UF Health Patient Is Grateful for a Treatment That Came at a Critical Time

Vern Gransden entered his treatment room at 7:40 a.m., bleary-eyed and crabby. He shared a look with his doctors.

“Go get a cup of coffee, Vern,” one of them said. “It’s all gonna be OK.”

Gransden smiled back. His morning visits to the UF Health radiation oncology center were earlier than he liked, but his doctors had turned the crack-of-dawn start into a bit of a running joke. It made it easier for Gransden to roll out of his bed and into treatment day in and day out. 

Gransden, 61, knows excellent care when he sees it. He’s been a nurse for 12 years in Louisiana and has worked in health care for 20. He currently works for Louisiana Children’s Medical Center at West Jefferson Medical Center in New Orleans.

His summer plans were upended when he underwent a PET scan on June 23. He was diagnosed with anal cancer, a rare illness that affects 1 in 100,000 people. To his shock, the scan also revealed a tumor in his lung, which suggested that the cancer may have metastasized.

New Clinical Trials Open for Enrollment

Only Available at UF Health Cancer Center

The UF Health Cancer Center has four new open clinical trials that are only available through our center. Study-specific information is below; please send any trial inquiries to the Cancer Center’s Clinical Research Office:

A Phase II Randomized Therapeutic Optimization Trial for Subjects with Refractory Metastatic Colorectal Cancer using ctDNA (RAPID – Trial 1)

About: This randomized Phase II study will investigate the use of the Signatera ctDNA assay versus the standard scan-based approach to guide treatment in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer. The aim of this study is to measure and compare the overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS) and best overall response (OR) of patients whose treatment has been guided by one of these two approaches.

Age Range: Adults, 18+ | PI: Sherise Rogers, M.D.

Tazemetostat in Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumors

About: This Phase II, open label, single arm study will investigate the use of continuously administered oral tazemetostat in patients with recurrent refractory and/or metastatic malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors.

Age Range: Children and adults, 12+ | PI: Joanne Lagmay, M.D.

Accelerated Dose Schedule of Cytarabine Consolidation Therapy for Older Patients with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in Complete Remission

About: This Phase II, open label, non-randomized study will evaluate the safety and tolerance of administering high dose cytarabine (HiDAC) consolidation therapy on days 1-3 of each cycle, as compared to standard administration on days 1, 3, and 5 of each cycle, in patients 61 years and older with de novo acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

Age Range: Adults, 61+ | PI: Jack Hsu, M.D.

Atezolizumab Plus Tivozanib in Immunologically Cold Tumor Types

About: Despite its demonstrated potential, immunotherapy is not currently thought to be an effective intervention in the treatment of several immunologically “cold” tumors such as prostate cancer, biliary tract cancers, soft tissue sarcomas, well-differentiated neuroendocrine tumors, microsatellite stable colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, and non-triple negative breast cancer. This study aims to evaluate the combination of the immune checkpoint inhibitor atezolizumab and the VEGF-TKI tivozanib in a variety of tumors which have a low response rate to checkpoint inhibitor therapy alone.

Age Range: Adults, 18+ | PI(s): Jonathan Chatzkel, M.D. Brian Ramnaraign, M.D.