My husband is participating in a clinical trial at NIH.  It’s a Phase 1, First in Human trial for kidney cancer.

Just prior to and after enrollment I think Ralph had every diagnostic test known to man.  Chest abdomen CT scan, CT/PET, EKG, chest x-ray, bone scan, Brain MRI, pulmonary function test, venous access assessment, echo-cardiogram, (2) cardiac MRI’s and a VQ.  I’ve lost count of the tubes of blood drawn. He was poked, prodded, examined and scanned. Through it all though, he was a pretty good sport.

This particular clinical trial is a gene transfer trial.  After all the diagnostic tests, the first step in the protocol was a collection of Ralph’s white blood cells.   This is a blood collection process called leukapheresis.  It’s all done thru a fancy machine, where the blood is cycled through the machine, the cells are separated, the white blood cells are collected and the rest is returned.

As you can see from the picture, it’s not a painful process – just a long 5 hour process.  We then had to wait about 4 weeks for the white blood cells to go to Loyola in Chicago and be genetically modified into super fighter T-cells.

Several days before the new modified T-cells are infused, they must make room by killing off existing T-cells through chemotherapy.  This was done over the past 3 days.  The only complication is fluid retention and oxygen issues related to chemotherapy & disease.  All of Ralph’s disease is in the chest, lungs & pericardium area.  The heart is impaired due to a tumor and prior radiation.  He is a complicated patient and its always a very delicate balance.  God bless Oncologists!

We have lived through the disappointment of numerous failed treatments.  However, we’re really excited about this opportunity and cutting-edge treatment for kidney cancer.

Good news!  The super T-cells are back and the next part begins!

 

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Shari Stonacek: So Many Reasons to Live

Shari Stonacek: So Many Reasons to Live

Shari Stonacek is living with Stage IV kidney cancer. She is pictured here (center) with her family from left to right: daughter Joycin, daughter Jasmin, son-in-law Jordan, daughter-in-law Rachel holding grandson Landon, son Justin, Shari, husband Troy, daughter Joslin holding granddaughter...

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District Days 2021: Speaking with One Voice

District Days 2021: Speaking with One Voice

Our Ask: Fund Kidney Cancer Research We lose almost 40 people per day to kidney cancer in the United States. The need for research funding is urgent.For District Days, the kidney cancer community met with members of Congress all over the United States to ask for robust funding of kidney cancer...

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Shari Stonacek: So Many Reasons to Live

Shari Stonacek: So Many Reasons to Live

Shari Stonacek is living with Stage IV kidney cancer. She is pictured here (center) with her family from left to right: daughter Joycin, daughter Jasmin, son-in-law Jordan, daughter-in-law Rachel holding grandson Landon, son Justin, Shari, husband Troy, daughter Joslin holding granddaughter...

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District Days 2021: Speaking with One Voice

District Days 2021: Speaking with One Voice

Our Ask: Fund Kidney Cancer Research We lose almost 40 people per day to kidney cancer in the United States. The need for research funding is urgent.For District Days, the kidney cancer community met with members of Congress all over the United States to ask for robust funding of kidney cancer...

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Latest News

Shari Stonacek: So Many Reasons to Live

Shari Stonacek: So Many Reasons to Live

Shari Stonacek is living with Stage IV kidney cancer. She is pictured here (center) with her family from left to right: daughter Joycin, daughter Jasmin, son-in-law Jordan, daughter-in-law Rachel holding grandson Landon, son Justin, Shari, husband Troy, daughter Joslin holding granddaughter...