SCAN
NCH
January 2013

Clinical Trials at NCH; Q&A with a Principal Investigator

Each quarter, SCAN will feature an NCH medical staff member who is – or recently has been – a Principal Investigator for a clinical research study conducted right here at Northwest Community Hospital (NCH).

Interested in Research?

Consider how your expertise can benefit and contribute to the medical field, and explore the possibility of submitting a research protocol to the NCH Institutional Review Board.

For more information, contact Kelly Claytor, IRB administrative assistant at 847.618.4376.

Dr. Stephen Nigh

Q&A with Radiation Oncologist, Dr. Stephen Nigh

Study Title: RTOG 0913 Phase I/II Trial of Concurrent Everolimus with Temodar and Radiation followed by Adjuvant Everolimus/Temodar in Newly Diagnosed Glioblastoma.

Overview: A diagnosis of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is no longer a death sentence as individuals can survive for more than a year in many cases. This is a significant change from just a few years ago before clinical research led to improved outcomes through combined radiation and concomitant chemotherapy. Long-term survival is still not very common, however. Further improving the outcome for individuals diagnosed with GBMs is the purpose of this RTOG study. Multidisciplinary involvement by neurosurgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and primary physicians is helping more and more patients get access to clinical trials in the hope of answering important clinical questions and improving peoples' lives.

What is the anticipated benefit of this research?

By adding a VEGF inhibitor like Everolimus to standard postoperative radiation and Temodar, the hope of the study is to improve the survival of patients with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Another endpoint is to determine the efficacy and safety profile of this drug in this patient population.

Why is this an important clinical question to investigate?

It is an important clinical question because of the generally poor prognosis for patients diagnosed with GBMs, even with post-op RT and Temodar. By targeting a specific pathway, it is hypothesized that Everolimus can diminish angiogenesis, or new blood vessel proliferation, leading to tumor cell death and improved patient survival.

Name a medical innovation that changed your perception of medical treatment.

The discovery of Temodar or Temozolomide is a significant medical treatment which came about due to clinical research studies. Prior to the research that showed Temodar improved the survival and progression-free survival in patients with GBM a few years ago, the median survival was less than six months for patients with this diagnosis. Now, many live a year or more with post-op RT and Temodar. Further research is needed to improve survival and quality of life in this patient population. Another fascinating innovation is stereotactic radiotherapy with a technology called CyberKnife. We are now able to treat many patients with brain, lung, spine, pancreas and prostate cancer with ablative doses of radiation with submillimeter precision. The image guided accuracy of this robotic radiosurgery technology is revolutionary.

What is a common obstacle when initiating research and how did you overcome it?

Lack of education is a major obstacle to initiating research. Despite the fact that NCH is a community hospital and not a major academic medical center, there exists a strong interest in further improving medical care through IRB-approved protocols like RTOG 0913. A common obstacle that sometimes prevents individuals from entering into research protocols is the lack of education about what studies may be available. Because of the dedication of our IRB and the many physicians and nurses who enroll patients, the hope is that NCH will continue to be a leader in providing the latest scientifically available treatment options for patients diagnosed with various forms of cancer.


Enhancing Care through Research

For more than 30 years, doctors, nurses and other medical professionals have been conducting clinical trials and research studies at NCH. It's part of our shared commitment to deliver patients with high quality care and access to the latest treatments, therapies and technologies.

Medical research contributes to advancements in the medical field by increasing the understanding of various illnesses, injuries, devices, and implants. It also creates expanded knowledge of medical processes and the patient experience. Furthermore, research may also generate community awareness of participating physicians who are involved with progressive medical techniques.

For more information about clinical trials and research at NCH, contact Kelly Claytor, IRB administrative assistant at 847.618.4376.

Did You Know?

NCH recently launched a new section on its website about research and clinical trials, which includes a database of current and recently completed studies. Visit www.nch.org/research.