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UM Conducts Clinical Trial On New Cancer Drug

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MIAMI (CBS4) – One might say that Robert Chambers has ‘lived’ and now thanks to an experimental treatment doctors have given him more time on his mortal clock.

“I’ve done a lot in my life,” said Chambers, “I was in the Navy, a thousand feet deep in the ocean. I worked with Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis.”

In 2007, Chambers faced the prospect of death; he was diagnosed with cancer of the bladder.

“I had an operation where they removed my bladder and glands. They made a new bladder out of my lower intestine,” said Chambers.

After undergoing every possible treatment, Chambers said his cancer continued to spread.

“Bladder cancer is very common. More than 70,000 cases in the United States per year,” said Dr. Gustavo Fernandez from the University of Miami.

Chambers enlisted in a clinical trial of a new drug being conducted by the University of Miami Sylvester Cancer Center. He received the drug through an IV every three weeks for 6 sessions.

Tuesday was his final treatment and after 18 weeks doctors say Chamber’s cancer has shrunk approximately 70 percent.

“I stopped taking pain medication because I didn’t need it,” Chambers said.

The drug treatment is considered to be ‘last resort’ measure, administered after the cancer has spread outside the bladder and chemotherapy or surgery is no longer an option.

Trials done in Europe and California have shown positive results in treating ovarian, prostrate and even brain cancer. It attacks only cells that are cancerous meaning healthy cells are left intact unlike chemotherapy.

“General chemotherapy is not as targeting as ours is, so it kills anything it touches,” Dr. Norman Block said.

Thanks to the treatment Chambers, 65, has been given more time to continue ‘living’.

“It’s a gift.”

The doctors involved in these clinical trials hope to have the drug made available to the public in the next couple of years.

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