knew my chances weren't good," said Blasucci, 49. "I wasn't
responding well to conventional therapy. I talked to experts at
cancer centers at other cancer centers about a bone marrow transplant,
but doctors were afraid my body had become resistant to cancer drugs."
is a consultant who helps pharmaceutical companies develop clinical
trials - including cancer studies. He knew that potentially life-saving
research was being performed at teaching hospitals and research
institutions across the country. He wasn't about to give up. Blasucci
went on an informational treasure hunt, talking to physicians and
scouring the Internet.
how he found the Radiodiagnosis and Therapy Program at the UC Davis
Cancer Center. The clinic, one of six such federally funded investigational
programs in the United States, treats people with advanced lymphoma,
prostate cancer and breast cancer using anticancer agents that combine
monoclonal antibodies with radiation.
are proteins produced by the lymphocytes of the immune system to
fight off foreign invaders, also known as antigens. Monoclonal antibodies
are bioengineered versions of these natural disease-fighters, but
they're designed to lock onto the surface of specific cells - in
this case, lymphoma cells.
radioimmunotherapy, these antibodies are attached to radioactive
particles called isotopes. When intravenously infused into a patient,
these antibodies send cancer-killing radiation directly to the tumors,
minimizing harm to neighboring tissue. Cancer cells get a steady,
intensive dose of radiation over a long period of time, much longer
than is possible using conventional (external beam) radiation.
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