Wiping out Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

FRESNO, Calif.

Keeping three high school girls thinking about books instead of boys would keep any mother busy. Try balancing all of this with Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

"I was in complete shock. They explained to me it was incurable," Jana Cayne told Ivanhoe. "Basically, I could do chemotherapy, but it would just be coming back."

After four tries with various drugs, chemo and other therapies, Cayne's cancer didn't budge.

"You have high fever…you need antibiotics. The doctor said all my white blood cells were gone, and they weren't coming back. We were all just kind of struggling to figure out what to do," Cayne recalled.

Cayne became one of the first people in the United States to use the drug Bendamustine.

"It appears to work when other drugs don't work," Bruce Cheson, MD a hematologist at Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, DC, said.

Georgetown University's Dr. Cheson used the chemo drug on Cayne for six months. Within that time, it changed the DNA in her cancer cells.

"It affects the lymphoma's cell ability to reproduce," Dr. Cheson explained.

Cayne is in remission. She passed this test. Now, she hopes her daughters will ace theirs.

Bendamustine was developed in East Germany, behind the iron curtain in the sixties. It's only been FDA-approved in the United States for two years. Dr. Cheson says this is an unexpected surprise of the fall of the wall. Now that Americans are more accepting, more drugs are being approved here that were developed there decades ago.

If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Melissa Medalie atmmedalie@ivanhoe.com

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