Small cell lung cancer patient Lisa Leich was diagnosed after the COVID-19 pandemic hit but she got into a clinical trial at Winship right away and is getting treated before her cancer spreads. Dr. Kristin Higgins explains why this trial is unique.
Hi, I'm Lisa Leech. I'm a cancer patient with wind ship Cancer Institute diagnosed with small cell lung cancer. I'm Dr Kristen Higgins, a parasitic radiation oncologist at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University. It was kind of a shock. He came back with the results from the biopsy that it was small cell lung cancer. She wanted to come to Emory because of the opportunities for clinical trials that we have here at Winship on the fact that we're the only NC I designated Conference of Cancer Center in the state of Georgia actually responded very well to the treatment for this trial. You have to have a limited stage or non metastatic, small, subtle in cancer. And those are really, actually pretty rare to find because most of the small cell is diagnosed at that metastatic, incurable stage. But we were really lucky with Lisa. She had had a knee surgery planned, incidentally, had a chest X ray. She had no symptoms of this cancer, so it was discovered at an early stage where we could still offer her curative therapy. I don't think you could ask for a better team. One of the things that makes this trial unique is that it's combining immunotherapy with radiation at the same time. What the radiation does is it causes the tumor cells to die and release their unique proteins or antigens. And then what immunotherapy does is causes your immune system to recognize those antigens is being foreign and makes your immune system fight the cancer. I've had excellent care. They take care of you. They act like your family. They act like your support system, so that helps you get through it. This trial is taking immunotherapy and moving it into an earlier stage of cancer treatment, So the standard of care for a limited stage small cell is radiation and chemotherapy. This trial adds the immunotherapy with radiation and that continues the immunotherapy every three weeks for a total of one year. It just so happened that her diagnosis was right at the beginning of the Cupid 19 pandemic, and there was less patient traffic to get the pet scan and brain memory and and the various things that we needed to get done, I would not be hesitant to come in tow Winship for treatment. They take all the safety precautions to make sure everybody is taken care of and safe