Today, Gayle hopes that by sharing her experience, more people will consider participating in clinical trials to help advance cancer research.
“You thank your lucky stars, but I’m still here and that’s the main thing,” she says. “If you don’t do the trials, we’ll never get any further ahead of what works and what doesn’t.”
Since the results of the trial were initially published, the treatment Gayle received has been approved and fully funded as the new standard of care. It has also been included in provincial guidelines of recommended treatments for people with pancreatic cancer. The improved long-term outcomes of the trial were confirmed and published last year in JAMA Oncology.
To further advance the groundwork from this research, CCTG is now testing the same 3-drug combination before surgery in a new trial in Canada co-led by Dr Renouf. The study is assessing whether this chemotherapy will result in better outcomes if it is given to patients earlier.
“We know there’s more we can learn to help improve treatment, for example, what’s the best timing of using the chemotherapy?” Dr Renouf says. “And it’s critical that organizations like the Canadian Cancer Society and their donors are funding these important trials, which would not have been possible otherwise.”