Twin Cities cancer patients to get more experimental treatment options

- Twin Cities cancer patients will soon have more options for experimental treatments. Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minn. is launching an early-phase clinical program in September. The program will offer patients drugs that have sometimes never before been used in humans — an option that required travel in the past.

“I’m very excited. I think there’s a lot of energy, a lot of possibility that is here,” Dr. Arek Dudek, the oncologist starting the program at Regions, said. “I am doing this treatment to help my patients. And every time I bring new therapy, my hope is this is going to work for this individual. And work better than standard treatment.”

Dudek told Fox 9 he is particularly excited Regions, a hospital that serves a wide cross section of the community, is making additional options available for more than just those with means to travel.

“This has to be part of normal care. Bringing this here, it’s very important in that context. It’s not luxurious, it’s not superfluous, it’s a part of providing the right optimal care,” Dudek told Fox 9. “By doing this, we are prolonging the lives of our patients.”

One patient, Mike Wright, started receiving treatment for kidney cancer from Dudek at the University of Minnesota before Dudek moved to Chicago; Wright continued the treatment in Chicago — traveling every few weeks. Wright said he is thrilled Dudek has returned to Minnesota.

“Having access and availability of these types of medicines, cutting edge medicines, which, first of all, can really help a patient potentially I think is important. And to do it right in your own back yard or in your community is a lot better than traveling to Chicago or anywhere,”  said Wright.

The program is expected to launch on September 1 and accept patients soon after the launch date.

A wine auction to raise money for the program will be held on September 17. Click here for more information. 

Wright is also raising money for kidney cancer by participation in the “Break the Bank Climb 4 Kidney Cancer” at TCF Bank Stadium on September 17. Click here for more information. 

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