Sparrow one of five in U.S. in rare condition clinical trial

Published: Oct. 26, 2011

LANSING, Mich. - The Sparrow Cancer Center is one of only five U.S. hospitals taking part in an international clinical drug trial for a rare, debilitating disease that causes abnormal cell overgrowth in the lymph nodes.

The study is open to individuals over 18 who have been diagnosed with non-HIV related multi-centric Castleman's Disease (MCD). Patients with MCD suffer from fatigue, fever, and anemia, and are considered to be at higher risk for cancer of the lymphatic tissue.

"It is a rare disease, however, when it happens we do not have many choices in treatment because there are so few studies," said Gordan Srkalovic, MD, PhD, Sparrow Cancer Center Director of Clinical Trials.

Sparrow has one of the largest clinical trial programs in Michigan and is part of a state consortium with access to a wide variety of studies sponsored by the National Cancer Institute. Sparrow annually enrolls about 90 patients in about 25 separate clinical studies. The Castleman's study is important because patients diagnosed with MCD have a median survival rate of 14 to 30 months.

"It may be rare, but it is a deadly disease," Srkalovic said.

About 78 patients from about 24 countries will be enrolled in a study that explores the effects of an investigational medicine that blocks proteins that stimulate inflammation and tumor growth in lymphatic tissues.

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