Having lived a relatively healthy life, Robert Chisum wasn’t concerned when he went in for a scheduled surgery to remove a small lump from his neck. But to his surprise, the results of the biopsy came back positive for gastroesophageal cancer. Physicians soon delivered additional bad news: the cancer was Stage IV and had spread to his abdomen, liver, and kidneys; Chisum was told that he likely wouldn’t live to see his next birthday.

Chisum immediately started on numerous rounds of chemotherapy that produced no positive results.

“It was heartbreaking to see him deteriorate so quickly,” said Chisum’s wife. “He was at his worst.”

Chisum’s oncologist, Lincoln Nadauld, MD PhD, vice president and chief of Precision Health and Genomics at Intermountain, recommended TheraMap, a test for late-stage cancer patients. Using state-of-the-art genomic technology, TheraMap analyzes and interprets gene mutations in a patient’s tumor DNA—with the ability to detect mutation types across more than 500 genes relevant to cancer treatment.

TheraMap results are then reviewed by Intermountain Precision Genomics’ molecular tumor board that provides recommendations for treatments and therapies, giving oncologists the information and support they need to prepare a customized, targeted treatment plan for each patient.

Based on the TheraMap test results, Dr. Nadauld threw what Chisum called a “Hail Mary,” and started Chisum on immunotherapy treatment, a personalized infusion that boosts the body’s own immune system to fight cancer.

Chisum started the first dose of his targeted immunotherapy in May 2016 and had a complete response to the medication. By November of the same year, his scans showed that he was cancer free. 

“Dr. Nadauld calls me his miracle boy,” Chisum proudly said. “He’s never had anyone that close to the edge and come back.”

Chisum, too, was astonished at how great he felt throughout his immunotherapy and how effective the treatments were.

Today, he remains disease and pain free, living an active lifestyle on the golf course, going to the gym, and playing cards with friends. Watch Chisum’s story here.

“We are pleased with the advances in TheraMap that will continue to help our late-stage cancer patients see better results: a longer, improved quality of life,” said Dr. Nadauld.