TAPUR: When Chemo Stops Working

In Clinical Trials by Barbara Jacoby

From: ksat.com

MIAMI, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Finding out you have cancer is scary enough. But if the doctor says it’s stage 4 then you know it’s life-threatening. A nationwide study changed the life of one woman who was told she was ready for hospice.

Anita Shangvi has battled breast cancer since 2007.

Shangvi said, “First recurrence was 2011.”

Then three years ago she found out the cancer had spread.

Shangvi continued, “It went to the lungs and I was shot into stage 4.”

Carmen Calfa, MD, Breast Medical Oncologist, Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine, and Associate Director of Community Outreach Breast Cancer Program at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center in Plantation says the problem is when standard treatments stop working.

“So, patients go through several lines of therapy because what happens is cancer outsmarts us unfortunately,” said Dr. Calfa.

Now there’s hope for stage 4 cancer patients who’ve run out of treatment options. It’s called the TAPUR study.

Dr. Calfa explained, “So it’s basically using a drug that has an FDA approval for a different cancer type.”

Study participants go through genomic testing to determine the specific mutation of their tumor. The study then matches the patient to a targeted therapy already on the market for a different cancer.

“It will look to see if it’s efficacious, if it works, if it’s safe, what are your side effects,” said Dr. Calfa.

Shangvi qualified for the study and is now getting an investigational therapy for her metastatic breast cancer.

Shangvi said, “Fourteen months later I’m here talking to you guys!”

Shangvi gets an infusion every three weeks. She’s still in the battle of her life but now feels she’s got a fighting chance.

“It has given me that optimism, it has put me back in the game. And you know what, I have a chance here,” said Shangvi.

Allowing daughter Tasha to spend more time with her mom.

The TAPUR study is sponsored by the American Society of Clinical Oncology and is open to patients with other advanced cancers. There are more than 100 sites in 20 states offering the TAPUR study. To find out more please visit www.tapur.org and http://med.miami.edu/news/sylvester-is-sole-florida-site-for-tapur-clinical-trial.

Contributors to this news report include: Janna Ross, Field Producer; Judy Reich, Videographer; Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Hayley Hudson, Assistant Producer; Robert Walko, Editor.