Friday, July 15, 2011

What's going on...

Reid was down at MD Anderson for a good chunk of Tuesday having all the scans and tests.  Then on Wednesday he had a blood draw, a pulmonary function test, and his appointment with the stem cell doctor for the test results.  Later in the afternoon he had the clinical trial drug/placebo and that ran late.  So, we left the house at 6:00 in the morning and didn't get home until 7:00 or so in the evening.  It was a long day.

The results were inconclusive.  He didn't light up on the PET scan which means they didn't see any active cancer.  That's good.  However, on the CT scan an area in the mediastinum increased a little in size.  The doctor called it very unusual.  The area can't be biopsied because it is difficult to reach and would require major surgery.  So, he's going to wait and see.  Reid will have all the scans and tests again in two months.

On Wednesday Seattle Genetics (the company running the clinical trial Reid is in) announced that the Oncologic Drug Advisory Committee recommended unanimously that the FDA grant accelerated approval of ADCESTRIS (the trial drug) for patients who relapse with Hodgkin's Lymphoma after an auto stem cell transplant.  This is based on very promising results to date.  You can read about it here.  Usually the FDA follows their recommendation and I believe something will be known by the end of August.  This is big news in the Hogkin's Lymphoma world.

From what I've read this is the first new drug for the treatment of Hogkin's Lymphoma since the 1970's.  Hodgkin's is a rare cancer with a normally high cure rate.  However, when patients relapse it's not so good, but there is not a lot of research done like there is for other cancers.  So, the news from Seattle Genetics is very exciting to us.

This is how I understand things, but remember I'm no scientist.  In order for a person to be diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma they have to have cells called Reed-Sternberg cells.  They've been present in all of Reid's biopsies.  That's what makes it Hodgkin's.  Seattle Genetics' ADCESTRIS seeks out a certain marker in the Reed-Sternberg cells called CD 30 and latches on to the cells and destroys them without damaging a lot of other cells like regular chemo does.

This is the first time I've heard the drug called ADCESTRIS.  I'm glad they gave it a name that I can pronounce.  It's been called brentuximab vedotin in all the previous things that I've read.  Seattle Genetics is a relatively new company and this will be their first drug to make it to the market.

So, if Reid relapses (and he's been given the placebo in the trial) they will be able to give him ADCESTRIS.  This is true even if the drug doesn't get the fast track approval from the FDA, which it probably will.  This is the big incentive for being in the trial, and I feel Reid is very fortunate.

So, we are hopeful that the thing they saw in the CT scan will not amount to anything, but we've got ADCESTRIS in our back pocket for now thanks to Seattle Genetics.  I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude to this company that I hadn't even heard of a few short months ago.

Jim, Reid and Troy leave for Comic Con in San Diego on Wednesday.  This is the trip we planned for them many months ago before Reid's stem cell transplant.  I know they're going to have a great time.  Well, Reid and Troy will anyway.  I'm not sure it's really Jim's thing, but he'll bring his Kindle along and that will keep him busy.

Meanwhile, I'm going to work on a few projects.  Don't worry if you don't hear from me.  It just means I'm busy getting things done.


  1. Oh Betty - when I read it I think of how much you do know about this cancer and how probably when you started you knew nothing about it.

    Getting smart in a subject you don't want to know about.

    Well it is bittersweet news.

    Glad they have that new medication.

    Take you time and have some fun getting your projects done.


  2. Hi, Betty, I hope they all have a fabulous time at the Comic Con, especially Reid. And that Jim gets some quality reading time in :-). I guess it's once again Hang On Time. Thank goodness for that medication being available if needed.

  3. I'm sorry you have to know all this stuff. Keep digging those fingernails in.

    I hope they have a great time at Comic Madness.

    I hope you get to relax and not worry too much while they're gone.

  4. Continued prayers for Reid.....

    I hope they have a wonderful time at comic con....and I hope you have a relaxing and fun time at home.

  5. I hope everyone had a great time.


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