is a great example of where that field is moving."The clinical trial is still open for patients diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer with the EGFR mutation.The University of Colorado Cancer Center is one of only four hospitals in the U.S. conducting this study.For more information about this clinical trial click here, or call Tiffany Caudill, intake coordinator for the lung cancer program at University of Colorado Hospital at 720-848-0392.