I just wanted to share my experience of my first ever Immunotherapy consultation.
I met with Dr. Oh who is part of the UCSF immunotherapy team. He was personable, very informative and took his time explaining what he does and what they’re working on.The doctor said that I was well informed and asked the right questions. He agreed that I should get the maximum benefit from my current chemo before considering a trial. I felt comfortable that we were on the same page. I told him that my CEA had dropped 15 points since my referral to see him.
This is one of the two trials for which I am most likely eligible. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03289962
It's hard to evaluate this one at such an early phase but I like the premise. I don’t think I’m there yet but it was an intriguing option coming from an MSS standpoint. It takes several weeks for Genentech to manufacture the vaccine although he didn’t have an exact time frame. 28 days of no chemo prior to first infusion and a fresh tissue biopsy for the personal vaccine. He said that he would not ask a patient to stop chemo unless he had a confirmed spot open for the trial. Definitely worth exploring depending on outcome of my next scan. I hope to hear more about this trial at the June 30th Immunotherapy summit in San Francisco.
The other trial was less appealing to me. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02628535
The side effects from this trial were pretty daunting.Generally flu like symptoms because of the super charged immune response that this drug triggers. About 1/3 of patients developed severe inflammation of various organs including colitis. It can also cause autoimmune response in thyroid and pituitary... Of those less than half, but still significant in my opinion needed an antidote to shut down the immune response. They also require 6 hr observation period post infusion to monitor for adverse reaction and sometimes an overnight hospital stay just so they can watch you. That just sounded too risky! I am feeling quite well right now and don't want to rock the boat unless I see progression. My biggest concern is with colitis due to having two episodes of it last year and ending up on TPN and then a blockage. I just can’t go through that trauma again. In my mind, I have eliminated the trial at this juncture in time.
I'm looking ahead so I have a Plan B and Plan C too. I feel lucky so far but I know it's just a matter of time unless I can achieve resectable status.
Sending everyone positive thoughts and good wishes on your upcoming treatments and scans. I always love to read the success of those who are NED and stop by to share the hope with us!