New York Times 3-part Series: Target Cancer - Penn Medicine doctors involved in a preliminary trial of a targeted drug therapy that showed improvement for melanoma patients


February 23, 2010

The New York Times

A Drug Trial Cycle: Recovery, Relapse, Reinvention
In the final installment of a three part, front-page series, the New York Times explores the experiences of physicians and patients involved in the Phase 1 trial of the drug PLX4032, a targeted therapy for advanced melanoma patients whose cancers exhibit B-RAF mutations. The article follows Keith Flaherty, MD, a former faculty member in the division of Hematology-Oncology, Lynn Schuchter, MD, chief of the division of Hematology-Oncology, and an Abramson Cancer Center patient, Christopher Nelson, a 42 year old New Jersey father of two. Nelson, who had once been told by other doctors that there were no more treatment options for him and that he should consider hospice care, enjoyed another full year of life from trials for PLX4032 and a second targeted melanoma therapy. At his wake last month, Nelson's wife told relatives she felt blessed that he had lived longer than expected. They had celebrated their 21st wedding anniversary. With the children, he had ridden every water ride at Six Flags Great Adventure. "It's a year I would never trade in," she said. Nelson and Flaherty are also featured in the video accompanying the story. Read More
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After Long Fight, Drug Gives Sudden Reprieve
In the second part of a three-part, front-page series, the New York Times explores the experiences of physicians and patients involved in the trial of the drug PLX4032, a targeted therapy for advanced melanoma patients whose cancer exhibit B-RAF mutations. The article follows Keith Flaherty, MD, a former faculty member in the division of Hematology-Oncology, and an Abramson Cancer Center patient, Christopher Nelson, a 42 year old father of two who enrolled in the Phase 1 trial after another hospital told him they could offer him no more hope and that he should consider seeking hospice care. In just a few weeks he improved dramatically, more than any melanoma patient Flaherty had ever seen -- gaining17 pounds, heading to Atlantic City for a day of gambling, and dining out with family and friends. Maryann Redlinger, RN, a clinical research nurse in the Abramson Cancer Center, is also featured in the story of her role monitoring Nelson's progress before and after he began the trial. Flaherty, Redlinger, and Nelson are also featured in the video accompanying the story. Read More
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A Roller Coaster Chase for a Cure
The first in a three-part series of articles in the New York Times appeared on the front page profiling Keith Flaherty, MD, a former faculty member in the division of Hematology-Oncology, and the Abramson Cancer Center's work on a trial of the drug PLX4032, a targeted therapy for advanced melanoma patients whose cancers exhibit B-RAF mutations. Lynn Schuchter, MD, chief of the division of Hematology-Oncology, and Maryann Redlinger, RN, a clinical research nurse in the Abramson Cancer Center, are also mentioned in the story, which takes readers inside the world of early-stage clinical trials and the patients who seek experimental drugs for their deadly cancer. The series, "A Doctor's Trial," will continue tomorrow and Wednesday. Read Article

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