Skip to Navigation Skip to Search Skip to Content
Search All Centers

Should I Consider a Clinical Trial If I Have Lung Cancer?

Read Transcript Download/Print Transcript

Published on August 3, 2017

[Editor’s note (11/2018): Matt Ellefson passed away after a long battle with lung cancer. Matt was the epitome of what it means to live a purpose-driven life. His work has impacted thousands of people across the world.]

Dr. Alex Spira, Director of the Virginia Cancer Specialist Research Institute and ASCO President Dr. Bruce Johnson, discuss research around promising clinical trials to help patients and care partners learn how to be proactive in order to get tomorrow’s medicine today. Leading patient advocate Matt Ellefson of SURVIVIEiT joins the panel to share his passion and tips for making sure patients advocate for themselves from the start. 

This lung cancer webinar was a SURVIVEiT® program produced in association with US Oncology NetworkVirginia Cancer Specialists and the Precision Medicine for Me initiative and produced by Patient Power. The program was sponsored by SURVIVEiT, a non-profit patient organization, through educational grants they received from Celgene, AbbVie, Foundation Medicine, Novartis and Guardant Health with additional support from Viviphi.

Featuring

Partners

Virginia Cancer Specialists Antidote The US Oncology Network SURVIVEiT

You might also like

Transcript | Should I Consider a Clinical Trial If I Have Lung Cancer?

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That's how you’ll get care that's most appropriate for you.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

Andrew Schorr:

So as Dr. Johnson is talking about, what’s in research or even early research, like you do Phase I trials, what would you say to people about considering being in a trial with the pace of research that’s going on? 

Dr. Spira:               

So the only way we get better treatment is by doing clinical studies. I mean, that’s kind of the bottom line. Occasionally, you hit home runs. And a lot of these targeted therapies, many of my patients, and I’m sure Dr. Johnson’s patients, got when they were on a clinical study. You may have had a hint of activity. You may have had no hint of activity, and it just made sense. They are great options for patients that want to participate. They’re great options for patients who run out of options. I mean, despite our great advances over the last decade, many of our patients still run out of options and are looking for something better. And that’s what they were all about. It’s either gonna be new drugs, new combination immunotherapies, new combinations of targeted therapies. 

But for those patients who are interested, it’s a wonderful opportunity to help fight their cancer and, of course, contribute to science as well.

Andrew Schorr:

Okay. Now, Matt, you’ve been in clinical trials. I have too for blood cancers, but you’ve been in for lung cancer. What would you say to people about that? I mean, a lot of people say, look, is it a gamble? Maybe there’s been a standard therapy that maybe has worked for people, and I want to stick with it, or what would you say? And what was your decision-making about being in a trial? Because a lot of people and family members are afraid of it.

Matt Ellefson:   

You’re absolutely right, Andrew. A lot of people are afraid of it. And what I would tell them is not to be afraid of it, because in today’s day and age, it’s a lot different than it was 20, 30, 40 years ago in a clinical trial, these trials are run very, very safely.

They are oftentimes run in a drug or in an environment where they have an enormous understanding of how this medicine or this drug had performed previously in the lab, and they’ve had some really compelling results with that. And so, it isn’t as big of a risk, I believe, than it was many, many years ago. It’s more like now they’re zeroing in on things, whereas before, some of those clinical trials were more like a shotgun approach. Today, they’re more like a rifle approach. And I wouldn’t hesitate one bit to enter in another clinical trial. They’ve been quite—I’ve done really well with them. And as a matter of fact, I believe that they’ve saved my life twice, and I’m very grateful for the work and the innovation and the research that’s going on by all these doctors and large cancer centers.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.