March 6, 2013
So do not fear, for I am with you
Do not be dismayed, for I am your God
I will strengthen you and help you
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand
|Madeleine's UCSF oncologist, Dr. Daud|
I am pleased to report that Madeleine has officially made it into the Merck "anti-PD1" clinical trial at UCSF.
We have been waiting and praying that she would qualify for this trial, which uses one of the most promising new drugs for melanoma treatment available for those with Madeleine's diagnosis.
Over the past weeks, we have had several meetings with Dr. Daud, signed lots of paperwork, had a new CT scan, an EKG, and many different blood tests to make sure that Madeleine didn't have any condition that would exclude her from the trial. One of the last remaining prerequisites was a baseline biopsy of her melanoma. It was determined that they had to biopsy her liver because the areas in her neck had recently received radiation. So, last Friday, Madeleine went to UCSF and had the required biopsy (which enables the drug company to have a good "pre-drug" sample of one of her melanoma tumors to use in the study).
|First anti-PD1 infusion - thumbs up!|
Yesterday, we went to San Francisco for the first of her anti-PD1 infusions...
We started the day with some "shop therapy" (so much better than chemotherapy!) at San Francisco's Westfield Mall. Madeleine was able to pick up some new items for her upcoming Make-A-Wish trip with her family (more on that in an upcoming post!).
Then it was on to UCSF. She started out with a blood draw with oodles of tubes of blood needed; then on to an exam and discussion with Dr. Daud; and finally to get the infusion of the new drug, which went very smoothly. Although none of this is easy, and the treatment procedures are stressful and somewhat scary for Madeleine, I must say that Madeleine's history with months of aggressive Biochemo treatment actually helps to make everything look a little easier in comparison. (I also noticed the same kind of perspective when she had her wisdom teeth out last spring. Madeleine: "Hmmm...this is no fun, but really it's nothing compared to having all the lymph nodes in your neck removed!").
The good news is that they do not expect the side effects of this new treatment to be difficult, although they do warn you of all the possibilities. This drug is based on one that your own body makes, and its effect is on your immune system - helping your own body to better recognize and fight the melanoma. There have been some truly amazing results with this drug, especially in a cancer like melanoma that works by "tricking" your immune system into letting the cancer grow unchecked.
Madeleine will get an infusion once every three weeks down in San Francisco, and her next scans will be in 12 weeks. Thank you all for your encouragement over these past months. While this has been a long, ongoing battle, we are so grateful that Madeleine is able to enjoy life and activity even in the midst of it. Please pray with us that this treatment would be effective; that the melanoma would fade and be eliminated from her body; and that she would be free of negative side effects during this process. Thank you!