IU Simon Cancer Center launches new clinical trial

Doctors hope to find new drugs for breast cancer

INDIANAPOLIS - Enrollment has just begun for a new clinical trial based in Indianapolis that aims to change the way we look at long-term breast cancer treatment.

Central Indiana is ground zero for cutting-edge clinical research. Many believe it could be the next new wave of cancer therapy.

Dr. Bryan Schneider, with the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, spent the last two years researching how the genetic makeup of a tumor can dictate the kind of treatment required. He is now ready to put what he has learned into practice.

"We are literally spelling out the entire encyclopedia of DNA of that cancer cell -- looking at thousands or tens of thousands of potential gas pedals that we can narrow in on -- that we can specifically focus," Schneider said.

He wants to use that information -- from every person enrolled in the trial -- to find the best drug or drugs to treat it.

"Instead of using a specific drug, we've got the whole buffet of drugs that are FDA-approved that we can use," Schneider said.

This will allow doctors to look past chemotherapy for ways to better keep men and women healthy longer.

Schneider is looking for men and women over the age of 18 who have been treated for triple-negative breast cancer.

He said that particularly aggressive forms of cancer tend to strike younger people and African-Americans, but all ages and races are welcome to participate in the trial.

"That really is the goal here, to give them a better chance to be cured of their disease," Schneider said.

Schneider said two-thirds of the patients who beat triple-negative breast cancer once are still at risk of the cancer returning and ultimately taking their life.

"We're all different people and these differences are very, very important in how we accept drugs and the side effects we get from drugs, so again, we should be addressing each person based on their uniqueness," Schneider said.

Drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration include drugs that are used to treat diabetes and even drugs taken for arthritis.

Schneider said the point is to discover what already-established drugs have cancer-fighting and life-saving qualities.

So far two people have enrolled in the trial -- that leaves 138 spots open to both men and women. Get in touch with the IU Simon Cancer Center to participate.

Phase two of the trial likely won't begin for another three years.

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