Healthy Living

Sharon Apel’s Story: How Radioimmunotherapy Works for Lymphoma

Clinical trials eventually led to approval and improved approaches

The Food and Drug Administration began to review Apel and other participants’ experiences in clinical trials performed at Stanford Hospital and many other institutions around the country. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma’s progress may be slow, but only 50,000 individuals diagnosed with the cancer are alive after 5 years. For this reason, the FDA began to weigh in the pros and cons in approving the treatment. “We’ve treated a number of people and have seen wonderful results, including some ongoing complete responses that have lasted for five or more years,” said Knox. The results proved promising in opening up a new treatment approach for thousands of patients coping with lymphoma, who must endure what seems like endless rounds of chemotherapy. “These patients are really heroes. Many of them have told me they know that the treatment is not perfect, but they are willing to do it for other patients who might benefit in the future from their experience,” said professor Goris.