Vaccine Gives New Hope For Patients With Ovarian Cancer

By Kate Merrill, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – For cancer patient Liz Thomason, a new treatment is allowing the 49-year-old more cherished moments with her family.

Thomason, who was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer in October 2007 did not think she would survive the disease that forced her to endure surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation before coming back a second time.

“It becomes somewhat chronic,” says Thomason. “[You think] it’s just never going to go away.”

Doctors say that recurrent ovarian cancer is usually a death sentence, but Thomason did not give up. Instead, she became a trial subject for a new ovarian cancer vaccine.

WBZ-TV’s Kate Merrill reports

The vaccine, which was created by taking blood cells and protein from Thomason’s tumor to create a personalized formula, was designed by doctors to prevent future cancer.

“It was relatively easy,” says Thomason. “The side effects just aren’t there because it’s all made from your own body, so you’re not going to reject it.”

Thomason tested two different vaccines, and after a year and a half of injections, doctors report excellent results.

“I’ve been in remission,” says Thomason. “I’m grateful. I really am.”

Even though doctors believe the treatment saved Thomason’s life, the vaccine is still at an experimental phase. Experts remain unsure if the procedure will work as well for others as it did for Thomason.

Today, Thomason is enjoying the benefits of her remission. Since her diagnosis, she has been able to attend her sons wedding and also watch her grandchildren grow up.

“I’m traveling a lot more,” says Thomason. “You start your bucket list so to speak and you enjoy the little things: the family, the marriages, the graduations.”


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