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A New Era of Precision Medicine

GeneRose1's picture
GeneRose1
Posts: 64
Joined: Aug 2016
Sadie marie
Posts: 63
Joined: Sep 2016

Thanks for sharing. Sounds promising.

FinishingGrace
Posts: 83
Joined: Apr 2017

That does sound promising and hopefully this type of targeting drug will be developed for cancers of all sorts.

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 3308
Joined: May 2012

Thanks Gene.

This is the newest in a string of drugs known as "monoclonal antibodies". Hence, their drug name (but not usually their marketed name) always ends in  "...mas"

One of the first and most popular was/is Rituxan (Rituximas), used against blood cancers (Leukemia, Lymphoma) and (oddly enough) Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Rituxan has been a huge lifesaver against Lymphomas, and I received it for six months.  I can only speak of Rituxan, but Rituxan is not a conventional chemotherapy agent, and has much fewer side-effects than most "chemos."

As the article suggests, what will be most revolutionary about this is if it will work in a broad range of differing organ tumors.

max

RobLee's picture
RobLee
Posts: 259
Joined: Feb 2017

My wife had Rituxin with every infusion. It was the longest step in each session, typically requiring four hours just for the Rituxin, and the one they had to make an initial determination of just how fast they could infuse it (they pumped it into her until she went into rigors, then backed off... that was her rate going forward).

Rituximab is the "R" in R-CHOP, yet her hemo-onc told us that it was probably only responsible for about 5% of her recovery. It just makes the CHOP work better, but the Vincristine is probably the main cancer cell killer. Fortunately my wife responded well to the regimen and is now in full remission (see my blog here on CSN). I have heard some others say that they went onto long term Rituxin monotherapy but I have no personal knowledge of that.

 

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 3308
Joined: May 2012

Rob,

I can relate to all you wrote. Rituxan is slow to administer.  I did R-ABVD for Hodgkins's type, but the dosing of the Rituxan part is the same. My first infusion they started slow and then ramped up as much as possible. It always gave me chills, and I had to stay under blankets until the Rituxan part ended. Thereafter, the infusion nurse always told me my Rituxan was running "wide open," whatever that means.

I was speaking to an RN who works at my Lifetime Monitoring Program last year.  We got on the subject of Rituxan, and she said that years ago she was part of the team that did the first-ever Rituxan infusion at the oncology group where I get treatment, a fairly large group of about ten locations, 30 or more oncologists, and Inpatient floors.   She said that first patient arrested on her and had to be brought back with the crash cart, but was later fine.

So yes, Rituxan is easier than most chemos, but neither is it a walk in the park.  But it does not cause hair loss, lung damage, neuropathy, or any of the more profound side-effects of stuff like Vincristine and dozens of other chemo agents.  I got lung fibrosis, likely from the Bleomycin I got, and lost 25% lung function for life. The Adriamycin ("Rubix") your wife and I got can cause congestive heart failure years after administration.   So despite a lot of hours "in the chair" (I arrive at 8:00 AM and left around 4:00 PM each infusion) Rituxan is still a good deal.

Many Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma patients with indolent (non-aggressive) strains get treated with just Rituxan, and others go into "maintenance" on Rituxan by itself, sometimes for years, sometimes for life. This is almost always after finishing some form of first-line combination, like R-CHOP, R-EPOCH, or one of the others.  Some thereafter will do six month's or a year of Rituxan, then take a break, then begin again as needed later, sort of like the way HT is sometimes played off-and-on for metastatic PCa.  I have not heard of Rituxan-only maintenance for aggressive NHL or HL; those patients, if they ever relapse, ordinarily require stem cell transplantation (SCT).

I read your Bio page. Your wife's was an aggressive variety. Ironically, aggressive NHL, if it is put into full remission, is ordinarily LESS likely to ever relapse than  is indolent NHL (there are exceptions: there are over 20 substrains of just DBL NHL, for instance). 

You two have really been through the ringer. I hope you have a lot of years remaining together,

max

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