MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - For people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, the prognosis is often dismal.
But now researchers are testing a promising new method to treat the disease.
Darlene Bossola, who is taking part in the study, said she was stunned last year when she learned she had pancreatic cancer.
“It was shocking because I’ve always been healthy,” she said.
The mother of three, who’s married to her high school sweetheart, made a decision early on to fight her diagnosis. She enrolled in a clinical trial underway without any hesitation.
“None whatsoever. When you’re diagnosed with stage three, you want something to happen, for the better,” she said.
Before the trial began, Darlene received the standard treatment of chemotherapy and radiation. Then in February, she began the first of eight experimental treatments where doctors bring a catheter up into the pancreas.
“We bathe the tumor with chemotherapy directly to the tumor, without having to go through the bloodstream,” interventional radiologist Dr. Paula Novelli.
Novelli said the results from this trial are promising, especially since pancreatic cancer usually isn’t diagnosed until it’s already far advanced.
“We’re seeing survival from 16-23 months and counting,” said Novelli.
Doctors say Darlene has had remarkable success.
“Her tumor is moving away from the blood vessels and vital structures. We’re absolutely not only pleased but amazed with her results at this point,” said Novelli.
“I have been feeling good for my entire process. I’ve not had any ill effects like nausea, the only effect I’ve had is fatigue,” Darlene.
Doctors will continue to monitor her progress. Meanwhile, they hope more patients will consider participating in the trial, 30 hospital groups are taking part in the study.