A Letter of Hope from a Mother and Cancer Survivor - NFCR


A Letter of Hope from a Mother and Cancer Survivor

Bachini Family-Pic

Melinda Bachini (second to left) with her husband and 6 children.

On December 1, 2009 at age 41, I was diagnosed with Intrahepatic Cholangiocarcinoma, aka Bile Duct Cancer—a very rare, aggressive and difficult to treat type of cancer. Just 20 days after being diagnosed, I was having surgery to remove the tumor, along with 2/3 of my liver. Despite the surgery, in a few months the cancer spread to my lungs and I was deemed Stage IV terminal.

As a mother of six children, ages 4-20 at the time, terminal was not a word that I was willing to accept. With the future of my kids in mind and my deep desire to see them grow up, I knew that I could not give in to this awful disease. I began treatment, two-six month rounds of aggressive chemotherapy that ultimately failed to work and left me with a miserable quality of life. At this time, I made the difficult decision to stop the treatment and look for alternative options.

That’s when I found a clinical trial led by Dr. Steven Rosenberg at the National Institute of Health in Maryland. I was a matched candidate for this unique trial that involved adoptive cell therapy and using my own immune system to fight off the cancer. This was my last hope.

Almost immediately I saw improvement—I felt so much better and eventually I was living a normal life, treatment free for 18-months. I wasn’t cured and in time my tumors returned, but with the combination of a novel approach of the trial therapy and my body’s own defenses, the cancer has been kept at bay.

Melinda Bachini

Ten years after being diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma, Melinda Bachini spoke at the 2019 Szent-Györgyi Prize Ceremony honoring her doctor, Steven Rosenberg, M.D., Ph.D.

Here I am today, 10 years later celebrating another Mother’s Day—my first as a grandmother! I attribute this to the wonderful advancements in cancer research, the brilliant minds of researchers and scientists, the many cancer fighting organizations like The National Foundation for Cancer Research and of course, the donors like you who make all this possible.

I hope my story inspires hope for others faced with these difficult odds.

Never give up hope!


  1. REPLY
    Vicky slaikeu says

    When can we get started will they do this in the twin cities mn ?

  2. REPLY
    Nora says

    Has this treatment been approved ? Desperately need the info

    • REPLY
      Vitoria Prostko says

      I need information for my brother-in-law. He has it in his bile duct liver bone in rib and lymph nodes. It was found by accident due to an accident he had. He is a symptomatic at this point. We are not ready to lose him.

  3. REPLY
    Jim Anderson says

    How can I get information on where to get this treatment

  4. REPLY
    Michael Wang says

    The FDA has granted orphan drug designation to ITIL-168 for the treatment of stage IIB to IV melanoma in late April, 2021. That is the same type of treatment used by Dr. Rosenberg. Please ask the doctor of your brother-in-law if the treatment is suitable and if there are any clinical trials available for him.

    Dr. Michael Wang, National Foundation for Cancer Research

  5. REPLY
    Michael Wang says

    The best way to get information about any new therapy is to talk to your doctor first. You can then visit the website at https://clinicaltrials.gov/ to search for the relevant trials with the information and key words you get from your doctor for a deep search.

    Dr. Michael Wang, National Foundation for Cancer Research

  6. REPLY
    Alice Stratton says

    My other half has bile duct cancer. He has more scans to be done next week to see what if anything it’s attached too or has spread. This will determine his treatment plan and surgery. We are interested in the trial. Praying that it’s not attached or has spread’.

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