The daughter of one of our very dear Bedford friends, age 32, a wife and mom, is struggling with a very virulent strain of cancer. It started out as a melanoma which was successfully treated but the cancer returned and moved to other parts of her body and most recently attacked her brain. With immunotherapy, the rest of her body became cancer free but the attack on her brain is causing her pain. She’s had several brain surgeries (even typing that makes me shudder) but now her extraordinary doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering are sending her to Houston to participate in a treatment program at MD Anderson. MDA is such an incredible facility with world class research doctors on hand to try experimental procedures that could one day be the cure.
The title of the program is: Retrospective review of metastatic melanoma patients with leptomeningeal disease treated with intrathecal interleukin.
Metastatic melanoma patients with leptomeningeal disease (LMD) have an extremely poor prognosis, with a median survival measured in weeks, and few treatment options. Outcomes of a retrospective cohort of patients with LMD that were treated with intrathecal interleukin-2 (IT IL-2) were reviewed to assess the long- term ef cacy of this therapy.
Methods: The records of metastatic melanoma patients with LMD who were treated with IT IL-2 from 2006 to 2014 in a Compassionate Investigational New Drug
study were reviewed. IL-2 (1.2 mIU) was administered intrathecally via Ommaya reservoir up to ve times per week in the inpatient setting for 4 weeks; patients with good tolerance and clinical bene t received maintenance IT IL-2 every 1–3 months thereafter.
The whole family has basically moved to Houston for the month. The grandparents can take care of the toddler son while still being near their daughter and son in law.
They are a deeply spiritual family, calling on their faith many times to bring them some guidance. We, as close friends, can only offer moral support. While we do that, because it hasn’t happened to us, we can’t fully understand the depth of their angst but certainly can understand the strength of their hope that this beautiful young woman can be healed.
So, as I complained this morning my feet hurt from wearing new shoes all day yesterday, I looked long and hard in the mirror and told myself to STFU. We have it great and everything pales in comparison to a parent holding on to their child.