Ignyta Patient Stories

Every patient’s journey is unique.

Every patient’s story is his or her own.

The people of Ignyta work daily to find answers for those affected by cancer because we know the personal toll it takes. We’ve watched people close to us fight bravely, and we’ve lost friends and loved ones in the fight. We know cancer is personal; it’s personal to us, too.

We also know that people enroll in cancer clinical trials for various reasons and have very different motivations, sometimes including a lack of other options. But it can be encouraging to know that even in the late stages of disease, participation in a clinical trial can be a way to help other patients, and that together, we can all help write the story of how cancer treatment is changing.

At Ignyta, we are humbled by the patients who choose to partner with us in these trials, and we present their stories as a tribute and a promise to keep working, keep fighting, until we reach our goals.

Ignyta patient Mister Z with Chief Medical Officer Pratik Multani

Mr. Z’s Patient Story

When Mr. Z was first referred to Ignyta, he was 46 years old and in the late stages of treatment for non-small cell lung cancer that had metastasized to his brain. He’d already been through a battery of treatments, and his condition was steadily worsening to the point that he was being admitted to hospice care.

Ignyta’s molecular diagnostics lab determined that Mr. Z’s cancer was caused by an NTRK1 fusion, and he was enrolled in the STARTRK-1 clinical trial of entrectinib.

To read the amazing results and see how it impacted Mr. Z’s life, open Mr. Z’s Patient Story below.

Mr. Z’s Dramatic Turnaround on Entrectinib

Mr. Z is a 46 year-old marketing executive who was on business in London in 2013, when he felt acutely short of breath while running on a treadmill. He was diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer that had spread to his brain.

He was given multiple different treatments, including chemotherapy and immunotherapy, but none of these worked. Running out of options, with his health rapidly deteriorating, Mr. Z was admitted to hospice. Fortunately, his tumor was identified to have the SQSTM1-NTRK1 fusion, and he was enrolled in Ignyta’s STARTRK-1 trial at Massachusetts General Hospital in March 2015.

After only a few weeks of treatment with entrectinib, Mr. Z was able to get out of bed and participate in a lung cancer walk with his physicians. His Cycle 1 CT scan showed a partial response in his lungs and a complete response in his brain, representing the first ever response in a patient with TRK fusion-positive NSCLC, and the first ever response of CNS metastatic disease after treatment with a TRK inhibitor.

Ignyta patient Ms. W in a river kayak, smiling

Ms. W’s Patient Story

Ms. W is an extremely active 22-year-old, who had been undergoing treatment for lung cancer on another regimen when she first became aware of entrectinib and Ignyta’s STARTRK clinical trial. After considering her options and consulting with her doctor, Ms. W made the brave decision to switch therapies during treatment for better results, and a therapy that would hopefully treat all of her symptoms.

Ms. W’s Story: The Power of Targeted Therapy on Brain Lesions

Short, sweet, sassy update: picked Entrectinib

I have decided. Very rare words to escape my mouth. I am switching targeted therapies! I am going to switch to Entrectinib (aka rxdx-101) that is available at UCI with Dr. Ou. We’re feeling quite confident in this drug and I expect smooth sailing. But! I have back-ups too…. For those of you late to the game, I am leaving crizotinib aka xalkori because although it was very effective at clearing my cancer (still clear from the neck down), it does not get into the brain and I had a pleasant little guy pop up on my last brain MRI. I could have done some form of radiation to take care of it, but I like the idea of covering everything by switching to Entrectinib…..And, fun perks, I probably won’t experience bloating or heart rate drops on this new drug.

(Source: Lunging it up. Fighting lung cancer at 22 blog)

Ms. W subsequently was enrolled in Ignyta’s STARTRK-1 trial in June 2015, and had positive responses in her brain after taking entrectinib daily, allowing Ms. W to resume her active lifestyle.

Ignyta patient Mister B with his wife, smiling

Mr. B’s Patient Story

Mr. B is a 75-year-old school administrator who was diagnosed with colon cancer. After undergoing chemotherapy with little success, Mr. B enrolled in Ignyta’s RXDX-105 clinical trial, and was able to return to the activities he loves.

Mr. B Returns to the Activities He Loves

In 2013, Mr. B was referred for a colonoscopy and was ultimately diagnosed with colon cancer. He underwent surgery to remove the tumor and received standard chemotherapy, completing this in May 2014.

In October 2014, Mr. B developed significant rib pain which was found to be due to cancer that had spread. The oncologist performed molecular testing on tissue from his rib, and the analysis revealed a CCDC6-RET fusion. At that time, the patient was treated with standard chemotherapy for advanced colon cancer.

After failing this therapy, Mr. B enrolled on the RXDX-105-01 study. After just 4 weeks of treatment with RXDX-105, a multikinase inhibitor with potent activity against RET, his CEA (cancer biomarker) level decreased significantly. Mr. B said that he felt great; much better than he had in some time.

At the first tumor assessment scan, after 8 weeks on treatment with RXDX-105, the radiologist found it difficult to measure the tumors. Mr. B’s CEA level had decreased by 50% and he continued on study treatment.

At the next tumor assessment scan, after just 16 weeks on treatment, no tumors were observed; Mr. B had experienced a complete response to RXDX-105 treatment. In addition, Mr. B’s CEA level was within normal limits, the lowest level since he was first diagnosed with cancer.

Mr. B’s quality of life improved significantly and he was able to return to the activities he loves, including traveling, carpentry, and helping his daughter build furniture for her house.

Write Your Own Story

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with cancer, and you’re wondering if Ignyta’s targeted therapies could help, visit www.STARTRKtrials.com for more information, and to find out if you could qualify for Ignyta’s clinical trial of entrectinib.

And if you’re currently in an Ignyta clinical trial, and would like to tell us your story, please get in touch!

Patient Resources

For more information on cancer treatment for patients and caregivers, including a glossary of terms, patient advocacy organizations and other helpful links, visit Ignyta’s cancer patient resources page.

Cancer Clinical Trials

Ignyta’s Patient Guide to Clinical Trials includes information and options for patients including safety, efficacy, and links to study enrollment materials. Learn how Ignyta makes the clinical trials process easier for patients and caregivers.