Cancer breakthrough would save patients from chemo
Scientist says chemo doesn't work for more than half of cancer patients
Posted: Sep 7, 2012 10:36 AM ET
Last Updated: Sep 7, 2012 11:40 AM ET
A Sudbury research scientist is trying to find a way to save some cancer patients from painful chemotherapy if it's not going to help them anyway.
Dr. Amadeo Parissenti said chemotherapy doesn't work for more than half of cancer patients, but most are still put through the grueling process just in case it does work. Parissenti is working on a diagnostic tool to indicate ahead of time just who will benefit from the treatment.
"As the population continues to age, we can't afford to be providing treatments where the majority of patients don't benefit from the treatment just because a minority will, but we don't know who that minority is," Parissenti said.
"For those who aren't responding to therapy, we might as well get them off therapy — the sooner the better. They can be switched to other therapies," he said.
New research institute planned
Meanwhile, the research budget has been slow to grow at the Northeast Cancer Centre, but a new focus at the hospital in Sudbury could change that.
Dr. Francisco Diaz-Mitoma is the vice-president of research at Health Sciences North.
"The future is a brand new research enterprise in the form of a research institute. The goal is to do translational medicine. Translational means we are finding solutions to the main health problems of this community," Diaz-Mitoma said.
Diaz-Mitoma says the new institute will officially launch next month, something he hopes will be the start of attracting new minds — and dollars — to the north.
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