Eugene (KMTR) - There is no longer a one-size-fits-all approach to cancer treatment. Even among women with the same type of cancer, there can be different triggers; different things that turn the cancers on and off. Researchers are now paving the way for more personalized treatment through clinical trials.
Toolie Kable is a breast cancer survivor. She admits she had gotten complacent about getting regular mammograms. Then she found a lump herself. Fortunately, the cancer was in its early stages.
Toolie became part of a radiation study at the Willamette Valley Cancer Institute and Research Center (WVCI) in Eugene. She says she is more than happy to be part of a study that will create better treatment for other women, since it was clinical trials that helped create the treatment she has received.
“In the past, when you had a small tumor like this, they'd just take everything—muscle lymph nodes—jut take everything,” Kable says. “So this treatment gives a woman a chance to keep intact, which I am. I have a mall scar and have as much chance as a woman who had the total radical mastectomy. It gives her the same chance of not having a reoccurrence”
Doctors at WVCI are currently involved in about a half dozen breast cancer research studies locally. Many are showing promise, including one involving Herceptin, which Toolie Kable is receiving.
Dr. Jeff Sharman, a WVCI researcher, says Herceptin is an antibody that's been engineered to help the body fight off breast cancer. “It goes after a target called HER2, which is one of these key drivers in breast cancer. And by treating the cancer with an antibody, it recruits the whole immune system to fight off the cancer,” explained Dr. Sharman.
Several of these studies have led to drugs that have been approved by the FDA—or soon will be—to go after HER2.