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New Treatment for Advanced Anal Cancer

cap630
Posts: 150
Joined: Jul 2011

My oncologist, Dr. Howard Safran, was recently on a segment of WJAR NBC 10 discussing a new treatment for advanced anal cancer. At my office visit last week he was excited to share the success of treating advanced anal cancer patients with the HPV vaccine in addition to radiation and chemo.   Although the treatment would not have been used on me, I just wanted to get the information out on the board.  

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 2894
Joined: Jan 2010

Thanks for posting this!  I am going to see if I can find any info about it.

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

That is confusing. I was told that once a peron has contracted the HPV virus, there is no treatment and that the vaccine is useless.

What hospital is Dr. Safran affiliated with?

cap630
Posts: 150
Joined: Jul 2011

He is associated with Brown Medical School, Rhode Island Hospital and The Miriam Hospital in Providence, RI.

 

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

Thanks for the information....

cap630
Posts: 150
Joined: Jul 2011

It's only been a few months since Michael Grando was diagnosed with anal cancer.

"Symptoms are bleeding and pain," he said.

Often people, like Grando, dismiss the symptoms as hemorrhoids. But then he noticed it was getting worse and not better.

Grando's cancer was advanced. So he underwent chemo and radiation therapies plus surgery.

"The nice thing about anal cancer is even when they're in the later stages, they still are very amenable to treatment," said Dr. Matthew Vrees of The Miriam Hospital.

The cure rate is anywhere between 50 and 80 percent depending how advanced the cancer is. And it can recur, making it very difficult to treat.

Grando has been meeting with Dr. Howard Safran, a researcher and oncologist with The Miriam Hospital and Rhode Island Hospital.

He offered Grando, in addition to the traditional treatments, something new and experimental -- an HPV vaccine.

"Human papilloma virus causes three kinds of cancer. It causes cervical, anal cancer, and certain types of head and neck cancer," Safran said.

This is not the vaccine that's used to prevent cervical cancer. This experimental vaccine is designed to fight anal cancer.

"Our hope is that the vaccine will stimulate the immune system to attack the cancer cells and increase the cure rate in patients with more advanced disease," Safran said.

The Brown University oncology research group coordinates the clinical cancer research. Founding hospitals, like Rhode Island Hospital, administer the treatments.

Grando is halfway through his HPV vaccine treatment. It's administered intravenously every month.

"I'm feeling a lot better than I did," he said.

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 2894
Joined: Jan 2010

Thanks so much for posting this, as I couldn't find anything on a google search.  It's very interesting.  As stated in the excerpt, this HPV vaccine is different than the one given to adolescents to prevent disease.  I hope more information about the results of this treatment will become available in time.

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

Did you have this treatment? Is it a clinical trial? I would be a little wary of putting HPV vaccine into my body at this point. I am wondering if it has been shown to work? I would also be very wary of RI Hospital. It has a poor reputation for cancer survival.

cap630
Posts: 150
Joined: Jul 2011

The treatment is experimental and as explained in my original post it would not have been used on me.

It is for advanced anal cancer.  The hospitals in Rhode Island train some of the best doctors to come out on Brown University. I work with them everyday.

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