Updated: Wednesday, 25 Feb 2009, 7:49 PM EST
Published : Wednesday, 25 Feb 2009, 2:47 PM EST
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Susan Umberger, 65, retired in 2007. She discovered she had ovarian cancer one month later.
Susan first tried traditional therapy treatments such as chemotherapy and surgery, but found that they were not effective in treating her cancer. Umberger, however, had heard about an experimental treatment known as EC 145.
"I've known about the research for long time because we know one of the professors that works with it. Never thinking I would need to call upon it," she said.
Susan joined a trial of EC 145 in August 2008.
This treatment is particularly meant to aid women with drug resistant ovarian cancer.
It does this, according to Endocyte President Ron Ellis, by targeting cancer cells while avoiding normal cells, which makes it different from other treatments and a potential medical breakthrough.
"So if you think of chemotherapy as bombs that kill cancer cells but also can affect healthy cells, these are smart bombs that basically deliver the chemotherapy agent specifically to the tumor cells and try to spare as much as possible side effects from the healthy cells," said Dr. Wael Harb.
It is also less time consuming and taxing on the body than some traditional treatments. Traditional chemotherapy treatments can take up to five hours. Treatments with EC 145 take only five minutes, and many in the trial find few side effects.
After six months in the study, Susan Umberger and her husband, David Umberger, are very pleased with their experience of the treatment.
"Every time we do the cat scan - which is every 8 weeks - it's reduced. And the first one was the most dramatic. It went down about 50 percent," said Susan.
"Chemo knocks you for a loop, this does not. The day after, no side effects, she's not nauseous, there's no hair loss, she's up and around, she maintains full strength," said her husband, David.
EC 145 will move into the next phase of trial where it will be combined with traditional chemotherapy to determine if the effectiveness improves.
"We hope this helps the research and continues to provide a drug that will then help other people," said Susan.
Eventually, this drug, developed and tested in the Lafayette area, could become a standard life-saving treatment in cancer care.
Individuals interested in taking part in the study can contact:
Horizon Oncology Center
1345 Unity Place, Suite 345
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