A new weapon in the fight against ovarian cancer may soon help thousands of women who have run out of options.
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Melissa Medalie: Happily married with two healthy kids, Jill Kisker was living a charmed life. Jill Kisker: The best thing that ever happened to me was having my kids. Melissa Medalie: Then the worst thing happened. Three years ago, Jill was diagnosed with stage-three ovarian cancer. Jill Kisker: I just thought my kids are so little that this just can't be—this just can’t be true. Like how did, you know, how did this happen? How did I get here? Melissa Medalie: Determined to beat the odds, Jill had surgery, six rounds of chemo and joined a study on an experimental vaccine. Dr. Kunle Odunsi is testing a vaccine that targets and destroys a specific protein usually found in adult male testes but it is also found on ovarian cancer cells. Dr. Kunle Odunsi: We're able to generate very robust immune responses. Melissa Medalie: In a study of 22 women, 70% had a positive response to the vaccine. Dr. Kunle Odunsi: I think it's highly promising. Melissa Medalie: In another study in women who already had several recurrences, the vaccine delayed their next relapse by nearly two years. Dr. Kunle Odunsi: The ultimate goal here is that this will translate into prevention of relapse altogether and therefore prolongation of overall survival. Melissa Medalie: Three years later, Jill is still cancer-free. But she knows she's not out of the woods. Jill Kisker: Whatever I have to do to be here, I'll do it because I'm here. Melissa Medalie: Because for her, anything else is simply not an option. I am Melissa Medalie reporting.