I am surrounded by friends who are battling cancer. Two are waging fairly epic battles with Stage IV colon cancer. Recently I was supposed to be on a beach in Ventura celebrating the birthday of one of these friends. But every time I started to plan my day around this event, something said I needed to go to the "Fighting Cancer in Santa Monica" lecture being held at the same time at the Santa Monica Public Library.
As a Superhero of Love, I'm always honing my super-hearing, listening to those little whispers and inspirations that sometimes don't make sense. Somehow I knew that this lecture by René Hubert, Ph.D. was going to be important.
When Dr. Hubert was just 15 years old he decided he wanted to cure cancer. His dream led him to get a Ph.D. in molecular biology, and to work for Agensys, a biotech company in Santa Monica on the cutting edge of cancer technology. His early work there allowed him to identify over 120 genes in cancer cells. Today he is in the business of generating antibodies that can be used like top gun fighter jets loaded with teeny tiny chemo missiles that go directly into the cancer cells, avoiding healthy cells altogether. Can you imagine a cancer treatment that is delivered solely to the enemy cells, and allows the friendly normal cells to thrive?
My distrust of the pharmaceutical industry has run deep over the years as I saw it fail many and bankrupt some in my circle. So, I was eager to hear another side of the big pharma story coming with consummate compassion from the gentle genius Dr. Hubert. Laboratories around the globe are filled with scientists like him, some with the same childhood dream. When they come up with an idea for a medicine, it takes many years and can cost over a billion dollars to bring it through the years of trials and testing required. Some can make their way through the system only to be rejected by the FDA in the final phase.
Two crucial steps on this long and arduous road are the two phases of clinical trials - first on a limited basis, then more widespread. On average only 2 percent of cancer patients participate in clinical trials.
While all of Dr. Hubert's antibody missiles are still at various points on the long road to market, none have yet arrived. So when he receives calls from friends battling cancer, he tells them to go to clinicaltrials.gov, which is the U.S. National Institutes of Health website which houses the list of all clinical trials available in the world (not just for cancer).
It is incredibly easy to search the site for a specific cancer, read about the trial, determine eligibility, and email the recruiting doctor. I did a search for open studies for colon cancer patients and found 985 results.
If I had cancer I would want to know everything at my disposal to beat it and I would want all the support I could get. When part of a clinical trial the patient's care tends to be excellent as they monitor participants so closely. These doctors are invested in your care and welfare. Also, there is often very little wait time to get into a trial.
So, please pass this post on to those in your orbit. Cancer rates are only rising, so we need to have patients as armed and dangerous as possible to wage the war that will bring them back in a state of peace and health.
Tell your friends that there are peaceful warriors like Dr. Hubert who spend their days fighting on their behalf with great passion and compassion. One of them may have the right clinical trial for them. I am hoping there's one for the birthday girl or one of my other dear friends who are on the front lines with this disease.
If you want to read more about cutting edge cancer treatments on the horizon for even the most difficult cancers to treat, check out the press releases for the conference Dr. Hubert attended last week with the American Association for Cancer Research, here.