Frequently Asked Questions – Care Oncology
What is Care Oncology?
Care Oncology Clinics prescribe a combination of repurposed drugs that research suggests may complement and enhance the effect of traditional, standard-of-care cancer therapies.
What are repurposed drugs?
Drug repurposing takes advantage of the many “off-target effects” of already-approved medicines to treat new diseases. Repurposing drugs has several advantages. Firstly, the drugs have typically been widely prescribed, therefore the safety profile and side-effects are well-known and documented. Second, there is a large repository—about 60 FDA approved drugs that have extensive, peer-reviewed, published research showing promising anti-cancer activity. This article in Cancer Today Magazine gives a general overview on the drug repurposing strategy.
Why aren’t these drugs already being used?
Mostly due to financial reasons. Drugs that are candidates for repurposing are typically “off-patent.” Therefore, pharmaceutical companies are unable to make a profit from winning approval for new indications. Putting “off-patent” or generic drugs to use in oncology immediately presents much needed therapies to cancer patients with minimal side-effects. Care Oncology Clinic was conceived to bridge this gap—finally realizing the potential of repurposing promising generic medicines in a thoughtful, responsible, and ethical manner.
Why use a combination or a “cocktail” of repurposed drugs?
It is well-established that most cancer therapies are more effective when used in combination. The scientists at the SEEK Group—the parent pharmaceutical company of Care Oncology—specifically selected a combination of drugs that target multiple metabolic and signaling pathways within the cancer cell. The drugs were carefully selected based on three criteria: The scope and quality of research establishing anti-cancer effects, minimal side-effects—a very good safety profile, and without drug interactions with other cancer treatments.
What is the process?
First contact us to schedule a consult. Our physicians will conduct an extensive, one-on-one consultation with you. They will review the relevant labs and reports, explain the strategy of drug repurposing, the mechanisms-of-action of the medications in the protocol, discuss potential side effects, and answer all your questions, and then, if indicated, prescribe the indicated protocol. The exact combination prescribed is determined by the patient’s type of cancer, medical history, baseline blood results and performance status. If indicated, you will be prescribed a three-month supply of the medications comprising the protocol from our partner pharmacy. Follow up consultations are preformed every three months, at which time new scans and blood work are reviewed and adjustments to the protocol are considered.
In advance of the initial consultation we require blood work (CBC and CMP) results from the last 4 to 6 weeks, any recent radiology scan reports, a recent oncology letter summarizing diagnosis and treatment to date, and a list of current medications. If you don’t have the reports your oncology clinic will provide them to you upon request.
Ok, you have some data in the context of brain cancer/GBM, but what are your results in other cancer types?
In terms of analyzing outcomes for COC’s patients in different cancer type cohorts, we have only been running for 4 years and the median overall survival for most types of cancer is significantly longer than that. Therefore, to assess the potential for benefit conferred by the addition of the COC metabolic protocol as adjunct, it was necessary to begin by analyzing a cohort where the prognosis is very short – Glioblastoma Multiforme, the most aggressive type of primary brain cancer, with a median overall survival of 14.8 months, even with the best standard of care treatment. The median survival of our cohort of 95 patients is almost double, at 27.1 months.
On a case by case basis, we believe we are seeing the same type of encouraging results in other cancer types too. We can gauge this through observing prolonged periods of stability or improvement in some patients who (based on publicly available statistical data) would be much more likely to experience disease progression. This also bears out the encouraging observations in the third-party research literature in other cancer types.
Over time, once we have been running for longer and have patient cohorts of sufficient size, we will conduct the same Overall Survival focused analysis (completed for the GBM cohort) in other cancer types.
Is this treatment still effective when a patient is not receiving chemo or other conventional therapies?
Yes, the available evidence supports that being the case i.e. all the medicines have demonstrated beneficial mechanisms of action in cancer which are not dependent on the co-administration of standard therapies.
That said, there is good data on the ability of these medicines to complement standard treatments, for example, rendering cancer cells more sensitive to chemo or radiotherapy. Therefore, your CO physician may recommend running our metabolic treatment in conjunction with conventional therapy where possible.
However, as metabolic treatment is intended to run long-term, many patients take the protocol as a maintenance regime after standard treatment has been completed or during breaks from standard treatment and as part of a long-term strategy to mitigate the risk of recurrence or metastatic spread.
