Immunotherapy trial to revolutionise cancer treatment

An older man sits in a chair with a woman and another man standing beside him.
Immunotherapy clinical trial patient Harold Nunn, his daughter and Research Officer Edwin Tan.
May 13, 2019

A new immunotherapy clinical trial at Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH) is aiming to revolutionise treatment outcomes for patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer.

The Biomarker-Direct Trial of Pembrolizumab-Based Combination Therapy uses the body’s immune system to stop cancer growth and help reduce the harsh side effects associated with other treatments.  

FSH Research Officer Edwin Tan said immunotherapy had the potential to change outcomes for patients once they are proven eligible for treatment.

“A tissue sample from each patient needs to be obtained and sent to the United States for testing prior to enrolment,” Edwin said

“If the trial results are favourable, it has the potential to change how we treat all patients with this diagnosis.”

79 year old immunotherapy patient Harold Nunn said the trial was recommended to him after he was diagnosed with an inoperable form of lung cancer and was reluctant to undergo chemotherapy.

“I was diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer, and my body was riddled with tumours from my sternum to my adrenal gland,” Harold said.

“I didn’t want to undergo chemotherapy, so my daughter sought out alternative treatments, and we were told about the clinical trial at FSH.”

Since beginning the trial early this year, two-thirds of Harrold’s cancer has disappeared, and he has seen unbelievable results through consistent treatment.

“I thought I wouldn’t make it to aged 80, but the trial has completely changed my standard of living. I feel like I’m almost back to my regular self.”

FSH is one of two hospital sites in Australia hosting the trial.

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