News items Radboudumc starts clinic for treatment with experimental cancer drugs

30 January 2024

In late January, the Radboudumc will start a special clinic for patients with cancer for whom regular treatments no longer help. They will receive the latest drugs, which are still experimental.

Carla van Herpen, professor of Rare Cancers and oncologist: "We want to offer tomorrow's remedies today. In principle, any patient for whom the already proven drugs no longer offer solace is eligible. The patient must be fit. Because such treatment is quite intensive."

Phase 1 unit

At the Radboudumc, fifteen studies are already underway into new treatments for various types of cancer that are still in the early stages of research, known as phase 1 studies. The drugs used in these have yet to be tested on humans. Patients with cancer who are out of treatment and for whom there is no existing treatment can apply for these experimental treatments. 
The clinic for experimental cancer drugs, the Phase I Unit, is a collaboration of several departments, including Medical Oncology, Pulmonary Diseases, Hematology, Nuclear Medicine and the Hospital Pharmacy. With the Phase I unitillen, we offer a better perspective to the current and future oncology patient in the region.

Carla explains: "Within the newly established Phase I Clinic, a select group of patients will be administered the new drug. This is often done with patients in whom other existing treatments no longer work or for whom no other treatments are available. We already know that many patients are willing to participate in this. Unfortunately, the experimental treatments only work in a small proportion of our patients. But the treatment does offer them hope. What we also notice is that these patients are also eager to help other, future patients with this.

As a specialist in rare cancers, Van Herpen is committed to improving survival and quality of life for patients with infrequent cancers. Her particular focus is salivary gland cancer and head and neck cancer. According to Van Herpen, investigations into new methods are essential. "When I started as a doctor some 25 years ago, chemotherapy was the main focus. That has now been joined by targeted therapy and immunotherapy, among other things. In recent years, for the first time, I have patients who have been cured by immunotherapy even though they had metastases from a rare type of cancer. That was not the case before."


(Source: De Gelderlander)

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Margie Alders



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