Unfortunately, the scans showed that Lori’s bone lesions have become larger and the tumor in her breast has grown a bit. So, Dr S has declared the Taxol chemo to be a failure, and he presented us with some new options as we look ahead.
First of all, he wants us to begin the precision genome mapping process. For that, we will return to Indy tomorrow for another biopsy. The tissue samples will be sent to the Paradigm genomics lab located at the University of Michigan’s clinics. There, the samples will be tested for DNA mutations. I believe I detailed some of this process in a previous post, but I found this article on the front of Paradigm’s web page. http://www.paradigmdx.org/iu-paradigm-team-up-to-test-genomic-sequencing/
It explains the process, and it features Dr. S and Dr. Radovich who is in charge of the genomics research team at IU. IU partners with Paradigm labs for their genomics program. The typical turn-time for these tests is 14 days. Once the results are in, IU will convene a board of experts who will analyze Lori’s case to include the treatment she has undergone to this point and the specific results of the genome lab work. In 78% of cases, the precision mapping results in a pairing with an FDA-approved drug specific to the tumor of the patient. There is no guarantee that drug will work, but it has been very effective for many patients who were otherwise doing very poorly.
The second option is a clinical trial tailored to TNBC patients. The trial is a medicine designed to block pathways which have often been found to feed cancer cells in TNBC patients. The hope is that this blockage could “starve” the cancer cells and cause them to die. However, this is only a trial. It has never been tested, and there are no guarantees for results. Here’s a link to the trial details: http://www.entremed.com/files/diamond022113.pdf
Eventually, we’ll have to choose between these two options (a third option would be a different type of chemo, but Dr S. doesn’t recommend that due to the failure of Taxol). We are trying to work out all of the details and if we time it just right, we may be able to pursue both the precision genome mapping option and the clinical trial option simultaneously. We would send off for the genome testing (14 days) and meanwhile do all of the preliminaries for the clinical trial. Once the genome results are in, we can decide to either try the lab-matched FDA approved drug or begin the drug for the clinical trial. At that point (approx 14 days from tomorrow) we would have to choose one plan or the other. Again, we’re still working out those details.
There are many variables in play right now, and we’re trying to process all of the information we received today. Actually, we’ve known about the results since last Friday so we’ve been mulling the options for a few days now. It’s really very stressful though; the scan results were disappointing, but we have plenty of hope for the future. Tomorrow, we’re going back to Indy for a biopsy at 1430 central time.
We are praying for wisdom. The failure of the Taxol may just be God’s way of pushing us into a better option. We are determined to proceed without fear and to trust God for His timing and purpose regardless of the outcome.