A New Lifesaving Treatment for Follicular Lymphoma


John Hornsby Sr., a native of Kentucky, suffered for six months with what he thought was a hernia. John was wrong. He had incurable Non-Hodgkin’s follicular lymphoma, and surgery was not possible.

John thought about all the time he had wasted. The six months he spent in bed and in pain.  He and his wife cried for days. Then John was treated successfully with chemotherapy.

According to an account featured in WCPO, the chemotherapy kept John in remission for one year. But then it came roaring back. These cycles continued for almost ten years. Then John was approached by Dr. Jim Essell explaining that John has now received eight separate treatments in about ten years. Dr. Essell said that at this point John’s cancer-fighting T cells had begun to lose their effectiveness.

Dr. Essell was contacted by Caribou Biosciences to begin the first phase of a clinical trial using donor T cells. The treatment introduced a new process that targets cancer and avoids the trauma of radiation. They selected John as an excellent candidate for the trial. Dr. Essell described the trial as a quantum leap.

About the Treatment

An antibody is inserted into T cells that target the cancer cells. Chemicals are released that trigger division of the cells which in turn increases the number of T-cells. Eventually, the cancer is eliminated while the body is spared trauma.

 John received his first round of T-cells in June 2021 via infusion. This established John as the first person in the entire world to receive this cutting-edge cancer treatment.

After all that John had experienced these last few years, it took a while before the treatment results registered with him. Finally, the reports of cancer shrinking registered with him. Twenty-eight days after the treatment ended there was no evidence of cancer. John was in remission and has remained cancer free since June of 2021.

Dr. Essell stated that although the treatment is a major step forward, it will be a while before the treatment becomes standard protocol. The doctor commended John for accepting the risk and being the first patient to test the treatment.

John commented that his doctors, nurses, and the entire staff went to great lengths to see that he was comfortable during some of the more stressful moments of testing a new treatment.

The Next Step

The team is approaching the next level which is to test the process on a larger number of participants.

The trial is currently open for enrolment at OHC as well as other medical facilities throughout the U.S. More information can be found at clinicaltrials.gov.


Rose Duesterwald

Rose Duesterwald

Rose became acquainted with Patient Worthy after her husband was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) six years ago. During this period of partial remission, Rose researched investigational drugs to be prepared in the event of a relapse. Her husband died February 12, 2021 with a rare and unexplained occurrence of liver cancer possibly unrelated to AML.

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