Genentech and Roche on HER2 Positive Patients’ Side

The new type of medicine T-DM1 as well as Perjeta that was recently approved in June, are both HER2 positive breast cancer drugs just like Herceptin developed by Genentech in the US and Roche in Switzerland.

According to the website news of BioWorld, Genentech has been studying HER2 positive cancer for 30 years and it took 10 years to develop both T-DM1 and Perjeta in the same lab as Herceptin by almost the same researchers.

Roche’s goal is to treat HER2 positive with the combination of T-DM1, Perjeta, and Herceptin – this sounds so powerful and effective!

Even now a clinical trial of a combo of Perjeta and T-DM1 is already in phase lll and a combo of Herceptin and a vaccine is in phase ll.  T-DM1 seems like it will be filed in the fall.

Though HER2 positive type is aggressive with a high chance of recurrence compared with other types of breast cancer, it appears in only ¼ of all breast cancers.

I am sure that new drugs have been developed for all types of cancers, but I learned Genentech and Roche are the stars for HER2 positive patients.

Once the patent on Herceptin expires in 2014, numerous other pharmaceutical companies all over the world will start selling cheaper Herceptin, and then probably Genentech and Roche will need to sell new drugs to keep their profits.  The money is always behind the scene, but as a HER2 positive patient, I appreciate that there are companies who commit to going after HER2 positive.

It was not my desire to have gotten cancer, but I am fortunate that my cancer was a breast cancer for which the new treatments with new drugs are always being developed because of the huge demands in spited of the 1/4 ratio.

T-DM1 Was Filed

The dreamed-for medicine for HER2 positive patients, T-DM1, was finally filed with the FDA last week.

According to the news, the FDA may approve it in less than 6 months!  Finally it has come into close range.

I am so thankful for all the people who signed on the petition and have prayed for it!

Watch Out 2/26 For T-DM1

T-DM1, the so called super Herceptin, the promising medicine for HER2 + may be approved by FDA on 2/26. In 2010, this medicine was rejected once because there were not enough data to convince the FDA. Yet because this is the 2nd time and so many patients and medical professions have been longing for it, I anticipate the approval.

Last April when my cancer metastasized into the lungs, every doctor I consulted recommended T-DM1. Although I could not get it, they sounded like I had little hope without it.

In spite of such a sense of urgency, God controlled over cancer and shrunk it by Taxol, which was not recommended by any doctors I met, but Dr. M in Japan who I got to know through my blog as a woman who was fighting against stage 4 breast cancer just like me. Because of God who brought her into my life, I could sustain myself into the reachable distance of T-DM1. Gratitude!

Xeloda+Tykerb+ Herceptin may be superior to T-DM1?

While the media calls T-DM1  a blockbuster, some doctors are skeptical about the real effect of T-DM1. In Clinical Oncology published in September 2012, an oncologist was not convinced by the result of the phase lll trial, in which cancer responded 44% with T-DM1 vs 30% with Xeloda & Tykerb, saying Roche made T-DM1 look effective in the trial in order to get the approval from FDA. If T-DM1 were compared with Xeloda & Herceptin or Xeloda+Tykerb+Herceptin, which I am on now, maybe those combos are superior to T-DM1. Behind of his theory is that even after Herceptin lost effectiveness, with other chemo, Herceptin is expected to work better than without it; Tykerb + Herceptin is better than Tykerb only.

I will have the next CT scan at the end of this month, and if the three drugs I am on are really superb like this article says, I should be able to expect a good result, and then I will continue to be on them. If not, and cancer progresses, I hope T-DM1 will be approved on the 26th and I can be on T-DM1!

Even though it’s a gamble always to know whether a drug is effective for  me or not, it is still wonderful and exciting to have T-DM1 available.

T−DM1 Was Approved!

My cancer friend in Japan, Dr. M, told me that T-DM1 was approved in an e-mail.

I opened the Google News and there it was:  I saw the article telling that the FDA finally approved T-DM1 giving it the name Kadcyla on Friday the 22nd, a week earlier than I expected.

According to the article, this new drug called a super Herceptin will cost about $9,800 per month; that will be almost twice as the cost of Herceptin.

If the drug is super good, the price is also super expensive!  Yet , as currently my deductable is zero for Herceptin with Kaiser insurance,  I am hoping it will be the same zero deductable even for Kadcyla (T-DM1) as well.

My next CT scan is scheduled on the 27th in this month.  Of course, I want a good result, but even if not, now I can have Kadcyla!

This is indeed great news and I am grateful for all the people who had signed the petition for T-DM1 to help me get it.

Thank you sooooo much and GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME!! 🙂

Vitamin B For Mouth Sore

For a while my mouth had hurt as I had  hot food or citrus, and soon I developed some mouth sores, which is one of chemo side effects.  While I was looking for a remedy, I told Dr. M, my cancer friend in Japan, about the mouth sores. She told me to take Vitamin B.

Vitamin B6 and B12 are already in my medicine box as my oncologist recommended them for the numbness and tingling of my feet and hands. As I took it, next day I felt already better, and in a week, my mouth sores were completely healed.  It is really amazing!

I am so thankful for Dr. M, who is like my free private doctor.

 Aloe for Preventing Granuloma

I have developed a hand-foot syndrome from Xeloda as well.  This side effect has made my hands and feet dry and shriveled. As if a too small plastic glove on my hand starts breaking because it didn’t fit on me, my skin started cracking along with the wrinkles.  I wear gloves and use ointment several times a day, but even around the nails has begun to hurt even when I press something a little with the fingers or feel sore when cutting onions or fruits.

This may be a sign of granuloma that I had to have  surgery for last year.  I don’t want to go through such trouble any more, so now I am rubbing aloe 100% gel several times a day and it seems helpful.

 Reducing the dose of Xeloda and Tykerb

As I told about the recent side effects, the oncologist surprised me telling that it is ok to reduce the dose if the side effects get worse.

She said “if”, but this suggestion was too appealing to resist. Next day I changed Xeloda from 6 tables to 5 on top of Tykerb that I have already reduced the dose from 5 to 4 tables.

I hope they are still effective and if the new dose eases the side-effects, I ‘d like to stay on the current medicine saving T-DM1 for a while.

New Joy For the Approved T-DM1

Although I hope that I don’t need to jump on T-DM1, my joy was renewed when I saw people at church excited with me learning that my longed-fo medicine is now available.

I realized that my wish came true because so many people helped me signing on the petition, and praying for me.

This is all God’s Grace and I cannot help saying again,