BY: DANIEL PETERSON
In his 15-years struggle with cancer, K.T. Jones has maneuvered from one medical study to another, but now, he hasn’t any doubt that the experimental treatments he received, saved him.
Three years back, Jones was given some few months of living. One doctor frankly stated he had exhausted his options, leaving Mr. Jones relentless.
“You mean to tie up ‘loose ends?’” Mr. Jones inquired. When the doctor agreed, Mr. Jones gave him a hug and stated “This implies my journey with you is over. I am going to find something, somewhere. I will keep you updated.’”
He searched ClinicalTrials.gov, (which enlists available studies for several diseases). He saw a drug name that led him to an online video illustrating a research at ‘MD Anderson Cancer Center’ for patients like him. Jones lives in Delaware, and yet the hospital was in Houston. John and his wife had to shift from paying their mortgage to cater for plane tickets. Though they lost their house, ultimately, the treatment worked (for a while).
But when he fell back again, he couldn’t afford to keep visiting MD Anderson. Luckily, his doctor assisted him to shift his care to Sloan Kettering (New York).
Again, the experimental treatments assisted, but just temporarily. 2013, was John’s lucky year as he entered a trial of the ‘checkpoint inhibitor nivolumab.’ John received treatment for two years. The research became a savior, with an 87% response rate among the subject patients like Mr. Jones, who had exhausted every other option.
“This was just but hitting it out of the park,” stated Dr. Alexander M. Lesokhin, John’s oncologist at Sloan Kettering.
After those two years of treatment, John’s tumors shrank, and eventually, he has been out of treatment for a year. Although Doctors aren’t sure whether cancer has disappeared or being kept inactive by his immune system, John is feeling well and has already advanced, to a new career of his love, (photographing jazz musicians).
John had the following remarks for his illness, “I did not have any specific person to guide me. Everything just felt into place for me since I pushed for it. I am telling everyone else: ‘Do not give up. You’ve to self-advocate.’”
Mr. Jones, (45) suffer from an aggressive type of ‘Hodgkin’s lymphoma’ which resists the usual therapies. But he received a drug which supported his immune system in fighting cancer (a type of immunotherapy, and the toughest area in cancer treatment and research).
“I have been over a year now without treatment at all,” John continues by saying. “I walk half-marathons.”