It's been about seven months since I last updated you on Stuart's health. Since then everything had been very quiet and Stu felt perfectly normal. He had his 'no evidence of disease' or NED status from a scan in November and again in February. He had been golfing, training for the Pan Mass Challenge, and doing consulting work. At his routine scan in May there was some cloudiness in the lower left lung which the doctors felt could be the result of a nasty cold he had in April, and they scheduled a follow-up scan in mid-July just to be sure.
About two weeks ago, during a routine Pan Mass training ride, Stuart felt short of breath and came home extremely tired. After reporting this to his oncologist, the mid-July scan was moved up to last week. Unfortunately, the cloudiness the scans showed in May had progressed. The progression wasn't dramatic, and the cloudiness was still confined to the lower left lung, but it was still progression. The doctors quickly concluded that his current targeted medicine, crizotinib, was losing its effectiveness. We had hoped for a much longer duration of response, but as we've been told many times, each individual responds differently to this drug. At some point the cancer "finds a way" around the medication by mutating into a different form.
Today we met with the oncologists at Dana-Farber to discuss options. Fortunately, there is a promising new drug from Pfizer, PF-06463922 (click here if you want to read about it), specifically designed for the type of cancer Stu has when it becomes resistant to crizotinib. It is currently finishing a phase 1 clinical trial and phase 2 is likely to launch in early August. Like crizotinib it is taken in pill form (either 1 or 2 per day) and side effects are very limited. Stu is a perfect candidate for this trial and the oncologists are virtually certain he will get one of the available "slots." Although the wait until August will be long, the doctors feel that because the progression appears to be quite slow, staying on crizotinib until the trial will keep things relatively in check.
Of course, if things change dramatically in that time we will need to revisit the plan.
In the meantime, he plans to continue his work, golf, and biking as much as he can. In all likelihood he will not be able to complete the PMC which is a huge disappointment to him. Maybe next year.
Thank you for all your kind words of encouragement and support. They have helped us tremendously and will no doubt help us even more as we begin the second leg of this difficult journey.
P.S. - Feel free to reach out to Stuart directly at firstname.lastname@example.org