A breakthrough in fighting leukemia may be in the form of a new drug that is being tested.
Dennis Hickey says he cannot believe he is still alive. "I'm here, and I shouldn't be," he said.
Thanks to gray pills, Hickey has defied the odds associated with stage four terminal leukemia. "I should have passed away 10 years ago," said Hickey.
Hickey was part of clinical trial at Ohio State University using the drug "Ibrutinib." Of the 900 patients who were given the drug, Dr. John Byrd says every one has gone into remission. "In most patients their leukemia stays away," he said.
Dr. Byrd says the drug works like a light switch - turning off the power to the cancer cell and it stays off. "It causes the cells to regress and stop growing in the patient," he said.
For Hickey, the opportunity to grow old and see his 11 grandchildren is something he says he never imagined, considering doctors gave him only six months to live. "I feel better than I did 10 years ago," said Hickey.
Years he says he may never had, if not for those gray pills. "I've lived longer than anyone else in my family. I have four brothers and they didn't live out of their 50s and cancer runs in our family," said Hickey, "I'm going to be 73 in July."
The results are published in the New England Journal of Medicine. It shows the drug helps people with certain types of leukemia and lymphoma live longer.
Click here for more information about the medication and trial.
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