We started the Immunotherapy clinical trial on March 17th. We travelled to Pittsburgh on Sunday(coincidently my 48th birthday).Monday morning,we got over to the hospital at 7am, for a cat scan and needle biopsy of the liver.We didn’t get out until almost 3pm. Mike was in excruciating pain after the biopsy at his tumor site.They only gave him a local anesthetic,and it was just bad.He ended up sleeping from 3pm-6pm. He got up and ate some soup,and dozed the rest of the evening.
We got up this tuesday,and went back over at 8am. They had to do labs,etc and wait for the results,and then finally the infusion! That only takes 30 minutes.
So, what to expect?We were given a list of possible side effects,but are really hopeful for minimal side effects.The dr doesn’t expect to see much noticeable improvement for at least a month. He is hopeful for the tumor to stay the same or get a little smaller at the first cat scan which will be in 2 months.If the tumor presents as growing in the next 2 months, they won’t pull us out immediately.In about 8% of people, the tumor looks like it is getting bigger at the first appointment.This is because the immune system starts throwing everything at the tumor cells,and it will present as bigger,when it is really a bunch of angry cancer cells.The dr is prepared to give Mike IV nutrition if this happens.We are praying it doesn’t happen,but at least we know it is a possibility.
So.. to review..as the dr told us .. this treatment the MK-3475 is razor edge technology.. It is not chemo.It stimulates the immune system to start fighting.As the dr said today.. the soldiers(immune system) are getting in place to start fighting.They have put up the stop signs against the PD-1. The drug is cumulative,so the next dose will really begin to see some action.
Mike is getting 10mg of the drug Pembrolizumab. The FDA has approved 2mg of this drug for Melanoma as of Feb 1st.. That is how cutting edge this experimental trial is!
We go back every 2 weeks for infusions.