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I wanted to give an update – both in how things have been going and also what my next plans are (hint: I have to arrive at the hospital for a surgical biopsy at 6:30 AM today!) Looking Backward Compared to last winter and spring (OK, compared to last month!), I find it hard to accurately describe how much things have turned around, how good things are going relative to before and… Read More

The title says it all, although it should also be noted that this approval also covers other/all MSI-high cancers, not just MSI-HIGH CRC!.  Links below.  The first time a checkpoint immunotherpy (pembrolizumab (Keytruda)) is a PD1 inhibitor Immunotherapy) has been approved based upon a genetic marker (in this case MSI-Status – something I first described here back in 2015! (Stephen profiled in that 2015 article continues to do awesome by the way with no… Read More

ASCO-2017 abstracts were released yesterday and there is one study that really stood out for MSS-CRC: Abstract 3002.  The study is for the ongoing clinical trial #NCT02650713 which is testing an exploratory CEA x CD3 bifunctional protein immunotherapy called “RO6958688” both with & without the addition of the PDL1 inhibitor Atezolizumab (Tecentriq). I have been tracking this clinical trial for months as I have steadily seen multiple anecdotal accounts of successful activity appear on… Read More

>1,000 Hits… my mind was blown away.  My cancer had returned and I was now diagnosed recurrent Stage IV.  I knew at that moment that standard of care therapies would only buy me so much time – I would need to have Clinical Trials in my treatment plan.  Being a planner, I immediately started to search the main database of clinical trials, http://www.clinicaltrials.gov to see what trials were possible, to start making… Read More

Cover photo by Ariana Drehsler for STAT.  Source: STAT News – here. As you know I work with MANY different CRC organizations – The WunderGlo Foundation, Fight Colorectal Cancer, COLONTOWN, The Colon Club, the Colon Cancer Alliance etc – all are doing many great advocacy (and in the case of WunderGlo a purely CURE RESEARCH focus) projects in their own way. Because I work for so many – fundraising would get very… Read More

Well… a blog post I certainly don’t want to write and I did not plan on writing… I was told to never bury the lead of a story – so here it is: My oncolytic virus clinical trial plans have been canceled (hopefully just postponed). What? How?? Why??? I assure you the decision was not made lightly but it is also a decision I am 100% comfortable was the correct one to… Read More

Just a short IMMUNOTHERAPY CLINICAL TRIAL update post today- The phone call just came in last night: The Clinical Trial Countdown Clock has officially started! As a reminder, here is the Phase 1b trial I will be participating in: “Phase I Study of Enadenotucirev and PD-1 Inhibitor in Subjects With Metastatic or Advanced Epithelial Tumors (SPICE)” (NCT02636036) The pre-trial process at City of Hope Cancer Center up in LA will start on Feb…. Read More

I feel so extraordinary, Something’s got a hold on me I get this feeling I’m in motion, A sudden sense of liberty… I used to think that the day would never come, I’d see delight in the shade of the morning sun “In many ways 2015 was the most incredible year of my life.  Over 3 years into a currently incurable Stage IV colon cancer diagnosis, that phrase says a lot.” That… Read More

This is a blog post I had been hoping to write for a long time! The first published (today in the New England Journal of Medicine) “clinically disease free” success achieved via immunotherapy & surgery in an advanced Stage IV patient with the common “Microsatellite Stable (MSS)” subtype of colorectal cancer (CRC) – the kind of CRC that I and most CRC patients have! As of right now it is only a… Read More

SCHEDULED FOR FRIDAY (12/23) – NBC NATIONAL NIGHTLY NEWS with Lester Holt!  NBC Nightly News recently interviewed both I and a patient/caregiver couple helped by the COLONTOWN CLINIC, a project supported by the Colon Cancer Alliance.  The interview and story will air this ????? night. As many of you know, I am proud to work on numerous patient Clinical Trial advocacy efforts with a number of advocacy organizations to try to empower &… Read More

In the immortal words of our most recent Nobel Prize Laureate Bob Dylan , the times they are a changin’…  This morning I will be having my final Full Fury (FOLFIRI) chemo infusion for the foreseeable future.  A chemo cocktail that I first had the joy of encountering way back in 2012, and after restarting it, have been doing continuously (minus some #CannonballLife breaks) for the past 12 months.  Restarting FOLFIRI last… Read More

