At UCLA Health’s Blood and Bone Marrow Transplant & Cellular Therapies Program, our doctors believe knowledge is power. We take time to educate our patients about their treatments and procedures before they embark on this journey.
Sometimes, it’s even better to hear about the process from someone who has been in your shoes. Our success stories reveal the realities of treatment. They also offer inspiration and reassurance about the difference bone marrow transplant and CAR T-cell therapy can make.
When Denise Delatorre was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, doctors told her it was a “very treatable cancer.” But several rounds of chemotherapy later, she still had 30 tumors throughout her body, and the cancer was starting to spread into her spine.
Instead of giving up hope, Delatorre joined a clinical trial at UCLA. She was the first patient to receive a revolutionary treatment called CAR T-cell therapy, a procedure that uses patients’ own T cells (a type of white blood cell) to fight cancer.
Josh Feldman had always been an early adopter — the first person on his block to try new technology. So when traditional chemotherapy didn’t get rid of his lymphoma, he looked for a high-tech solution.
Feldman sought out a clinical trial at UCLA and became one of the first patients there to receive CAR T-cell therapy. The treatment uses a patient’s own T cells (a type of immune-boosting white blood cells) to help fight cancer. Feldman loves to surf, so the fact that the trial was named after a favorite surfing beach in Malibu seemed like a good omen.
Lila Javan had already kicked cancer once. In 2010, she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). After chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant, her cancer went into remission. But five years later, just as she was prepping for a trip to climb Africa’s tallest peak, she discovered her cancer had returned.
That didn’t stop Javan from continuing her plan to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro. And she even talked her doctor into joining her.
Robert Miller had no idea his life was about to be turned upside down by cancer. But some routine blood tests prior to back surgery revealed that his platelet levels (which should have been around 140,000) were at just 40,000. Several doctor visits and tests later, Miller found out that he had acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
His doctor told him he was a candidate for a bone marrow transplant but gave him just a 50/50 shot at survival. Miller’s response: “That’s better than 40/60, so let’s get going!”
Read more about Robert Miller’s positive experience with bone marrow transplant.