The last thing Philip Coldren, 48, expected when he visited his doctor to check out a small lump on the side of his neck, was that he’d be diagnosed with an aggressive and very rare form of lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic system). Fortunately, Philip was a patient at The Reading Hospital Regional Cancer Center, where he had the choice of enrolling in a promising new clinical trial for his Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL).
After discussing the treatment options for his form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma with his oncologist, Tamam Habib, MD, Philip dove into the sea of information available to him regarding Clinical Trial ECOG 1405. He learned that MCL is the most challenging form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma to treat. “I did a lot of research, thinking and extensive reading about the study,” said Philip. “With two beautiful daughters and a fiancé in my life, I wanted to make sure I was doing the right thing for all of us.” Before making his decision, Philip researched the study thoroughly, exploring all three phases of the trial and the details particular to the phase in which he would participate. “The protocol nurse at the Regional Cancer Center provided me with all the background materials I needed to make an informed decision.”
In addition, Philip sought pre-approval from his insurance carrier to make sure they would cover the cost of his treatment in the trial. Comfortable with his decision and confident in the experienced and skilled team at the Regional Cancer Center, Philip enrolled in the clinical trial, which was designed to study the benefits of using the drug, bortezomib, in conjunction with the standard chemotherapy regimen in patients newly diagnosed with MCL. Bortezomib had demonstrated promising activity in previous studies in patients who had relapsed MCL. Now, researchers hope it will improve the long-term goals when used at the time of diagnosis.
Over the course of 18 months, Philip underwent six treatment cycles. After just four cycles, the tumor in Phillip’s neck was gone and a CT scan confirmed he was in a state of complete remission. For the next two years, Philip will have chemotherapy treatments as part of his maintenance therapy as an outpatient.
“I’m feeling like myself, again,” said Philip, who has sustained an upbeat attitude throughout his journey. “I’ve taken great comfort in knowing I’m being monitored very closely throughout the treatment process by a very professional and warm team of cancer specialists. I have no doubt I’m receiving the best possible care for my cancer.”