Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Despite 43 hour surgery, liposarcoma patient dies four months later. NYT news story here.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Gaining Ground

I don't pay too much attention to anniversaries, but I guess I must say something about today's date. It was ten years ago that I took the first step in this looooooooooooong marathon.

My doctors say that I have been a "good sport". My family and friends say that I have been "brave". Even though their words lift me high, I always feel that I don't deserve so much praise.

Maybe sometimes I am a good sport. Maybe, but it is only because I have no other choice. What can I do instead of accepting, with a smile, more surgeries, more trials, more chemo... I am not brave. I only pretend to be, hoping to fool myself. I really have no other choice.

Optimistic is what I have been in the past ten years. Once, I asked Dr. Morgan if there is a light at the end of the tunnel and he answered yes. That's what I needed to hear. No matter what, I continue to believe in my oncologist's words.

All I have to do is to continue gaining ground. Many of the targeted drugs and cancer vaccines used today to treat several cancers did not exist ten years ago. Today, we are closer to the day scientists find the drug that will cure, or at least delay, the growth of sarcomas like mine.

Coincidentally, I also signed a new protocol today. The next Phase One trial will be STA-9090. This drug will target a protein called HSP90. As it is explained in the consent form I signed today: "HSP90 is a protein that helps some molecules inside your cells to have the right shape (conformation). By stopping it's activity, those molecules never get to have the right structure to be functional, and they are destroyed. We believe that if we stop the activity of HSP90, the rapidly dividing cells that are in your tumor(s), will slow down since their proteins will not be functional without the help of HSP90..."

...and if this drug does not work, there will be more (one that targets CDK4, for example). Gaining ground, step by step, is what I hope to continue to do in the next ten years.

Friday, April 23, 2010

hsp90 inhibitor

We have a new plan of attack. A Phase One trial by a Massachusetts drug company called Syntha. STA-9090 is an inhibitor of Heat Shock Protein (hsp)90. If you want to learn more about this drug, click here
I will tell you more next week, after I do all the preliminary tests at Dana-Farber.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

jet lag and bad news

I had a wonderful time in Macau. The eleven days I spent there flew but my parents and friends managed to get my batteries completely recharged. A good thing since I needed to be in a good mood to hear the news Dr. Keohan had to give me yesterday:

I have to get you off the trial, the tumors grew ...

The fact that I was experiencing a serious case of jet lag, when my NY oncologist was delivering the bad news, helped. There is a 12 hour difference between Macau and NY, so I was half asleep and all I could say was:

It is OK, we will try another trial.

Next week I am going to see my doctors in Boston, including my surgeon. Meanwhile the New York team will discuss my case on their weekly Wednesday meeting and see if they have any drug for me.

So, that's it for R7112.