Marty's Journey

Why Marty Joined an Immunotherapy Clinical Trial

Marty is enrolled in a clinical trial to see whether immunotherapy helps battle and even cure cancers caused by viruses like HPV.


Radio and TV personality Marty Griffin is getting a cutting edge treatment for his HPV-related throat cancer that doctors hope will be the final piece of the puzzle that leads to a 100% cure of some cancers.

While Marty is getting traditional treatments like radiation and chemotherapy, he's also enrolled in a clinical trial to see whether immunotherapy works with these treatments to better attack cancers caused by Human Papillomavirus. "These are the brakes on the immune system. If you don't have good brakes your immune system runs haywire and you have autoimmunity," explains Marty's doctor, Dr. Robert Ferris, Director of the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center (above) "So being able to take the brakes off of the immune system it generates a little autoimmunity."

Before this trial, immunotherapy was used mostly as a last resort for those patients whose cancers didn't respond to traditional therapies. Now doctors are studying whether immunotherapy given at the start of cancer treatments in conjunction with traditional therapies will lead to better outcomes overall.

"It's been revolutionary." Dr. Robert Ferris, Director, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, about the potential of immunotherapy in cancer cure
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