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A Clinical Trial Helps Marion Live with Multiple Myeloma

The clinical trial continues to work for Marion and overall she is thrilled to be able to spend time with her grandkids.

clinical trial helps Marion with multiple myeloma

72 year old Marion Miller’s cancer journey started one morning in 2016 out of the blue when she woke up with shoulder pain so severe, she went straight to the doctor. Physical therapy didn’t correct the problem and she was referred to an orthopedic doctor who, after an MRI, discovered that the cause of the pain was a destructive cancer lesion affecting the bones in her right shoulder. She was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a treatable but incurable blood cancer.

The mother of 4 and grandmother of 8 was living in Delaware at the time and, although she had an oncologist at the local Helen Graham Cancer Center, she realized that she also wanted to receive care from a multiple myeloma specialist at a top cancer center. So, she sought treatment at the University of Pennsylvania’s Abramson Cancer Center in Philadelphia. Penn is also where she went to school after first arriving in the U.S. from France. She had a first treatment, then an autologous stem cell transplant, then three more different treatments when her cancer returned. That’s when her specialist enrolled her in a new clinical trial that he was leading for relapsed refractory multiple myeloma patients at the cancer center, testing a BITE drug called Teclistamab (Bispecific T-cell Engager (BiTE®).

The medication started working right away. In 2022 Marion and her husband moved to Virginia to be closer to family and the costs of trips to Philadelphia once or twice a month started adding up quickly. Thankfully, her clinical trial coordinator told her about the Lazarex Cancer Foundation, and now she’s reimbursed for an Uber round trip or for mileage – and a night in a hotel when trips require an overnight stay.

“It’s extremely helpful because we don’t have tons of money after a lifetime of ministry and teaching work. I was also too tired to work after first being diagnosed and was without a job for a while. Between the loss of income and added transportation and medical costs, Lazarex has been a lifesaver,” Marion says.

The clinical trial continues to work for Marion. It does make her immunocompromised which puts her at risk for getting sick, and she is sometimes tired. But overall, she feels well and is thrilled to be able to focus on her passion – spending time with her grandkids. She’s got enough energy now that she has started writing again, too.

“Overall I feel great, and I’m happy about that,” she says.