About Me

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Bakersfield, CA, United States
Hans was a busy, happy, sweet and fearless three year old when he was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma. He fought his disease like a "gladiator" for nearly 6 years. Hans was an animal lover to his core. He was 'guarded' at home by his three cats, Black, Orange and Cotton. He also had his Golden Retriever, Honey, to keep him company. Hans enjoyed swimming, biking, gardening, grilling (he had his very own grill!), horseback riding, playing video games, building Legos, and flipping between Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and Animal Planet. Hans loved all members of his family and he was a loyal friend. He had to go through a lot of treatment in his life. But Hans powered through it. His attitude was let's get this done! His motivation was always to get back home, to his family, pets, favorite foods and pool.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Antibody Therapy

Elle took this pic yesterday. It is gettin' hot in Bakersfield so the kids are starting to use the pool:)

I am starting to field quite a few questions from friends/family about antibody therapy. So, for the next few posts I'll go into it a little bit.

Antibody Therapy (as defined by the National Cancer Institute) Treatment with an antibody, a substance that can directly kill specific tumor cells or stimulate the immune system to kill tumor cells.

Has Hans ever had antibody therapy? Nope.

Antibody therapy has been used to treat Neuroblastoma for probably 20 years plus. But only fairly recently has antibody been windely available for all. Previously, you used to have to travel to a special center, like MSKCC in NYC, or fall into a particiular open clinical trial if the timing was just right at your hospital.

 We have considered traveling to MSKCC in NYC to do antibody therapy at a couple of junctures. We considered it when Hans was first in remission in 2007. But the timing wasn't quite right. We became aware of the therapy there just a little bit too late to make it happen. We considered it once again when Hans relapsed in 2008, but at that time, we went with MIBG therapy, and Hans went into his second remission.

In 2009 or so, researchers made the only significant change to Neuroblastoma front line therapy in a decade. Newly diagnosed kids now recieve antibody therapy as part of the standard treatment protocol. Hans missed that window, as he was diagnosed back in 2006. Stage IV, High Risk Kids now go through: 5 rounds chemo, stem cell harvest, surgery, radiation, stem cell transplant, and antibody therapy. Dr. Russell always said that NB therapy is the MOST BRUTAL cancer regimine for any cancer - pediatric or adult. And that was pre-2009. And that is not taking into consideration kids who relapse and what they undergo.

The idea is that antibody therapy works best once the cancer has been treated by other methods, and is all gone, or almost all gone. These antibodies became available to kids reaching or nearing a second or higher remission in just 2011 through a clinical trial. Unfortunately, Hans would be excluded from this trial due to his need for stress doses of steroids when facing illness or injury. Our doc has petitioned the FDA for Hans to be provided a special excpetion from this exclusion. For that special effort, we are forever grateful and indebted to her.

I will share more in the next couple of posts of what antibody will entail for Hans and what it means for him to do it with his Adrenal Insufficency, and also WHY in the world we'd want to do this to him. Yes, I'm getting that question. Do you really have to do this?


Anonymous said...

Such a lovely, lovely photo! Magical moments between Elle and Hans!

Thank you for sharing a possible next step, Lara. As in the past, Hans continues to be swept up in living life with overflowing love and wisdom...miracles have emerged and will continue to do so!

Sending love, hugs, smooches, and prayers from afar throughout the days...

Aunt Susy

Anonymous said...

Thank-you for explaining,looking forward to understanding more about anti-body therapy. I know you and Kevin know best in taking care of Hans. I will continue to prayer for all of you!!!
Love, Cindy