Stefanie was in a battle for her life. Diagnosed with colorectal cancer at age 22, she had undergone two years of surgeries and chemotherapy that ultimately failed to cure her. Everything changed when she enrolled an immunotherapy trial led by BKI researchers, including Dr. Dung Le, for an experimental drug now called Keytruda. Stefanie’s tumor disappeared. She’s been in remission for more than a year and stopped treatment last August. And this year, the FDA approved Keytruda for a range of cancers.
When I came to the Kimmel Cancer Center, it was clear that research is completely directed at helping the patient. The people care. There is a sense of hope. Dr. Le saw me as a person, not a disease.
But the story hasn’t ended for Stefanie, now 27. Today, she’s answering a calling as a patient advocate, spokesperson and educator. “When the Institute called me to tell me ‘We’ve been having a lot of success with patients like you,’ that was a lifeline,” she says. “I want other cancer patients to know there’s a lifeline for them to grab onto, too.