Lung cancer patients living in the regions of central and northern Wisconsin may be able to benefit from more targeted treatments, as the Marshfield Clinic is going to be part of the Lung Cancer Master Protocol (Lung-MAP) clinical trial dedicated to investigate and provide tailored treatments based on the genetic characteristics of the participants.
The trial will use genomic profiling to establish matches between squamous cell lung cancer patients and investigational treatments intended to target genetic mutations, which are associated with cancer growth and progression.
Marshfield Clinic will be one of the 50 sites across the United States to engage in the clinical trial, and Adedayo Onitilo, Marshfield Clinic’s oncologist and site principal investigator for the study, believes the research and the work of targeting tumour biomarkers may lead to large improvements in the treatment of lung cancer. “Targeted therapy might counteract the biomechanisms of why an individual has cancer,” oncology research director at the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation, Douglas Reding, said in a news release.
Patients enrolled in the study will be examined and assigned to one of the five sub-studies, according to the genetic markers of their tumors. After that, they will be treated with an experimental targeted drug or chemotherapy. “We want to know whether a targeted therapy as a single drug or in combination with chemotherapy will be more effective or less toxic than just chemotherapy,” explained Reding.
In addition, the results of the study are expected to lead to a better access to breakthrough treatments, saving both time and money, even before the testing of experimental drugs. Reding explained that the results, which are planned to occur within the next three years, may influence the treatment of thousands of squamous cell lung cancer patients each year, since the disease is a common type of lung cancer, particularly among smokers, that affects more than 200,000 people every year.
“We don’t have much to treat squamous cell lung cancer at this point in time,” Onitilo added. “If we can find something to treat this type of cancer more effectively, it will have huge implications for the future.” The study is primarily dedicated to advanced-stage lung cancer patients, however, the researchers believe that in the future these findings may impact the treatment of patients in every stage of the disease.
The Marshfield Clinic will start enrolling patients who have been diagnosed with advanced staged squamous cell lung cancer and have suffered a recurrence of the disease after being treated, or who were diagnosed with advanced disease, throughout next year. The recruitment will be conducted with the collaboration of the Gundersen Health System of La Crosse and St. Vincent Regional Cancer Center of Green Bay.
The Lung-MAP trial will take place at the Marshfield Clinic’s Marshfield, Minocqua, Wausau, Wisconsin Rapids, Weston and Rice Lake centers, as well as at the Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire, Ministry Saint Michael’s Hospital in Stevens Point and the James Beck Cancer Center in Rhinelander.
Other facilities have also already announced that are going to participate in the trial, including the Northside Hospital Cancer Institute (NHCI), Atlanta. In fact, the five-year, $160 million trial that will test between five and seven additional drugs is being highly expected and the LUNGevity Foundation recently granted their distinction LUNGevity Heroes to Ellen Sigal, Friends of Cancer Research Chairperson and Founder, and Executive Director Jeff Allen, PhD, for their work with the creation of groundbreaking initiatives such as Lung Cancer Master Protocol (Lung-MAP).