Dr. Peter Rosen describes the many benefits related to enrolling in a clinical trial and the strides that are made in cancer research with these results. Dr. Peter Rosen is a Medical Director the Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center.
EmpowHER Correspondent: We hear reports of clinical trials in the news, but what do they mean to you and your family?
Dr. Peter Rosen: Well clinical trials are the essence of progress in medicine, and without clinical trials we would be stagnant. Every drug that is used to treat cancer, hematologic diseases, and for that matter, any licensed medicine for any disease has to go through a series of clinical trials to provide information regarding its safety and its efficacy. So clinical trials are the sine-qua-non; without them there is no progress whatsoever.
So for a patient to enroll in a clinical trial, he is doing two things – one, hopefully may benefit – he or she may benefit from the trial, and secondly, information is being provided, which is essential to the advances that are required in medicine.
EmpowHER Correspondent: So, how can you get involved?
Dr. Peter Rosen: In order to qualify for a clinical trial, the patient must meet certain criteria that are unique to each trial.
In other words, the patient has to have a certain disease, in many cases has to be in a reasonable enough condition to tolerate a clinical trial by which I mean ambulatory, able to care for oneself. Certain laboratory parameters have to be within a certain range in order to qualify for the trial. Some of the more modern and sophisticated trials it may be necessary have a typical biological marker that shows that the cancer cell possesses a mutation, and that that mutation is the target of the therapy. And if the cancer cell does not have that mutation, than the trial doesn’t really apply to the patient.
EmpowHER Correspondent: And with this approach, medicine takes on a whole new meaning.
Dr. Peter Rosen: This has lead to the term personalized medicine in which it is not within the realm, beyond the realm of possibility that within the next decade, what we will be doing is sequencing the entire genome of the cancer cell – all of its genetic material, and trying to piece together by computers and other technology what the mechanics of the cancer for that individual patient are, and thereby prescribe treatments which are more specifically designed for the patient’s cancer.
It may sound like rocket science, and it’s spectacular when compared with what we were facing just 10 years ago, but this is a realistic possibility and it’s probably going to happen sooner rather than later.
About Dr. Peter Rosen, M.D.:
Peter Rosen, MD, is the Medical Director of Clinical Research at The Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center. He is board-certified in internal medicine with sub-specialty certifications in hematology and medical oncology.
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