Ovarian cancer drug tested at Scottsdale site

September 10, 2008

By hammersmith

[Source: Julie Janovsky, East Valley Tribune] – A new cancer drug being tested at Scottsdale Healthcare is the latest weapon medical researchers are using in their fight against ovarian cancer.

Often called a “silent killer,” ovarian cancer strikes approximately 20,000 women in the U.S. annually, claiming the lives of roughly 15,000 per year, according to the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, a national cancer education and advocacy group.

As health advocates help women learn what they need to know about the disease this month – designated national ovarian cancer awareness month – Scottsdale Healthcare, in partnership with TGen Clinical Research Services, is spreading the word about the new cancer treatment drug that is showing promise in preliminary testing.

The experimental drug, CBP501, in its first phase of testing, is helping make tumors more susceptible to chemotherapy treatment, especially in women with ovarian cancer, said Dr. Raoul Tibes, director of the hematologic malignancies program and assistant investigator at TGen Clinical Research Services at Scottsdale Healthcare.

Tibes said ovarian cancer patients who have taken part in early clinical testing of the drug have responded so well that Scottsdale Healthcare and TGen Clinical Research Services are expanding the trials to accommodate an additional ten qualified patients with ovarian cancer.

“If it holds true in additional patients, (the drug) could potentially become a treatment option for patients with ovarian cancer,” said Tibes regarding the first wave of early trials which began at Scottsdale Healthcare a little more than a year ago.

Scottsdale Healthcare and TGen Clinical Research Services are the only medical entities in Arizona to offer the experimental drug in trials to ovarian cancer patients, said Tibes.

Meanwhile, as national ovarian cancer awareness month is in full swing, health advocates are alerting the public to the symptoms of ovarian cancer – symptoms that can easily mimic other common ailments.

The key, said Michele Avery, an ovarian cancer survivor and administrative assistant at Scottsdale Healthcare, is how persistent the symptoms are.

“Women need to be their own advocates and know what is not normal for them,” said Avery, 40, stressing early detection, as in her case, is the best way to have the greatest chance of survival.