SEATTLE, Wash. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Results from several clinical trials combining chemo and immunotherapy changed the standard of care for many lung cancer patients last year. The chemo kills the cancer cells, and the drug prompts the immune system to do its job.
Rider, snowboarder and climber Jim Brown still tears it up on his electronic mountain bike. Today, with daughter, Isabella.
“I’m the last person in the world that people would think would get lung cancer. And it was pretty shocking,” said Brown.
Carcinogen exposure from Brown’s 25-year firefighting career is blamed for his stage four adenocarcinoma lung cancer, diagnosed in 2015. He enrolled in Keynote 21, a trial that added Keytruda to standard chemo for some participants. He didn’t get the Keytruda, but the chemo kept his disease stable for 22 months. Christina S. Baik MD, MPH, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance at University of Washington School of Medicine helped with the combination drug trial, which became the standard of care for many lung cancer patients last year.
“All patients who don’t have a specific genetic mutation are receiving this drug combination of chemo and pembrolizumab as first treatment," said Dr. Baik.
Brown does have a genetic mutation. He entered a trial for lorlatinib, a targeted drug that got FDA approval soon after.
“It’s progression of medicine, and unless people are willing to do clinical trials, we can’t move forward,” said Brown.
“This is a mechanism by which patients are getting treatment of tomorrow. I think that’s one thing that we like to say here, that you’re getting a treatment of tomorrow,” stated Dr. Baik.
Brown is already in another trial comparing blood markers to CT scans to track disease progression.
Brown is still working in the firehouse. He is passionate about educating other firefighters on how to minimize exposure to carcinogens. Dr. Baik says many patients don’t benefit from these drug combinations, so there’s lots of room for research there.