University of Georgia researchers could be less than three years away from producing a vaccine for cancer. Right here in Middle Georgia, our own specialists are making medical history in the field of oncology.
They've completed two breast cancer prevention trials, one of which, led to the FDA approval of the drug Roloxaphin. A medical oncologist with the Georgia Cancer Specialists in Macon, Dr. Cheryl Jones, says if more patients are willing to participate in trials, more people are likely to live cancer free.
One of Jones' patients, Christine Dwight, remembers when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
"I didn't get scared, I didn't say why me. I knew God would handle it."
After one year of chemotherapy, Dwight trusted that her faith, and science would guide her through her battle. So in 2004, she met with Dr. Jones.
"She certainly needed treatment. She was at a high risk for relapse without this medicine," says Jones.
The drug she's referring to, Herceptin, was still in the clinical trial stages.
"When you do research, you're helping someone else to get better, to do well, and if you don't try it, you'll never know," says Dwight.
That risk led to remission, and now Dwight is living cancer free. Now, she's spreading her positive attitude to those who are going through the same struggles she survived.
"I say I took that drug... So I say I'm products of what you're taking."
Dwight volunteers once week at the Georgia Cancer Specialists facility in Macon, where phase 2 and phase 3 cancer treatments are conducted daily.
"They don't need to travel out of the state or elsewhere to be on the cutting edge," says Dr. Jones.
At GCS, patients participate in the latest and most advanced clinical trials for breast, colon, and lung cancer.
"There have been a lot of trials that we have piloted here that people in Middle Georgia have taken advantage of," says Dr. Jones.
If they're willing to take a chance, people may just walk away with the gift of a lifetime.
"Through that journey I lived to help somebody else through what I went through," says Dwight.
Right now, doctors at GCS are conducting clinical trials for lung cancer treatment. And again, Dr. Jones says it's patients like Dwight who helped the drug Herceptin become FDA approved, and available to all patients fighting breast cancer. Dwight has been cancer free since 2004.