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Unique vaccine helps man with cancer

April 17, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Nobody wants to hear a doctor say you probably don't have long to live, but certain cancers are tough to cure even with today's treatments.These days Kevin Carlberg's only audience is his 2-year-old daughter Lyric, but five years ago he and his band used to perform across the country.

On a stop in Colorado, the altitude got to him and his severe headaches landed Kevin in the emergency room.

"They sent me over there had an MRI and then they told me that I had a brain tumor. I was in complete shock," said Carlberg.

He was in stage four. The life expectancy for a glioblastoma brain tumor like his was is one to two years.

He was engaged. He and his wife Merritt married anyway. They prayed for a miracle. Kevin got one he enrolled in an experimental immuno-therapy treatment at UCLA called the dendretic cell vaccine.

"I definitely think that is definitely a reason why I'm still here. There has been no re-growth and this is why I am still surviving and alive," said Carlberg. said Carlberg.

Glioblastoma is 99 percent fatal even with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. That's because they are microscopic cancer cells that are difficult to eradicate.

The goal of this vaccine is to search and destroy whatever is left.

Dr. Linda Liau is the principal investigator. The vaccine is made up of proteins extracted from the tumor and the patient's own white blood cells, specifically dendretic cells.

"We do have some patients that are long term survivors for a disease that would normally have a prognosis of one to two years," said Dr. Liau.

With the vaccine, Kevin is beating the odds. He goes in for regular brain MRI's, but after five years it hasn't returned.

He wrote a charity album to raise funds for brain cancer research.

"Just kind of spreading the word thru my music," said Carlberg.

Kevin Carlberg is also working on a new solo album and he hopes someday this brain cancer vaccine will be FDA approved.

 

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