Patient at University Hospitals became first to use new cancer treatment

CLEVELAND-- A high-risk cancer patient has renewed hope for a healthy future thanks to a clinical trial at University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center.

Richard Bartlett, 62 of Magnolia, is the first in the country to use a "quadra-modality" therapy, or a four-layer approach, to treat high risk head and neck cancer. Bartlett's cancer was discovered during a routine trip to the dentist last year.

Bartlett volunteered for the study that uses an immunotherapy drug called pembrolizumab. The drug was originally developed to treat melanoma. It was made famous during the treatment of former President Jimmy Carter in 2015. The drug will be used in addition to surgery, chemotherapy and radiation to fight Bartlett's cancer.

"Hopefully, we'll achieve the goal of safety and increase survival," said Dr. Michael Gibson an oncologist at University Hospitals. "He is certainly a very brave and giving individual. The likelihood of a tumor coming back is less than with standard treatment."

Nancy Bartlett has been married to Richard for 10 years. Although their future together is uncertain, she is leaning on faith to pull them through.

"My husband is my rock, my strong guy, my protector. He treats me like a queen. I love him I don't ever want to be without him," Nancy Bartlett said.

University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center