I was worried if the information for the vaccine trial I sent to NCI had been arrived at the right place or not, but thankfully it did. Monday NCI sent me a lot of consent forms and I sent back with signature next day. I will hear about next step in next week.
Meanwhile, I visited Dr. Slamon, who had invented Herceptin, at UCLA yesterday. Usually I have to wait for a few months to see him, but this time it was quick.
First I asked him about Afinitib, one of 24 drugs in the MATCH clinical trial, the primary oncologist recommended . In this trial, patients take a gene test to find some matching drugs out of the 24 drugs regardless of the location or the type of cancer. I may find more than one drug, but it looks like there are only two available for HER2 positive, my type. One is TDM1, which I’d already used two rounds, and another is Afinitib, an investigated new drug.
Dr. Slamon said that this drug was expected to work like the combination of Herceptin and Tykerb, which I have used since 2011 and already have allowed progression. So he didn’t recommend this trial.
Second, he answered me about Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor clinical trial, which I learned from a Japanese cancer patient in Germany, who had sent me a comment on my blog. He said this trial is open at Cedars Sinai Hospital, which is as big as UCLA in LA, and gave me the investigating doctor’s name and her phone number. This is his first recommendation for me. I called there this morning and requested the written information.
Third, he said OK with the vaccine trial though it would take a long time to see the effect. I asked how long, and then he said a few months.
“Meanwhile will cancer grow?” I asked again. He said NCI would explain for that answer but it may be stable.
The vaccine will be given every four weeks for the first three injections and lastly in 8 weeks. It will take about 5 months to complete, so he might mean until the completion of the vaccine, the effect won’t be seen. Because cancer is a progressing disease, if it’s stable, this is also good effect I believe. Yet in the mice study the cancer grew before it started shrinking. If cancer grows in five months while I finish 5 injections of the vaccine, that would be scary.
Lastly if I won’t participate in a clinical trial, I have only two unused drugs left. I asked if I could use them with duo of Tykerb and Herceptin because I feel like Herceptin is no more effective. He said, ”Yes.” “With the same dosage as of now.”
It was a good meeting with good feedback. As I will see my primary oncologist tomorrow, I’m going to bring those 2nd opinions and review the next strategy with her, but until it becomes clear if the checkpoint trial is surely my option, I will continue to pursue the vaccine trial.
It has been a year since the last visit to Dr. Slamon though, I could discuss more new therapies. If I can buy time, someday I may be able to see the day to beat cancer.