Clinical Studies

DAM-Cancer is now funding an extremely promising Phase II Clinical Trial with a $100,000 grant for testing of a new sarcoma treatment at USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, with an emphasis on osteosarcoma, the type of cancer David was originally diagnosed with.

Sarcoma Clinical Study

Osteosarcoma is a very immunogenic tumor and methods for exploiting the immune system to develop better therapies to treat osteosarcoma are a top priority across the globe. At USC, leading scientist Dr. Parkash Gill has developed an immunogenic drug that has shown remarkable promise in treating sarcomas. Based on incredibly promising Phase I trial data and thanks to the generous support of the David Andrew Pooh Maddan Foundation, Dr. Parkash Gill and Dr. James Hu (Director of the Sarcoma Program at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center) are opening a Phase II clinical trial to test the efficacy of this promising new therapy on patients affected by sarcomas, with an emphasis on osteosarcoma patients. Dr. Gill and Dr. Hu strongly believed that this therapy will be the first major breakthrough in treating osteosarcoma patients in many years.

Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Program at USC

For the past several decades, childhood and older adult cancers have been the focus of cancer research and treatment programs at most major cancer centers worldwide. This emphasis has led to remarkable discoveries and increased survival rates within these age groups. However, substantially less attention has been given to adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer patients (ages 15-39 years) and cancer remains the number one disease killer among teens and young adults today. Cancers and blood diseases most commonly diagnosed among the AYA patient population include sarcomas (osteosarcoma), brain tumors, leukemia, lymphoma, melanoma, and breast, cervical, colorectal, germ cell, liver, ovarian, testicular and thyroid cancers.

Thanks to philanthropic partners like the David Andrew Pooh Maddan Foundation, the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center has developed a comprehensive AYA cancer program in collaboration with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the Los Angeles County + USC Hospital to address this disparity. Led by Stuart E. Siegel, MD, and James Hu, MD, FACP, the AYA@USC program is one of less than ten programs in the nation focused on improving survival rates of AYA cancer patients through multi-disciplinary research, treatment, specialized support services and educational initiatives. Since its launch in 2010, AYA@USC has established itself as the leading resource for AYA cancer care, research and education in Southern California. For more information, visit aya.usc.edu.

USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center

The USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center at the Keck School of Medicine of USC is an international leader in the field of hematologic and cancer research, treatment prevention and education. Norris is designated by the National Cancer Institute as one of the nation’s 41 comprehensive cancer centers and has held this designation since 1973, when it was named as one of the first eight centers of its kind. Norris is a magnet for the best minds in integrated cancer research and education, and has more than 250 scientists and physicians actively investigating cancer’s complex origins and searching for improved therapies and cures.

Biographies

James Hu, MD, FACP

James Hu, MD, FACP, is the medical director of the Sarcoma Program of USC, and is considered one of the nation’s experts in the disease. Dr. Hu has more than 20 years of clinical experience in medical oncology and brings this acumen to the bedside. Understanding the rarity of sarcoma cancers, Dr. Hu has the breadth of clinical experience as well as the academic discipline to provide each patient with an individualized treatment program. He has collaborated with other national experts to bring clinical trials to USC. He is a member of the Connective Tissue Oncology Society, and has linked the Sarcoma Program of USC with the international collaborative group: Sarcoma Alliance for Research through Collaboration (SARC), to further direct research into sarcoma. Dr. Hu has authored several review articles on sarcoma, in both national and international peer reviewed journals. As a former military commander of a combat support hospital, Dr. Hu has years of experience in the issues surrounding young adult disease and along with Dr. Siegel, is the co-director of the Adolescent and Young Adult program of USC and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. This program offers specialized services tailored to adolescent and young adult patients who comprise a significant portion of patients diagnosed with sarcomas. Dr. Hu and his medical oncology team pride themselves on patient accessibility and are committed to providing comprehensive oncology care to the patient with sarcoma.

Parkash S. Gill, MD, PhD

Parkash S. Gill, MD, PhD is a Professor of Medicine and Pathology at Keck School of Medicine and a member of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. He holds the Ezralow Chair and is USC’s leading scientist for the discovery of new drug therapies to prevent, treat and cure cancer.

Dr. James Hu spoke at the 7th Annual DAM-Cancer Golf Classic

Dr. Hu works with Dr. Parkish Gill on Phase II of a clinical trial for a very promising therapy for sarcoma focusing on osteosarcoma. Dr. Gill has developed a non-toxic, immunogenic drug that has shown remarkable promise in solid tumors such as sarcomas. The therapy attacks tumors in a novel fashion, according to Dr. Hu, by introducing a protein that appears to halt the ability of tumor cells to grow the blood vessels they need to spread the cancer. The good news is that it has no known significant side effects. DAM-CANCER provided a grant for this significant research on osteosarcoma (David Maddan’s original cancer diagnosis), with trials to be conducted with young adult sarcoma patients.

Grants such as the one made by DAM-CANCER to the clinical trial are important because pharmaceutical companies seldom fund sarcoma research since sarcomas are relatively rare, Dr. Hu continued. In addition, there has been a significant decrease in federal funding for medical research in recent years, making government grants more competitive than ever. The grant from DAM-CANCER and other organizations are vital to sarcoma research and to the ability to develop life-saving advances for patients with osteosarcoma. Dr. Hu thanked DAM-CANCER for its investment in osteosarcoma research.

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