KANSAS CITY, Mo. — An Independence woman says she owes her life to a breast cancer clinical trial conducted at Saint Luke’s Hospital.
“I was having trouble breathing,” Maribeth Kammert recalls telling her doctor when she first noticed symptoms. “He said let’s go have a scan and ended up having fluid around my heart and they sent me for another scan and found three lymph nodes that were cancerous.”
The diagnosis wasn’t the first time Kammert was faced with cancer – she was also diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018.
But the stakes were more serious the second time around: a more aggressive stage four diagnosis.
“I have triple negative breast cancer, which has a higher recurrence,” Kammert said.
The news was devastating to her family. But, not all hope was lost. She fit perfectly into at the time a new clinical trial at Saint Luke’s Health System.
“It’s a combination of of immunotherapy with another drug called an antibody drug conjugate, which is a new technology in which an antibody that is targeting a specific protein in the cancer calls is carrying a payload of chemo,” said Dr. Tim Pluard, Medical Director at Saint Luke’s Koontz Center for Advanced Breast Cancer.
Pluard says the chemotherapy delivery is targeted to just the cancer cells and not normal tissue. Kammert agreed to the trial two years ago.
“I finished the trial with no spread and you can barely see the cancer on my scans,” Kammert said. “I am just tickled. When I first met Dr. Pluard, you meet the whole staff. He looked at the scans and I looked at him across the table and I said I am going to be your miracle and he smiled and said I will take that.”
Now, she is the doctor’s miracle and is currently living life to the fullest by going on trips with her family – a fact she believes might not have happened if it wasn’t for this trial.
“I’m just ecstatic and I tried to tell everybody about it, you know that I can,” Kammert said. “I’m so grateful to have this opportunity and, hopefully, I can give hope to others.”