AUSTIN (KXAN) — The area’s only blood and marrow transplant program team is participating in clinical trials to help patients with blood cancers.
Kelly Clemmer from St. David’s South Austin Medical Center joined KXAN’s Jennifer Sanders to discuss the clinical trials.
Read a transcription of the discussion below or watch the interview in the video player above.
SANDERS: These clinical trials focus on cancers like leukemia and lymphoma, can you walk us through this process? And really, who can get involved? What do these trials look like?
CLEMMER: Our clinical trials are essential in developing new treatment plans for these rare refractory diseases. Typically, the patient would be referred to us by their primary oncologist after undergoing some type of treatment previously, and our team then will evaluate which trials they can be involved in.
SANDERS: What types of treatments do you hope to gain from these trials? Who will they help, and what’s the timeline for that?
CLEMMER: The goal always is to cure cancer. Short term — we’re always looking for new innovative ways to treat the cancers that we’re seeing, and then long-term, obviously, a cure.
SANDERS: Talk to me about the program that you all have and the need that you’re seeing here across Central Texas.
CLEMMER: Our program opened next year will be our 10th year here in Austin. Prior to our program, opening patients would have to leave Austin to seek treatment in other cities. So, we’re involved in helping our community, keeping patients close to home so that we can provide them with the best care possible here close to their family.
SANDERS: What type of care do you provide patients with?
CLEMMER: All kinds of treatment, but essentially, we’re treating blood cancers. So, leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma are some rare cancers in our clinical trials. But yeah, really just trying to keep them here at home where they can get the best possible care.
SANDERS: Lastly, research is so critical, especially for what you do. And you all are participating in an event that will help fund the research to continue the critical work that you do.
CLEMMER: Yes, so we partner with LLS at the Leukemia Lymphoma Society, and they are an essential partner to us. They were coming up tomorrow is our light the night walk. So annually, they have a walk here in town. It’s motivational–moving. You get to see patients that have undergone treatment. You get to see family members who have either lost a loved one or have experienced that caregiving aspect, and it’s just a beautiful thing to see. They’ve raised so much money. They help our patients with grants. They help get the medication and transportation funding for anything that they need, so they are essential.