I headed down the highway to Boston at a little past six in the morning yesterday. Those grasses that I marveled at two days prior were now covered in dew, and in the early morning light it looked like so much pink froth. Incredible!
Traffic is a bear this time of day, and even with my early departure, I arrived only a few minutes prior to my 9:30 a.m. appointment. After the white ID bracelet was placed on my wrist, (hospital jewelry) my weight, blood pressure and oxygen levels were checked. I was then led to a room and given a warm blanket. Rosalba did my blood draws. Jose provided me with a new schedule, a months supply of PF-02341066, and a hug. Irene stopped by for a chat and a wee bit of acupuncture, and Marguerite to check in and for conversation. Dr. Shaw (Alice) gave me a brief physical and went over Monday’s scans. Happily, everything is stable.
When a radiologist reads a scan, they carefully note each nodule, micro calcification and appearance of inflammation. My lungs have some of each. Although any of these features could indicate disease, they may also represent scarring and inflammation that is benign. Stability, or a lack of visual change, is a very reassuring indication (surpassed only by the ever hoped for complete resolution).
As of October 1st, I will have been on the trial drug for one year. A year of stability is huge. I have stage IV NSCLC and I have gone for almost an entire year without progression of disease, AND I have felt great. If you’re not jumping up and down yet, start now: statistically speaking, I should probably be dead, and not only am I still alive, I am not sick. I feel great. This really is flipping amazing.
Yesterday the New York Times had an article about Pfizer’s current focus on developing new drugs to treat cancer (click here). Pfizer is the largest pharmaceutical company in the world, and in the past oncology has not been one of their top focuses. They are also the maker of the experimental drug (PF-02341066) that is responsible for the halt of my lung cancer.
This article comes on the heels of an announcement that Pfizer will collaborate with Abbott Laboratories to develop a test to identify genetic mutations in NSLC (click here). Abbott’s test shall be specifically designed to search for the ALK mutation present in approximately 6-7% of tumors, in order to determine who will best benefit from treatment with PF-02341066.
It is clear that both Pfizer and Abbott see great promise in targeted therapies and are prepared to pour a lot of time and money into research and development. I couldn’t be happier. It’s good to have some very big guns up at the front in the war against cancer. It’s a real morale booster for those of us in the trenches.