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Fred Warnick, Stage 4 Mantle Cell Lymphoma

Comprehensive Cancer Centers is proud of its research program that has been able to offer groundbreaking research patients in the community and from out-of-state. In this Research Spotlight, learn how Comprehensive was able to enroll Fred on a groundbreaking trial to treat his rare form of cancer.

In June 2019, the 73-year-old husband, father of six and grandfather to 10 went to a local urgent care center complaining of bloating and severe pain in his abdomen and legs. He was diagnosed with stage IV mantle cell lymphoma, a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The disease was in Fred’s chest, abdomen, pelvis, and had spread to his kidneys. Treatment for this type of cancer typically includes strong chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant requiring hospitalization for a month or longer. But through research at Comprehensive, there was another option available: a brand-new clinical trial for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Fred was the first patient in the world to start the trial and is a combination of the drugs Zanubrutinib and Rituximab, aimed at patients over age 70 who may not be able to withstand other treatments such as chemotherapy or a transplant. Zanubrutinib was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for adult patients who had previously undergone one form of treatment.

Fred’s immunotherapy, or targeted therapy, includes four pills a day of Zanubrutinib to stop the growth of cancer cells, and every 28 days, he receives Rituximab intravenously, which helps the immune system destroy cancer cells.

Since beginning treatment in August 2019, Fred has experienced minimal adverse effects and excellent therapeutic benefit compared to the routine treatment. All of his tumors have shrunk, including one under his arm that has completely disappeared. He has regularly gained weight, something that can be difficult to near impossible for cancer patients, especially of his age.

Additionally, with the clinical trial at Comprehensive, he is able to stay in-state for cutting-edge care and the trial treatments are free of charge to Fred.

In early 2020, Fred finished his sixth and final treatment of Rituximab. And, given his progress, he’s continuing his Zanubrutinib regimen indefinitely.

Beyond the positive effects for Fred, his story and infectiously positive attitude continue to give patients – locally and throughout the world – that much more hope.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers has partnered with some of the world’s most recognizable research and cancer-fighting organizations including The US Oncology Network, UCLA TRIO-US, USC, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and leading pharmaceutical companies to offer groundbreaking research to its patients. The practice participates in more than 170 Phase I, Phase II and Phase III clinical research studies each year and has played a role in developing more than 100 FDA-approved cancer therapies  including approvals for OPDIVO®, KEYTRUDA®, TECENTRIQ®, PROVENGE®, Xofigo®, Herceptin® and others.

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