Georgia Cancer Specialists Currently Enrolling Patients in Two Breast Cancer Clinical Trials

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Practice is Only Site in Georgia to Offer Aphinity Trial

Dr. Mansoor SalehMarch 29, 2012—Georgia Cancer Specialists (GCS)—a Top 10 private cancer practice in the U.S.—is currently enrolling breast cancer patients in two innovative clinical trials.

The Aphinity trial is an adjuvant therapy trial for patients with newly diagnosed operable primary Her2 positive breast cancer. Patients will be randomized to standard of care adjuvant therapy for Her2 positive breast cancer combined with the study agent Pertuzumab or placebo. Pertuzumab is the first in a new class of targeted anticancer agents known as HER2 dimerization inhibitors (HDIs) and is designed to block the dimerization of HER2 with other HER proteins, and has been shown to be effective in Her2 positive tumors. GCS is the only site in Georgia offering the novel trial.  

“It is the best study for patients with HER2 positive breast cancer who have undergone surgery and are now going to receive adjuvant therapy,” Dr. Mansoor Saleh, Director of Clinical Research at GCS, said.  

The second trial currently enrolling patients is the MerriMack trial. The MerriMack trial is a Phase II neo-adjuvant clinical trial for patients who have a tumor that needs shrinking before surgery. Called neo-adjuvant therapy because the protocol treatment is administered prior to surgery in order to shrink the tumor and improve both surgical outcome and cure rates.

Dr. Saleh said that all HER2 negative patients, including patients with triple negative breast cancer, are eligible for this study.

If accepted in the study, patients receive standard chemotherapy without (control arm) or with (study arm) the novel anti ERB3 Monoclonal antibody that has been shown to be expressed in women who are HER2 negative. 

Tequila Smith, a GCS patient who is currently enrolled in the MerriMack trial is only two weeks into treatment, but says she already feels like her tumor is shrinking and that she hasn’t experienced any side effects.

“The trial appealed to me because my other option would be to have a mastectomy,” said Smith. “I found out that if the drug was able to reduce the size of the tumor then they’d be able to save my breast.”

Georgia Cancer Specialists is a Top 10 private cancer practice in the U.S. and a leader in advanced cancer treatment and research. The practice supports more than 200,000 patient visits each year. GCS offers community-based medical oncology and hematology services and is the first private oncology practice to also provide a full range of support services for patients in Georgia, including wellness counseling and home health coordination. The GCS research department, whose focus is bringing targeted cancer therapy to communities, is the first in Georgia to offer Phase I clinical trials, the most novel cancer therapies available. GCS has 27 offices, 44 physicians, and more than 500 support staff members located in Metro Atlanta, and North and Central Georgia. Georgia Cancer Specialists can be found on the web at GCS is The Cancer Answer®. 

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