Researchers may have found the magic bullet that shoots and kills cancer cells.
One man took a chance on the experiment after he was diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer.
Andy Hill loves the sound of his breath, the gentle inhale and exhale as he jogs down his street.
The sound is precious - because just a few months ago he didn't think he would ever be able to breathe again.
“When they said it was lung cancer it was just a complete shock, I never smoked a day in my life. Been very active and athletic. Eat well and take good care of myself,” Hill said.
Not just lung cancer, but agressive lung cancer. Even after chemo and radiation it spread to the other lung - that's normally a death sentence.
But Andy and his family refused to lose hope and fought it by gathering as much information as they could.
“I just got to keep working to find that bullet, the bullet that works.”
And through his doctor at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, he found that bullet. It's an experimental pill called PF02341066.
But Andy called it something else: “It's a miracle, it really is.”
Andy started taking it twice a day as part of a trial four months ago. Instead of going through chemo and radiation he would just take a pill. After a week all of his symptoms disappeared. He was able to walk, run, and play again without gasping for air.
The pill targets a specific mutation in Andy's cancer cells, called ALK.
Dr. Robert Doebele at the University of Colorado is one of the chief researchers in the trial.
“If you have a certain abnormality in a gene, we may be able to give you a drug that targets that abnormal gene,” said Dr. Robert Doebele, chief researcher at University of Colorado Hospital.
Andy traveled to the University of Colorado where the trial is being conducted to undergo a test that will show for certain how the pill is working. So far even the doctors admit it has been nothing short of incredible.
Last October a scan showed a large cancerous mass in Andy's left lung. After taking the pill for just two months the tumor shrank to a fraction of the size.
His latest PET scan, which highlights any irregular cell activity, was absolutely clear. It appears the cancer is gone.
“What's changed is that the activity has disappeared, it looks like a gray blob, no activity, nothing. So I can't see any evidence of active cancer. That's good news,” said Dr. Doebele.
It's the best news Andy and his family could have ever dreamed of receiving.
“It gives me time, it gives me hope,” Hill said.
It is not a cure, but it is groundbreaking research. Singling out and destroying just the harmful cells could change the way many cancers are treated.
It is important to note that there is no completed study on the clinical trials. For more information click on the link under “Seen on NewsChannel 3”.
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Even though it looks fascinating and may be it will work out to be a nice development in the field of medicine.