BOSTON - With a 1923 Ford T-Bucket Roadster, John C. White III has the perfect way to spend an evening.
"My wife and I like to go out in it on a hot night and cruise around in it," he said.
Classic cars like his are a passion. Just four years ago, John wasn't sure he and his wife, Joanne, would have too many more nights like it left. John's doctors diagnosed him with aggressive prostate cancer that had spread.
"I started a year and a half of chemotherapy, four different drugs, with the hope that would eradicate it," John shared.
Nothing that doctors tried stopped the cancer.
That's when Mathew tried something cutting-edge for prostate cancer. He removed John's tumor and sent it to a biotech lab in Boston. Technicians analyzed the genes known to drive tumor growth.
"In John's case, he had very rare mutation found in .1% of all prostate cancers," Mathew said.
The lab was also able to match John's profile with treatment options, and one was the immunotherapy drug Keytruda, FDA-approved for melanoma and bladder and lung cancer but, so far, not prostate. John had infusions for three years, and it worked.
"His scans are pristine. His PSA is undetectable," Mathew said.
"He had a hunch that I might respond to this, and he was absolutely right," John said. "I'm just thankful for every single day I have."
Despite John's treatment success, Mathew cautions patients that genomic profiling is not a magic bullet for everyone. Sometimes, there will be no existing therapies that will be a match. John said in his case, he's thankful that when all other treatments failed, the testing delivered a life-saving option.