St John of God Murdoch Hospital is the only hospital in Western Australia conducting a trial investigating a new combination of immune-based treatments to treat metastatic gastric and gastroesophageal junction cancer.
Lead Investigator Professor Kynan Feeney says the study is testing the effectiveness, safety and tolerability of a combination of new immunotherapy drugs.
“We are comparing the effects of these two drugs with chemotherapy and the early results are promising,” Professor Feeney says.
“Some patients on the immune-based treatment have seen signs of early tumour shrinkage and control.”
This is a global, multicentre trial in which 870 patients 18 years of age or over were recruited, of which 28 patients were recruited at St John of God Murdoch Hospital.
Patients were screened for other health issues that may have interfered with the treatment. Cancer tissue was sent to a laboratory in the United States to be analysed and tested for immune-based predictive tests to help predict which tumours may respond better to immunotherapy than other treatments.
Professor Feeney has recently started another trial which is using a combination of new immune-boosting medications that target gastric cancer cells in a stronger way than current immune-based treatments. It is the first study of its type in Australia using these new molecules.
Why should I join a clinical research trial?
There are many benefits to joining a clinical trial. Patients are able to access new medications, many of which are not available, even with a private payment. Many of these medications are costly, often over $100,000 per year but on a trial, they are completely free.
Patients receive closer monitoring as there is regular rigorous and thorough testing to determine the effectiveness of the new medication. Plus, a dedicated team consisting of a specialist cancer nurse and trials manager, will help not only in any aspects of the trial, but also with the patient’s overall cancer journey.
When you join a clinical trial, you are also contributing to the current body of knowledge and helping to further the advancements of medicine, creating better health outcomes for our communities.