Clinical Trial Aims to Ensure His Bladder Cancer Doesn’t Return

February 18, 2024

Late January was a time for celebration for Don Knabb. He had just completed the Keytruda Clinical Trial for his bladder cancer and he was feeling great. The celebration included writing thank you letters to his doctors, nurses, and other MidLantic Urology staff.

His story began two years prior when he noticed his urine was darker than usual. After confirming the presence of blood in Don’s urine, Dr. Pankaj Kalra, who Don says is “absolutely amazing,” found several tumors in his bladder during a cystoscopy.

“Cancer is something that happens to other people, not me!” was Don’s initial reaction. Within weeks Don’s tumors were removed and treatments began. A follow-up procedure found no sign of cancer elsewhere, and eventually Don was considered cancer-free.

Because early tests indicated Don’s bladder cancer was “high grade,” meaning it was more likely to spread and come back after treatment, he qualified for a clinical trial intended to improve chances that the cancer would not return. The trial, conducted by researchers at MidLantic Urology, is studying the effectiveness of an immunotherapy treatment, called Keytruda, for bladder cancer. It has already proven to be effective on other types of cancer.

Throughout the two-year research trial, Don struggled with side effects common among Keytruda patients, including bad cough, dry mouth, and foods didn’t taste good. But he is certain his participation was potentially lifesaving and says the dozens of hour-long drives for treatment and testing was well worth it. So pleased with his experience and his continued cancer-free outcome, Don sent heartfelt letters of thanks to Dr. Pankaj Kalra in MidLantic Urology’s Pottstown location, Dr. Laurence Belkoff who is MidLantic’s Director of Clinical Research; Cheryl Zinar, Research Director; nurse Sandy Warner, and other nurses and staff. His letters brought happy tears to many who received them.

When asked for words of advice for other cancer patients, Don says, “Keep your eye on the future and take advantage of whatever treatment options are offered to you. Keep envisioning a life that is free from cancer.”

Learn more about clinical research trials available at MidLantic Urology here, or ask your urologist if there’s a trial that’s right for you.

Patient Story_gong

MidLantic Urology bladder cancer patient Don Knabb proudly sounds the gong at the MidLantic Research Clinic in Bala Cynwyd, signifying the end of his treatments.

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