A Clinical Trial?
On Monday, Feb. 6, we went to UAB in Birmingham to checkout a clinical trial called ICT-107 for newly diagnosed patients with GBM (glioblastoma). It is being carried out at 25 cancer centers throughout the US and is showing some promise. Basically it involves harvesting stem cells, treating them and six weeks later, after radiation and chemo at home, returning to have the treated stem cells injected back into the body. It was a grueling day, made a little easier by the Research Nurse Coordinator, Cathie Robinson, who spent the day with us as we went through each department; Radiology for the MRI; lab for the blood work, etc. We met with the neuro-oncologist, Dr. Burt Nabors, who was so nice. I think he would have spent hours talking with us if necessary. So now we are waiting to learn if Gorman qualifies for this trial by being HLA posititive. If he is among the 60% of people who are HLA positive, that means he has the ability to bind the injected stem cells. If not, he will not be able to participate in the clinical trial. If some physician is reading my description of this process, he is probably laughing but this is the general idea. We should hear about this tomorrow or Friday. Then Gorman has to decide if he want to proceed with this, which is not such a “no-brainer” as it sounds. A clinical trial usually means 2/3 of participants get the vaccine (treated stem-cells) and one-third receive their stem cells untreated. It is a blind trial so none of the folks at UAB, including the doctors, know who gets the vaccine and who is in the “control group”. It is daunting to Gorman to think of spending much of the next few years (if he has that much time) driving up I-65 when it may all be for naught.
When I had the idea of this blog, I determined that I would not go on and on, boring everyone to death but here I am. It’s hard to sum up in a few words, intricate issues and complicated decisions, not to mention the ongoing turmoil that follows us each day, often punching us in the stomach but I will end tonight by saying that we know our God is holding us in the palm of his hand. He has seen us through some dark days in the past and we stand firm in knowing that He will see us through this trial.