By Joelle Parks, NBC2 Reporter 1/25/12
Cancer cells are on the brink of being destroyed thanks to a new cancer treatment. It's being called "the cancer vaccine" and it has the potential to help more than 12-million Americans battling the disease.
One Fort Myers man, NBC2 News Producer Mark Wildman, may be one of the first to see its effects.
This experimental trial is happening at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York.
The first phase is FDA approved and will at about 100 patients with more than a dozen types of cancer from breast, to kidney to prostate.
And that last one is an obstacle that the Fort Myers man is determined to overcome.
Wildman says it all started six months ago.
"I went in for my annual physical and the doctors informed me that things weren't right and asked me to go see a specialist. The specialist at the time confirmed that I had Stage 2 prostate cancer," Wildman remembered.
"Physically, I've lost about 25-30 pounds of weight because of the estrogen treatments. I'm changing physically. I don't have to shave as often and I've lost some leg hair," he added.
While the leg hair is something Wildman is willing to give up, he says losing his life is simply not an option.
So when he heard of a new, first-of-its-kind cancer vaccine, he wanted in.
"News of this vaccine - that it could actually eradicate it from your body and keep it from coming back again - is just news that makes anyone who's dealing with cancer literally jump for joy," said Wildman.
The treatment was just announced by Roswell Park's Cancer Institute.
It starts with doctors extracting cancer cells from a patient.
In the lab, scientists coat the cells with NY-ESO-1, a cancer cell identifier. Then they add the drug rapamycin, which gives the cells a memory.
The cells are then re-injected into the patient where they spread, hunt and kill poisonous cancer cells.
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