A California patient with an aggressive form of brain cancer called glioblastoma has begun investigational treatments under the “Right to Try” law passed in May 2018. The treatment vaccine ERC1671 has had positive results in clinical trials, but because this patient wasn’t eligible for any ongoing trials, they needed to opt for Right to Try.
Thankfully for patients like this one, President Trump signed a bill last May that made Right to Try federal law. This means that all across the country, patients with terminal illnesses can gain access to possible life-saving treatments when they need them most: now. Victor Riches, President and CEO of Goldwater Institute who developed Right to Try, says “The news that a brain cancer patient who had run out of options may now have hope thanks to Right to Try is why these advocates worked so tirelessly to make this law a reality.”
Supporters of Right to Try believe that no one fighting a terminal illness should have to ask for governmental permission to try and save their own life. The signing of the bill placed crucial health decisions back into the hands of patients rather than in the hands of the government. The law does still work together with the FDA’s approval process, though. Only patients who have completely exhausted government-approved options are eligible to receive investigative treatments. Terminal patients don’t have the time to wait for treatments in a lengthy approval process. Being able to receive them after they’ve completed phase 1 trials could mean the difference between life and death.
The glioblastoma patient began treatments in November at The University of of California, Irvine under the medical direction of Daniela Bota, M.D., Ph.D. Bota says that the patients who opt for Right to Try are usually doing so because they aren’t eligible for any clinical trials available to them. The laws “may be the only alternative for many patients who may not qualify for clinical trials based on a variety of factors, including progression of disease, comorbidities, existing medications, physical limitations, and others.”
The law has offered many patients and their families renewed hope in a journey where all else has failed. Exemplifying exactly what Right to Try supporters imagined, this glioblastoma patient is taking their life into their own hands, choosing to fight in the way that they see fit.
Editor’s Note: To learn more about the “Right to Try” law, click here to visit their website.