During a clinical study at a UK hospital, Jasmin David, 51, who was given only months to live a few years ago, is now celebrating as physicians reveal no evidence of breast cancer in her body. She is now looking forward to her 25th wedding anniversary in September after the NHS study was successful.
Atezolizumab, an injectable immunotherapy drug, was combined with an experimental treatment during David’s two-year trial at the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Manchester Clinical Research Facility (CRF) at Christie NHS Foundation Trust.
“I was 15 months down the line after my initial cancer treatment and had almost forgotten about it, but then cancer returned,” recalls David.
“When I was offered the trial, I didn’t know if it would work for me, but I thought that at least I could do something to help others and use my body for the next generation. At first, I had many horrible side effects, including headaches and spiking temperatures, so I was in hospital over Christmas and quite poorly. Then thankfully, I started to respond well to the treatment,” she said.
The clinical lead at an aged care home was a mother of two adult children who had been healthy and active in the past. Then, in November 2017, she felt a bump above her nipple. She later discovered she had aggressive triple-negative breast cancer.
She underwent a mastectomy in April 2018, followed by chemotherapy for six months and radiation therapy for 15 cycles, all of which entirely cured her body of cancer. But unfortunately, the disease returned in October 2019, and scans showed several lesions across her body, indicating a terrible prognosis.
She received the heartbreaking news that she had less than a year to live because cancer had spread to her lungs, lymph nodes, and chest bone. After exhausting all other possibilities two months later, David was given a chance to participate in research by participating in a Phase I clinical trial.
“I celebrated my 50th birthday in February 2020 while still in the middle of treatment and not knowing what the future held. Two and a half years ago, I thought it was the end, and I now feel like I’ve been reborn,” said David.
“There is a change in my life after returning from India to see family in April, and I have decided to take early retirement and to live my life in gratitude to God and to medical science. My family has been very supportive of this decision. I will be celebrating my 25th wedding anniversary in September. I have so much to look forward to,” she said.
“My Christian faith helped me a lot on this journey, and the prayers and support from family and friends gave me strength to face the challenge,” she added.
Jasmin was declared cancer-free in June 2021 after tests revealed no detectable cancer cells in her body. She will continue receiving treatment until December 2023, although she still shows no signs of the illness.
“We are really pleased that Jasmin has had such a good outcome. At The Christie, we are continually testing new drugs and therapies to see if they can benefit more people,” said Professor Fiona Thistlethwaite, medical oncologist and clinical director of Manchester CRF at The Christie.