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Jesse R Computer Whiz Turns to Clinical Trial for Cancer Care

"I knew that I could put my faith and trust in The Steeplechase Cancer Center.”

Jesse Rubin, of Hillsborough, recently participated in a clinical trial through The Steeplechase Cancer Center at Somerset Medical Center for patients with colon cancer.

Jesse Rubin, an Internet engineer, is used to researching the latest trends in technology. Since his job entails consistent computer use, it is no surprise that when he was diagnosed with colon cancer in the beginning of 2009, he turned to the Internet to find the latest technology available for treatment.

“When I was diagnosed, I wanted to do as much research as I could,” says Rubin, 37, of Hillsborough. “I saw that there were many positive aspects to clinical research studies and the benefits outweighed the risks.”

A clinical trial is a research study that involves people who volunteer to help doctors and researchers find better ways to prevent, treat or diagnose diseases such as cancer. There are several types of cancer clinical trials – some test new ways to treat cancer, others test new methods of prevention, detection or diagnosis. Some clinical trials help evaluate and improve the quality of life for cancer patients.

“Clinical trials are essential for the advancement of cancer treatment and care,” says Kathleen Toomey, MD, medical director of The Steeplechase Cancer Center at Somereset Medical Center. “Jesse was determined to not only fight his cancer, but to do what he could to improve cancer treatment for future generations.”

When Rubin researched national clinical trials, he was impressed to find that one of his top two choices in trials was offered through The Steeplechase Cancer Center at Somerset Medical Center, an affiliate of The Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ). The trial, for Stage III colon cancer, compared three different combination chemotherapy treatments to determine if the addition of the drug Cetuximab would improve the likelihood of living at least three years without the recurrence of colon cancer.

While many people are hesitant to be part of a clinical trial, Rubin had no misgivings.

“I knew that a lot of research went into each study and that many of them have good results and are an important treatment option,” says Rubin. “The trial gives you hope and makes you feel like progress is being made.”

“This type of clinical trial (phase 3) involves several thousand people around the country and sometimes even internationally,” explains Siby Varughese, RN, MA, OCN, CCRP, clinical research manager. “Each patient in the trial receives either the current best standard of treatment or possibly the addition of another promising drug to see if it is beneficial.”

Every clinical trial in the United States must be approved and monitored by an Institutional Review Board (IRB). Somerset Medical Center's IRB – a multidisciplinary committee that includes physicians, nurses, administrators, community members, pharmacists and clergy – meets on a monthly basis to review clinical research protocols for scientific merit and protect patients’ rights.

With the security of a closely monitored program, Rubin knew that the trial was right for him. And, he had four reasons for getting better: his wife and three children, including an infant who was delivered at Somerset Medical Center three days before Christmas 2009.

“When I first found out that I had cancer, I thought that I should go to a big Manhattan cancer center, but I knew that I could put my faith and trust in The Steeplechase Cancer Center,” says Rubin.

Somerset Medical Center offers clinical trials for breast, colon, rectal, prostate, lung and renal cancers and cancer-specific disease registries.

To speak to a research nurse, call 908-685-2481 or visit steeplechasecancercenter.com for more information.