From OHC, Specialists in the Treatment of Adult Cancers and Blood Disorders

September 22, 2020

Although acute myeloid leukemia (AML) accounts for only about one percent of all cancers, it can be deadly if not treated. Approximately two out of three people with AML who receive standard chemotherapy go into remission. The chance of remission depends on each person’s specific factors, one of which is their age.

Patients diagnosed with AML who are age 60 years and older don’t do well with treatment. One reason is because the aggressive treatment is often difficult for them to tolerate. This is due to toxicity of the drugs and potentially fatal side effects. And it’s often ineffective. Sadly, little progress has been made in improving the survival rate of older patients.

In response to these challenges, the blood cancer experts at OHC are determined to find alternative options for older patients with AML. OHC is the only adult cancer practice in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana to offer a clinical trial evaluating a drug called Venetoclax, a treatment that has demonstrated positive responses and is less harsh and is administered in an outpatient setting. This treatment is a promising alternative for older patients with AML and OHC is making it available for patients throughout the region.

When 71-year-old Indiana resident Estil Henson was diagnosed with AML in June, the team at OHC quickly assessed him and identified him as an ideal candidate for Venetoclax.

“Dr. Essell and his research nurse Megan Hanson told my wife, Rose, and me about the clinical trial. They explained it in complete detail and made sure we understood everything,” said Estil. “I’ve been in the trial and on the drug for three months and I feel really good. I don’t even feel like I’m sick.”

“Mr. Henson had a complete response after his first treatment of Venetoclax,” said OHC’s James H. Essell, MD, medical oncologist, hematologist and transplant specialist who is a nationally known expert in the treatment of blood cancers. “He is doing very well and, so far, the only side effect has been a little fatigue.”

Another benefit of this trial is that the treatment is being offered in an outpatient setting. Patients receiving Venetoclax outside of a clinical trial, like the one at OHC, would have to be admitted to a hospital for days, possibly weeks to receive it. OHC’s nationally recognized clinical trials program allows patients to go to OHC’s office, receive their treatment, and then return home.

“This was a blessing to us because we live in Indiana and I didn’t want to be away from home for four weeks. I’d miss my buddy,” said Estil referring to his dog.

Not all patients have the same response to treatments, which is why the cancer experts at OHC are bringing innovative treatment options to adults of all ages with all types of cancer. It’s another way OHC surrounds patients with everything they need to beat cancer. Learn more about advanced treatments and clinical trials, or request a second opinion, at ohcare.com or call 1-888-649-4800.

Pictured, left to right: OHC’s Maria Carter, Medical Assistant, patient Estil Hanson, and OHC’s Tasha Vaughn, Medical Assistant.

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