Phase I clinical trial takes colon cancer prognosis from hospice to healing

Tim Givens considers himself blessed. Despite being diagnosed with chemotherapy-resistant colorectal cancer three years ago, the 71-year-old is not only alive; he’s also in remission. “Tim realizes he’s a miracle,” says his wife, Janie. “His prognosis went from hospice to life.” It’s all due to a Phase I clinical trial at MD Anderson, and a doctor’s willingness to experiment with a drug that was originally used only to treat advanced melanoma. Colorectal cancer signs Tim’s journey to MD Anderson began in May 2013, when he started feeling weak and full, even though he hadn’t eaten very much. “I thought I had ulcers,” Tim says, “It was always just a small ache.” But one day Tim called Janie while she was traveling for work and asked her to come home. “My husband had always been very active, and he was never sick,” Janie says. “So I knew something must really be wrong.” Choosing MD Anderson care close to home Janie took Tim to a doctor close to home in northwest Houston. That physician discovered Tim was severely anemic. A lower gastrointestinal tract test also revealed a large tumor in Tim’s colon. It was removed at a nearby hospital, but Tim opted to come to MD Anderson for additional treatment. “We knew he was going to have to have an oncologist,” Janie says. “We called several, but didn’t like their responses. Finally, we called MD Anderson and got in within a week at the Woodlands location. We established a really good rapport with our care team there. And we were excited that Tim could get his care so close to home.”...