Cancers often tend to be fueled by changes in genes, or mutations, that make cells grow and spread to other parts of the body. There are now an increasing number of drugs that block mutations in cancer genes and can halt a tumor’s growth.
While such an approach has worked in a few isolated cases, those cases cannot reveal whether other patients with the same mutation would have a similar experience.
Chemotherapy and radiation failed to thwart Erika Hurwitz’s rare cancer of white blood cells. So her doctors offered her another option, a drug for melanoma. The result was astonishing.
Within four weeks, a red rash covering her body, so painful she had required a narcotic patch and the painkiller OxyContin, had vanished. Her cancer was undetectable.