dadstimeon Posted January 9, 2007 Share Posted January 9, 2007 http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/ ... ws-broward By Brian C. Feldman Special Correspondent Posted January 8 2007 Barry Kersner, of Weston, wasn't looking for magic, just a miracle cure for the advanced lung cancer that was expected to kill him in less than three months. Though he'd smoked for more than 50 years -- two packs a day in his prime -- Kersner, 68, said he was shocked to learn the cancer had spread from his lungs to other organs and there was nothing doctors could do for him. But one oncologist suggested Dr. Rogerio Lilenbaum, director of lung cancer programs at Mount Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Center in Miami Beach, "might have something up his sleeve." Lilenbaum said he was participating in a large national clinical trial of the drug Avastin when he received the call from Kersner asking whether he could be enrolled in the study. Avastin was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2004 as a first-line treatment for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer, cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, according to the FDA Web site. After a 3 1/2-year trial, Avastin was approved in December for the treatment of lung cancer and is being studied in trials to treat wet macular degeneration after dramatic preliminary treatment results conducted at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute of the University of Miami School of Medicine. "This is perhaps one of the best examples of how people can benefit from participating in clinical trials," Lilenbaum said. "He [Kersner] was a very determined individual. He was looking for innovative options and it takes a certain type of individual with certain will power to peruse options that are outside of the box. That doggedness made a huge difference in how he got to clinical trials and how he was able to subject himself to a study. That tenacity carried through his entire treatment. My observation is that he is someone with a very strong will to live." Kersner's insistence to be part of the study is all the more remarkable, considering that participants were never told whether they were going to receive the trial drug or a placebo treatment that has no value. Today, as a cancer survivor of more than three years, Kersner is the longest-surviving individual who participated in Lilenbaum's supervised trial. "My diagnosis was that I had approximately three months to live and to go home and get my things in order, which was pretty scary," said Kersner. "From that moment on, my attitude was such that I told them there was no way I was going to die, at least not on their schedule. No way that I was going to be their poster boy and go passively." With the help and support of his wife, Bobbi, 61, they got through the eight-hour chemo sessions. "We were determined that this was not going to be the end," she said. "We were determined to beat this in our own way." The Kersners are now active volunteers with Gilda's Club, a nonprofit support organization for men, women and children with cancer. Barry Kersner says that he gives speeches and speaks with individuals. "It's not about me, it's about people with cancer," he said. "I am glad to be giving back by speaking to people and showing them that there always is hope and I am an example of never giving up." Do you have a recent story of hope? Have you overcome adversity in raising a family, been involved in a rescue or beaten the odds medically? Contact Freida Frisaro at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 954-385-7926. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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