It’s that time again… I’ve now been through two 28 day cycles of treatment with ipi-145 trial ‘oral chemo’. The clinical trial protocol calls for me to have a CT scan today to re-measure my lymph nodes, spleen and liver to see how well the trial drug has begun to help them begin reducing back to a more normal size. So far, they’ve been packed like sardines with abnormal lymphocytes. Please pray that these rogue B cells have truly begun their great retreat.
I am a firm believer in patients being their own advocate and being fully informed and educated regarding their health. We don’t have the luxury of being a passive participant in our care. To achieve the best possible outcome, you truly need to be fully engaged. No, I understand that we can’t all be amateur cellular biologists but also understand that you can’t really ask your doctor the key & probing questions if you don’t know what he or she is talking about with regards to your cancer, its prognostic indicators and its treatment options. It’s your body. It’s your life. Don’t be afraid to ask hard questions.
This has been a very good series of articles posted on Scientific American by Buddhini Samarasinghe.
Buddhini Samarasinghe is a molecular biologist, with experience in cancer research. She completed her PhD at the University of Glasgow, UK and then recently completed a postdoctoral position at the University of Hawaii. She is the co-creator of the science communication website Know the Cosmos. She is also a passionate science communicator, engaging the public with current research in the life sciences. Where possible, she uses original research papers and describes the science minus the jargon! She is also involved in science outreach through broadcasts on YouTube and other social media sites, including Facebook and Google+. Buddhini Samarasinghe can be found on Twitter as @DrHalfPintBuddy.
They are worth your time. Four articles have been posted. Six more are to come. The latest one is Limitless Replicative Potential.
I returned to the drug development unit clinic yesterday after one week on the trial drug. For the first cycle (28 days) I have to visit weekly, submit blood samples, turn in my medication diary and visit with the trial’s nurse practitioner. It’s much too early to tell but the blood test results were consistent with what was expected at this stage. My white cell counts have risen quite a bit as the little rogue B lymphocytes should now be moving out of my marrow, lymph nodes and spleen and back into the bloodstream. The plan is that once there, they can begin to die off (apoptosis) which they thus far have been refusing to do. Once the marrow is not so crowded, the other blood cell types can begin to be made normally again.
The days of toxic chemotherapies may be slowly coming to an end as advanced research and clinical trials yield smarter drugs which interrupt specific metabolic and signalling pathways that ultimately allow the cancer/tumor cells to live and grow. In most cancers, the process of apoptosis or normal programmed cell death is broken. If this works according to plan, this drug compound, a PI3K inhibitor will do that for me and allow my bone marrow to get back to its normal job of producing new blood cells to replace those which have done their job and died – the way they were always supposed to. Please stay tuned.