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Guide To Clinical Trials For Multiple Myeloma Patients – Part 6: Phil’s Trial And Success

By: Saniya Tabani; Published: June 25, 2010 @ 11:17 am | Comments Disabled

This article describes a myeloma patient’s experience participating in a clinical trial. It is part of a series of articles intended to help clarify the clinical trial process.

In August 2008, Phil Brabbs was diagnosed with smoldering myeloma, which most physicians do not treat until symptoms begin and the disease progresses to multiple myeloma. After more than a year of physicians carefully reviewing his blood work, Phil’s smoldering myeloma progressed to multiple myeloma, and his physicians wanted to begin treatment.

Phil’s doctor suggested that he participate in a clinical trial that would test a new combination of myeloma treatments.

“My biggest concern was that I would be part of an unproven treatment that could have negative or dire effects on my health,” said Phil. “I was more concerned about taking the best known treatment for multiple myeloma, rather than signing up for something that was unproven.”

However, Phil’s doctor said that based on early results from the ongoing clinical trial, he recommended that Phil use the clinical trial treatment protocol, regardless of whether Phil qualified for the Phase 1/2 clinical trial at the University of Michigan Cancer Center.

The trial called for treatment with a combination of Revlimid [1] (lenalidomide), Velcade [2] (bortezomib), dexamethasone [3] (Decadron), and Doxil [4] (doxorubicin liposomal).

“Being young, I wanted to take on a treatment that was aggressive and could provide the most positive lasting effects,” said Phil, who is 29 years of age.

Once Phil realized that we would be using this new combination regardless of whether he participated in the clinical trial, the decision to participate was quite easy. Since the chemotherapy drugs were paid for in full as part of the trial, it was as Phil described, “A no brainer.”

In addition, Phil liked that participating in a clinical trial would benefit others as well as himself. “With treatment options for multiple myeloma still very limited, there is an opportunity to be part of the next big advancement of treatment options that could not only positively affect the patient's outcome but also help all future patients and doctors,” he said.

Despite his initial reservations about participating in a trial, Phil decided that the pros of trying a new treatment outweighed the cons.

Signing up for the trial was quite easy. “It was a very simple process of looking over some documents, meeting with my physician’s assistant and oncologist, and signing the forms.” Additionally, several tests were required for the screening process.

“Most of my treatment is at home, but I do go in twice a week for two weeks, then one week off,” said Phil, conveying the convenience of the treatment. He saw his physician about as often as he did before joining the trial. Phil also explained that his lifestyle was not interrupted by the trial and that it allowed him to receive a new combination treatment that had a positive response.

Overall, Phil is happy with his choice to participate in a clinical trial, “The trial is proving to have a better response rate than previous therapies.”

Since completing the clinical trial protocol, Phil has undergone two autologous stem cell transplants. For each transplant, Phil received high-dose melphalan [5] (Alkeran) chemotherapy to kill off the myeloma cells, and then his own stem cells were transplanted back into his blood steam. The Beacon wishes Phil a smooth recovery from his second transplant, which took place on Wednesday.

For more information about Phil and his clinical trial participation, please read a previous Beacon interview [6] with Phil and visit his blog “Multiple Myeloma for Dummies [7].” To learn more about clinical trials, please read the previous articles in the series [8].

If you are interested in sharing your myeloma story, please email us at . We would be happy to hear from myeloma patients, caregivers, and health care providers.

Article printed from The Myeloma Beacon: http://www.myelomabeacon.com

URL to article: http://www.myelomabeacon.com/news/2010/06/25/guide-to-clinical-trials-for-multiple-myeloma-patients-part-6-phils-trial-and-success/

URLs in this post:

[1] Revlimid: http://www.myelomabeacon.com/resources/2008/10/15/revlimid/

[2] Velcade: http://www.myelomabeacon.com/resources/2008/10/15/velcade/

[3] dexamethasone: http://www.myelomabeacon.com/resources/2008/10/15/dexamethasone/

[4] Doxil: http://www.myelomabeacon.com/resources/2008/10/15/doxil/

[5] melphalan: http://www.myelomabeacon.com/resources/2008/10/15/melphalan/

[6] Beacon interview: http://www.myelomabeacon.com/news/2010/02/01/personal-perspective-former-football-star-and-young-father-dominates-cancer-with-optimism-information-and-support/

[7] Multiple Myeloma for Dummies: http://mmfordummies.blogspot.com/

[8] series: http://www.myelomabeacon.com/tag/guide-to-clinical-trials/

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