Kidney Cancer, Family, and the Right Combination: Rick’s Immunotherapy Story


When they told me the
clinical trial or hospice it was a no-brainer for me. If I could help the process along be someone that could take these drugs and get the data necessary
to save other lives I was all in. – Rick and I met, I was
a senior in high school. It’s been a whirlwind ever
since, 47 years later. – We have three children,
three grandchildren. The cancer started manifesting
in very different ways nausea, lack of sleep. I had increased pain in my lower body. That’s when my wife and
I became very concerned. – He was diagnosed with metastatic
clear cell kidney cancer and he was incredibly sick when I met him. Our feeling was that getting Rick onto immunotherapy early was going to be the best course of action. – When Dr. Campbell
started talking about it it made a lot of sense. They were having great
successes with other cancers. It was a clinical trial with
a combination of two drugs nivolumab and Avastin. – Dr. Campbell very quickly showed me that I wasn’t just a statistic or number. Being a engineer, really
close to science in my field I really feel it’s a privilege to be involved in these studies. My middle daughter, Melanie she was very special in our lives. And getting on this trial, my
focus was on her and my wife not wanting to leave them behind. – Rick’s response to
immunotherapy treatment was dramatically fast. When he first started therapy, he said something is going
on that’s very different. By the time I saw him two weeks later, he said he wanted to go back to work. When he actually went for surgery after just six weeks of therapy there was no evidence of cancer left in an 11-centimeter tumor. – The side effects, really they were very minimal compared to what I had been going through
with the cancer itself. I feel great. They use the term super-responder I like to think of it in
my head I’m super-cured. Nothing has resurfaced. Right now, we’re just
readjusting our lives to the recent death of our daughter. Getting over this cancer,
I feel so grateful that I was around to help my
wife through that experience. To sit here today having
more grandchildren has been just a real joy. It’s just opened up a
whole new world for me. – One day, we asked Dr. Campbell is this going to crop back up? His answer to us was, “The
farther you get down the road the better, because the more tools we’ll
have in our tool belt.” The Cancer Research Institute is doing amazing work in the
field of immunotherapy by education, awareness. For us, it’s not so much
of a stretch to think that maybe someday we could turn all of our
T cells into supermen and not get cancer. Wouldn’t that be a beautiful world?

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1 Response

  1. Oncopedia says:

    As a medical doctor, I some cases of "super responders" in my office. Recently, immunotherapy melted a tumor of 8cm…

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