Lexington Medical Center plays a leading role in the treatment of lung cancer by enrolling patients in clinical trials and research that use state-of-the-art methods to improve outcomes and save lives.
Lexington Medical Center is participating in several national lung cancer clinical trials. Most of them examine a patient’s genetic markers to determine which type of treatment will be most effective.
Genetic markers are increasingly important in the treatment of cancer. For years, everyone with a particular type of cancer received the same treatment. Today, clinicians are learning that cancer treatment should be tailored toward each individual based on the genetic makeup of his or her cancer. Two of the biggest lung cancer trials Lexington Medical Center is participating in are Lung-MAP and ALCHEMIST.
In the Lung-MAP trial (SWOG S1400), clinicians collect tissue from a lung cancer patient, look at the genetic markers and determine which drug is most appropriate based on the patient’s DNA.
This method of genomic profiling matches patients with treatments that target the mutations driving that person’s cancer.“We’re just at the beginning of discovering these genetic markers,” said Nan Faile, MS, CCRP, research nurse coordinator at Lexington Medical Center. “Eventually, there will probably be hundreds of genetic markers.”
In addition, the Lung-MAP trial uses the science of immunology. That means using new medicines to manipulate the body’s immune system into attacking lung cancer cells. While the body recognizes certain illnesses, such as the common cold or the flu and works to fight them, it does not recognize cancer cells because cancer blocks the immune system. Immunology is changing that.
In the ALCHEMIST trial, researchers examine lung cancer tumors from patients and look for specific alterations in genes that are thought to drive the cancer. Patients who meet specific criteria will receive treatment with drugs that may improve survival rates.
Lexington Medical Center offers a lung cancer screening program for patients with a long smoking history, with the goal of diagnosing the disease in its early stages. When lung cancer is diagnosed later, the mortality rate is as high as 70 percent in the first year. So early detection is key.
“Patients who are diagnosed early may receive a survival benefit they otherwise would not,” Faile said. “We can put their lung cancer in remission.”
To track the effectiveness of the screening program, Lexington Medical Center has begun a Lung Cancer Screening Registry. Patients who receive lung cancer screenings through the hospital’s program and volunteer to participate in the study are entered into it. Lexington Medical Center thanks each patient for their participation in the program. They are crucial to advancing science.
In 2015, five patients were diagnosed with early-stage lung cancer after being screened for lung cancer at Lexington Medical Center. Hospital researchers are tracking their treatment progress.
Additionally, the registry helps clinicians follow up with screening patients even if their test results were normal. National guidelines show that patients who meet criteria for lung cancer screening should be screened three years in a row.
“We want to provide comprehensive research across the spectrum to offer services that would otherwise be unavailable, improve care and see our patients doing better and better,” Faile said.
For more information on clinical trials and the lung cancer screening program at Lexington Medical Center, visit LexMedCancer.com