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The Promise Of Cancer Gene Therapy For The Treatment Of Lung Cancer Free Seminar April 16 Greenwich
ACGT presents free seminar on The Promise of Cancer Gene Therapy for Lung Cancer with top cancer specialist Dr. Jack Roth, April 16, 7:15 p.m., Bruce Museum, Greenwich, Conn. RSVP 203-358-8000 ext. 349 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Roth will be discussing lung cancer research, clinical trials, the prognosis for gene therapy, and in addition, what is gene therapy and why gene therapy is seen as one of the leading treatments in the future of treating lung cancer. As part of this program, Connie Burnett-West, a lung cancer survivor who was treated with cancer gene therapy, will tell her story at the event. After being told she only had a few months to live in 1999, and receiving cancer gene therapy in 2000, Ms. West has been cancer-free for eight years. Both Dr. Roth and Ms. West will available for discussion at the end of the seminar.
“ACGT is privileged to have Dr. Roth visit Greenwich to talk about advancements in lung cancer treatment,” said Barbara Netter, co-founder of ACGT and a Greenwich resident. “Dr. Roth is one of the top physicians in the country in the field of cancer gene therapy. To be able to bring him here to speak is a rare treat and we are pleased to be able to offer this opportunity to the public.” Netter noted that providing the community with opportunities to broaden their knowledge concerning options in cancer treatment is extremely important. Some people, when diagnosed, don’t know where to turn. Holding public forums like this one gives people an informed foundation to find the best treatment. This is the second public education seminar that ACGT has held. The first was in January and dealt with the scientific advancements in ovarian and breast cancer.
The focus of Dr. Roth’s studies has been the genetic events involved in lung carcinogenesis, and the therapies that might be developed to target them. He was the principal investigator for the first tumor suppressor gene therapy clinical trials approved by the National Institutes of Health Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee, and the Food and Drug Administration, after showing the feasibility and efficacy of this treatment in pre-clinical studies. This approach was further advanced when his work with the p53 tumor suppressor gene became the first gene therapy approved for human use when it was approved by the China State FDA. Dr. Roth has served as head of the Thoracic Oncology Section of the Surgery Branch of the National Cancer Institute. He is a member of 29 national and international professional associations and serves on ten editorial boards of major clinical and scientific journals, including Clinical Cancer Research and Cancer Gene Therapy. He is also the author of more than 400 peer-reviewed papers and 1,000 total publications. He holds 18 issued patents and is the recipient of numerous and prestigious awards. Dr. Roth is one of the founders of Introgen Therapeutics, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development, manufacturing and commercialization of cancer gene therapy agents.
In 1999, Connie Burnett-West received devastating news – she had lung cancer. While visiting the doctor for a cold that just wouldn’t go away, Ms. West had a chest x-ray that showed tumors in both of her lungs, which turned out to be malignant. Ms. West had smoked, but had quit 12 years before her diagnosis. Her father had died from lung cancer. Ms. Burnett-West was only 54 years old and she was given the news that she only had a short time to live. Fortunately for Ms. West, her oncologist was aware of a clinical trial using gene therapy at Mary Crowley Medical Research Center at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. Using a gene therapy treatment called GVAX, Ms. West’s doctor surgically removed cancer cells from her lungs and inserted a gene into her tumor cells to create a vaccine. Ms. West received six injections of the vaccine. By the end of 2000, she was tumor free. She has been in complete remission since September 2001. Ms. West has gained eight years of her life, and for that, she is forever grateful. Fast-forward to today and Ms. West is healthy and still cancer-free and attributes that success to her treatment with cancer gene therapy.
“The advice I would give other cancer patients is to never, never give up,” said Ms. Burnett-West. “What works for you may just be around tomorrow’s corner.” Today, Ms. Burnett-West is on an Institutional Review Board at Mary Crowley Medical Research Center overseeing clinical trials for cancer research including gene therapy clinical trials and helping more patients get the treatment they need.
There are an estimated 215,000 new cases of lung cancer diagnosed each year – nearly twice that of breast, prostate and colon cancer. Overall, lung cancer affects men more than women, but that gap is closing, according to LungCancer.org. In 2007, an estimated 116,000 men and an estimated 99,000 women were diagnosed with lung cancer. An estimated 87,000 men and an estimated 74,250 women will die from lung cancer. With a high mortality rate of 75 percent, lung cancer is one of the most deadly forms of cancer for both men and women. However, there is hope. New research, concepts and therapies in treating lung cancer are being developed on a daily basis and there has been great success with some of the newest research and treatments, including cancer gene therapy.
The Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy (ACGT), based in Stamford, Conn., and founded by Greenwich residents Barbara and Edward Netter, is unique in that it is the only national non-profit organization committed exclusively to cancer gene therapy research and encompasses all types of cancer. One hundred percent of all funds raised by ACGT go directly to support medical research. Since its inception in 2001, ACGT has issued close to $20 million in substantial research grants to 31 researchers through its Investigator Grants for Innovative Gene Therapy Research. The recipients are identified through a rigorous selection procedure and include outstanding research projects addressing breast, lung, prostate, ovarian cancer, lymphoma/leukemia, neuroblastoma, and gene delivery systems, including nanotechnology. ACGT’s Scientific Advisory Council is comprised of 18 of the nation’s preeminent physicians and researchers in gene therapy. ACGT is committed to building alliances between philanthropic individuals, organizations and medical and academic institutions to promote gene therapy research to combat cancer.
For more information on ACGT, or to make a reservation for the April 16 Lung Cancer Education Forum, call 203-358-8000 ext 349 or visit www.acgtfoundation.org.