Sunday, December 6, 2015

Former President Carter: Cancer Free, On Experimental Treatment With Merck's Keytruda®

Back in August, most oncologists would have labeled the melanoma Mr. Carter had -- since it had reportedly spread from his skin to his liver, and then to metastasize as tumors in his brain -- as a dire scenario. Mr. Carter may well have only had weeks to live, at that point -- prior to the development of the new immuno-oncology candidates of BMS and Merck. [Our background from that time is here.]

Add to this that the patient is in his 90s, and the guess would have been weeks -- not months. At the time, Mr. Carter acknowledged the same. This week, while teaching his Sunday School class, he told the assembled children (and adult church members) that he is progression free. Not cured, but progression free. No new tumors in his brain -- and no sign of the ones from August, in his latest MRI. That's a huge victory for him -- and Merck's Keytruda -- per the Washington Post, reporting this morning:

. . . .Antoni Ribas, a researcher at the University of California at Los Angeles and the lead investigator of a crucial study of Keytruda®, said in an interview that he was glad to hear of Carter’s apparent response but not surprised.

He said that although only about a third of patients with malignant melanoma tend to respond to the treatment, older patients who tend to have melanoma that has many mutations and is related to chronic sun exposure “tend to be the ones who do best.”

"The reason is because the immune system has to focus on something that’s different in the melanoma from the normal cells," said Ribas, who is not familiar with Carter’s case. "The more mutations, the more likely the immune system will figure out there’s something different that needs to be attacked. . . .

We are smiling ear to ear. He is truly a fine man. And this is an exciting time to be alive. Onward!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just so you know~~this was a S/P compound that was dropped by the company way back when and was 'unloaded.'