Vidaza vs CMML, and the graft-vs-tumor effect

We met with Dr. James Rossetti yesterday, who is going to be my wife’s doctor overseeing her treatment.

He gave us an overview of the complete diagnosis, and we finally got a complete overview of the treatment plan:

1. Two or three courses of Vidaza to try to slow or mitigate the effects of the disease (which is the CMML version of the various Myelodysplastic syndromes).

2. Then she will undergo a “conditioning” period of intense chemo and full-body radiation.

3. The bone marrow transplant which will really be an infusion of adult stem-cells from an anonymous donor (“www.bethematch.org”).

4. Follow-up to check on the effects of the transplant.

The expectation is that the Vidaza will reduce her overall “risk level” and strengthen her body for “conditioning”, which will kill most if not all of the cancer-causing function. (The “risk level” is the risk that the disease will further progress and turn into leukemia). The “transplant” will then do two things: put new stem cells into her body to repopulate her bone marrow, and rely on the “the graft-vs-tumor effect” to suppress and kill any latent cancer function within her body.

At the beginning of this process, there is a 50% chance now that she can see a complete cure. As we move forward, and as things don’t go wrong, the hope is that those odds will rise. The main challenges in this process would be the dangers from the Vidaza (which she seems to be tolerating very well right now), infection down the road, the “conditioning” process, and of course, the big one would involve complications arising from the host-vs-donor or donor-vs-host process. If she is in good shape six months from now, we can be very hopeful, and at the two-year mark, there is something like a 98% chance that she will be completely cured of this.

Thanks for your ongoing prayers.

One thought on “Vidaza vs CMML, and the graft-vs-tumor effect

  1. Pingback: We may learn something today « John Bugay, an integrated life

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