Saturday, April 16, 2011

Treatment Update

Hi's a busy Saturday here in Raleigh and we're expecting some strong storms this afternoon.  I know many of you have been praying for my visit to MD Anderson to go well so thanks(!) for your support.  I traveled to Houston on Wednesday and spent most of Thursday in the clinic - about half my time focused on my current treatment and the other half focused on getting preparatory tests done for the stem cell transplant (which remains a "back-up" plan in case it is needed). 

The news on my treatment was good.  While my marrow still contains leukemic cells, comparing to the original bone marrow biopsy I had a year ago, something like 40% of the cancerous cells are gone, and something like 60% remain.  So the good news there is that the treatment is having an effect on the cancer in my bone marrow, as well as on my overall blood counts, which remain at near normal levels.  We would have liked to have seen a bigger impact, but we did not expect (speaking purely medically) that the cancer would be gone in 3 treatments - the nominal duration of the treatments is 6 cycles.  So, I will continue being treated and Dr. Keating wants me to go through the next 3 cycles and then have another marrow biopsy.  The definition of remission is that all cancerous cells in the marrow have to be gone, so that's what we will be praying for.  I will start cycle 4 on Monday, assuming my counts are OK that day.

Regardless of how much of the cancer the treatment eliminates, Dr. Keating continues to develop new treatments, and in fact has several 17p patients with stubborn disease that he has stabilized with a new family of oral drugs that are called "T-cell inhibitors".  He's very excited about these developments.

The GREAT news that I got on Thursday is that my sister Laure is a PERFECT stem cell donor match for me.  There are 14 "tests" for matching and we matched on all 14 points - so this is a GREAT answer to prayer and we are all just thrilled about it.  If I ever need a transplant, this puts me in the best possible position.  Woo Hoo!  Praise God!!

Your support, prayers, notes, and cards are deeply appreciated.  Love - Dan and Fam  

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