Dr. Steven Sugarman with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s facility in Commack is making a difference in cancer patient’s lives. Sugarman was recently showcased along with a breast cancer patient Mariso Florio of Middle Island, NY, on the power of identifying and participating in the right clinical trial. With a stage 4 diagnosis with a golf-ball-sized tumor in the left breast, the outlook wasn’t good for Ms. Florio. However, upon securing a second opinion with Dr. Sugarman, she joined a clinical trial that has made a material difference in her life—to the point where she can describe her situation as a “miracle.” Currently, Memorial Sloan Kettering is conducting 33 clinical trials involving investigational breast cancer treatments on Long Island alone, at the Commack and Uniondale as well as at the Nassau Hub. Of course, their flagship center in Manhattan also has important available studies.
Recently, Ms. Florio got the attention of TrialSite thanks to the piece authored by David Reich-Hale with Newsday.
The Investigational Treatment
As Newsday reported, Ms. Florio was looking at a major surgery but Dr. Sugarman of MSK suggested another pathway: a clinical trial. She would face a regimen involving 40 weeks of chemotherapy and the use of powerful advanced therapy known as immunotherapy. This class of drug actually uses the patient’s own immune system to identify and combat the cancer.
Ms. Florio recently declared, “I’m a miracle” continuing, “In all reality, I shouldn’t be here.” She was fortunate that Dr. Sugarman from MSK intervened and introduced a different approach. TrialSite has seen many such stories around the nation and the world. There are many clinical trials in oncology that can save and even extend lives for long periods of time. Of all the cancer patients in the United States, only a small percentage ever participate in a clinical trial. TrialSite News showcases these stories to heighten the awareness about research and the miracles that can bring to people’s lives. Ms. Florio is a living example.
The Specific Breast Cancer Trial
Apparently, according to the recent report out of Newsday, Dr. Sugarman identified Ms. Florio’s cancer as HER2-posiitve breast cancer. As it turns out, Reich-Hale says that “HER2-positive tumors test positive for a specific protein that promotes the growth of cancer cells.”
Sugarman commented, “Several of my stage 4 patients who have gone on this trial have done extremely well, and have no signs of cancer.”
Other New York-based Research as Care Options
Newswise introduces other health centers hosting breast cancer trials in the New York area including:
- Northwell Health (Hyde Park): they are conducting between 20 and 30 breast cancer trials led by Dr. Jane Carleton, associate chief of clinical affairs at the health system’s Monter Cancer Center.
- NY Langone (NYC): this center is conducting about 15 breast cancer trials, reports Dr. Sylvia Adams, director of the breast cancer center at the Perlmutter Cancer Center.
- Catholic Health Services: This group operates six hospitals in the region with expanded cancer care services most recently. They recently became a research affiliate of Buffalo-based Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and hence are now offering more trials, reports Dr. Bhoomi Mehrotra, chair of cancer services for Catholic Health Services.
Steven Sugarman, MD, regional care network medical site director, Memorial Sloan Kettering, Commack
Jane Carleton, MD, associate chief of clinical affairs at the health system’s Monter Cancer Center
Sylvia Adams, MD, director of the breast cancer center at the Perlmutter Cancer Center
Bhoomi Mehrotra, MD, chair of cancer services for Catholic Health Services.
Call to Action: If you reside in the NYC or Long Island area and have a loved one diagnosed with a cancer, consider getting a second opinion at Memorial Sloan Kettering