July 21, 2015

New Brunswick, NJ – July 21, 2015 – Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey is leading a clinical trial examining if a certain dose of radiation given over a short period of time to the part of the breast affected by cancer is beneficial. The trial, known as the TRI-faction Radiotherapy Utilized to Minimize Patient Hospital Trips – or TRIUMPH-T Trial – will explore the effect of treating patients with radiation delivered over a shortened period of two to three days versus longer periods associated with traditional radiation therapy. A previous study by Cancer Institute of New Jersey researchers showed the approach of giving radiation therapy over a two day period is safe.

Radiation treatment for breast cancer can involve 25 treatments targeted to the entire breast over six- weeks. Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation (APBI) involves modified doses of radiation given over a much shorter period of time to the affected part of the breast only. The resulting biological effect is similar to the longer treatment. Over the past 15 years, scientists have conducted studies examining APBI treatments of several days versus several weeks of radiation treatment to see if they provide the same or better benefit to the patient. Some of the clinical benefits that have been shown for targeted radiation include reduced radiation exposure to healthy tissue such as the heart.

As more APBI studies are done, researchers at the Cancer Institute want to see if three doses of focused radiation delivered over two or three days is better than conventional courses over longer periods of time.

“Breast cancer patients may be choosing unnecessary surgical options instead of the advantageous option of limited surgery plus radiation due to the length of time that traditional radiation is given. By further examining short courses of accelerated partial breast irradiation, there may be an opportunity to present treatment options that may provide better outcomes and improved quality of life,” says Cancer Institute of New Jersey radiation oncologist and principal investigator of the trial Atif Khan, MD, who is an associate professor of radiation oncology at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and director of brachytherapy services at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital – the flagship hospital of the Cancer Institute.

Patients accepted into the study will receive APBI with a brachytherapy applicator (a device inserted into the breast that delivers radiation) over a period of two to three days. The applicator will be removed after finishing the treatment. Participants will be followed by study doctors for a minimum of two years. Women aged 45 and older who are diagnosed with early stage breast cancer and received a surgical treatment known as a lumpectomy to remove the cancer are eligible to take part in the clinical trial. Other criteria must also be met. Prior to being accepted into the study, participants would be required to undergo a number of tests including blood work and a physical exam.

For more information on how to take part in this trial, supported in part by the Consortium of Cianna Medical and Elekta, individuals should call the Cancer Institute’s Office of Human Research Services at 732-235-8675 or e-mail cinjclinicaltrials@cinj.rutgers.edu.

Clinical trials, often called cancer research studies, test new treatments and new ways of using existing treatments for cancer. At the Cancer Institute, researchers use these studies to answer questions about how a treatment affects the human body and to make sure it is safe and effective. There are several types of clinical trials that are currently underway at the Cancer Institute, including those that diagnose, treat, prevent, and manage symptoms of cancer. Many treatments used today, whether they are drugs or vaccines, ways to do surgery or give radiation therapy, or combinations of treatments, are the results of past clinical trials.

As New Jersey’s only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Cancer Institute offers patients access to treatment options not available at other institutions within the state. The Cancer Institute currently enrolls more than 1,200 patients in clinical trials annually, including approximately 17 percent of all new adult cancer patients and approximately 70 percent of all pediatric cancer patients. Enrollment in these studies nationwide is fewer than five percent of all adult cancer patients.

About Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey

Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey (www.cinj.org) is the state’s first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. As part of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, the Cancer Institute of New Jersey is dedicated to improving the detection, treatment and care of patients with cancer, and to serving as an education resource for cancer prevention. Physician-scientists at the Cancer Institute engage in translational research, transforming their laboratory discoveries into clinical practice, quite literally bringing research to life. To make a tax- deductible gift to support the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, call 848-932-3637 or visit  www.cinj.org/giving. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheCINJ.

The Cancer Institute of New Jersey Network is comprised of hospitals throughout the state and provides the highest quality cancer care and rapid dissemination of important discoveries into the community. Flagship Hospital: Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. System Partner: Meridian Health (Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Ocean Medical Center, Riverview Medical Center, Southern Ocean Medical Center, and Bayshore Community Hospital). Major Clinical Research Affiliate Hospitals: Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Morristown Medical Center and Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Overlook Medical Center. Affiliate Hospitals: JFK Medical Center, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton (CINJ Hamilton), and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset.