Oliver’s Story: Overcoming Osteosarcoma

Christine Coombes has several vivid memories from the beginning of her son’s battle with bone cancer.

Oliver at the beach

She remembers hearing the word osteosarcoma and how her head started spinning. She remembers sitting in a small room with her husband, Steve, as they waited for their UF Health surgeon. A couch and a small table topped with a box of tissues lived in the room. 

“Nothing good happens here,” Christine thought.

One of her most poignant memories involves a surgeon’s voice. Orthopaedic surgeon Andre Spiguel, M.D., told the family that “cancer always takes something, and it is taking normal away from your family. Normal is not an option.”

Christine’s son, Oliver, was 9 years old when his normal was taken away. What started as a random pain in his right knee led to a fall that left Oliver in crippling pain three months later.

“We took him to the doctor. They X-rayed the knee and saw nothing,” Christine recalled. “(Three months later), they X-rayed the full leg, and there it was — the tricky little devil hiding out in Oliver’s sweet femur.”

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.