Last-minute entry into global trial stops metastatic throat cancer in its tracks

Thursday, May 5, 2016 - 3:12pm

Darrell Karnes was lucky to get in under the wire on the last day a clinical trial for the targeted therapy, panitumumab, was accepting participants. “I’d been diagnosed with metastatic throat cancer and had completed radiation,” says Darrell, who is beyond grateful for the intense efforts of NSHA staff to get him signed on to the trial. “I didn’t do well on the chemotherapy that followed and there weren’t many options.”

That was in 2009. Darrell has made the two-hour drive from Bridgetown to Halifax every three weeks for the treatment, ever since, in addition to regular trips to Kentville for CT scans to monitor his much-shrunken lesions. “They make me feel really at home,” he says of the staff in both locations. “I’m feeling good—the only side effect is a bit of an itchy rash and I have to get to bed early.”

“It’s gratifying to see Mr. Karnes doing so well on this therapy,” says Kara Bursey, RN, the ACCRU research coordinator who oversees Darrell’s participation in the trial. “At the same time, the drug company is learning so much about the long-term effectiveness and effects of this medication, which is such valuable information for clinicians all around the world.”