Last week I wrote several articles about the results from two new studies, both finding an 8% risk of developing a secondary cancer in patients who use Revlimid over an extended period of time.
At the end of one of the articles I stated:
My opinion is this:
It seems to me an 8% risk of developing another manageable cancer is a small price to pay for controlling a terminal one. Cancer sucks! Undergoing a stem cell transplant carries risks. There are risks of developing blood clots, adverse allergic reactions and a number of other serious side-effects from taking chemotherapy.
I guess I just look at this as one more serious, if not unexpected risk for staying alive.
Look—do you think I have never reflected about what all of the chemotherapy “poison” I take will eventually do to my body? I have watched fellow patients wither and weaken and seemingly get eaten-up from the inside out—not so much from their cancer as the thalidomide, melphalan or cytoxan they were taking.
A wimpy case of leukemia doesn’t scare me—its the drugs I will need to take to control another cancer which is terrifying!
Maybe I spoke too soon. The “wimpy leukemia” most likely to develop is called acute myeloid leukemia (AML). It is treatable in some patients. But others aren’t so lucky. Catching it early seems to help–an advantage closely monitored patients with another blood cancer should have.
Millennium Pharmaceuticals is working on a new, experimental drug to treat AML called MLN 4924. Here is what Dr. Ronan Swords, a leukemia expert, has to say about AML:
“AML, in particular, is a challenging disease to manage, and there is a need for new treatment options,” said Ronan Swords, M.D., University of Texas Health Science Center, Principal Investigator of the study. “The results of this study suggest that MLN4924 has hit its target, NAE. The study also showed activity in patients with aggressive AML.”
Dr. Nancy Simonian, from Millennium, adds this:
“These data provide encouraging evidence of activity of MLN4924 in this high unmet medical need population of aggressive AML patients” said Nancy Simonian, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Millennium. “These results warrant further investigation of MLN4924 in AML and MDS.”
This is only a Stage 1 study, but it certainly looks promising. I don’t know much a bout AML. But considering I have been using Revlimid for over three years, I had better start studying. An 8% risk is pretty high.
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat