Florida cancer specialists see amazing results with new clinical trials
Orlando, Florida. Doctors describe cancer as a war within the body, and fighting to win that war means finding a cure.
Dr. Sajeev Thomas, an oncologist and hematologist at the Orlando Health Cancer Institute, is working on a treatment that shrinks tumors using cells from the patient’s body.
“It seems to me that it would be a miracle if you didn’t know any better,” said Thomas.
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Tony English had already been battling a rare form of cancer for three years before she discovered this miracle cure.
“I just found out I was going to be a grandmother right after my diagnosis, and the idea that I wouldn’t watch my grandson grow up and have memories there,” English said.
Surgery, radiation, and many treatments for English cancer have not worked. That’s when Thomas recommended her for a clinical trial.
“I just jumped up and said ‘Sure, I’ll do anything, I’ll try anything if he can take care of the cancer,'” said English.
The clinical trial of TIL therapy has provided a new option for patients who are fighting melanoma. English stage IV mucinous melanoma has spread to her brain, lungs, and kidney.
I wanted treatment, whether it helped me or not. English said: ‘I wanted this treatment to be part of that clinical trial to see if we could find a cure for rare cancers.
Thomas explained that TIL treatment restores the patient’s own T cells, as well as some other medications, to activate the patient’s immune system.
“This is a war, we are fighting cancer,” Thomas said.
TIL treatment lasts about three weeks in the hospital. After six weeks of treatment, the English language tumors were smaller and six months later they were gone.
“I now have people who are just over 3 years out with the one-time treatment approach from TIL, and they never have to go back to treatment again,” Thomas said.
Thomas said the TIL treatment is on track for FDA approval and by 2022 he expects all patients to have access to it.
The researchers plan to expand TIL treatment to other types of cancer, including lung, cervical, and head and neck cancers. All of them are currently undergoing clinical trials.
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