Patient benefits from Forrest General Cancer Center’s Clinical Trials Program
HATTIESBURG, Miss. (August 8, 2017) – Ben Davis began his six-year battle with cancer in 2010.
That summer, I had 2 chemos and 36 radiation treatments. The growth of my disease stopped, and I stayed that way for a year and a half,” Davis said.
And the cycle continued this way – the cancer returning in a different part of Ben’s body, treatment in the form of radiation and chemotherapy, and a short period of remission before the process started again – for the next five years until Ben’s oncologist, John (Bo) Hrom, MD, found an alternative solution.
“During that time, Dr. Hrom told me that there was possibly a clinical trial for an immunotherapy drug coming up. He was working on getting the trial at the Cancer Center, and he said I would be a good candidate for it,” said Davis.
Clinical trials are research studies that allow physicians to find new ways to improve treatments and quality of life for patients, like Ben Davis, who have cancer. The Forrest General Cancer Center, in partnership with Hattiesburg Clinic Hematology/Oncology, has an extensive clinical trial program that has grown to be one of the largest in the state of Mississippi. Davis became the last patient accepted into that trial on March 16, 2015. Just two hours after Davis was accepted, the trial was closed and stopped accepting new patients.
Davis took the clinical trial drug, an immunotherapy treatment, every 2 weeks for 16 weeks. Every 8 weeks, Davis was screened to check his cancer, and on the sixteenth week, the screen revealed that the disease had stopped progressing. From that point forward, he has been stable at each 8 week scan.
Davis said, “I stopped treatments in March 2016, and I am, as he says, in remission. I’m not on any treatments. It’s been a blessing from God.”
Immunotherapy drugs, like the one Davis took during the clinical trial, stimulate a patient’s own immune system to work harder and smarter to fight cancer. The medication Davis took has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is now available for other patients.
“We have multiple on-going clinical trials, and many of these trials are not available elsewhere in Mississippi. We’re able to provide our patients with state-of-art treatment, and they never have to leave home or be away from their families. I consider this a huge accomplishment for the program,” said Hrom.
Davis says he is glad he chose not only to remain in Hattiesburg for his cancer treatment but to also join the clinical trial.
He said, “Hopefully, something I’ve done or said will help someone else to enjoy the extended life that I have. I have tremendous faith in Dr. Hrom; he is an absolutely wonderful oncologist and person. The nurses are all my team, and they took care of me for a long time. You can’t ask for more than that.”
For more information about the Clinical Trials program at the Forrest General Cancer Center, visit www.forresthealth.org/services/cancer/clinical-trials/.