57-year-old Robert Obin says he may be a cancer patient, but he doesn't want to look like one. He loves clothes and compliments. For seven years, he's tried everything to fight an aggressive prostate cancer that spread to his bones. He says radiation was the worst.
"Vomiting. I can't eat. I can't sleep. I said to the guy, 'I don't think I'm going to continue because I can't take it anymore,'" Robert Obin, prostate cancer patient, told Action News.
At Mount Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Center, doctors offered him a new treatment using his own blood, called provenge. The blood goes to a lab, where specific immune T-cells are collected and exposed to proteins similar to his prostate cancer. Then, they're put back into the patient to fight the cancer.
"When those cells go back into the body, your own immune system sees these proteins and then creates cells to attack that protein," Joseph Pizzolato, M.D., a medical oncologist at Mount Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Center said.
In trials, this active cellular immunotherapy increased patients' lifespan by an average of four months.
"The disease takes on a new character in that it slows down significantly, offering survival advantages similar and sometimes better than conventional chemotherapies," Dr. Pizzolato said.
Robert's a believer.
"It's not going to cure me, but that will help me to give me, I don't know, more days?" Rober said.
Provenge immunotherapy costs an average of $93,000. Some insurance companies cover it. Based on the positive results in late-stage prostate cancer patients, provenge researchers are looking at using the immunotherapy for other types of cancers like skin and lung cancer.
If you would like more information, please contact:
Joanna Palmer, Public Relations
Mount Sinai Medical Center