Drug trial gives Edmonton cancer survivor new lease on life

Lorne Cochrane has beat the odds, thanks to a life-saving new drug treatment for cancer.

Edmonton man in remission after completing 15-week drug trial at the Cross Cancer Institute

In 2012, Lorne Cochrane was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer, and given months to live. A clinical drug trial gave him hope. 0:52

Lorne Cochrane has beat the odds, thanks to a life-saving new drug treatment for cancer. 

Cochrane was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in 2012. After months of chemotherapy, he was sent home and told he had one year to live.

He was chosen to take part in a clinical drug trial at Edmonton's Cross Cancer Institute.

15 weeks later, the 56-year-old was cancer-free. 

"I was sent home with no hope," Cochrane said. "For this trial to come along at that time, it's been an amazing ride. Who would have thought an advanced stage 4 lung cancer person would be told, 'You're cancer free?'"

It's a new life, it's one with a lot more appreciation.- Lorne Cochrane, lung cancer survivor

Cochrane was one of 273 people worldwide participating in the trial for nivolumab, also known as Opdivo.

The drug is the first immunotherapy drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for lung cancer treatment. It blocks a protein in certain immune cells that helps cancer cells avoid being found and destroyed by a person's immune system, helping the body recognize and fight the cancer.

Cochrane said he went from having 20 tumours when he started the drug to none 32 months after starting his first treatment of the drug.

He had a better chance of winning the lottery than recovering from lung cancer, he said, adding he's proud to have participated in meaningful research.

"You gotta have the guinea pigs, you gotta have the people that try it. That's the only way we're going to make improvements in the treatments," he said.

"I live everyday. It's a new life, it's one with a lot more appreciation."