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New Drug Could Be Powerful Step In Battle With Ovarian Cancer

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Ovarian cancer is one of the hardest cancers to treat. Even if a woman does survive it, there's a chance it will come back even stronger. An experimental drug may be a powerful weapon in battling ovarian cancer the second time around.

The news was devastating eight years ago, when Jayne Beaumont learned she had ovarian cancer. She had surgery and chemotherapy right away.

"I was in remission for a little over three years, never expecting it was going to recur," she said.

Beaumont went back on chemo, but like many ovarian cancer survivors, her tumor became resistant to the cancer-fighting drugs.

"The problem with the recurrent ovarian cancer is that it's really hard to treat and to cure and the response rates to chemotherapy that we have now tend to be low partly because of the resistance problem," said Dr. Linda Duska.

Beaumont decided to try an experimental drug called Telcyta. It is used with chemotherapy to create a one-two punch against cancer.

"I know that the drugs working together have kept my cancer at bay," she said.

When ovarian cancer recurs, it can come back more powerful and able to resist chemotherapy. Telcyta works by breaking down that resistance, allowing the chemo to get in and kill cancer cells.

"The rates were phenomenal. They were really high, over 50 percent response which is a really high response rate to see in recurrent disease," Duska said.

Several sites around the country are now testing the drug. If the results stay positive, Telcyta could be available to the public in about a year. UNC is among the North Carolina sites participating in the clinical trials for Telcyta.


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