June 10, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Joanie Manzo
Director, Marketing & Physician Services
On June 7th, OHC’s team of cellular therapy experts was the first adult cancer practice in Ohio, and one of only four sites in the state, to provide a multiple myeloma patient with a newly approved CAR-T therapy. Thirty-four-year-old Amanda Toms of Silverton, Ohio was diagnosed with this incurable disease in 2018 and eagerly awaited this significant day. “My doctors kept telling me that CAR-T was for me,” said Amanda. “My family and I have been seeking out this treatment, constantly checking for FDA approval.”
Multiple myeloma is a difficult to treat blood cancer that presents with periods of remission and relapse. OHC’s team of cellular therapy specialists, E. Randolph Broun, MD, James H. Essell, MD, Edward A. Faber, Jr., DO, MS, and Miguel Islas-Ohlmayer, MD, are bringing newfound hope to these patients with the recently approved Abecma, a CAR-T therapy with impressive results.
“This is a monumental advancement for patients,” said Dr. Faber, a hematologist and blood and marrow transplant specialist. “Multiple myeloma patients often try many treatments that only work for a few months, while causing debilitating side effects. New therapies and newer combinations are often continued indefinitely, taking ‘treatment free’ time away from patients.”
Amanda is no stranger to the barrage of physical, mental, and emotional challenges multiple myeloma patients face. As a young newlywed, she began to experience debilitating pain in her left arm during the summer of 2017. She could no longer work and eventually could not walk as a result of the neuropathy in her legs. After being admitted to the emergency room on New Year’s Eve, Amanda learned that a tumor was compressing her spine and myeloma was eroding the bone marrow in her arm. Her fight with cancer was only beginning.
“I was always a strong advocate for myself,” said Amanda. “I pushed the cancer out of my mind and focused on rehabilitation and walking again.”
Amanda’s primary hematologist referred her to OHC’s Dr. Essell, a medical oncologist, hematologist, and blood and marrow transplant specialist. Over the next few years, Amanda would have a stem cell transplant and relapse, undergo chemotherapy for cancer cells found near her pericardium, and receive radiation for a mass near her colon.
A determined optimist, Amanda eventually began to walk with a cane and returned to work. She credits her support system and the care she received at OHC with getting her to this point on her journey. “My husband has been my rock, and I’ve had to rely a lot on family and friends,” said Amanda. “The care I’ve received at OHC has been phenomenal. I’m completely confident in OHC giving me this new treatment.”
OHC has been using CAR-T therapy for over three years and has seen dramatic results in patients. CAR-T therapies use the power of a patient’s immune system to fight cancer. Abecma is made from the patient’s own white blood cells. After collecting the T-cells from a blood sample, the cells are sent to a specialized manufacturing center where they are reprogrammed to fight that individual patient’s cancer. Amanda’s cells were harvested and she had three rounds of chemotherapy to prepare her body for the Abecma infusion.
“We hope to give Amanda back her quality of life,” said Dr. Essell, who directed Amanda’s outpatient infusion at The Jewish Hospital-Mercy Health Cincinnati Cancer and Cellular Therapy Center. “Patients in the Abecma clinical trial responded to therapy in as little as one month after the infusion. During remission, they don’t need any other multiple myeloma treatment.”
OHC cancer experts were the first—and are the most experienced—adult cancer practice in the region to offer the ground-breaking CAR T-cell therapy, ushering in a new era in cancer treatment. The group will continue to offer patients the most innovative and promising treatments to help them beat their cancer.
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 and Medicaid Innovation Center. 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 ohcare.com.Comments (0)