Family Looks To New Drug To Stave Off Aggressive Cancer

By Jeff Neumeyer

April 27, 2011 Updated May 9, 2011 at 4:44 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, IN (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- A drug just approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration provides a Fort Wayne family new hope in their battle against one of the deadliest forms of cancer.

Joel Saunders has gone through a 20-month struggle for his life.

His body is wracked with metastatic melanoma, but Saunders, his wife and daughter are now counting on a new brain cancer drug to give him precious more time on this earth.

Saunders was scheduled to begin the first of four treatments with the drug Yervoy on April 28th.

He's endured neck and brain surgeries, radiation, and chemotherapy drugs, but he's still losing ground to the cancer.

Yervoy is specifically designed to deal with melanoma.

In clinical trials it has demonstrated better success in attacking brain tumors.

Kimberly Saunders/Wife: " It also works throughout the rest of the body to slow down, hopefully kill some of the cancer and give him more time with us, because this is not curable, but it is treatable."

The cost is $125,000 for four treatments.

Even though Saunders lost his job a while back, his COBRA insurance coverage, along with help from Lutheran Hospital locally, is picking up the entire cost.

It’s taking some of the pressure off a family that has been under more than its share of stress.

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