WEEK 26 - My new best friend, Tagrisso

Written by Lars Haakon Soraas
21
Feb

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Week 26 in the war on cancer. It has been half a year since we started regarding this fight as a war. A war that we are determined to win.
Here are the highlights of the past week:
-Dyanne started Tagrisso (aka AZD9291 aka osimertinib) on Monday this week. The drug is tailormade for patients who have taken erlotinib and then gotten resistant to erlotinib due to a mutation called T790M. The drug is a so-called “targeted therapy”, meaning that it targets this specific mutation. Studies done show that it gives patients with brain metastasis a median progress free survival (PFS) of 8 months. We got half the median PFS on erlotinib, but hope to be luckier this time.
-If you thought nivolumab was expensive, at around €6000 a month, then Tagrisso is even more so: a month’s supply costs around €13000. I picked up 3 and a half moths supply at the hospital pharmacy. I must admit I was a bit tempted to put them all on eBay. It would have done wonders for my beer account… (and to be clear: we are, luckily, getting this drug for free on “compassionate use”).
-Dyanne has been in pretty good shape this week. A bit tired, but not too bad.
-I have done a bit more research on CRISPR/Cas9 technology and how it can be used to cure Dyanne. There seems to be two main approaches:
(1) Use CRISPR/Cas9 directly, package these in some virus, inject in body, hope virus reaches cancer cells (and not too many other cells) and fixes them. (2) Use CRISPR/Cas9 to edit immune cells (T cells) so that designed to target cancer cells, then multiply these edited T cells in a dish and then inject into patient. A major problem with (1) is delivery: how to get CRISPR/Cas9 into almost all cancer cells, and as few other cells as possible. Apart from this rather major hurdle, it seems to be a neat way to fix this damn cancer. Problem with (2) is that it is complicated and expensive. We will continue research and see what can be done.
Friday beer this week was an expired German Dunkel beer. Not good. It was then replaced by some other not so good beer in the fridge. Seems like it is time to stock up on good beer.
Thanks to Anne Berit for babysitting this week when Naomi got some stomach issues and kindergarden refused her entry. And thanks to Dyanne for a very nice week smile emoticon

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