In 1996, Houston Methodist Hospital Department of Radiation Oncology arrived upon a new strategy in the treatment of cancer: the use of a novel gene therapy agent in conjunction with radiation. As a world-class facility, Houston Methodist is one of the few locations in the country with the ability to make these gene agents.
Lab tests of this therapy not only demonstrated its excellent control of cancer, but also an even more exciting observation: it appeared the animals in the experiment were developing a strong immunity against the tumor, much like a vaccine protects against a disease by building up one’s immunity to it. The results from our lab were quickly implemented in our clinic, where more than 70 patients have been treated with gene therapy and radiation with excellent results. We are now applying this strategy to other cancers, and expect to open clinical trials for the following disease sites in the near future: melanoma, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, rectal cancer and prostate cancer trials. The department has developed and tested two new gene agents, which we will soon bring to the clinic.
Patients that have received radiation for their prostate cancer, and have a biopsy-documented recurrence in the prostate gland, are eligible to be candidates for a clinical trial combining gene therapy and radiation. The radiation component of the trial requires the placement of permanent Palladium-103 seeds into the prostate gland. At the time the radioactive seeds are placed, the gene therapy agent is placed into the prostate gland. The patient will be required to take an oral medication for one week, which interacts with the gene agent.
Interested patients who feel that they are potential candidates should contact Lacey McClure at 713-383-5115.