How quickly will there be results?
The nature of our treatment, with its metabolic mechanism of action (impacting cancer cells’ access to and processing of the specific sources of energy they need, and modulating the genetic expression of important oncogenic pathways) that means it’s likely to be much slower acting — several months rather than weeks — compared to what are known as cytotoxic therapies such as chemo and radiotherapy.
However, every person has a unique genetic make-up, and every tumor is unique in its compliment of genetic lesions and overall metabolic and epigenetic characteristics. Therefore, every patient responds to any therapy differently.
A prospective patient’s prognosis and performance status is therefore a key consideration for us. We always aim to ensure that a patient is well enough to safely proceed with metabolic treatment and for there to be a realistic chance of them deriving some clinical benefit from our protocol.
Who are your Doctors and what are their backgrounds?
Care Oncology Medical Doctors have a diverse range of experience but share one commonality: a passionate belief that cancer patients desperately need better treatment options. Our team is made up of physicians from a variety of specialties: from oncologists, neurologists, surgeons, and primary care physicians. All our physicians at Care Oncology are trained to safely administer the COC Protocol to cancer patients undergoing a range of different treatments. The passed-down expertise is born from years of clinical experience administering the COC protocol to thousands of patients. At Care Oncology we foster an atmosphere of curiosity and learning, and the diversity of our provider’s backgrounds has proven to be one of our greatest strengths―our doctors never stop learning from each other.
What role does the Care Oncology Physician play on my medical team?
The best outcomes in any medical scenario always come from having a great team of doctors—each playing a specific role. Your oncologist is there to guide you through the best possible clinical pathway, providing you with most proven standard-of-care therapies available at every point in your treatment process. Your primary care physician is there to look out for your overall health through the process: making sure you get the necessary screenings, helping to manage side-effects, and helping to navigate you through medical specialists. Care Oncology Providers are here to play a very specific and focused role on your team: to safely provide you with the best possible adjunctive therapy to both enhance the effectiveness of standard-of-care therapies and offer you the best chance of preventing recurrence once your tradition therapy has ended. Although our doctors do not interfere with or take-on the responsibilities of your oncologist or primary care provider, they do encourage openness and collaboration. Because your oncologist or PCP may not have heard of the COC Protocol we will provide them with a detailed doctors letter explaining the logic and data behind the therapy upon request and will always be available for questions or concerns.
How long does a patient need to take the medicines for?
The COC protocol is to be taken long-term all the medicines used are drugs designed for long-term use. In addition, all medicines are low toxicity and have an excellent safety profile, having been used by millions of people worldwide for their labelled indications. We review patients every quarter and make an assessment at each of these checkpoints about whether treatment should continue, considering the current clinical picture, potential for ongoing treatment benefit and quality of life.
In a situation where a patient has long-term stability, no evidence of disease or indolent residual disease, we may switch their protocol from a treatment to a maintenance regimen. This is only ever done on a case by case basis following an assessment of the patient in question at a Clinical Team meeting.
I know what the four drugs are, can I just ask my Oncologist or Primary Care Provider to prescribe the COC protocol?
The COC Protocol is a trademarked and patent protected protocol that has taken many years to develop and validate through an ongoing clinical trial. Other providers are not allowed to prescribe these four medications for cancer without Care Oncology’s permission. However, it is our goal for every patient to have access to our treatment.
Patients that are interested in Care Oncology’s treatment yet reside in a state outside of our current service range can still receive treatment. Care Oncology has an established procedure to work with a patient’s oncologist or primary care physician to provide treatment for patients in these states.
Physicians that wish to prescribe our protocol for their patients should follow the outlined procedure:
- The patient must first conduct an initial consultation with a Care Oncology Physician.
- The protocol consisting of the recommended dosage, timing, and cycling of the medications will then be sent to the prescribing physician and the patient.
- Follow-up consultations with a Care Oncology Physician will be scheduled every three months. Dosage adjustments may be recommended at this time.
- A line of communication, via email and phone, will be provided and will always be open between the prescribing physician and the Care Oncology physician for any questions or concerns that are raised and should be discussed.
Care Oncology will only allow physicians to prescribe the COC Protocol with patients that have conducted a consult with COC and are monitored by quarterly follow ups. Doing otherwise, without COC expressed permission would be a violation of United States patent US9622982B2.