Wednesday, December 23, 2009

On the right path (6 weeks on Ariad drug)

Last week, Dr. D had a PCR done. This was not a normally scheduled test, but I think he was curious to see if there was any activity by the drug. My expectations were low, since I knew during my previous drugs, that you had to really wait a full 3 months to see any measurable results. When I started Sprycel, the idea was to do a monthly PCR, but then Dr. Druker at OHSU said that was too soon, and don't expect anything. So our expectations on the 6 week PCR test (blood only) was very low.  The test also takes 1-2 weeks to come back, so we had little hope to get any news before Christmas.
So to my surprise, I got a notification from OHSU's health site that a new test result was available, on 10:30 PM on Monday. I know that Dr. D is pretty dedicated, but they go above and beyond. I was pretty nervous opening up the test results, not knowing what to expect. Here is the graph of how I am responding, compared to the first 9 months on the other drugs:
As you can tell, the drug is having an effect. In the first 6 weeks, the drug has done more than twice as much as the 9 previous months on Sprycel and Gleevec. The goal is typically to reach Log 3 reduction by 18 months, so we're definately tracking to some positive results.
For those who are like me and didn't quite pay enough attention in school, the log reduction is based on a 10 fold decrease for each log. So if you started at 100, then 1 log reduction is 10. Another log reduction would put you at 1 and a 3 log reduction is 0.1. The reason 3 log reduction is a major milestone, is that statistically they have shown that those who achieve a 3 log reduction by 18 months, have an outstanding chance keeping it under control long term. You will see me more and more track my progress in terms of a log reduction. But in raw numbers, I was 50 early November (you can almost think of that as 50% leukemia cells out of 1,000,000 tested), and now I am 4.4 in 6 weeks. Of course the 3 month will show more detail, but there is clearly something positive happening.

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