New hope for more advanced cancers thanks to a study

Posted at: 04/25/2013 5:40 PM
Updated at: 04/25/2013 6:28 PM
By: Benita Zahn

"I didn't think that it was gonna be cancer." says Anthony Vasold, a Long Island residnet.

   But it was: testicular cancer. Vasold was just 24 at the time, got the diagnosis almost three years ago.     
   Treatment was started but it was resistant to everything the doctors threw at it; his body bears the scars of 4 surgeries.
   He endured high dose chemo and an experimental treatment.
"I never allowed myself to think I was gonna lose. It was just another obstacle, another round " he says.
   Then his doctor at Sloan Kettering in Manhattan learned of a study at New York Oncology-Hematology in Albany.
It's aimed at a subgroup of cancer that Anthony, has. His tumor is positive for CD 30.

" CD30 is an antibody directed against a protein maker on his tumor" explains Dr. Lawrence Garbo an oncologist at NYOH.  
   Dr. Garbo says the drug being studied, Brentuximab, attacks that antibody. Approved to treat 2 other types of cancer it's proving successful against solid tumors like Anthony's.
   Brentuximab is part of a new class of drugs - monoclonal antibodies - it targets only the cancer and helps the body fight the disease.
   So last August, accompanied by Joseph, one of his 3 brothers, Anthony started making the three hour trip from Long Island for treatment.

"Cancer free since November. It's the longest I've gone cancer free" says Vasold. He adds,
" It takes a half hour and I go home. No hair loss, no nausea? Nope. Pretty amazing. It's a beautiful thing. Kinda wish I'd found it 3 years ago. "

The hopes is, that with enough study results like Anthony's NYOH can join with other research groups, present the information to the FDA and hopefully get this drug approved as a front line treatment.

    Right now brentuxumab for testicular cancer is only available via a study.
    NYOH is one of many sites testing the drug.
    But Anthony is one of only 32 people, nationwide, with his type of testicular cancer being treated.
    Even though he's cancer free he'll remain on the drug indefinitely to keep him that way.
" So if it involves me coming to Albany once every 21 days to not have cancer for the rest of my life then I'll just make sure I'll have good tires on my car. "

For more info on testicular cancer or where to find all the cancer studies going on, check our website under News Links.