Lynn Luckeroth, 59, is no stranger to cancer. She lost both her mother and her son to the disease. In the mid-1990s, while she was dealing with the trauma of her son’s illness, she learned that she herself was also sick, with recurrent melanoma.
Having witnessed the ravages of conventional cancer therapies—chemotherapy especially—Lynn was adamant about taking a different approach to her disease. In 2010, she enrolled in a clinical trial of a new immunotherapy drug, called nivolumab, being tested at Moffitt Cancer Center in Florida under the direction of Jeffrey S. Weber, M.D., Ph.D.
Nivolumab belongs to a class of immunotherapy drugs called checkpoint inhibitors. By blocking a braking molecule on immune cells called PD-1, nivolumab “takes the brakes off” the immune response, enabling a more powerful attack against cancer.
Having learned a lot about cancer therapies as a result of her own journey, Lynn now helps other patients navigate theirs.
Originally published December 3, 2014.