Monday, April 20, 2015

Lou is back! On wonder drug Keytruda!

Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix boss Ron Walker credits the Keytruda cancer drug with saving his life
Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix boss Ron Walker credits the Keytruda cancer drug with saving his life Photo: Chris Hopkins
Australia has become the first country in the world to register the cancer drug that former Melbourne lord mayor Ron Walker credits with saving his life.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration has registered Keytruda for treatment of patients with advanced melanoma.
The drug, which has not been listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, is expected to cost about $150,000 a year.
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre's Grant McArthur said more than 1000 Australians battling advanced melanoma each year could need the new drug.
"It is essential that these patients are able to access Keytruda on the PBS as soon as possible," Professor McArthur said.
Australia has the highest rate of melanoma in the world, with 31 people a day on average diagnosed with the cancer.
Clinical trials funded by the manufacturer Merck found Keytruda was more effective than existing advanced melanoma treatments.
Results of the trial, which involved 834 patients in 16 countries including Australia, were published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Businessman Ron Walker travelled to the US to join a trial of the drug in 2013, and has been lobbying for Keytruda to be made available in Australia. 
The above article is about the drug Keytruda , also known as Pembrolizumab.
Merck has also signed agreements with rivals Pfizer, Amgen and Incyte to test MK-3475 in combination with other oncology drugs across a variety of cancers. and the results are doing so well. (Same drug as our UK mesothelioma warrior Mavis Nye is on and having amazing success with for pleural mesothelioma).

Pembrolizumab (Trade name Keytruda formerly lambrolizumab; also known as MK-3475) is a drug marketed by Merck that targets the programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) receptor. The drug is intended for use in treating metastatic melanoma. Pembrolizumab was invented by Gregory Carven, Hans van Eenennaam and John Dulos at Organon Biosciences which later became Schering Plough Research Institute and then Merck & Co.

Lou's latest
Thursday 9 April was a turning point in my progression of this cancer to being handed a life saving drug that will hopefully stimulate my immune system, shrink tumour progression and give me more quality of life and lots more living to do!

Thursday 9 April admitted overnight at Epworth hospital in Melbourne where I had my first 3 weekly dose of wonder drug Keytruda that is showing great promise with mesothelioma in trials around the world in shrinking tumours.  Unfortunately as the drug is approved in Australia however not on the free list it is very costly for us with each dose.   Intravenous just like chemotherapy treatment for approx one hour with by the time other drugs are administered as well.  That evening seemed to be okay.  Day 2 and day 3 at home I felt like I had been run over by a bus - total fatigue, no energy and no appetite to eat anything plus nausea thrown in too.
Day 4 - I felt like I was dying, unable to get out of bed due to total fatigue, weakness and high temperatures hovering around 38 degrees including sweats.  On portable oxygen most of the day.
Day 5 to Day 10 - Extreme fatigue, nausea once or twice a day, oxygen most of the time and lack of energy.
Day 11 and Day 12 - Extreme fatigue oxygen on and off (not as frequent though) and in between feeling slightly improved.
Day 12 evening I started to come good - less oxygen needed, still fatigue however I am finding slowly I am able to do a couple of things before fatigue overcomes me - like being on the computer and doing my blog!  Appetite slowly returning.

My next treatment will be Thursday 30 April overnight stay in hospital.  Hopefully by then I will be feeling less fatigued, appetite good and my immune system will be stimulated and improved.

Lou's 60th birthday
April 20 I turned the big 60.  I had a big celebration party 10 year's ago when I turned 50 thinking if I get past my dad's death aged 54 yrs in 1985 from pleural mesothelioma that I would be a lucky girl!  Little did I know that I would be celebrating in style my 60th on Sunday and Monday with family and dear friends!

Photos coming.

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