Last updated: 19 October 2018
Hein Jamboers was diagnosed with melanoma in 2009.
He had surgery but the tumour returned; he was told he had three months to live. Hein visited other hospitals for a second opinion, but all agreed that there was nothing that could be done.
Hein started investigating treatment options himself and came across the story of a Belgian woman who had been treated with an experimental medicine; one that hadn't yet been approved in Europe.
He tracked her down, spoke to her physician, and was referred to another hospital, the Dutch Cancer Institute (NKI). He was eventually treated with the same medicine as the Belgian patient, but it had no effect on him.
Thankfully, Hein was later invited to be one of the first three patients in The Netherlands to undergo a brand new medicine – still in its early stages of development. This medicine would harvest his immune cells, culture them outside his body and then inject them back in larger numbers. At first, the side effects were severe, and he was transferred to intensive care. Miraculously however, the treatment was successful – the tumours shrank and Hein was declared cancer free six months later.
Hein has since become an advocate for melanoma patients, sharing his story in the Netherlands, overseas, and to anyone who will listen. Whilst many physicians worry about where to refer people, Hein is not. "I know how hard it is if you can't find information and so I'm happy to tell my story whenever I can. I was told I only had 3 months to live. That was in 2011. I'm still here and enjoying life to its fullest every day."