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Media Contact: Vincent Joseph Dollard 22 December 2005
  vdollar@emory.edu    
  (404) 727-3366   Print  | Email ]
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Emory Winship Cancer Institute to Conduct Phase III Clinical Trial on Pleural Mesothelioma
Emory Winship Cancer Institute will be one of two facilities in Georgia to conduct a phase III clinical trial of Vorinostat (oral suberoylanilide hydromaxic acid) in patients with advanced malignant pleural mesothelioma. The purpose of the study is to test the safety and efficacy of Vorinostat as well as to compare the overall survival associated with treatment of the drug.

A rare but devastating disease, it is estimated that 2,000 to 3,000 new mesothelioma cases will be diagnosed each year in the United States. Mesothelioma is cancer of the cells found in the mesothelium, which is the protective lining covering most of the internal organs of the body. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type of mesothelioma, and it is identified by the presence of cancerous cells located in the tissue outside of the lungs and inside of the ribs.

Vorinostat is an experimental drug that is believed to work against cancer cells. When cells become cancerous, chemical reactions inside the cancer cell allow those cells to multiply out of control. Vorinostat may stop the growth of tumor cells by blocking some of the enzymes needed for cell growth.

The principal investigator on the Vorinostat clinical trial at Winship is Dong M. Shin, MD, Professor of Hematology/Oncology and Otolaryngology; Director of Clinical and Translational Cancer Prevention Programs; and Co-Director of the Lung and Aerodigestive Tract Malignancies Program at Emory Winship Cancer Institute. Dr. Shin joined Winship in 2003 after more than 15 years as a faculty member at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.

"This is a very important study for this terrible disease," said Dr. Shin. "As a second line therapy, there are currently no options other than this clinical trial."

Eligibility for the Vorinostat clinical trial requires a diagnosis of unidimensionally measurable malignant pleural mesothelioma, which has progressed or relapsed following treatment with pemetrexed in combination with either Cisplastin or Carboplatin. For more information about this trial, contact Martha Forrester at 404-778-5849.



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