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Published on December 21, 2017

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Clinical Trial Offers Another Option

When a stem cell transplant and other standard treatments didn’t stop his cancer, Bob Klinsing wasn’t out of options – he enrolled in a clinical trial.

“I don’t know which was worse — finding out the second time I had cancer or when I was told the stem cell transplant didn’t work,” Klinsing said. “After that, I had to get my mind back together and think, OK, there are options out there and I need to move forward.”

And he did. Avera Medical Group hematologist Vinod Parameswaran, MD, recommended a clinical trial and Klinsing started taking a new class of drug for the treatment of his non-Hodgkin large B-cell lymphoma, which relapsed after his initial diagnosis and treatment in 2002.

“Bob had exhausted all standard treatments for his cancer and it had come back pretty quickly after transplant. A clinical trial was the best option for him,” Parameswaran said.

Though it isn’t without side effects, it has been successful in stopping growth of his cancer for the past two years.

Today he continues to receive periodic transfusions to keep the disease from progressing, but his lymphoma is considered in remission, said Michaela Bertram, RN, Hematology Research Coordinator for Avera. Bertram is part of Klinsing’s cancer care team and closely tracks his progress regarding his participation in the clinical trial.

Klinsing said he has noticed changes in his balance and also sometimes experiences dizziness and vertigo, which can affect his ability to do daily activities. But at those times he takes a step back and reminds himself of how many good days he has.

“I feel like I wouldn’t be here right now if it weren’t for this trial,” Klinsing said. “This trial is just one of about 100 clinical trials now open at Avera for all types of cancers at various stages of advancement."

Research and clinical trials are key to creating more effective standards of care. Avera’s participation in clinical trials is in affiliation with the National Cancer Institute and NRG Oncology. Patients should remember that they continue to receive the standard of care if they agree to participate in one.

“Advances in medicine have been so rapid, especially in the field of cancer medicine, that trials are the way forward. More and more drugs get approved just because of clinical trials,” Parameswaran said.

Find a listing of Avera's cancer clinical trials.

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