Life-changing clinical trials are closer than you may think
Rudy Jones is a man on the go. If the Louisville native is not playing tennis with a friend, he may be skiing or riding go-karts with his grandson. If you can catch Jones in one place long enough to ask him where someone should go for the best cancer care and research possible, he will tell you it’s right here in our own backyard.
Jones, age 63, was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2015. After he received a regimen of aggressive chemotherapy at Norton Cancer Institute, tests showed the treatment was not working and the cancer had spread to other areas, including his lungs. Jones was able to enroll in an immunotherapy clinical trial run by Arash Rezazadeh, M.D., medical oncologist, Norton Cancer Institute.
According to Jones, the results have been “phenomenal.” His follow-up scans are promising, and his quality of life is first-rate.
Many people may be familiar with immunotherapy as the form of treatment used to target former President Jimmy Carter’s cancer. Experts like Dr. Rezazadeh describe immunotherapy and targeted molecular treatments as evolving and exciting fields in cancer treatment.
The dual approaches are akin to two sides of the same coin. Immunotherapy taps into the power of the body’s natural defense system to destroy cancer cells. Targeted therapy allows oncologists to offer “personalized medicine” based on the individual characteristics of each person’s specific cancer.
Researchers see great promise in these approaches for shifting cancer from a life-threatening disease to a chronic illness that can be managed with daily medication. Ongoing research, such as the clinical trial that helped Jones, is critical to moving various types of targeted cancer therapies forward.
Only 5 percent of patients who could benefit from taking part in a clinical trial sign up for this type of research. Norton Cancer Institute would like to see it become the norm for every patient to ask, “What type of clinical trial do you have for me?”
Jones encourages anyone diagnosed with cancer to consider clinical trials. He says he’s “truly been blessed” and is grateful to all those — doctors, nurses, technicians, admission staff, and even the valets who park patients’ cars — who have been part of giving him the best care possible.
Want to learn more about Jones and his journey to becoming cancer-free? Check out this WLKY news story.
If you are interested in learning more about research at Norton Healthcare, call (502) 629-3449.