When Rebecca Dykes was diagnosed with stage 4 histiocytic sarcoma, she became one of only about 200 patients worldwide to have ever had the rare form of cancer.
With treatment options relatively unknown, Dykes’ doctors at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center tried conventional chemotherapy first, but to no avail.
After noticing that Dykes’ cancer cells were expressing an unusual protein, the doctors tried a drug targeting it specifically. Dykes became the first patient with her diagnosis to be treated with the drug, called brentuximab, and within 48 hours, she began to feel better.
Dykes’ remarkable story and treatment were featured in a Channel 4 story earlier this week.
"She felt subjectively better, and all of the parameters that we could measure in her blood and otherwise were starting to improve," says Ivan Maillard, a hematologist and researcher at the U-M’s Life Sciences Institute, in the Channel 4 report. "We could see her spleen shrinking from week to week, and all her blood counts became normal."
To read more about Rebecca’s treatment and watch the Channel 4 report, visit ClickOnDetroit.com.