About three dozen people came to learn about the Phase 1 New Therapeutics Program at the University of Arizona Cancer Center on Thursday, July 28, during an Open House at the center’s North Campus outpatient clinic, 3838 N. Campbell Ave., that featured Daruka Mahadevan, MD, PhD, director of the UACC Phase I Clinical Trials Program.
“We had over 35 people in attendance and a very positive response from the attendees,” said Margaret Eller RN, an oncology nurse navigator with the program who coordinates the open house events.
Dr. Mahadevan, who joined the UA College of Medicine – Tucson faculty in January, also is a professor of medicine, director of the New Therapeutics Program and co-chair of the Therapeutic Development Program at the UA Cancer Center.
In his presentation, he included an explanation of how clinical trials function, reviewed a number of current types of therapies as well as those being evaluated, and how newer approaches draw on genetic biomarkers to develop more precision medicine solutions in the future.
“My key message was that new, exciting and cutting-edge anti-cancer drugs are making a big difference to cancer patient survival through early phase clinical trials,” he said. “And the UACC Phase I Program is bringing these novel drugs to Tucson for our patients.”
Among questions from the audience, Dr. Mahadevan said listeners sought more information regarding clinical trials, demystifying clinical trials, liquid biopsies, early referral to trials and more knowledge about how these drugs work.
In one slide, he included a quote from a patient offering their perspective: “We who are struggling to escape cancer do not, obviously, want to die of it. We do prefer death in the struggle to life under cancer’s untender rule. The enemy is not pain or even death, which will come in any eventuality. The enemy is cancer, and we want it defeated and destroyed… This is how I wanted to die—not a suicide and not passively, but eagerly in the struggle.”
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