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More than two years ago, Lafayette Boone thought his life was over after being diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. “I was ready to give it up to the man above,” he says. Today, he is still very much alive and feeling good.
“Shortly after his diagnosis, he was started on a targeted therapy—to which he did not respond,” says Mahsa Mohebtash, MD, medical director of MedStar Franklin Square Cancer Center at Loch Raven Campus, located on the grounds of MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital. “Since his cancer expressed high levels of PDL1, we decided to try a different approach and switched him to immunotherapy.”
Normally, the immune system fights foreign substances like viruses and bacteria. Proteins such as PDL1, called an immune checkpoint protein, help keep immune cells from harming normal cells in the body. This allows some cancer cells to “trick” the immune system and avoid being attacked as foreign, harmful substances.
“Immunotherapy boosts the immune system by helping it recognize going in for an infusion every three weeks for a half hour session. Now, the 77-year-old former smoker is in complete remission.
“I’d never spent a night in a hospital before all of this started,” Boone says. “Thanks to Dr. Mohebtash and her team, I feel great. I even joined the rehabilitation program at MedStar Good Samaritan and am still doing that three times a week. I fell in love with it. People say I look much younger than I am.”