As an integral part of his own team, Greg and his family worked together with experts at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center to develop a treatment plan that was specifically tailored to his cancer's genetic mutation. What was a very experimental idea over nine years ago is now the standard approach for patients with this lung cancer mutation.
Athletic. Healthy eater. Non-smoker. Nine years ago, Greg’s lifestyle profile read like every doctor’s recommendation for good health. When he developed a respiratory ailment that lingered, Greg and his doctors were stunned to learn that the model patient had stage-4 lung cancer.
When Greg was diagnosed, his doctors at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center were having success identifying and treating a particular type of lung cancer mutation: EGFR. Greg’s lung cancer tested positive for the EGFR mutation, and he became the first patient at Mass General enrolled in the first ever clinical trial to target his mutation as a first line of therapy. He began taking a medicine designed to attack the mutation in his tumor that was driving his cancer. “I didn’t have any hesitancy about starting a clinical trial,” said Greg. “I guess I just had so much confidence in Mass General and in my doctors that I believed it had to be the best option.”
Nine years later, Greg’s optimism has paid off. Within days of starting the trial, his chronic cough and fatigue began to ease. More importantly, the tumors in both of his lungs began shrinking. Literally and figuratively, Greg was able to breathe easy again.
“My future was totally unknown before,” Greg notes. “It still has an element of the unknown, but I couldn’t be happier with where I am. It has not inhibited me from enjoying the things I love in life and as long as it can continue, it will be a perfect outcome”.
Greg and His Personalized, Multidisciplinary Care Team
"I was the first patient enrolled in the initial EGFR-targeted therapy clinical trial at Mass General. I didn’t have any hesitancy about starting a clinical trial because I had so much confidence in Mass General and in my team that I believed it had to be the best option.” - Greg Vrettos, patient.
“Greg is an ongoing inspiration to me. He’s rafted down the Colorado River, and plays in a band. Knowing that I had a part in making these every day experiences possible motivates me to work relentlessly to develop more targeted therapies.” – Lecia Sequist, MD, medical oncologist
“Every time I see Greg, he looks so good and is always in a good mood. It’s people like Greg that give me hope that, perhaps one day, there will be a cure for cancer. His positive attitude and his patience make it hard to forget him." – David Sigilai, patient service coordinator
“Greg always had a broad smile on his face that complimented his great sense of humor. I remember him as a courteous and courageous person who was not afraid of a blood draw – that is as long as I promised to use the baby needle!.” - Doris Francis, phlebotomist/medical assistant
“I love building relationships with patients and take pride in collaborating with them to create treatment schedules that work for their daily lives. Over the years, Greg and I have become great friends and I am honored to be a part of his team.” - Lynn Dahling, patient service coordinator.
“I’ve had the pleasure of guiding Greg through many of his follow-up imaging studies.
Testing exams can be an overwhelming experience for many patients, but Greg has always been agreeable and upbeat. It’s been wonderful to be part of such a positive outcome.”- Shannon Phillips, CT Technologist
Contact the Cancer Center to schedule an appointment with one of our cancer specialists
Visit TargetedCancerCare.org for more information on the latest genomic research, cancer treatments and clinical trials.
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