The ovarian cancer patient stories on this page are excerpted from those patients with advanced ovarian cancer that received customized chemotherapy guided by the tumor functional screening methodology used by Dr. Robert Nagourney of Rational Therapeutics. A more detailed discussion of standard of care chemotherapy and of the customized chemotherapy guided by Dr. Nagourney’s technology can be found on our Cancer Therapy Options page.
One of our recommended Right Doctors, Dr. Keith Block uses the services of Rational Therapeutics to develop his customized integrated therapy tailored to each cancer patient he treats. Dr. Block has this to say about Dr. Nagourney:
“Dr. Robert Nagourney has earned international recognition as the most prominent leader in the field of chemosensitivity testing. For over two decades, my medical staff and I have included his chemosensitivity assay as an invaluable tool in helping us select the optimal chemotherapy regimen for our patients. A more primitive proliferative assay led many to reject such testing early on. However, Dr. Nagourney's pioneering work, developing instead a more prominent apoptotic (programmed cell death) assay, has benefitted innumerable cancer patients and played a pivotal role in their treatment response and treatment outcome. I believe all patients deserve the quality of information that Robert's testing provides, and that in the future, oncology practices will routinely incorporate such testing into the optimal care for patients.”
And now for the Ovarian Cancer Patient Stories.
In 1999, Elizabeth had an extremely aggressive form of ovarian cancer and my life expectancy was measured in weeks to months. Today, she is cancer free. When all other physicians wrote her off for dead, Dr. Robert Nagourney gave her life. Here is Elizabeth's Ovarian Cancer Patient Story…
During the first half of 1999, I was in the prime of my life. My youngest child just graduated from college. I had a successful career as a practicing physician, as a research scientist, and as a medical director of a national DNA laboratory in Cincinnati, Ohio. In July of that year, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. But that was not the worst news. Within two months of my diagnosis, I discovered that the chemotherapy effective in treating most ovarian cancers had no effect on the growth of my tumor. The second line chemotherapy treatment was also ineffective. My tumor continued to grow extremely fast. I developed malignant ascites (fluid in the abdomen containing malignant cells). By October 1999, more than two quarts of malignant ascites were removed from my abdomen every five days. My life expectancy was measured in months.
My physicians and I did not know what chemotherapy treatment we should try next. My husband, a medical director of several hospital laboratories in Cincinnati, and I turned to several highly respected national Cancer Centers for treatment consultations. The experts agreed that there were several chemotherapeutic drugs available for treatment. Each of these drugs potentially had a small chance of producing a treatment response. However, no one knew which one of these drugs had a best chance of treatment response so my treatment could only be dictated through sheer trial and error. Was my body strong enough to test out several chemotherapy regimens? There was clearly no chance that I would live long enough to test all the various treatment options.
Could tumor chemosensitivity testing help determine which of several possible drugs should be used? The oncology experts at the national Cancer Centers I contacted throughout the country were aware of the tumor chemosensitivity testing assays. But, they were quick to add that, in their experience, tumor assay results did not correlate well with clinical response and that these assays would not be useful.
In desperation, I decided to perform two separate chemosensitivity tests. My doctor collected malignant ascites from my abdomen. We sent these collected tumor cells simultaneously for two separate tumor chemosensitivity studies using different methods. We did not know if these different methods would produce the same or different results, but time was of the essence.
One laboratory we sent the cells to is called Oncotech in California. Their method of testing used "cell proliferation" as the endpoint of testing. This method cultured my tumor cells in the presence of single chemotherapy drugs and observed which drugs prevented the tumor cells from growing. In my case, the report generated by this method showed that the three drugs that best prevented the growth of my tumor were the same three drugs I just failed in chemotherapy! Needless to say, this type of assay method did not provide me with clinically useful information. The results from this method of testing certainly confirmed the belief of physicians who informed me that tumor chemosensitivity studies do not provide clinically useful information.
The other laboratory that we sent my tumor cells to was Rational Therapeutics of Long Beach California. They used a different method to perform tumor chemosensitivity studies on my tumor cells. They used "tumor death (apoptosis)" method of testing. Rational Therapeutics™ exposed my tumor cells to chemotherapy drugs and observed which drugs actually killed my tumor cells. In my case, they identified a combination of drugs that were able to kill my tumor cells in the laboratory. Based on their recommendations, I immediately received treatment.
My ascites completely resolved within 3 weeks of receiving their recommended chemotherapy regimen. Following 6 cycles of this chemotherapy, I had no evidence of tumor by CT scan, by PET scan, by ultrasound, and by physical exam.
Today, over 10 years later, I can confidently say that I am cured of recurrent metastatic
NOTE: The above account was excerpted and summarized from rational-t.com
Below is Majorie's Ovarian Cancer Patient Story:
A week after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, I was having surgery for a cyst on my left ovary. My fallopian tube became infected but I seemed to recover just fine. Two years later, my husband and I were having trouble getting pregnant. After some exams, I was once again diagnosed with an ovarian cyst – this time on the right! After consulting a doctor in Cleveland, Ohio, I was told that it would dissipate if I were to get pregnant. However, I was never able to do so.
Due to my husband’s health issues, we moved to Tucson, Arizona, where we found out he had TB meningitis and that it had been fully contagious since we were married. Unfortunately, he died 10 months later. After remarrying in 1952 and relocating to San Manuel, Arizona, I had a biopsy to determine my health status. The gynecologist told me that I was not ovulating which was the underlying cause for my inability to get pregnant. Not too long after, I went back to the doctor because I wasn’t feeling very well.
We were equally astonished when he told me I was pregnant. We then moved to California where my miracle, Neena, was born in May, 1955.
For 50 years I enjoyed great health. Then in 2005, I passed out while eating and was rushed to Long Beach Memorial.” A mass was soon discovered in my abdomen. My doctors at Kaiser found that the ovarian cyst had become cancerous, but it was thought to be completely encapsulated. The surgery performed to remove it went well, but two years later, during a routine check-up, cancer was found once again.
This time the tests revealed that I had Stage IV ovarian cancer. And as is typical with this diagnosis, I was given about one year to live. But instead of listening to my own doctor, I listened to the advice of Ronald Bitter, MD, Neena’s doctor, who referred me to Robert Nagourney, MD, and Rational Therapeutics.
I was 88 years old and I was not going to take chemo! There was no way I was going to put myself through the sickness that accompanied that treatment, nor did I want to lose my hair. However, after my daughter approached me about visiting Dr. Nagourney at Rational Therapeutics, I decided to go for it. I did it for her.
About a week after meeting Dr. Nagourney and giving him cancerous fluid from my lung, I got a call from Rational Therapeutics. They said they had the formula for me. So, I quickly made an appointment with my doctor at Kaiser and gave them the chemotherapy instructions.
My doctor at Kaiser, didn’t say much. He left the office then came back and said, “Ok!” Just like that. The pharmacist had never heard of the formula before but they knew it had been created especially for me by Dr. Nagourney. I went through a few series of infusions. Never had to take a nausea pill, never missed a meal, and never lost my hair! The only thing the treatment did to my hair was straighten it.
I am now 91-years-old, have been cancer free for three years, and just had my driver’s license renewed for five years!
NOTE: The above account was excerpted and summarized from rational-t.com
For additional ovarian cancer patient stories see Ovarian Cancer Survival-Patients of Dr. Keith Block
For cancer survivor stores of people with other types of cancer see our Cancer Survivor Stories page