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John White

Prostate Cancer

John’s Story

After a couple years of early retirement from his 32-year career as a biotechnology engineer in Flow Immunocytometry research, John was diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer. He was told he had between six months and two years to live, and soon began chemotherapy with limited response.

His oncologist sent John’s tumor for New Era Genomic Sequencing and found that it had a high mutational burden, which made him a good candidate for immunotherapy. In August 2016, he began receiving infusions of pembrolizumab (Keytruda®) and within three months the tumor showed signs of regression. Four years after beginning immunotherapy he has a complete and durable clinical remission with no evidence of disease.

Today, John is a patient advocate, focusing on engaging and educating the public on the importance of genomic sequencing.

I image a future where precision targeted immunotherapies mean a cancer diagnosis will not strike fear into any person. -John White, Immunotherapy Patient

Questions and Answers

How and when did you first learn you had cancer?

In 2014, I had urinary symptoms. I saw a doctor for diagnostic testing to confirm disease: prostate cancer.

How did you learn about immunotherapy and why did you decide to do it?

I decided to do immunotherapy when all hope from conventional treatment failed. I am very familiar with immunotherapy from my background as a biotechnology engineer. After genomic sequencing, immunotherapy was my best option going forward.

What was treatment like? Did you have any side effects?

I didn’t have side effects other than adrenal insufficiency, which I controlled with low dose of the steroid prednisone.

How did immunotherapy compare to other treatments you may have received, if any?

There is simply no comparison between the one and a half years of chemotherapy and immunotherapy I am currently receiving. During immunotherapy, I don’t have the sickness, fatigue, loss of appetite, or general non well-being that I experienced with chemotherapy.

I have tolerated 48 infusions thus far with the goal of 50 before being weaned-off by the end of 2020. I haven’t experienced any limitations on my active lifestyle.

Are there things that surprise you about the cancer experience?

This experience changed me as a person. My compassion and care for others has increased, along with my knowledge of the disease.

What would you want another patient to know about immunotherapy or about participating in a clinical trial?

A clinical trial could be your lifesaver when all else fails. Speak to your providers about genomic sequencing to determine if you are a candidate.

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