Wichita CCOP first in nation to register patient in cancer study
Doris Enright didn't have to travel to a large metropolitan center to participate in the Phase 1 study of a new cancer medication.
Instead, Enright was able to receive the new drug at no cost in her own hometown through the Wichita Community Clinical Oncology Program.
In doing so, she became the first patient in the nation to take part in the SAHA study.
"When they told me that I was the first I couldn't believe it," said Enright, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma on her 76th birthday. "I'm never first at anything!"
Her only concern when her Cancer Center of Kansas oncologist, Dr. Bassam Mattar, told her about the study: "I wanted to make sure that I was getting the real thing and not a placebo and he said that I would be."
Last week, Enright took her first dose of the drug, which has been in use for other types of cancers, and will continue to take it along with chemotherapy for the next six months.
"With clinical trials such as these, we unite the best of what we know works and combine it with new drugs to see if we can get a better outcome," said CCK's Dr. Dennis Moore Jr., who is serving as principal investigator for the Wichita CCOP study.
"We're extremely fortunate to have the nation's largest and one of its most successful clinical community oncology programs here in Wichita, as it gives patients access to promising new drugs years before they might otherwise be available," said Moore.
Wichita CCOP, for which Via Christi Health is the grant administrator, is the only one of the nation's 53 community clinical oncology programs invited to join the three participating universities in the study.
While Enright's prognosis with standard treatment alone is excellent, Moore said he's hopeful that the study will lead to new avenues of treatment and improved survival for cancer patients nationwide.
Enright, who has seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren, is equally optimistic.
"I've been buying Christmas presents for next year," she said.