Delnor to Start New Cancer Treatment

Article excerpt

Byline: Tona Kunz Daily Herald Staff Writer

*****

CORRECTION/date 05-25-2002: A story in some editions about a new cancer treatment at Delnor-Community Hospital incorrectly listed the hotline phone number. It is (630) 208-3355.

*****

Describing a potential "miracle drug" that could redefine cancer treatment, doctors announced a shift in cancer treatment at Delnor- Community Hospital in Geneva on Tuesday.

The hospital has its sights set on becoming the first hospital in Kane County to use a radiation-carrying antibody called Zevalin that targets cancer cells to treat non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

It also has taken a unique team approach to assessing and treating the disease, becoming the only hospital in the suburban area to involve several specialties in the process, oncologist Robert Bayer said.

"This is the beginning of a new age," he said. "This therapy is the first of what I think is a new wave of treatment."

During a press conference, doctors explained the value of the new treatment and put out a call for patients. Doctors expect to start treatment for three patients next week.

The half-day, one-time treatment is a huge departure from traditional therapy that requires regular chemotherapy treatments for up to six months or stem cell transplants, Bayer said. Using Zevalin eliminates traditional cancer treatment side effects such as mouth sores, nausea and dizziness and it reduces hair loss. By pinpointing the cancerous cells, Zevalin limits damage to surrounding tissue, leaving the patient healthy enough to endure future treatment during relapses.

"In a simple treatment you can receive the same or better result as a bone marrow transplant," Bayer said.

The Federal Drug Administration approved Zevalin this month as the first drug in a new class of treatment called radioimmunotherapy.

Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma has become the most rapidly growing form of cancer, possibly because of environmental causes such as pesticides and preservatives.

Bayer said he's seen a 150 percent increase in the number of people needing treatment for non-Hodgin's lymphoma. …