Harleysville Woman with Rare Form of Melanoma Credits Clinical Trials for Life-Saving Treatment

Stephanie Heart of Harleysville
Image of Stephanie Heart of Harleysville via Facebook, who is recovering from Melanoma.

If there were no clinical trials, Stephanie Heart of Harleysville would not have access to the life-saving medication that helped her beat a rare form of melanoma that took the life of reggae star Bob Marley, writes Heather Grubola for 6abc.

Heart discovered a growth on her toe. By the time she discovered it was cancerous, it was already Stage 3 and had reached her lymph nodes.

She then had a part of her toe amputated at Fox Chase Cancer Center, but the melanoma was already in her bloodstream. So to help her beat this deadly disease, doctors put her on full-body immunotherapy.

“It boosts your immune system up to recognize the cancer cells that it normally wouldn’t recognize,” said Heart. “And it just rapid fires at them.”

This treatment is possible thanks to thousands of patients who volunteered on clinical trials for years, said oncologist Dr. Anthony Olszanski.

“Because if they hadn’t been done, there would be no immunotherapy,” said Heart. “And melanoma was a death sentence. Even 10 years ago, it was a death sentence.”

Read more about Stephanie Heart at 6abc.