An experimental drug has reportedly left a man with metastatic lung cancer who was only given 12 to 18 months to live completely free of the disease.
60-year-old Bob Berry was treated by doctors at The Christie Cancer Center in Manchester, England as part of a drug trial after he failed to respond chemo and radiation therapy for lung cancer that, after an unsuccessful surgery, had spread to his lymph nodes.
A press release from center indicated that Berry is one of the first human patients to be treated with the drug, which is only available in six medical centers in the world. The drug, which researchers at the center declined to name, is used in combination with immunotherapy to help the body fight cancer.
Berry's doctor at The Christi Cancer Center, Dr. Matthew Krebs, expressed cautious optimism in a statement.
"Bob has had a phenomenal response to taking part in this clinical trial," Dr. Krebs said. "His most recent scans show that he's had a complete response with no apparent trace of tumour in his body. We will need to monitor Bob closely with regular scans to assess how durable this response will be. As it is a combined study with a brand new drug, we still have a lot of further research to do before we can establish how these findings can help more patients like Bob in the future as cancer is a complex disease and not every patient responds as well as this."
Research on immunotherapy treatments for lung cancer is being conducted with some success in Cuba, among other places. A recent New York Times article described how some patients are traveling abroad to obtain Cimavax, a cancer vaccine that halts the growth and recurrence of certain types of cancer cells.
Although experimental drugs and human trials do pose some risks, many patients like Bob Berry are willing to face the unknown for the possibility of extending their lives.
"Three years ago, I was given 12 – 18 months to live but I have already surpassed that and I feel well," Berry said in a statement released by The Christie. "At the end of the day, this clinical trial at The Christie has extended my life and I couldn't be more grateful. Anyone who is offered a clinical trial should seriously consider it."
Cover image via Shutterstock / Molotok289.
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