Doctors At Ohio State Witness Leukemia Breakthrough

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UPDATED: Wednesday June 19, 2013 7:25 PM

Dennis Hickey admits he should be dead.

“I'm here, and I shouldn't be,” he said.

Thanks to some grey pills, Hickey has defied the odds associated with stage 4 terminal leukemia. He suffers from a form of leukemia called CLL.

“I should have passed away 10 years ago,” he said.

Hickey was part of a clinical trial at Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center–Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute using the drug Ibrutinib.

According to Doctor John Byrd of The James, of the 900 patients in the trial, every single person has gone into remission.

“In most patients, their leukemia stays away,” Byrd said.

He says the drug works like a light switch -- turning off the power to the cancer cell -- and it stays off.

“It causes the cells to regress and stop growing in the patient,” the doctor said.

For Hickey, the opportunity to grow old and see his 11th grandchild is something he says he never imagined, considering doctors gave him six months to live.

“I feel better than I did 10 years ago,” he said.

Years he says he may never have had if not for those grey pills.

“I've lived longer than anyone else in my family. I have four brothers and they didn't live out of their 50s, and cancer runs in our family,” Hickey said. “I'm going to be 73 in July.”

Hickey will have to take the pills for the rest of his life, but he will not have to undergo any more chemotherapy.

The CLL leukemia that Hickey suffers from is the most common kind of adult Leukemia, impacting 43 people every half hour in the country.

The drug isn't available for the public yet, but the FDA is so impressed with its results that it's being fast-tracked for approval.

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