Gettysburg doctor, patient first in the world to try new cancer treatment

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GETTYSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A potential breakthrough in the fight against cancer is happening in the Midstate. A Gettysburg doctor is the first in the world to use a new medicine.

The drug from the biopharmaceutical company, Theratechnologies, doesn’t have a name yet. Right now it’s just referred to as TH1902 and specifically targets receptors in cancer cells.

“So your target is a cancer cell. You have a guided missile, so it’s a drug that is with some chemotherapy and now you are going to deliver it directly to your target, rather than affecting any other part of your body,” said Dr. Satish Shah, Medical Director for Gettysburg Cancer Center.

That means, in theory, the side effects of cancer treatment would be much less severe than things like radiation and chemotherapy. Dr. Shah gave the drug two weeks ago to Michael Snyder who has prostate cancer. He’s the first patient to try it.

“No side effects to this point that would be significant that would really interfere with my daily life and things that I do which I’m really grateful for that part of it, because like I said, the last chemo really made me sick,” Snyder said.

The IV infusion takes about an hour and would be given every three weeks.

“Right now, it can be used for any solid tumor, so solid tumor anything like lung, colon, breast, prostate. These are very common cancers, but you can use for uterine, you can use for ovarian,” said Dr. Shah.

The first phase of this clinical trial aims to figure out the right dosage. Then, later on, researchers will look specifically at how the drug affects different cancers.

If everything goes as planned, abc27 News is told this treatment could be available commercially in two to five years.

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