Patients Deal with the Slow Realities of Drug Research

By Waller, C. L. | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), May 6, 1998 | Go to article overview

Patients Deal with the Slow Realities of Drug Research


Waller, C. L., Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: C. L. Waller Daily Herald Staff Writer

For Rose Sajuan, life is about taking risks.

"When you go through cancer, you look at life differently. I thank God every day I'm here," the 47-year-old secretary said from Waukegan. She has been free of cancer for two years.

She had a complete mastectomy, followed by about five months of chemotherapy, and about a year ago she had reconstruction with a silicone breast implant. She chose silicone over saline because, to her, it felt more natural, and problems with silicone had not been pinpointed.

"I took a chance," she said.

As for the promising news about Dr. Judah Folkman's research on combining two new cancer drugs, Sajuan is hopeful.

"This man has been doing some testing, and he must have perfected something," Sajuan said.

The treatment cannot come soon enough for Liz Paris of Wauconda. Her 6-year-old daughter, Alex, was diagnosed last fall with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of cancer that strikes the muscles in the body. She was given a 45 percent chance of survival and enrolled in a clinical trial at Children's Memorial Hospital.

"I just wish I had this drug today," said Paris, whose daughter came home Tuesday after two surgeries in five days. Those surgeries were prompted by a chemotherapy spillage into her body.

Even without that problem, chemotherapy has a radical affect on the body, which could possibly be prevented with new drugs, Paris said.

"She wouldn't have tissue deterioration in her chest," she said. …

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