IMPROVING OUTCOMES FOR LIVER CANCER PATIENTS THROUGH CLINICAL TRIALS
In September of 2018 , Byron Rodrigues was diagnosed with hepatocellular carcinoma , the most common form of liver cancer . Upon diagnosis , Rodrigues immediately received surgery to remove the cancer . He did well until the cancer returned the following year in December .
Rodrigues ’ oncologist , UH Cancer Center researcher Jared Acoba , MD , suggested he participate in the Phase II Study of TSR-022 in combination with TSR-042 , a clinical trial for the treatment of advanced hepatocellular carcinoma . He agreed and began immunotherapy in January 2020 , and he will remain on this treatment until early 2022 . So far , he says he is doing well , even though managing side effects from the treatment was sometimes difficult . “ After some time of adjustment , I realized that all of this is worthwhile ,” said Rodrigues .
Although the process has been stressful , Rodrigues feels his experience has largely been positive . Dr . Acoba is not only his oncologist , but also his 30-year-long friend from ‘ Iolani High School . “ I don ’ t think we ever thought we could be helpful to each other ’ s lives in this unique way ,” Rodrigues stated . “ If you have cancer and have an opportunity to be in a clinical trial , do not hesitate to participate ! You can be an integral part of helping people around the world , while making a difference in medical advancement .”
Clinical trials are research studies designed to test the safety and effectiveness of new treatments for cancer . “ The UH Cancer Center develops studies to specifically address the health needs of the people of Hawai ‘ i . The study in which Byron is participating focuses on the treatment of liver cancer , a cancer which is diagnosed at a very high incidence rate in Hawai ‘ i .” said Dr . Acoba . “ Patients who enroll in clinical trials play a significant role in the discovery of new and improved ways to prevent , detect , and treat cancer .”
BYRON RODRIGUES , LEFT , WITH HIS ONCOLOGIST , DR . JARED ACOBA , RIGHT