Hi Everyone! Imagine I’m toasting you all from high on the hill at San Francisco’s UCSF Parnassus Hospital, as you read this. On Monday, June 28th, I received my clinical trial, custom-built, CAR-T cells. Then, one week later, on Monday, July 5th, I received the last of a daily series of small booster-like shots of the cancer drug IL-2. The follow-ups are intended to help my new immune cells get off to a fast and solid start. Together, these two steps completed my clinical trial treatment. The custom designed and built T-Cells are now exactly where they should be. And, according to my doctors, this has been a really successful launch!
Hands down, this is the most amazing project delivery I have ever helped manage. Maybe I feel that way because I was the key deliverable! The goal was to get me from life-threatening cancer condition to a reasonably safe ‘sandbar’ condition and hope for a cancer breakthrough to come along. Our plan worked and we did it! It was 44 months and 4 days from my initial cancer diagnosis to my “go-live” with this potentially curative solution. I call that an amazing milestone worth celebrating. Woohoo!!! Hell yeah!!! F— cancer!!! …
Okay, now back to business …
The BIG SHOT itself was a very simple 1-hour infusion done right in my hospital room. While my medical team worked their magic, I was watching the Tour de France on the big screen TV. My new T-cells got delivered for my infusion looking like some frozen cocktail mix inside a beer keg – four small flat pouches inside a cryogenic freezer drum. The dry ice smoldering into the room when they opened the drum added a really nice sci-fi touch to whole affair!
The follow-up shots of IL-2 were a really routine experience. I got two small doses a day, morning and evening, through a basic syringe injection. I received really, really small doses of this drug relative to cancer patients who rely on IL-2 as their primary cancer-fighting drug. In my case, it’s just kind of a chaser to help my new customized T-cells activate in my system.
If all this is sounding to you like it may be a lot easier on patients then the rough routes of chemo, radiation, and surgery, you are exactly right. That’s the main promise of this trial solution. From here, we now move on to acceptance and progress monitoring, in the months and years ahead. Should all go as planned and the solution works, I will be unofficial property of UCSF Health and PACT Pharma through 2036. And, this clinical trial will deliver a major advance in using Immunotherapy CAR-T cells to treat colorectal, colon, liver, lung, and head & neck cancers. That is our big goal now.
None of this would have been possible without our #healthcareheroes at UCSF Health, St. Joe’s Health, and all of you on “Team Crafty” around the world. We have learned Cancer Mountain is full of brutal trails and it really takes a great team to support you every step of the way. Mady, Nat, and I, are forever grateful for the way you carry us.
We welcome you to share our story with anyone you know that’s wrestling with cancer. Hope is really powerful medicine for everyone in and around the cancer community. Breakthroughs are happening everyday and amazing things are always possible.
Just look at us.
Thanks again for all your support from near and far!!
We keep rollin’! – MC
P.S. Still no clear signs of what my mutant X-Men superpower will be. But all my patient education videos and movie options at the hospital are starting with this image. Do you think they are trying to tell me something?