Saturday, July 19, 2014

Stem Cell Transplants....For Dogs

As I mentioned a week or so ago, I've been away for a little while. Couldn't bring the dog. I miss her, even though she's useless to me as a cancer-sniffing dog. (Really, she's kind of useless as a dog in general. But she's sweet and she looks great, so we go with that. here's the little princess:

We assume she misses us, too.)

Anyway, I've been thinking about her, and it reminded me of an article from last month on dogs with lymphoma. I'd never wish lymphoma on any creature, two- or four-legged, but it's pretty cool to hear about how work on human lymphoma at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle is being used to help dogs.

Also, there's some good news about cancer vaccines for dogs, too.

Obviously, dogs aren't people, but maybe the things we learn from dogs can be translated in some way to what we know about people cancer. Even indirectly.

I still miss my dog. We'll be home soon, baby.  And I know you're in great hands, and probably having a much better time than you would with us, anyway. You'd just be sitting at my feet while I read cancer journals, rather than playing with your friends.

Hope everyone is staying healthy.


Matt said...

Hi there Bob! Hope you are doing well.

I was diagnosed with Follicular Lymphoma Stage 4a back in December. I finished R -CVP in June and had my end CT scan results showed today.

My doc says my tumour has shrunk considerably in my chest and that overall he is quite pleased with how my body has responded to treatment. He said I will be doing Rituxian Maintenance Therapy come September, once every 3 months for 2 years.

I was wondering since I didn't achieve remission should I still be doing this therapy ? Or should my doc and I look at ways to achieve remission and then do therapy. I know there are theories stating we should only treat FL when it is progressing and that we should hold off on treatments in hopes of using them only when necessary.

Any info or opinion would be greatly appreciated!

Lymphomaniac said...

Hi Matt.
I'm going to start with a reminder that my opinion is just that -- my opinion. I'm not a medical doctor, and the best opinion you can seek is from someone who is a medical doctor.
That said, Rituxan Maintenance is used on patients with both Complete and Partial Remissions, so using it certainly isn't unusual for someone in your situation.
My oncologist has the "don't treat unless it's necessary" philosophy, and I have come to agree with it. But I did ask about R-Maintenance after I finished my Rituxan, and he talked me out of it. I think there's an emotional component to all treatments, including R-Maintenance. If you feel OK with a Partial Response, then maybe talk to your onc about holding off on the Maintenance. On the other hand, if you feel like you want to clean up what's left, then maybe it's worth it. Your onc might also feel like your FL is presenting in a way he has seen before, and he thinks the Maintenance would be helpful.
Tough decision, I know -- every treatment decision is tough, and if we had a disease that had an accepted protocol, then it might be easier. But we don't, and we have to deal with that.
Now that I've managed to avoid giving any real opinion, I'll say, Talk to your onc, and good luck.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Bob! Much appreciated. Always good get a different perspective on things.