Prostate Cancer Patient at ECCC Receives Huntington/Tri-State Region’s First Dose of New and Promising Drug

Published: Tuesday, August 6, 2013

With hopes of easier treatments for his prostate cancer and a longer life, Edwards Comprehensive Cancer Center patient Douglas Clapper became the Huntington/Tri-State region’s first recipient of the new cancer drug Xofigo®.

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ECCC radiation oncologist Dr. Andrew Freeman (right) and Tina Shoemaker, chief nuclear medicine technologist at Cabell Huntington Hospital (left) prepare Douglas Clapper of Huntington to receive the Huntington/Tri-State region's first dose of Xofigo®, a promising new drug to treat prostate cancer.

Radiation oncologist Andrew Freeman, MD, administered the first dose of the intravenous (IV) drug to Clapper during an afternoon appointment Tuesday at the Edwards Comprehensive Cancer Center (ECCC) at Cabell Huntington Hospital. The treatment is significant because Xofigo, also known as radium-223, is a revolutionary cancer drug approved in May by the United States Food and Drug Administration and already showing great promise for patients. It is useful specifically for patients with prostate cancer that has moved to the bones, and it has already proven to be the only therapy available to improve overall survival while also treating the pain caused by metastatic prostate cancer.

“Xofigo gives us a new and exciting option that is not chemotherapy for men with metastatic prostate cancer,” Dr. Freeman said. “It not only improves survival, it also improves quality of life related to their cancer pain and causes few side effects. This new treatment is very novel in that the radiation targets the cancer causing damage to the bone.”

Clapper will receive a total of six treatments with one occurring every four weeks. The treatment takes about a minute to complete, making it convenient compared to other options.

“Having Xofigo available to our patients demonstrates the Edwards Comprehensive Cancer Center’s ongoing commitment to providing the highest quality care available not only in the Tri-State area, but on par with the leading cancer centers in the country,” said Dr. Aamir Hussain, a radiation oncologist at the ECCC. “The drug specifically targets the disease in the bone by mimicking calcium, thereby sparing healthy tissues and reducing side effects in other organs.”