Susan Roney is a successful attorney and a partner in her law firm. She also has a loving family. But seven years ago her life was forever changed.
Roney told Ivanhoe, "I was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer in January 2009. I thought I had bronchitis so it was an enormous shock."
Roney said she didn't have any of the risk factors for lung cancer.
"I was otherwise healthy. I was a non-smoker. I was 50 years old."
Now a revolutionary lung cancer vaccine may have the potential to significantly help people like Roney.
Kelvin Lee, MD, the chair of immunology at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York, explained, "Instead of going after the cancer directly it goes after the growth factor and prevents the cancer from growing with the idea of turning the cancer into a chronic disease."
The vaccine, called Cimivax, was developed in Cuba, where it is already in use. Dr. Lee said the vaccine has already been shown to be effective.
"The vaccine is inexpensive. It's easy to give. It's given as a shot once a month. It has very little toxicity. Patients really do very well with it," Dr. Lee told Ivanhoe.
As for Roney, the lung cancer metastasized to her brain in the summer of 2015, but she is responding well to treatment. She's encouraged by news of the potential vaccine.
"The one thing you need when you're diagnosed with cancer is hope because hope keeps you going," explained Roney.
The vaccine has also been approved for use in Paraguay and Peru and is expected to be approved soon in Colombia. Meanwhile, phase one clinical trials at Roswell Park in Buffalo, New York could get underway by the end of this year.