BOSTON, Mass. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – For patients with aggressive prostate cancer, there are limited treatment options. Once cancer has spread, most doctors rule out surgery and radiation, the standard treatments for early stage prostate cancer. But now, new advances in testing are helping doctors zero in on therapies besides hormones and chemotherapy to stop advanced cancer in its tracks.
For John C. White III, this is the perfect way to spend an evening.
John said, “My wife and I like to go out in it on a hot night and cruise around in it.”
Classic cars like his 1923 Ford T-Bucket Roadster are a passion. Just four years ago John wasn’t sure he and Joanne would have too many more nights like this left. John’s doctors diagnosed him with aggressive prostate cancer that had spread.
“I started a year and a half of chemotherapy, four different drugs, with the hope that would eradicate it,” John shared.
Nothing doctors tried stopped the cancer.
Paul Mathew, MD, a Genitourinary Oncologist at Tufts Medical Center, Boston said, “His life was in danger. I would have estimated a life expectancy of under a year if not six months.”
That’s when Dr. Mathew tried something cutting-edge for prostate cancer, he removed John’s tumor and sent it to a Boston biotech lab. Technicians analyzed the genes known to drive tumor growth.
Dr. Mathew said, “In John’s case he had very rare mutation found in .1 percent of all prostate cancers.”
The lab was also able to match John’s profile with treatment options and one was the immunotherapy drug Keytruda, FDA-approved for melanoma and bladder and lung cancer but so far, not prostate. John had infusions for three years, and it worked!
“His scans are pristine. His PSA is undetectable,” said Dr. Mathew.
“He had a hunch that I might respond to this, and he was absolutely right. I’m just thankful for every single day I have,” John told Ivanhoe.
Despite John’s treatment success, Dr. Mathew cautions patients that genomic profiling is not a magic bullet for everyone. Sometimes there will be no existing therapies that will be a match. John says in his case, he’s thankful that when all other treatments failed, the testing delivered a life-saving option.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Field Producer; Roque Correa, Editor and Videographer.