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Clinical trial in OKC saves man from cancer


Research performed right here in Oklahoma has saved a man’s life.He battled cancer for years before finding the answer in a clinical trial at OU Health’s Stephenson Cancer Center.“Prior to getting cancer, I was a workaholic,” William Poole said.>> Related: Stephenson Cancer Center expands clinical trialsIn 2012 Poole was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma or bile duct cancer. The diagnosis changed everything about his life.“I learned that I had a fight on my hands and had to learn how to get through it,” he said.He applied the same work ethic to fighting cancer that he applied to build his career. Several rounds of chemotherapy and surgeries later, he was told he was out of options. That’s when he enrolled in a clinical trial.“In cholangiocarcinoma in the past, we’ve only had chemotherapy. Everybody was treated the same,” said Dr. Susanna Ulahannan with Stephenson Cancer Center.She said treatment for this cancer differs depending on where in the bile duct or gallbladder the tumor is, as well as patients’ molecular profiles.>> Related: Oklahoma man discusses surviving colorectal cancer after being told he had weeks to live“One of the mutations that we see in cholangiocarcinoma is the her2 mutation,” she said.The mutation is rare, but Poole had it. Only about 5% of patients do. Currently, there are no Food and Drug Administration-approved options. In the clinical trial, the immune system is unleashed to fight cancer. By Poole’s second scan, he showed no signs of cancer.“He is one of my stars,” Ulahannan said. “He really early on with the treatment had a great response.”Now, with a new outlook on life, Poole is living life to the fullest. “Cherish the moments. I live in moments,” he said. “I want to cherish each one of those as it tomorrow isn’t going to come, and if each of us could do that, we would have a great life.”

Research performed right here in Oklahoma has saved a man’s life.

He battled cancer for years before finding the answer in a clinical trial at OU Health’s Stephenson Cancer Center.

“Prior to getting cancer, I was a workaholic,” William Poole said.

>> Related: Stephenson Cancer Center expands clinical trials

In 2012 Poole was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma or bile duct cancer. The diagnosis changed everything about his life.

“I learned that I had a fight on my hands and had to learn how to get through it,” he said.

He applied the same work ethic to fighting cancer that he applied to build his career.

Several rounds of chemotherapy and surgeries later, he was told he was out of options. That’s when he enrolled in a clinical trial.

“In cholangiocarcinoma in the past, we’ve only had chemotherapy. Everybody was treated the same,” said Dr. Susanna Ulahannan with Stephenson Cancer Center.

She said treatment for this cancer differs depending on where in the bile duct or gallbladder the tumor is, as well as patients’ molecular profiles.

>> Related: Oklahoma man discusses surviving colorectal cancer after being told he had weeks to live

“One of the mutations that we see in cholangiocarcinoma is the her2 mutation,” she said.

The mutation is rare, but Poole had it. Only about 5% of patients do. Currently, there are no Food and Drug Administration-approved options. In the clinical trial, the immune system is unleashed to fight cancer. By Poole’s second scan, he showed no signs of cancer.

“He is one of my stars,” Ulahannan said. “He really early on with the treatment had a great response.”

Now, with a new outlook on life, Poole is living life to the fullest.

“Cherish the moments. I live in moments,” he said. “I want to cherish each one of those as it tomorrow isn’t going to come, and if each of us could do that, we would have a great life.”

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