I really didn’t want to get up to travel to the Marsden. I thought this was all finished and here I was alarm clock shouting at me to get up 5am
The traffic was good and we got there far to early so we had a coffee and sat and waited for 8pm. The night staff were soon on and gave me a great welcome surprised to see me again. Sitting in the waiting room and all the staff as they came in were really happy to see me again and i had to explain why all the time.
Called in by Rex he was so amused and told me to take it as a bonus as he too worked it out I had done 52. So he put a canula in and drained my blood from me filling up my 7 phials . Blood pressure and temperature and weight next.
Back to waiting room where Nicky the receptionist for rehab walked in and just was ecstatic to see me and Ray again. Oh I have missed them all lots of hugs and kisses and a coffee shoved in my hand.
The Doctor called me in and said Merck want me to have the two infusions so that was it.
I asked about my scan and he looked on the computer and said its all fine remission it is. Oh how wonderful to hear him admit that. Everyone has been too scared to call it that as it just isn’t a word they have been able to say with Mesothelioma.
So he approved my drug and we went back into the waiting area and chatted to Nicky as she has been putting The Mesothelioma UK book out for me and also Mesowarriors that have been going for their treatment have been collecting them.
I took a few down to the large waiting room in the clinic area and placed them on a table there as that’s where people get the devastating news of their cancer.
We sat around and a man and his daughter, that had come up in the lift with us. came into the room. I just knew he was a warrior in the lift, but didn’t like to ask, he told me he knew me. His daughter has been emailing me and I got him to go to the Marsden through her. It’s lovely to meet the faces behind the emails. Not everyone is on Face Book so my blog is great to link people up to me.
He has had to give the trial a rest as his white blood cells are too high. They want that to settle down again.
I loved the positive attitude and he even works through the illness, that amazes me as I don’t know where he gets the strength to do that.
His daughter had phoned her sister to say that I was there and she was so upset she wasn’t there to meet me, so we had to do a photo for her. it really tickles me this friendship of the Mesowarriors. These two sisters are going to mix in well with out Mesowarriors that go away for fun and laughter as we do. Mind you Ray wasn’t a laugh he was asleep all the time we had been talking. He has a special chair there and once he is in it he sleeps.
At last my drug was made up and I was able to go into the treatment room where Rex put the drug up and I was once again getting topped up
At last I could go home and back to a Friday on the M25 and the struggle through the traffic.
We got home and I dived out and collected Louis and we went off to the park to let him have a good run
Merck Have Published results of my Trial for Lung Cancer that is interesting
Merck (NYSE:MRK) looks like it will win the race to have the first immunotherapy drug to gain Food and Drug Administration approval to treat newly diagnosed non-small cell lung cancer patients; but don’t count rival Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY) out just yet.
In a clinical trial called KEYNOTE-024, Merck said that patients receiving Keytruda fared better than patients who received chemotherapy, the current standard of care. The drug extended both progression-free survival (PFS), which measures when a tumor starts growing again, and overall survival.
Merck didn’t put any numbers to those claims. It’s waiting for a medical meeting to disclose the extent that Keytruda was able to extend PFS and overall survival. The European Society for Medical Oncology meeting in October would be one logical place to present the data, although I’m sure investors would prefer to see the data before then.
To screen or not to screen
Keytruda and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo both bind to a protein called PD-1, blocking the interaction between PD-L1 on tumor cells and PD-1 on immune system cells called T lymphocytes, which normally tells the immune system not to attack the tumor cells. In the presence of the drugs, the negative signal is blocked, and the immune system is activated and attacks the tumor.
Both drugs are approved for later-stage lung-cancer patients, but Merck screened its patients for PD-L1 expression, and therefore is only approved for strong expressers of PD-L1. Bristol-Myers Squibb skipped that step, and still saw an effect, so Opdivo is approved for a larger number of patients, and doctors don’t have to screen for PD-L1 before using the drug.
In KEYNOTE-024, Merck took the same approach as before, looking at the expression of PD-L1 lung-cancer cells, and only enrolled patients with tumors expressing high levels of PD-L1, defined as a tumor proportion score of 50% or more. Bristol-Myers Squibb is also running a trial in newly diagnosed patients, called CheckMate 026, with data due this year, but its trial allows for all patients to be enrolled if the initial cohort of patients with high PD-L1 sees a benefit from Opdivo.
Combos to come
It may not matter which drug extends overall survival as a monotherapy, or whether Bristol-Myers can capture more patients by not requiring screening, because both companies are running clinical trials testing the drugs in combination with other drugs in newly diagnosed patients. Merck is testing Keytruda in combination with two different types of chemotherapy in newly diagnosed lung-cancer patients in clinical trials called Keynote-189 and Keynote-407.
Likewise, in a clinical trial dubbed Checkmate-227, Bristol-Myers Squibb is testing Opdivo in combination with chemotherapy in newly diagnosed lung-cancer patients. As part of that trial, other patients will get Opdivo in combination with Yervoy, another immunotherapy sold by the company.
If all that competition wasn’t enough, Roche is testing its immunotherapy Tecentriq in lung cancer. The PD-L1-blocking drug has already shown good results in bladder cancer, having been approved for that tumor type in May.
Congratulations to Merck for scoring the first punch in round two of this lung-cancer fight,. Investors, however, should keep in mind that this round isn’t over, and the battle is a 10-round bout where neither drug is likely to win by KO.
Brian Orelli and The Motley Fool have no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.