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Woman given months to live is cured of breast cancer

All thanks to a a "miracle" drug infusion trial by the National Health Service in England.

Jasmin David, an Indian-origin woman in Manchester, was given just months to live, after being diagnosed with cancer. Now, in what can be called a blessing beyond bounds, she is declared breast cancer-free.

In November 2017, the 51-year-old spotted a lump above her nipple, and was soon diagnosed with an aggressive triple-negative form of breast cancer. David underwent six months of chemotherapy, 15 cycles of radiotherapy, and a mastectomy, and managed to get rid of the disease.

Unfortunately, two years later, in October 2019, after a dry cough and pain in her chest, her cancer returned and it had spread to ger lung, lymph nodes, and chest bone. The doctor told her that she had only months to live.

"I was 15 months down the line after my initial cancer treatment and had almost forgotten about it, but then the cancer returned," David told BBC Radio Manchester.

What you're going to hear next is nothing short of a miracle. David took part in a clinical trial, using an experimental medicine combined with an immunotherapy drug, at The Christie hospital. 

No measurable cancer cells in her body

"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," noted David.

During the two-year trial that followed, she was intravenously administered Atezolizumab, an immunotherapy medicine, combined with an experimental drug. At this time, the NIHR Manchester Clinical Research Facility at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust was in charge of her health.

It wasn't easy. "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. "Two and a half years ago I thought it was the end and I now feel like I’ve been reborn," she added, clearly elated at the discovery.

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By June 2021, scans showed no measurable cancer cells in her body and she was deemed cancer free. "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 said. 

David, who lives in Fallowfield, added: "I am here thanks to The Christie and to medical research."

Hope is a wonderful thing

Two years ago, she visited her family in Kerala to bid goodbyes. "I wept as I gave [my mother] what I feared was our last ever hug. But she filled me with positivity and told me, 'I’m sure you will see me again — and both of us will be alive.' I returned and agreed to do the clinical trial." In April, David returned to her 97-year-old mother with the "good news." She has decided to take early retirement and "live my life in gratitude to God and to medical science".

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Currently, she is eagerly awaiting her 25th wedding anniversary with her husband in September - something she didn't think was possible a while ago.'

Meanwhile, David is still receiving the medication every three weeks, and her treatment will continue till December 2023. 

The successful experiment brings hope to millions suffering from breast cancer, although further research is required to determine its validity. "It is fantastic for everyone when someone responds as well to treatment as Jasmin has," said Fiona Thistlethwaite, medical oncologist and clinical director at The Christie, who is leading the trial.

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