From OHC

August 23, 2021

Contact: Joanie Manzo
Director, Marketing & Physician Services
513-751-2145 x10143

OHC Is One of 15 Sites Worldwide to Offer Live-Saving Treatment.

Claude Shelton likes to stay busy. Outside of his professional career, he often enjoyed managing his 25-acre Jackson Township property in Clermont County with 20 stalls in a horse boarding stable. When the side effects of chemotherapy treatment for his aggressive prostate cancer took away his vibrant spirit, Claude believed he would succumb to the cancer. Then, OHC flagged him for a promising clinical trial.

In 2011, Claude attributed his urination issues to an enlarged prostate. His urologist took a blood sample and told him that he had an elevated PSA, or prostate-specific antigen, a protein produced by prostate gland cells that is often elevated in men with prostate cancer. A biopsy confirmed a prostate cancer diagnosis. After several therapies failed to kill his cancer, his doctor referred him to OHC.

Claude received radiation therapy under the direction of OHC radiation oncologist Joseph N. Shaughnessy, MD. OHC’s Mark E. Johns, MD, a medical oncologist and hematologist, then treated Claude with chemotherapy. Eventually, the chemotherapy side effects weakened Claude so much that he retired from his work. “I felt terrible on the chemo and laid on the couch for a year,” said Claude. “I was done with it. I told my wife, Lisa, I was sorry, but I couldn’t go on like this anymore.”

Dr. Johns’ news about a promising treatment trial for Claude could not have come at a better time. Dr. Johns told Claude that he qualified for a phase 1 trial for a novel approach to treating some blood cancers and solid tumors called AMG 509, a BiTE technology. OHC is one of only 15 sites in the world, and the only cancer practice in the state, to offer this trial.

“New approaches to cancer treatment like immunotherapies and precision medicine offer patients with little hope, like Claude, more options,” said Dr. Johns. “BiTE technology works by engaging the patient’s immune system to fight their cancer.”

“I didn’t hesitate to join the trial,” said Claude. “The only other option was to let cancer take me.”

OHC cellular therapy expert James H. Essell, MD, supervised Claude’s weekly treatment infusions which began last December. Claude will continue to receive treatment for three-and-a-half years. He has had an excellent response to the last few cycles. His PSA level has dropped significantly and his nodes are shrinking.

“Everyone at OHC has been fantastic,” said Claude. “Alessa, my research nurse, did an excellent job providing detailed information about the trial and possible side effects. The doctors are extremely knowledgeable and they closely monitor all of my medications to make sure they don’t interact with the BiTE therapy.”

A recent battle with COVID nearly made Claude ineligible to continue receiving his life-saving treatment. “At the end of May, I was diagnosed with COVID and was on oxygen in the hospital,” said Claude. “I missed one of my BiTE treatments. If you miss two, you can no longer participate in the trial. Dr. Essell pushed for my recovery. I was sent home with oxygen on a Monday and received my BiTE treatment the next day.”

Claude, who is still building up his strength from COVID recovery, now receives outpatient weekly BiTE treatments. “My life was at an end and OHC gave me my life back,” said Claude. “I tell anyone facing cancer to keep the faith, don’t give up, and go to the doctors at OHC.”

OHC cancer experts offer leading-edge treatments and clinical trials through their nationally recognized cancer research program. To learn more or to request a second opinion, visit or call 1-888-649-4800.

To schedule an interview with Claude Shelton, Dr. Mark E. Johns, Dr. Joseph N. Shaughnessy, or Dr. James H. Essell, contact Joanie Manzo at 513-751-2145 x10143 or

OHC (Oncology Hematology Care) has been fighting cancer on the front lines for more than 35 years. We are the region’s leading experts in the treatment of nearly every form of adult cancer and complex blood disorder. OHC offers the latest medical, gynecologic and radiation therapy, and is always seeking better treatment options through its nationally recognized cancer research and clinical trials program. OHC is the first – and most experienced – independent adult cancer practice to offer the ground-breaking CAR-T therapy for adults. OHC is certified by the American Society for Clinical Oncology in the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative Certification Program and is one of only a select few cancer practices nationally to be accepted to participate in the Oncology Care Model, part of The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation. At its heart, our approach to cancer care is simple – to surround you with everything you need so you can focus on what matters most: beating cancer. For more information about OHC, or a second opinion, call 1-888-649-4800 or visit

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