The Struggle Has Ended

Greg Hewlett passed away on January 17th after nearly eight years of battling colon cancer. While we grieve his loss, we are comforted to know that he is with his Lord.

If you would like to leave your thoughts on Greg, please see this thread.

If you would like to make a charitable donation in Greg's honor, please see this thread.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Avastin news

Avastin may be more dangerous than previously thought. A study of the use of Avastin to treat ovarian cancer has been discontinued due to a higher rate of intestinal perforation than previously seen. This Genentech press release gives details.

I tried to get on an Avastin study in June 2003, but could not because I have a history of allergic reaction to a drug related to Oxaliplatin, one of the drugs they gave with Avastin for the study. In 2004, Avastin was approved by the FDA for the treatment of colon cancer, so I began taking it as part of my treatment plan. It turned out that with anti-allergy precautions, I did not have a reaction to the Oxalyplatin. And I never experienced bowel perforations, although we knew this was a risk. They just told me to stay reasonably close to hospital care while taking chemo in case it happened. It never did. I escaped.
Approval of new medications is a tricky business. On one hand, the FDA has a fast track attitude for advanced cancer treatment drugs like Avastin. On the other, drug approval in the US is tougher than many other countries, which gives patients in the US more confidence in what they are taking. It's a tough policy decision, but I think they strike a good balance for cancer treatment medications.

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