The MATCH Study: Mindfulness And Tai chi for Cancer Health. This innovative clinical trial conducted by the University of Calgary/Tom Baker Cancer Centre and the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre is now recruiting cancer survivors! As a participant you get to choose which treatment approach you want, or let us assign you to a group if you are equally interested in both. We will measure program effects on psychological, physical and biological outcomes including quality of life, mood, stress, balance, blood pressure, heart rate, immune function and more! Visit www.thematchstudy.ca for more details.
by Dr. Linda E. Carlson, Study Principal Investigator
Expanded access, or “compassionate use,” allows patients and their physicians to request from pharmaceutical medical products (drugs, devices, biologics) that have not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). There are several steps you and your doctor must take to get access to an unapproved medication, according to the FDA’s Expanded Access Program.
When I started my fellowship in medical oncology in 2009, there were 2 inalienable truths.
First, as we assessed the weaponry we could deploy against cancer, we identified only three angles of attack: surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. The first two were, in essence, local therapies, effective only where the scalpel or the high-energy beam was directed respectively to excise or ionize a tumor. Chemo was different because it was systemic, diffusely delivered, and the exclusive armamentarium of the medical oncologist, whose expertise lay in administering chemicals to poison malignant cells while trying to limit collateral damage to the host’s normal tissues. If the cancer signified weeds in the garden, this was akin to dispensing pesticides artfully enough to preserve the good plants. But it was hard to avoid a black thumb. Wistfully we hoped for a more discriminating way to stymie the growth of the bad actors, envious of the targeted aim of our colleagues in surgical & radiation oncology.
Participation in a clinical trial is, ideally, a two-way street. The patient potentially stands to gain therapeutic benefit while the researchers learn about the efficacy and toxicity of the intervention under study. This post on the New York Times Well blog highlights concern about a lack of transparency in reporting the outcomes of trials, even if they generated negative results or, to quote Susan Gubar, “adverse consequences.”