Clinical Trials

Innovative & Experimental Cancer Treatments

MarinHealth has been a leader in the field of community-based cancer research, providing patients access to new and exciting medications and treatments—sometimes before they are even available at academic teaching centers. MarinHealth cancer patients are eligible to participate in clinical trials offered through MarinHealth Cancer Care. These trials are sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and various pharmaceutical companies. A clinical trial is a scientific study of new medical treatments. The purpose may be:

• To show the superiority of one treatment over another
• To provide valid and convincing evidence of the effects of a medical therapy

It is unusual for an independent community hospital to participate in clinical trials, which have historically been conducted at large university medical centers. Nonetheless, we have been doing so for over 40 years. We view this as an essential part of our commitment to keeping up with the advancements in medicine. What’s more, our participation in clinical trials gives our patients access to the most current and promising treatment right here at home.

Ongoing Cancer Trials at MarinHealth

In 1979, we began participating in the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP)—the results of which showed us that lumpectomy and radiation are as effective as mastectomy, and that postoperative hormonal and chemotherapy prolong survival. Since then, we have participated in well over 500 clinical trials, some of which have been pivotal in the approval of real game changers in oncology, including the following:

  • Trials involving immunotherapy drugs that were not commercially available when we began to study them
  • The first Herceptin® trials, sponsored by Genentech
  • Truly effective antinausea medications (Zofran®, Anzamet®, Kytril®, Aloxi®, and Emend®)
  • Effective hormonal treatments for breast cancer with fewer side effects (Tamoxifen, Arimidex®, Letrozole, and Aromasin®)
  • Truly targeted agents (Herceptin® for breast cancer, and Avastin® for colon cancer)
  • Taxotere® for breast and lung cancers
  • Colon cancer drugs that have tripled survival for advanced disease (Irinotecan, Oxaliplatin, Avastin®, and Xeloda®)
  • Ovarian cancer drugs (Doxil® and Topotecan)
  • Bone-strengthening drugs that reduce the chance of fractures (Aredia, Zometa®, and Xgeva)
  • Velcade® and Daratumumab for myeloma
  • Drugs that decrease the side effects of chemotherapy (PROCRIT® for anemia; Neupogen® and Neulasta® to increase white blood cells counts; and medications to prevent mouth sores, hair loss, and weight loss)
  • The AeroForm™ Patient-Controlled Tissue Expander System for breast reconstruction patients who have undergone a mastectomy. Listen as Dr. Khashayar Mohebali describes this unique procedure on KCBS radio.