Submitted by Herbert Atienza, a public information officer and paid spokesman for Loma Linda University.
A cancer survivor has high hopes that ongoing research at Loma Linda University Cancer Center’s San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Oncology Center and Biospecimen Laboratory will help bring a cure to all cancer patients.
Bruce Herold, 58, from Cabazon, agreed to allow his tumor to be studied in the laboratory – and be entered into a national cancer database – to help bring about new types of therapies and treatment.
“While participation in this research is optional, we have found cancer patients to be exceedingly generous and altruistic,” said Dr. Mark Reeves, director of Loma Linda University Cancer Center. “They want to do everything they can to ensure that patients do not have to go through what they did; they want to help discover lifesaving treatment.”
At Loma Linda University Cancer Center, data from tissues have been collected and saved in real time as the specimens are frozen and preserved. The tissue and data are stored in the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Biospecimen Laboratory, which recently opened, thanks to a $3 million donation from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.
Herold, a retired fire captain from the California Department of Forestry, had been referred to Dr. Reeves with stage 4 colon cancer, when his tumor began to grow following surgery and chemotherapy treatment at a nearby hospital.
His journey to Loma Linda began in early 2011 when he became ill and visited an urgent care clinic in a neighboring city. While the doctor discovered a mass in his abdomen during the examination, surgery was postponed until he recovered from pneumonia and strep throat.
The doctor excised as much of the mass, about the size of a soup bowl, as possible during the four-hour surgery, but had been unable to remove all of it as it had invaded many of the organs on the right side of the body. The tumor, which Herold and his wife, Pam, nicknamed “Rocky,” began to grow again after he had completed chemotherapy, which led to his being referred to Loma Linda University Cancer Center.
“We are grateful that Loma Linda maintains close connections with hospitals in the area,” said Pam Herold. “The level of care Bruce needed could only be provided at a cancer center, and the transition to Loma Linda was easy for us.”
Bruce Herold had a second surgery last summer, with optimistic results. “The procedure was a curative resection – the margins around the tumor were clear, which means that it is unlikely that the cancer will return,” he said.
Dr. Reeves shared Herold’s optimistic outlook and expressed hope for continuous improvement for his patient. He said cancer researchers are receiving more information and unlocking more puzzles related to cancer as a result of the resources offered by the cancer lab.
“We are grateful to San Manuel Band of Mission Indians for their gift which made it possible for us to create the laboratory and support ongoing research at Loma Linda University Cancer Center,” Dr. Reeves said.