Cobimetinib  + Atezolizumab  might have grabbed all the Microsatellite Stable-Colorectal Cancer (MSS-CRC) immunotherapy headlines in 2016 but quietly in the background was a second published/presented  Phase 1 Immunotherapy Clinical Trial with preliminary signs of activity in MSS-CRC patients.  I suspect it slipped under the medical radar earlier this year because its Phase 1 Clinical Trial results and related preclinical data were published in a (albeit very good!) scientific journal (Cancer Cell) rather… Read More

As long time readers of my blog know – I have been in a quandary since I was diagnosed with (presumably cured) Stage 1 melanoma in January 2015.  That diagnosis, even though presumably cured by simple day surgery, with zero signs of recurrence ever since e.g. by monitoring with blood liquid biopsy, effectively blocked me from most colorectal cancer (CRC) clinical trials. Without clinical trials there is statistically an essentially 100% chance… Read More

This post is primarily for Stage IV colorectal (CRC) survivor and caregiver readers (and indirectly for Stage IV lung cancer readers as well, see below!): An interview with a Dr. Johanna Bendell, a Principal Investigator of the MSS-CRC immunotherapy breakthrough clinical trial which combined a MEK inhibitor (Cobimetinib) with a PD-L1 inhibitor (Atezolizumab).  This clinical trial data was presented at ASCO-2016 by Dr. Bendell, a clinical trial expert. I have never done four posts… Read More

To complete the trilogy of posts on the major new preliminary MSS Colorectal Cancer (CRC) immunotherapy results released today on the combination therapy of the MEK inhibitor cobimetinib + the PDL1 inhibitor atezolizumab, I’m excited to share the data released at ASCO-2016 this morning!  Both drugs are already FDA approved for other types of cancer – this was the first examination of their combined use against MSS-CRC. When dosed alone, neither MEK… Read More

I usually only do this kind of “real-time trial news” post on my Facebook or Twitter accounts but this is such BIG news, I wanted to publish here as well to spread the word to the colorectal cancer (CRC) patient & caregiver portion of my Blog readership. A PHASE 3 Immunotherapy Clinical Trial was registered today – including for MSS-CRC, the major type of CRC (95% of Stage IV) and the type… Read More

As I promised in my last post “Czech Please!” it is now ASCO season, so be prepared for a science post…  This one is a little hardcore – but bear with me, I tried to keep unessential scientific details to a minimum and as the title indicates (major spoiler alert!), I think it has a very important message! One, with my eyes misting up a bit, I have been yearning to write… Read More

A very brief medical update! Being hit by a FOLFIRI chemo infusion today only 48 hours after running the team triathlon truly feels bizarre… But that is one of the crazy aspects of Stage IV life! You swing from doing the absolutely “normal” (commuting to work, dinner out with the family) to being knocked out in an infusion chair and crawling into bed “bowl handy” as soon as you get home afterwards…… Read More

Surfing the AACR Waves of Science What a day.  I just woke up from a drug-induced nap that wasn’t particularly long but it was deep.  For the second FOLFIRI chemo infusion in a row, I fell into such a deep sleep when I got home, that when I woke up it felt like I had slept for many hours.  Looking over at the clock, it said 4:37.  That felt about right –… Read More

It’s hard to believe that it has already been almost 12 months since I last ran a UCSD-Moores Cancer Center Team Triathlon, which I wrote about last year in my post THE ULTIMATE TEAM SPORT: “A big part of being a cancer patient is trying your hardest to not give up in the face of adversity.  In that way it is very similar to endurance sports.  This is what makes the Moores… Read More

You know those moments in life when something so unexpected, so exhilarating & so meaningful (all wrapped up in one) happens – that each time you think of it you get the chills all over again? I had one of those moments a few days ago in the basement of the Congressional Rayburn House Office Building.  It was such a special meeting, even Katie Couric, a big CRC and cancer advocate, tweeted about… Read More

To begin with, my CT scan was good – my tumors are shrinking from the FOLFIRI + Avastin chemotherapy I am currently taking!  I have had a 4 week break – the side effects go away after 3 weeks, so I even recently snuck in a 10k run! 🙂 I will be continuing to take chemo biweekly for now.  But that is a battle win (which I am very happy for!!) –… Read More

