Diary of a Brain Tumor Patient's Wife

Jan. 29, 1998

Renette Davis

I think I told you I've been searching the braintumor list archives for information on thalidomide. I've found a couple of names & email addresses of doctors or people who have used thalidomide and a few web sites, so I've been writing to people to try to get more information.

Yesterday I got a call from Dr. Glass at NYU Medical Center, where they are doing a clinical trial using thalidomide and carboplatin for brain tumors like Paul's. He said that if the next MRI shows that the tumor is still growing, and if Paul is still doing well, he would qualify for their trial.

We're hoping the next MRI shows that the tumor is NOT growing, but I figured I would rather be ready for a next step and not need it than feel like we need something else and not be ready with some ideas.

If Paul joins the clinical trial, he would have to go to New York once a month. I asked if we could just go there the first time and then have his oncologist here administer the drug, and Dr. Glass said the FDA requires the patients to go there. I've seen some posts on the brain tumor list telling how your doctor can get thalidomide (it's also being used for AIDS patients) without being in a trial, but it seems fairly complicated and I think there's something to be said for being part of a controlled study.

There is an article in the September 1996 issue of Scientific American which describes in easy to understand language the process of angiogenesis, which is the creation of blood vessels. If I understand it correctly, tumors are able to create their own blood vessels, which is how they get nutrients and proteins to grow. Angiogenesis inhibitors, such as thalidomide, may be able to prevent the tumor from creating blood vessels, so would cause the tumor to die.

The title of the article is "Fighting Cancer by Attacking its Blood Supply," and the author is Judah Folkman. Now I have to see what I can find out about carboplatin, which is the chemo that NYU is using with the thalidomide.

Paul started a new cycle of PCV chemotherapy yesterday. I asked his primary physician for a referral for an MRI after this cycle is done, which will be February 23. I don't think there will be any problem with the referral since both Dr. Sweeney (who did the radiosurgery) and Dr. Velasco (the oncologist) have recommended it.

Continue to: Feb. 12, 1998

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Created: May 10, 1999
Last updated: July 18, 2010