Ohio Woman's Cancer Disappears After New Clinical Trial

UH is the first in the nation for this type of trial

December 12, 2018


A groundbreaking clinical trial is giving Denise Keenan of Youngstown a new hope against her non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, which she was diagnosed with in 2009.

She hasn't always been so hopeful, going in and out of remission several times over the past ten years, with a variety of failed cancer treatments. Denise said, "I started getting used to the idea of not being here anymore." 

Husband Jim Keenan added, "She's convinced me probably a hundred times over the years that she was a goner."

Things did not look promising for Denise, as pet scans showed her cancer was spreading throughout her lungs and chest. But just as hope was almost gone, a major breakthrough happened in Denise's treatment. Denise is the first CAR T-cell patient at Seidman Cancer Center at University Hospitals. The CAR T-cell Therapy, according fo Fox 8, "is delivered in a single syringe and re-engineers T-cells to seek out and destroy the cancer cells. UH is the first in the nation for this type of trial, engineering and processing cells in their own lab."

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

Denis is now 30 days into the trial, and her cancer is completely gone. And while the future is unknown, Denise says she is going to live in the moment. 

"The jury's still out as far as how long this is gonna last because they just don't have a lot of long term data. The future is unknown so just enjoy the moment. I think you're a lot happier if you can do that."