"As an oncologist treating dying patients, I’m still frustrated with the new level of treatments we have at this point. However, some of the new treatments have proven successful and I think we’re on the brink of many new discoveries."
In the early 1990’s, Dr. Fehrenbacher spearheaded the creation of the Kaiser Permanente Oncology Clinical Trials (KPOCT) Program to allow patients in Northern California to participate in cancer clinical trials of high scientific quality. As a result, in the past decade, approximately 1,400 patients in Northern California have entered clinical trials for new treatments for breast, colon, lung and other cancers.
Currently Dr. Fehrenbacher leads a tea, of 15 research nurses and coordinators at seven medical centers, who coordinate 30 oncology trials. In 2001, 275 patients were enrolled in trials- a record high for the program. Yet, it’s not these numbers that provide Dr. Fehrenbacher with the most satisfaction, but rather the positive results he’s seen in his own patients. “I have three women who were on clinical trials with Herceptin five years ago, who would have died years ago if they had not had this medication,” he relates. “Seeing how trials have affected my patients gives me a very special feeling. I get rejuvenated.”
For more information about Kaiser Permanente Oncology Clinical Trials, visit the Clinical Library http://clinical-library.ca.kp.org.