Another clinical trial

It has been about 5 months since we last made the hour-and-a-half drive to Duke, but we found our way to Dr. Beaven's office with no difficulties.  It was good to see the sweet-natured lady who has quickly become such an important and beloved member of our family.  We have the utmost confidence in Dr. Beaven, and feel that God has placed us exactly where we need to be as we continue this battle with the cancer that has invaded my body.

While there are several clinical trials available at this time, Dr. Beaven strongly recommended one that is targeted at Non Hodgkins Peripheral T-Cell Lymphoma patents who have been in remission, but recently were found to have relapsed and once again have the active disease.  That describes me to a tee.  I have applied to be accepted as a participant in this study, and will need a few more tests before acceptance can be granted, but we are confident that I will be accepted.  Treatment should then begin in early March, at the Duke Cancer Center.

The study drug in this trial is called Alisertib (go ahead and pronounce that, I dare you).  It is a new type of drug that has been developed to interfere with cellular division and growth in certain types of potentially cancerous cells.  This is contrasted with more "conventional" chemotherapy drugs that simply kill all fast growing cells.  It is also administered in pill form rather than IV infusion, which is the more normal method of treatment.  If I am approved for the trial, I will be given either Alisertib, or another drug called Romidepsin.  Dr. Beaven has recently worked with Romidepsin with good success but feels the Alisertib is equally appealing.  Based on a random selection process in the clinical trial, 50% of the patients will be given Alisertib and the other 50% will receive Romidepsin.  I should find out which group I am in within the next couple of weeks.

Regardless of the drug involved I will need to go to Duke for treatment once per week during the trial period.  Theoretically this could go on for up to two years.  More details will become available in the coming weeks, but at least we now have some idea of what lies ahead.  Uncertainty can be difficult to deal with, but we are now starting to understand things more clearly.

Obviously we would prefer that I was still in remission, but that is not the reality of things.  My monstrous disease has returned, which means we must fight it with every fiber of our being.  And we thank God that we have access to the staff and facilities at Duke Cancer Center.  The plan is beginning to unfold, and our family motto is still as applicable as ever: We're going to beat this!

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