Sydney dad and physiotherapist, Theo Theodosi, was told to get his affairs in order when he was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer in 2017.
“CT scans, MRIs, lung biopsies… I came out with stage three lung cancer. They couldn’t do surgery, they couldn’t do radiation, they couldn’t do chemo,” the 62-year-old told Nine News.
Then he met Dr Venessa Chin, who suggested a new immunotherapy drug called Keytruda, which helps the body’s own immune system target and kill cancer cells.
Mr Theodosi quickly began to see results in what he calls a “Benjamin Button” recovery from lung cancer.
“I look younger and healthier, and my face looks totally different, so yes, Benjamin Button,” Mr Theodosi said — referencing the famed F. Scott Fitzgerald story (and later film adaptation) about a man who ages backwards.
Mr Theodosi said he paid close to $6,500 apiece for the first four rounds of new treatment. After two years of treatment and surgery to remove a lump, Mr Theodosi got the all-clear.
“The lymph nodes within the lungs, which had previously had cancer in them on the scans, looked like they’d been cleared of cancer,” Dr Chin said.
“Theo’s been able to continue to work during this time. He’s been relatively well, doing overseas trips and sort of getting on with his life.”
Mr Theodosi’s case has helped put the potentially life-saving drug on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
Dr Chin is now conducting research to see if there is a way to predict which advanced lung cancer patients will respond to immunotherapy. Mr Theodosi has donated $10,000 to the study, in the hope it helps others achieve results like his.
“I hope it gets out there and really, really helps the masses,” he said.