Beating the Odds
Nancy Amato is living proof that you can beat the odds regarding pancreatic cancer.
The 56-year-old nurse anesthetist from Holland, Ohio, has surpassed the life expectancy given to her by physicians at other medical centers, thanks to a novel pancreatic cancer vaccine developed by researchers at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.
The vaccine creates an immune response that targets pancreatic cancer.
“I feel great almost all the time,” she said. “Nobody can tell me this vaccine has not helped me.”
Patient Perspectives Series Nancy Amato - Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic Cancer patient Nancy Amato discusses her treatment at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center -- and then runs a 5K race with her family and friends.
In May 2007, following surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, other oncologists suggested she pursue palliative care options.
That’s when Amato and her husband decided to contact Daniel Laheru, M.D., at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and inquire about the vaccine. He invited her to come to Baltimore for testing at Johns Hopkins to see if she would be a good candidate.
Through it all, Nancy said, Dr. Laheru “never took away hope.” He told her if she turned out not to be eligible for the vaccine, they would move on to another plan.
Nancy received her first series of vaccines in June 2007 and has received boosters since then.
“I didn’t care what they told me about the (vaccine) study,” she said. “I was going to do it, because no one else offered me anything except palliative care.”
For Nancy, the vaccine has helped prolong her lifes. She not only attended her daughter’s college graduation two years ago, but she also attended her son’s college graduation in May 2009.
Dr. Jaffee recently told Nancy she should stop thinking about her cancer in stages and just live her life.
Watch Nancy as she ran her first 5K race to benefit pancreatic cancer research.