“Each patient’s cancer is unique and personalized – why shouldn’t their treatment be too?” My latest The Currently Incurable Scientist column for Fight Colorectal Cancer has published and it ended with the above quote.  The column discusses an area of cutting edge oncology research that I find absolutely fascinating: a type of experimental immunotherapy called a “personalized cancer vaccine”.  I already mentioned personalized immunotherapies briefly in my post “My New Year’s Vision of… Read More

To start off year #2 of my blog and to kick off the New Year, instead of looking back (I did that with my recent post “World in My Eyes (Favorite Posts of 2015”) – I decided to look forward. And look forward in a positive but also provocative and perhaps controversial way. Making bold predictions in science is often considered a fool’s errand.  Science is all about exploring the unknown, attempting… Read More

As my most recent Currently Incurable Scientist column began: On December 2, 2015 a remarkable meeting took place. Jointly organized by Fight Colorectal Cancer (Fight CRC) and the leading immuno-oncology organization the Cancer Research Institute (CRI), an unprecedented meeting gathered many of the world’s leading experts on both CRC and immuno-oncology. Top scientists devoted to CRC research sat around the same table together for the first time to discuss what is needed… Read More

My most recent The Currently Incurable Scientist column published this week on the Fight Colorectal Cancer  website.  It explains in layman’s terms the mechanism of action & the very unique and promising preliminary clinical profile of an experimental drug called “RRx-001” in early clinical trials including a randomized Phase 2 trial (NCT02096354) for metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC). As usual, I wanted to use my personal blog not to simply repeat the information in… Read More

The September edition of my monthly The Currently Incurable Scientist column has published on the Fight Colorectal Cancer website.  It briefly discusses in layman’s terms the profound roles chronic inflammation is believed to play in cancer patients, including: Direct impacts on facilitating tumor growth & spread Impacts on helping tumors evade and hide from the immune system making the tumor immunologically “cold” Systemic effects on the patient’s body including e.g. loss of… Read More

Some posts are closer to my heart than others.  This one is very close – it shows what made me the patient-scientist-advocate I am today… and it comes down to Mom. My Mom and I were abnormally close – so much so, I could have been called a “Mamma’s Boy” in my younger years.  In fact I was called that (on more than one occasion) but it didn’t bother me because I… Read More

Although our health system is far from perfect, we often forget there are BILLIONS of people in the world without basic access to the latest oncology news and knowledge. With >50 MILLION  social media hits, my oncology researcher colleague Zhizhong “ZZ” Li is changing that fact in China. I wrote previously that through his social media networks, ZZ brought my Stage IV announcement letter originally meant for family & friends to >1… Read More

For readers interested in “the science” of current & potential future CRC treatments – my latest monthly column of The Currently Incurable Scientist has been published on the Fight Colorectal Cancer website.  This month’s installment is called “The Future of anti-EGFR Therapy?” Similar to last month’s column, it is a 2-parter.  The first part describes how current anti-EGFR therapies work in the treatment of CRC.  The second part discusses two example clinical trials testing next… Read More

The first “science” column of my new patient advocacy writing project “The Currently Incurable Scientist” on the Fight Colorectal Cancer website has been published! As I discussed in the last post – I am really looking forward to using this new monthly column to fulfill one of the original goals for my personal blog: to discuss the science behind new treatment strategies approaching or in clinical trials – to help shed light on the world… Read More

There is no new medical news to report – which in the case of someone with Stage IV cancer is a good thing!  I’m continuing my weekly Erbitux infusions (with appropriate Mad scientist amendments 😉 ), the side effects are manageable,  my new runathon for the Colon Club is off to a great start and I continue to feel great!  The next CT scan to confirm things are continuing to go well is… Read More

A DVR reminder of a film I have mentioned before: The incredible new Ken Burns “Cancer – the Emperor of All Maladies” PBS mini-series will air next week on Mon-Wed (4/30-5/1), I highly recommend to set your DVR’s and tell Family & friends, especially those impacted by cancer! I had the privilege of attending an advance screening a few weeks ago.  They only showed a 45 minute excerpt of the 3 episode… Read More

Although it was a long way to fly for a 3 day trip, Barcelona was a WONDERFUL trip on many different levels! My talk went really well – I got a standing ovation (at least I could see the front row – I actually was really blinded up on the stage ha) and many people came up to me afterwards saying I had brought tears to their eyes & I had inspired… Read More

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