Immunotherapy for Ovarian Cancer: Carol's Story

Carol Clinton

Carol Clinton, MD, a cosmetic medicine specialist in New Albany, OH, founded Timeless Skin Solutions after 15 years of practicing medicine in a complex, high-pressure environment. She built the physician-directed skin-care practice to help clients achieve healthy, vibrant skin.

Then, at age 42, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

“I had initial surgery and standard chemotherapy treatment in 2005 with a disease-free interval of 13 years,” Dr. Clinton recalls. “I then had debulking surgery with another round of standard chemo. I had six months between that and a recurrence, at which time I sought out clinical trials at the suggestion of my local GYN oncologist.”

She chose Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, where she enrolled in an immunotherapy trial. Patients in the year-long trial, which is now complete, received a monthly infusion, with four months of two checkpoint inhibitors and eight months of one checkpoint inhibitor and daily poly ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitors.

Dr. Clinton willingly traveled from Ohio to Buffalo every month, and sometimes more often, because the clinical trial “was the most advanced immunological treatment for my genetic type of cancer.

“I sought other options at cancer centers in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas,” she says. “With the checkpoint inhibitor research having won a Nobel Prize several years ago, along with Roswell Park having such a strong program, this was the best alternative to give me the longest disease-free progression while the work for a cure continues.”

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She adds, “So far, I have had minimal disease progression after one year, and have had two side effects: hypothyroidism and a brief hepatitis.”

Dr. Clinton is a strong advocate for immunotherapy for cancer patients, as well as for participating in clinical trials.

“Since my days in medical school, it has seemed to me that immunology would be the ultimate answer to treating and curing cancer. I am appreciative that immunotherapy has come to the treatment of ovarian cancer.

“While I wish I was on the outside looking in on this one, I am grateful to be part of figuring out the answer, by contributing to clinical research.”

She also is grateful to her husband and son, who helped her get to her monthly clinical trial treatments, and friends in Buffalo who hosted them prior to the pandemic, “making sure we knew the best restaurants and entertainment spots in the city.

“My family has been my strength, providing me with laughter and supporting me through the fear and tears,” she says.

Editor’s Note: Cancer patient outcomes and experiences may vary, even for those with the same type of cancer. An individual patient’s story should not be used as a prediction of how another patient will respond to treatment. Roswell Park is transparent about the survival rates of our patients as compared to national standards, and provides this information, when available, within the cancer type sections of this website.