Woman’s cancer disappears after groundbreaking clinical trial, doctors say

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An Ohio mother diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma nine years ago is cancer-free after taking part in a groundbreaking clinical trial.

WJW-TV reports that scans showed how 66-year-old Denise Keenan's cancer had spread throughout her chest and lungs, and  she began getting used to the idea of "not being here anymore."

"She's convinced me probably a hundred times over the years that she was a goner," her husband Jim told the Fox station in Cleveland. 

She had been in and out of remission several times since being diagnosed in 2009. 

Denise participated in a trial known as "CAR T-cell Therapy" at Seidman Cancer Center at University Hospitals of Cleveland.

Doctors say just 30 days after beginning the trial, her cancer is gone.

“The jury’s still out as far as how long this is going last because they just don’t have a lot of long-term data," she said.

The hospital system is the nation's first to lead this type of trial. Dr. Paolo Caimi said they collect the patient's cells and they are modified with a virus that introduces genetic modification over 12 to 14 days. 

Because the trial is in the early stages, doctors say they do not know why some patients respond better to CAR T-cells.

"We collect the patient's cells they get modified with a particular virus that introduces the genetic modification over 12 to 14 days," hematology and oncology specialist, Doctor Paolo Caimi said.

Doctors said they don't yet know why some patients respond better to CAR T-cells.