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A promising cancer therapy saved this Utahn’s life. How will more people access the same care?

Cancer treatmeant Tribune 2-2-23.jpg
Francisco Kjolseth
The Salt Lake Tribune
Bret Boyle of Holladay is pictured at his home on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023. Boyle was one of the first people to receive CAR-T cancer therapy at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. He was treated for his Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL), a rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. His cancer is now in remission.

CAR-T cell therapy uses a person’s own cells as a weapon against cancer.

When Bret Boyle attended medical school in California the symptoms of “the terrible triads” were drilled into his memory.

Night sweats, weight loss and lymphadenopathy (lymph node swelling) made up the three early signs of lymphoma, the catch-all term for cancers of the lymphatic system.

But when Boyle developed two of the three symptoms in 2014 — night sweats and weight loss — he wasn’t initially worried. His AC unit had broken during a hot summer and he’d expected to shed some pounds having recently decided to go vegan. Plus, he kept checking his lymph nodes and didn’t detect any swelling.

But after about six months, he began to worry. “It went on long enough that I realized, OK this is stupid,” Boyle said. “I’ve got to go at least get some blood work.”

After some insurance issues, Boyle got an appointment with his usual physician and the seriousness of the situation was immediately apparent. “When I saw him and told him the story I could see it in his eyes and I knew something was wrong,” Boyle recalled.

Read full story here.