New Chemo Drugs Changing Lives - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/10/04-Tyler

New Chemo Drugs Changing Lives

Jerry Wight feels pretty good today, even though he is battling colon cancer and going through chemotherapy. He's feeling good in part because of a new chemo drug he's taking called Erbitux.

"I felt more like getting out and mowing the lawn, something that seemed overwhelming when I was on traditional chemotherapy," says Wight.

The drug is different from traditional chemo drugs because it actually attacks and stops the cancer cells from growing. But it doesn't effect normal cells, so there is no nausea, fatigue or hair loss.

"They figured out what makes the cancer cell so big and bad and why it grows and spreads so fast. These new drugs get right to the spot and just flip the switch and they stop growing," says Dr. Gary Gross.

The drug won't work forever. The cancer cells eventually figure out a new way to turn back on. But Dr. Gross says it's giving patients more time. Dr. Gross says before these drugs were available, people with advanced colon cancer had a very dim future, living only a few months. But Jerry's survived with it now for almost 3 years thanks to new drugs.

"So if we can give them 6 months that gives them the opportunity for new medications," says Dr. Gross.

Jerry will soon start a new chemo drug to help eradicate his cancer for good, but it wasn't available until a few weeks ago, so he truly believes Erbitux has helped lengthen his life. And there's a good chance after this next round of treatment his cancer could be gone.

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