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The (almost) Last Day of Part A

Posted by Frederick Wasti
Jul 04 2012

Yesterday, Tuesday, July 3rd, was my last infusion day of Part A of my clinical trial at Dana-Farber. (It was scheduled for Tuesday this week since today, Wednesday, is Independence Day.) It was a pretty "routine" day, except that it took a little longer to get blood test results back (probably due to a pre-holiday "skeleton crew" manning the Laboratory Services Department), so that the actual administration of pre-meds and Ofatumumab began a little later than usual.

Part A (involving high-dose Methylprednisolone and Ofatumumab) has occupied many days of our last 4 "months" (they're actually 28-day cycles). Part B (involving additional Ofatumumab as well as a new monoclonal antibody, Alemtuzumab) will commence next week, and will last for almost half a year (six 28-day cycles). Then will come a Part C, which is a less intensive, "maintenance" series of treatments, lasting about two years (twenty-six 28-day cycles), involving less frequent doses of Ofatumumab and Alemtuzumab, although it could be optionally replaced with a stem cell transplant. (Please see http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01465334 if you wish to view or review the "official" description of my clinical trial.)

For Part A, we've been in and out of D-F in Boston for one to three days per week, sometimes in heavy traffic, but, fortunately, sometimes in lighter traffic, too. The HOV Lane (which we are often able to utilize, especially in the mornings) on the Southeast "Expressway" has been helpful. (Sometimes I think Diane takes me along to D-F just so she can take advantage of using the HOV lane - <g>.)

The valet parking arrangement at D-F has been great - on most days we are able to drop the car off below D-F's Yawkey Building, and then ride up and down the elevators from appointment to appointment, all the while not having to leave the Yawkey building. (The only exception is when we have to go over one of the connecting corridors, located above or below Jimmy Fund Way, to D-F's Dana Building for the occasional CT scan, such as we will do this Friday.)

Well, the blood test results for today were mostly unsurprising - i.e., most of the numbers were about the same as those from last week. Probably the nicest new number to see was the total white cell count...

...which, having dropped to 5,400 per microliter, is the lowest yet during this clinical trial. Actually, now that I think of it, when looking at the total white counts from as far back as I have records,...

...5,400 (although still within the "normal" range) is the lowest white cell count I have had since at least back to 2003. Interestingly, though, and despite the fact that the total number of white blood cells dropped this week, the percentages for lymphocytes (33%) and neutrophils (58%) both stayed about the same as last week's results, because, while they both did drop a bit during the six days between blood tests, they did so proportionally.

Actually, although I am saying that Part A ended yesterday, with Part B beginning next week, I suppose, technically, this ~Friday~ might be considered the last day of Part A. I will not be receiving any treatments on Friday, but there will be some testing (a CT scan and a bone marrow biopsy) going on, mostly to provide additional (to the blood tests) important information for judging the overall success of Part A (although it will also serve as a starting reference point for Part B).

"Are we having fun yet?"...

Categories: Leukemia