A Dallas man diagnosed with cancer and only three to six months to live is now cancer free ten years later and encouraging others to be proactive in their treatment.
"I had melanoma, I had brain tumors, two of them in my brain," said Brian Monaghan. "They categorized me as stage 4, and there isn't any stage 5."
Monaghan, 59, and his wife, Gerri, said they weren't ready to give up and through research, found out about an experimental cancer vaccine being studied at Baylor Research Institute in Dallas.
"Baylor was the place that was doing something cutting edge," his wife said. "And I had told Brian early on, 'Honey we are going to go where no one has gone before,' I didn't realize he would be the very first patient, but he was."
In 1999, Monaghan was the first recipient of a therapeutic vaccine, which uses the dendritic cells of the immune system to fight cancer all over the body.
"We have been blessed, 11 years later to have him here when no one gave him a chance to live," his wife said.
Dr. Jacques Banchereau said there have been other success stories with the vaccine, but they need more.
"We haven't yet been able to get enough patients in our trial, because we haven't yet been able to raise enough money to do the very large scale trial," he said.
But they are working on it, Monaghan and his wife recently wrote a book to advise other families dealing with serious diseases.
"The best medicine in the world doesn't arrive on your doorstep, you have to go seek it and find it," Monaghan's wife said.