Forsyth Medical Center participating in Avastin trial for new glioblastoma patients

July 08, 2009

Winston-Salem, N.C. - The Derrick L. Davis Forsyth Regional Cancer Center at Forsyth Medical Center is participating in a national trial of the experimental drug Avastin to treat glioblastoma, a fast-growing tumor of the brain or spinal cord.

Forsyth Regional Cancer Center (FRCC) is participating in the third phase of the trial, testing the effectiveness of Avastin in conjunction with standard chemotherapy and radiation treatments for patients newly diagnosed with glioblastoma. This phase of the trial will enroll 700 participants nationwide, and FRCC is one of the first sites in the country to participate. The trial is part of the hospital's neurosciences program.

"Avastin has been shown to be effective in treating various types of cancer, with a low risk of serious side effects, so our hope is that it will improve outcomes for patients with brain tumors when it is added to standard-of-care treatments," says Volker Stieber, M.D., a radiation oncologist at the FRCC. "Phase III is the highest level of research for a drug, so we are excited to be part of a study that could advance treatment for patients with this type of cancer."

In May, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of Avastin to treat glioblastomas that have not responded to other therapies based on results from two Phase II studies that showed Avastin reduced tumor size in some glioblastoma patients. The new study evaluates this drug in newly diagnosed, never-treated glioblastoma patients.

Glioblastoma is the most common and most aggressive type of primary brain tumor in humans, accounting for about half of all primary brain tumor cases. Despite its prevalence, however, glioblastomas occur in only two to three cases per 100,000 people in North America and Europe. In Forsyth County, three out of four patients diagnosed with glioblastoma are diagnosed at Forsyth Medical Center.

The FRCC is currently screening patients for enrollment in the clinical trial. Eligible patients may qualify if they are newly diagnosed adults able to undergo partial removal of their tumors. Once enrolled, participants will remain in the study for up to one year.
For more information, call the Derrick L. Davis Forsyth Regional Cancer Center at 336-277-8887.

Forsyth Medical Center

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