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Woman Cancer Free After CAR T-cell Therapy Shows Promising Results

CLEVELAND, Ohio (CBS Local) -- Doctors say an Ohio woman, who has battled non-Hodgkin's lymphoma since 2009, is cancer free after becoming the first patient in a groundbreaking clinical trial.

Denise Kennan, 66, participated in a new cancer treatment in August called CAR T-cell Therapy at Seidman Cancer Center at University Hospitals of Cleveland. Just 30 days later, doctors say they can't find any trace of cancer.

"The jury's still out as far as how long this is going last because they just don't have a lot of long-term data," Keenan told told WJW.

Kennan, who lives in Youngstown, has been in and out of remission several times over the past ten years with a variety of failed cancer treatments.

"I started getting used to the idea of not being here anymore," Keenan said.

The trial is delivered in a single syringe and re-engineers T-cells to seek out and destroy the cancer cells.

"We collect the patient's cells they get modified with a particular virus that introduces the genetic modification over 12 to 14 days," said Dr. Paolo Caimi, a hematology and oncology specialist.

It is still not clear exactly how the new cancer treatment works and why some people respond better than others. However, experts believe that the clinical trial has shown some very promising results, especially for those suffering from cancers of the blood and organs.

Kennan says she knows the future isn't guaranteed, but the wife, mother and sister says for now, she will live in the moment.

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