When Cancer Goes On Trial, Franciscan Health Is In The Courtroom
INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana – Every year, either on or near her birthday, Susie Wood visits Franciscan Health Cancer Center Indianapolis for a checkup to see if her years-long treatment for multiple myeloma still has the disease in check.
Late last summer, she was surprised by the center staff and her former care coordinator, Reba Baker, who had baked her a birthday cake. And there was another good reason to celebrate: Her prognosis was good.
"It was so good to see Reba and was a reminder of how caring she and the other staff have been, from the time I was diagnosed and throughout my treatment," said Wood, who in 2013 enrolled in a clinical trial at Indianapolis hospital, testing the infusible experimental drug (elotuzumab) to augment standard chemotherapy.
Franciscan Health Cancer Center Indianapolis has a robust research program for patients and, at any given time, has up to 40 clinical trials available to qualified and willing patients. The research studies provide access to advancement in treatment options where there is currently no existing drug or regimen available. Every treatment must go through a rigorous clinical research study process – the only way a new treatment can become approved for use.
"We offer many of the same trials under investigation at medical centers and often some that are not offered at these larger institutions," said Cindy Stoner, oncology clinical research manager. "Participants are closely monitored so that we may be able to identify and treat any side effects faster than if they were not on a trial.
Among the other benefits of FDA-approved cancer clinical trials at Franciscan Health, patients have access to:
- Advanced treatment options and promising investigational interventions that are generally not available outside of a clinical trial
- Board-certified physicians as well as a staff of experienced registered nurses, phlebotomists and other support personnel
- An intervention that may be more effective than standard therapy and the potential to be among the first to benefit
- Investigational drugs and sometimes standard care are provided at no cost to the patient
A Greensburg, Indiana, resident, the 77-year-old Wood no longer takes elotuzumab and her dosage for the standard medication has been greatly reduced. She and her husband Bill recently celebrated their 42nd anniversary; they travel regularly by car to visit family and friends in Florida.
"I feel God sent me to Franciscan for the care I needed, and I also believe I was guided to participate in the trial not only for my benefit, but for future patients who will travel the same road I have."
By Joe Stuteville
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