Monday afternoon Dr. Sunil Sharma, Senior Director of Clinical Research at the Huntsman Cancer Institute, gave us the following information:
- The average life expectancy of patients with this type of cancer who do nothing – 9 months
- The average life expectancy of patients who do the FOLFOX chemo treatment – 18 to 24 months
- These are the average life expectancy numbers, which means some will be shorter, others longer (We, of course, plan on being the LONGER part of that stat)
- Dr. Sharma recommends we get a pet scan and then do the FOLFOX chemo treatment, starting approximately one month from Lowell’s appendectomy. (This is also what Dr. Whisenant, Utah Cancer Specialists, recommended
- Dr. Sharma said the heated chemo wash poured into the abdomen has a very limited effectiveness and a high morbidity rate. Lowell’s specific type of cancer isn’t one that this treatment is even somewhat effective on
- Dr. Sharma is applying (to the FDA) today for a new clinical trial involving this same treatment, but adding the drug Everolimus to the FOLFOX treatment. (Currently Everolimus is only approved for Kidney cancer patients.) Dr. Sharma thinks we should do the FOLFOX, and not wait for this.
1.The FDA has 30 days to respond to the request for a clinical trial. They always respond on day 29, which puts us at least two weeks later starting chemo than if we start FOLFOX as soon as possible. There would probably be further delays as they do patient selections, etc.
2. We can’t start chemo and then hope to be part of the clinical trial.
3. We can apply to be part of the trial, but they don’t have to accept us for the trial, which means we’ve delayed starting chemo for nothing
4. Even if we’re accepted for the trial, our odds are only 50-50 that we would get the new drug, since half the patients are given a placebo and the other half get Everolimus. So, we delay chemo, take a chance we’ll be selected for the study, then take a further chance we’ll get the new drug
5. The new drug may not work on this type of cancer anyway
6. Adding a new drug to the mix could cause unexpected side effects
We now have about a week and a half to decide if we are going to go up to the Huntsman Center for treatment, or to the IMC, which is nearer our home. We’ll keep you updated as things transpire.