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Masonic Cancer Center News

A pioneer in a pioneering study

June 9, 2009, is a day Gail Hudson remembers clearly. It’s the day she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Almost immediately following that diagnosis, Hudson started researching her treatment options. She found that the National Cancer Institute (NCI) recommends centers that emphasize investigator-initiated, research-based clinical care—and that the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, is one of two NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the state.

Gail Hudson was the first patient to enroll in the I-SPY1 clinical trial.

“It was pretty clear to me what I wanted to do,” says Hudson, a 52-year-old Minneapolis resident and wife, mother, and producer at KSTP TV. “I just thought it was important to be in a place where they were doing cutting-edge research.”

At the University, she learned about the first phase of the I-SPY clinical trial, which involved receiving the standard treatment regimen as well as genetic analysis of her breast tissue and some extra MRI monitoring. The idea of extra monitoring comforted her, and she enrolled, becoming the first participant in the I-SPY1 trial.

By the time of her lumpectomy last November, the chemotherapy had nearly melted away Hudson’s tumor. Only two small spots of precancerous cells remained and were removed during surgery.

Today Hudson is “almost” back to her normal life, although she still feels more fatigued than she did before her cancer treatment. And because she has dense breast tissue—a risk factor for breast cancer—she’ll continue to receive an annual MRI in addition to her annual mammogram.

“I really feel strongly about trying to help other people, and it was an honor to be a part of the study,” Hudson says.

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