First North American patient receives experimental drug to treat breast cancer

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St. Luke's Hospital Breast Cancer Treatment

The first North American patient to be treated with Radium 223 (Xofigo®) or placebo for a metastatic breast cancer diagnosis, has started treatment at Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa, as part of an innovative clinical research study.

Radium 223 (Xofigo®) was FDA approved approximately one year ago to treat prostate cancer, resistant to medical or surgical treatments that lower testosterone and has spread to bones, but not to other parts of the body. Doctors are currently searching for other cancer fighting applications for this investigational drug, beyond prostate cancers.

Physician’s Clinic of Iowa oncologists William Fusselman, MD, Rasa Buntinas, MD, and Bharat Jengiri, MD, are the principal cooperators in the study. Dr. Fusselman serves as the principal investigator while Dr. Buntinas is the enrolling provider for this patient. The patient did not respond to standard breast cancer therapies, and, after meeting the requirements of the world-wide study, was approved and provided informed consent to receive the investigational drug through the clinical trial. Dr. Buntinas will closely monitor the patient’s health and well-being during the study.

Clinical trials are not new to Cedar Rapids, however, there is a pervasive myth that investigational drugs are only available in large academic settings. This particular trial is available through a partnership among PCI, the Helen G Nassif Community Cancer Center and UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Hospital. Each entity has a role in the patient’s treatment regimen.