In the summer of 2012, Carole Baker’s oncologist told her she was eligible to join a clinical trial just getting underway after earlier treatments for her stage IV non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) had failed to stem the disease. Baker, 55, a learning specialist and mother of three school-age children, was being treated at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.
The phase I clinical trial was investigating an experimental treatment that combined an approved targeted drug called Tarceva (erlotinib) with a then-experimental immunotherapy drug called nivolumab. (In March 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration [FDA] approved nivolumab to treat some lung cancer patients under the brand name Opdivo.) Baker didn’t hesitate to sign up for the small trial, which began in August 2012 and was intended for patients who, like Baker, had been treated previously. The combination of the two drugs kept her lung cancer from progressing for over a year, when severe side effects forced her to drop out of the trial.
Read more at Cancer Today here.
Image: Cancer Today