Dr. Camidge on Lifesaving Lung Cancer Clinical TrialsJun 11, 2021
Cancer care at the University of Colorado Cancer center has come a long way, as evidenced by the fact that it boasts one of the highest percentages of lung cancer patients recruited into clinical trials among major cancer centers in the U.S.
Dr. Ross Camidge, professor with the division of medical oncology, and director of thoracic oncology at the University of Colorado notes that people are not just put on any trial, in fact, most trials are turned down. “We try to pick the winners, using the trials to get our patients access to the best new treatments long before they are widely available" says Dr. Camidge. Trials have led to FDA approval of both Crizotinib and Brigatinib, medicines that thousands of patients take to manage their non-small cell lung cancer.
"There have been multiple advances in the management of lung cancer." says Dr. Camidge "The big ones were not treating it as one disease and finding molecular subtypes, but even within that, there are nuances. Recognizing that keeping a close eye on the cancer such that if progression occurs you catch it at a very early stage of progression and you can be very aggressive about using radiation. We were among the pioneers in that"
Dr. Camidge goes on to add that thanks to these advanced approaches and treatments, doctors no longer look at lung cancer as an automatic death sentence.
“It’s no longer about, ‘Give me something, because I’m about to die from the cancer — the side effects don’t matter,’” he says. “Our goal is perfect control of cancer and perfect quality of life. Maybe we don’t always achieve that goal, but as we keep people alive for potentially decades now, that should be our priority.”