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YOUR HEALTH: A new FDA-approved study helps cancer patients whose treatments aren’t working

MIAMI, Florida – There`s new hope for cancer patients whose treatments have stopped working.

It's helping people like Anita Shangvi who has battled breast cancer since 2007.

"First recurrence was 2011."

Then three years ago she found out the cancer had spread.

"It went to the lungs and I was shot into stage four."

Dr. Carmen Calfa at the University of Miami says the problem is when standard treatments stop working.

"So patients go through several lines of therapy because what happens is cancer outsmarts us unfortunately," said Dr. Calfa, a breast medical oncologist.

Now there's hope for stage four cancer patients who've run out of treatment options.

It's called the TAPUR Study.

"So it's basically using a drug that has an FDA approval for a different cancer type," explained Dr. Calfa.

Study participants go through genomic testing to determine the specific mutation of their tumor.   The study then matches the patient to a targeted therapy already on the market for a different cancer.

"It will look to see if it's efficacious, if it works, if it's safe, what are your side effects," Dr. Calfa said.

Anita qualified for the study and is now getting an investigational therapy for her metastatic breast cancer.

"Fourteen months later I'm here talking to you guys!"

Anita gets an infusion every three weeks.   She's still in the battle of her life but now feels she's got a fighting chance.

"It has given me that optimism, it has put me back in the game. As you know what, I have a chance here."

The TAPUR Study is sponsored by the American Society of Clinical Oncology and is open to patients with other advanced cancers.

The nearest to the Quad Cities is the Cancer Treatment Center of America in the Chicago suburb of Zion.

There are more than 100 sites in 20 states offering the Tapur study.

NEW RESEARCH:   The Targeted Agent and Profiling Utilization Registry (TAPUR) Study is researching whether drugs that are FDA approved for certain indications would work in treating other types of cancer based on tumor's specific genomic variation.

If this story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Jim Mertens at jim.mertens@wqad.com or Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at mthomas@ivanhoe.com.

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