News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


North Shore Hospital Part of Int Melanoma Trial

North Shore Hospital Part of International Melanoma Trial

North Shore Hospital is the trial centre in New Zealand of an international melanoma research trial which uses immunotherapy instead of chemotherapy to treat patients.

Clinical trial co-ordinator Lorraine Neave, who is a research nurse specialist at the hospital, says a Melanoma and Pigmented Lesion Clinic was established at North Shore Hospital in August 2003.

The trial, which started around the same time, evaluates the effectiveness of a cancer vaccination, Canvaxin, in increasing the overall time of survival in patients with advanced stage III or stage IV melanoma that has spread to lymph nodes or glands.

This type of drug-free treatment known as immunotherapy works by stimulating the patient’s natural immune system. The patient is also given two BCG injections within the first two weeks of the trial. BCG is an inactive strain of tuberculosis bacterium that acts as a general immune system stimulant.

Ms Neave says early trials have shown immunotherapy may be more effective than chemotherapy in increasing patients overall survival rates.

“However, it works in some people and not in others. We’re not sure why at this stage and that’s why ongoing trials are crucial.”
Consultant Medical Oncologist Mike McCrystal, who is Principal Investigator for the trial, says the patient receives either the vaccine or a placebo. MORE…

Neither the physician or patient knows which one is being administered.

“Patient progress is followed closely over five years; they remain under the care of their primary care physician or surgeon and receive only trial-related treatment and care at North Shore Hospital.”

Patients can be taken off the trial at any stage if other treatments are required.

Dr McCrystal says patients must meet relatively strict criteria to be eligible for the trial.

“Patients must be disease free at the time of starting the trial and no more than 90 days out from their surgery to be eligible.”

The trial involves 76 other sites around the world and for the past four years New Zealand patients eligible for the trial had to travel to Sydney for treatment.

Lorraine Neave says having a trial centre in New Zealand gives patients here more options to be treated closer to home: “We’ve already had one patient transfer back to carry on follow-up here.”

Worldwide 1118 patients with stage III melanoma are required for the trial, while 670 stage IV patients are required. More than half of those numbers have been accrued.

“At this stage we are asking GPs and specialists to refer patients they think would be eligible, although if people contact us directly we are happy to talk to them about the trial and refer them to the Cancervax website –”

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Electronica: Restoring The World’s First Recorded Computer Music

University of Canterbury Distinguished Professor Jack Copeland and UC alumni and composer Jason Long have restored the earliest known recording of computer-generated music, created more than 65 years ago using programming techniques devised by Alan Turing. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Almost Getting Away With Murder

The Black Widow by Lee-Anne Cartier: Lee-Anne Cartier is the sister of the Christchurch man found to have been murdered by his wife, Helen Milner, after an initial assumption by police that his death, in 2009, was suicide. More>>

Howard Davis: Triple Echo - The Malevich/Reinhardt/Hotere Nexus

Howard Davis: The current juxtaposition of works by Ralph Hotere and Ad Reinhardt at Te Papa perfectly exemplifies Jean Michel Massing's preoccupation with the transmigration of imagery in a remarkable triple echo effect... More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Nō Tāu Manawa

Vaughan Rapatahana responds to Fale Aitu | Spirit House by Tusiata Avi: "fa’afetai Tusiata, fa’afetai, / you’ve swerved & served us a masterclass corpus / through graft / of tears & fears..." More>>

9 Golds - 21 Medals: NZ Team Celebrates As Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Close

The entire New Zealand Paralympic Team, led by kiwi sprinter and double gold medallist Liam Malone as flag bearer, are on the bus to the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro for the Closing Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. There, they will celebrate the fantastic successes of the past 10 days. More>>


New Zealand Improv Festival: The Festival Of Moments To Return To The Capital

The eighth incarnation of the New Zealand Improv Festival comes to BATS Theatre this 4-8 October , with a stellar line-up of spontaneous theatre and instant comedy performed and directed by top improvisors from around New Zealand and the world. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news