BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Byron Buie is a cancer patient, fighter and survivor. He is a patient at the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center.

“The immunotherapy had quit working and the tumors after we did the scans started growing just a little bit, Buie said. We had to try to find a plan, some type of treatment that would work, you know.”

For about a year, he’s been battling stage four lymphoma cancer and said the chemo was just too hard on his body.

Buie and other lymphoma patients are now a part of a clinical trial at the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center.

“We think that by bringing access to these types of trials right here in Baton Rouge. That we can really really serve our patients better,” Dr. Victor Lin, Medical Director of Clinical Research and Genetics, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center said.

Dr. Lin said the trial consists of monitoring the patient daily, researching, screenings, and FDA-approved drugs.

This phase 1 clinical trial is the first of its kind in Louisiana. This is a new level of cancer treatment hitting the Greater Baton Rouge area.

“In the state of Louisiana, there is very little access to these phase one trials. Many patients have to go out of state, usually to Texas. In order to be able to participate in these types of trials,” Lin said. We want to make sure our patients feel independent and that they’re not forced to participate. We only open trials that I think will benefit the patient.”

In most cases, the trial is covered by the patient’s insurance, but first, the patient must provide consent before starting treatment, said Lin.

As for Buie, he has seen a difference in the treatment and believes he’s on the road to recovery.

“I haven’t had any kind of side effects from it which is good. I know all the swellings going down, so I know it’s working,” said Buie.

Dr. Lin said patients should speak with their provider to discuss options and risks.