Local drug trials help in global cancer fight


More than 100,000 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with colon cancer this year.

That number is second only to lung and breast cancer. What can we do to prevent this cancer?

Cancer researchers all over the world are helping in the fight through clinical research studies. Physicians at Providence St. Mary Regional Cancer Center are a part of this global effort to improve the treatment methods we already use and to find new drugs that are safe and effective.

There is a lot of interest in what researchers call “translational medicine,” in which we apply data from previous clinical studies to help us take the next steps in research.

A new study for the prevention of colorectal cancer is based on such data.

The “P-5 Polyp Prevention Trial in Patients with Resected Colon Cancer” was developed to learn about whether Crestor might help prevent the recurrence of polyps in the colon. Polyps, if left untreated, can lead to colon cancer.

Crestor is the brand name for a statin drug called rosuvastatin, which was approved by the federal Food & Drug Administration for the treatment of high cholesterol,

Oncologists at Providence St. Mary are offering the P-5 study to patients who have recently been treated for early stage colon cancer and who do not currently take statins for high cholesterol.

More than 400 cancer centers in the U.S. and Canada are participating in this study. More than 300 people have already been entered in the study that will ultimately include at least 1,700 participants.

Participants will be randomly divided into two groups. Each group will take one pill a day for five years. One group will receive rosuvastatin and the other group will receive a placebo.

This is an exciting time in cancer research, and we are very happy to be able to offer this study — as well as studies for other types of cancer — that give our patients the opportunity to participate in clinical trials without having to travel.

Studies such as the P-5 Polyp Prevention Trial are the same studies, and use the same drugs, offered at research centers like Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and Oregon Health & Science University in Portland.

Dr. James Cunningham, the medical director of Providence St. Mary Regional Cancer Center, strongly endorses participation in clinical research.

Kathleen O’Connor is the clinical trials manager at Providence St. Mary Regional Cancer Center.


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