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August 2009 Issue

W. Edward Richards, MD, is director of women's cancer for the UC Barrett Cancer Institute at University Hospital.
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Trial Offers New Treatment Option for Ovarian Cancer

By Amanda Harper
Published August 2009

A UC gynecologic oncology expert is testing an investigational drug he hopes will lead to better treatments for recurrent ovarian cancer, an often aggressive and difficult-to-diagnose form of cancer that affects more than 21,000 women in the United States each year.

W. Edward Richards, MD, is leading the local arm of a phase-2 clinical trial—known as PRECEDENT—to evaluate a new type of chemotherapy.

Known only as EC145 while in testing, the investigational drug is designed to deliver a potent dose of chemotherapy to specific cells linked to ovarian cancer with minimal side effects to the patient.

Standard ovarian cancer care typically begins with surgery to remove as much tumor as possible followed by a two-drug platinum-based chemotherapy regimen to destroy residual cancer cells.

Richards says many patients with stage-3 and stage-4 ovarian cancer relapse within six months of treatment, making additional platinum-based chemotherapy treatments less effective in controlling cancer’s spread.

“We are in dire need of alternative therapies for ovarian cancer when standard-of-care fails,” explains Richards, director of women’s cancer for UC Physicians and University Hospital.

“There are no effective universal screening tests for ovarian cancer, 75 percent of patients are diagnosed with advanced disease and nearly all patients with advanced disease experience a cancer recurrence.”

To be eligible for the trial, women must have ovarian, fallopian tube or peritoneal cancer that progressed in less than six months of their first or second treatment with a platinum-based chemotherapy drug. All study participants will receive pre-treatment imaging scans to help monitor disease response to medical therapy.

For more information on this trial, call (513) 584-5044. To make an appointment with Richards, call (513) 584-6373.

UC is the only center offering the investigational treatment within a 100-mile radius of Cincinnati. PRECEDENT is sponsored by Endocyte, Inc., maker of the investigational drug EC145. Richards has no financial interest in the company. 

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