Hoag clinical trials explore new cancer drugs

By Daily Pilot

Categories: Featured News, Cancer
Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, in partnership with the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, has launched its first in a series of clinical trials of new drugs for patients with advanced forms of cancer.

The initial trial, begun in May, will study the side effects and best dose of EphB4-HSA, a drug that researchers hope will prevent the growth of tumor cells when given in combination with standard chemotherapy drugs for patients with advanced pancreatic, biliary, head and neck and non-small-cell lung cancer.

It is the beginning of what Hoag sees as a new era of research that will provide Orange County residents with comprehensive cancer treatment close to home, said Dr. Burton Eisenberg, executive medical director of the Hoag Family Cancer Institute and a professor of clinical surgery for Keck School of Medicine of USC.

"Every single advance in cancer therapy in the last 30 years is the result of a clinical research study," Eisenberg said. "Millions of lives have been saved by the scientific progress that clinical trials afford."

Patients participating in the trials generally have exhausted all of their treatment options without much success, Eisenberg said.

Clinical trials typically are done in large academic centers, which limits access to new medicines shown to be effective in pre-clinical tests only to those who live nearby or are healthy enough to commute, which can be a challenge for very ill patients.

"Hoag is in a unique position, partnered with USC, to develop these trials here in Newport Beach so patients can get access to these drugs without having to leave the community," Eisenberg said. "It's not easy for patients with advanced cancer to travel on a daily or even weekly basis. Here's an opportunity for them to participate in clinical research studies where they might not have access to these drugs otherwise."

Eisenberg expects that Hoag will have six trials in progress by the end of the year, with more to follow in 2017.

Some of the medications will be administered intravenously, while others may be given orally. Some of the trials might focus on a single type of cancer, while others may treat various forms.

Patients interested in participating in the trials will need to be referred by their oncologist. For more information, call (949) 7-CANCER (722-6237).