Saturday, May 14, 2016

Keytruda for Mesothelioma gave me back my life! Please continue to sign my petition for fast tracking Keytruda on to PBS.

Announcement!  I just want to shout out that I am feeling almost 100% back to good health! 

Keytruda brought me back to life in April 2015 for 12 months giving excellent quality of life.  At the end of March 2016 my scans showed fluid shrinkage, however new tumour growth inside the lungs.
Thanks to Keytruda stimulating my immune system I was able to commence a chemotherapy regime of vinorelbine/carboplatin to shrink these new tumours.  After the first infusion of this combination chemotherapy I went into a coma and was rushed to hospital where it was a miracle that I pulled through!  The steroid dexamethasone infused in this chemotherapy created an allergic reaction causing the coma and as a result of this, I now have diabetes type 1 requiring insulin to be injected daily into my stomach as the pancreas has stopped producing insulin.

Keytruda has not failed me - it has strengthened my immune system giving quality of life and NO PAIN and has enabled me to have this chemotherapy regime as the immune system is excellent!

20 April 2016 the above picture at my birthday party with 35 family attending.  This picture is on my way to recovery after my coma episode in hospital 3 week's prior when it was touch and go if I would pull through!  I did and now am on my way well and truly to recovery.  I must mention that my hair just went grey overnight upon admittance to the hospital!  I have kinda grown used to it!

The article below is in today's national newspapers around Australia and in particular highlighting Keytruda (immunotherapy drug) as showing promise with 30+ rare cancers.  Please continue to sign my petition to get Keytruda and other immunotherapy drugs fast tracked on to our PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme) so it will be free for all patients who need these life saving drugs!  At the moment costs to patients vary between $5,000 and $9,000 per infusion.  We simply do not have time to waste!
Petition link:  (Please copy and paste link).

Drug that saved Ron Walker could help wide range of cancer patients

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Ron Walker has backed a campaign to have Keytruda fast tracked for subsidised use on melanoma.
A DRUG that saved Ron Walker from melanoma may also be able to save patients from 30 other types of cancer.

Immunotherapy drug Keytruda is now showing promising results in 250 international trials, offering hope of a new treatment to thousands of desperate Australians with cancers ranging from breast, pancreatic and lung tumours, to those with leukaemia, myeloma and lymphomas.
Researchers have discovered that the same biomarker the drug aims for in melanoma cells — known as PD-L1 — is also present in many cases of the 30 other cancers.
MORE: Cancer expert in fight of his life
This means a new generation of anti-PD-1 drugs like Keytruda and Opdivo may work on cancers that are genetically similar, regardless of where they are located in a patient’s body.
Biomarker tests developed by Keytruda manufacturer MSD show between 15 and 100 per cent of some cancer types may become targets for the drugs, though Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre oncologist Prof Grant McArthur said trials are now determining how effective the treatment was for each disease.

“There is accumulating evidence on the trials of significant rates of tumour shrinkage on more than just melanoma, lung cancer, kidney cancer ... there is a growing list of cancers that do show a response to the PD-1 drugs,” Prof McArthur said.

“These drugs are active in multiple diseases. We are anticipating that these PD-1 drugs like Keytruda, Opdivo and others coming through are going to be used in multiple cancer types.”
Cancers are classified depending on where they occur in a person’s body, with different treatments required for each type.
But, because the new drugs work based on the genetic makeup of the cancer’s cells rather than their placement, they require a new set of processes to determine which patients will benefit.
US-based Dr Ken Emancipator, who developed MSD’s PD-L1 biomarker test, said being able to screen the makeup of a patient’s cancer to determine if it will respond to the medication could be the difference to gaining lie-saving treatment early.
“When the tumour expresses PD-L1 we have identified a patient that is very likely to benefit from an anti-PD-1 therapy,” Dr Emancipator said.
“We are pursuing the test in lots of other cancers. We are looking at monotherapy in 30 different tumour types.”

The PD-L1 protein usually works to prevent the body attacking its own cells when inflammation occurs. But, because some inflammation-causing cancers have been found to also express PD-L1, drugs that block the protein can trick the body’s immune system into attacking and killing the cancer.
In a further boost researchers believe they may be able to alter other cancers so that they begin causing inflammation, therefore making themselves vulnerable to the new drugs.
After his life was saved as part of a clinical trial, Ron Walker backed a campaign to have MSD’s Keytruda fast tracked for subsidised use on melanoma last year, and last week the Federal Government also subsidised similar PD-1 drug Opdivo.
Dr Emancipator believes the Therapeutic Goods Administration now needs to examine approving drugs based on their effectiveness in treating cancers with similar genetic make-up, rather than classified on their location, to fast track their use.
But TGA spokeswoman Kay McNiece said the impact and safety may vary.
Lou's email address:
In particular if you are or have had Keytruda please email me your details for my file, especially if in Australia.

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