"60 MINUTES" CAMERAS FOLLOW BRAIN CANCER PATIENTS UNDER THE CARE OF DUKE UNIVERSITY'S DR. HENRY FRIEDMAN, WHO IS SEEKING A CURE FOR THE DEADLIEST CANCER - SUNDAY ON CBS
60 MINUTES cameras follow three people in their desperate quest to beat the deadliest form of cancer with the help of Duke University oncologist Dr. Henry Friedman. All three were diagnosed with brain tumors their doctors told them would kill them within months and sought the newest but unproven treatments offered by Dr. Friedman. Ed Bradley's special double-length report will be broadcast on 60 MINUTES Sunday, April 7 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Bradley began following Taylor Black of Stuart, Fla., David Bailey of Stafford, Va., and John Ormond of New York City over a year ago as they began treatment by Friedman, including monoclonal antibody therapy - an experimental treatment - in hopes of beating the terrible odds posed by brain cancer. Almost everyone diagnosed with the worst kind of malignant brain tumor dies within a year. Monoclonal antibody therapy works much like a "smart bomb," delivering an anti-cancer drug right to the growth cells of a tumor to kill its progress.
Friedman believes treatment must begin with hope. "We give them the motto that we stand by, which is 'At Duke, there is hope,'" he says. "You can see almost a swelling within as the fight in them begins to resume because they have been told before that it's absolutely, unequivocally hopeless and without hope, it just ends before it begins," he tells Bradley.
Friedman oversees a team of 200 doctors, researchers and scientists at the Duke University Brain Tumor Center who are developing the newest experimental cancer drugs. Friedman uses the drugs on his 2,000 patients, often before these medicines have been put through the traditional steps toward FDA approval, including clinical trials.
Bypassing what's called phase-three clinical trials, in which one group of patients gets the new drug and the other is treated with standard therapy, has attracted criticism from his colleagues. But Friedman is undeterred, believing the years it takes to test a drug cost too many lives. "[Phase-three clinical trials] make the assumption that until you have a strong set of data that something increases survival, you can't use that intervention," he tells Bradley. "That's all well and good, unless you're a patient in the next five years while you're waiting for these trials to be done. What are they going to be offered?" says Friedman.