17-year-old Rebecca has Osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer that spread to her lungs and required aggressive chemotherapy. Chemo is a lifesaver but can trigger a lot of side effects.
Here's what's new...Rebecca is part of a clinical study trying a new type of chemotherapy. Instead of an I.V., she inhales a mist of chemotherapy, so it goes directly into the lungs with fewer side effects.
"Inhalation chemotherapy is a means of targeting chemotherapy that it goes selectively to the lungs and has much lower concentrations in the blood stream," says Dr. Richard Gorlick, a pediatric oncologist.
Patients get this treatment in a tent to keep the drug from escaping into the air. So far, researchers have found a 25 percent increase in the amount of chemotherapy that goes to the lungs, compared to levels there when chemo is given through an I.V.
Only seven centers are trying this right now, none in Texas. The phase one trial of inhaled cisplatin is ongoing at these centers: Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital in Columbus, Richard J. Solove Research Institute in Columbus, the University of Chicago, the University of Wisconsin, Yale University, and the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda.