Eularee Smith
Writer & Educator

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Entries in Pembrolizumab (1)



It is dawn in the Willamette Valley. I am packing my bag to begin a new journey. Last year I was at war with cancer. From surgery, through chemo and then recovery, I battled nine long months. Despite my best efforts to put the experience in my rear view mirror, cancer is not done with me yet.

Ovarian cancer is a stem cell cancer. Doctors know it will return. It is a matter of when and where. For me, it is two very small tumors on my pelvis. I am the lucky one. Most women experience reoccurence in three to six months. I made it to nine. To say I was disappointed, would be an understatement. To say I am afraid, would be a lie. Though I am still weary from the battle, here I am preparing to wield a new weapon, plotting a new strategy and once again emerge victorious. This time the outcome will be different.

As luck would have it, my Gynecological Oncologist, Dr. Charles Anderson, MD, is conducting a national study on the effects of a new immunotherapy drug, Acalabrutinib, on recurrent ovarian cancer. This clinical trial is a Phase 2 proof-of-concept Study of ACP-196 and in combination with Pembrolizumab (also known as Keytruda, popularized by the name Jimmy Carter Drug). The study has been done on aggressive cancers, such as brain, lung and melanoma, hence the name Jimmy Carter Drug, as his success story was one of the first to be part of the study.

A computer flip of the coin, placed me in the group study with the single drug, Acalabrutnib. The drug is in capsule form and I take one every 12 hours. A daily diary charts the drug, the time and effects. The study is for two years and my cancer is monitored through weekly blood tests, along with scheduled screenings. If the single drug does not produce the intended results, the second drug, Keytruda, will be introduced in combination with the Acalabrutnib, as an infusion every three weeks.

I pack confidently for the journey, ready to blaze a new trail. I invite you to follow me as I post weekly on the new dawn of this cancer battle and what this immunotherapy will reveal for future cancer treatment. Feel free to ask questions, leave comments, laugh, cry and share this experience that may prove to be the answer for so many women following behind me, waiting and hoping that the path for their recovery will be cleared.