Thank you for keeping up with Tony's status as he was battling cancer.

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Friday, October 9, 2009

He has chosen an option

Tony has chosen the clinical trial involving virus therapy. The idea is that a cold virus that has been modified to kill cancer cells but not harm healthy cells will be injected into the tumor area. The plan is that it will spread from cancer cell to cancer cell through replication until the cancer is gone.

There are still a couple of hurdles. First is an MRI tonight at 9PM to see if his tumor still is in the right place to qualify him for the trial. We will find out the results of the MRI Monday at 8AM. The second hurdle is actually during the surgery. They will biopsy the area to make sure it is a tumor. If it is not a tumor, then he doesn't qualify for the trial, and he will have to pick a different option. If it is a tumor, they will inject 1 milliliter of virus and close him up. That is followed by very frequent checkups at day 2, day 4, day 7 etc. in the Houston clinic. After four weeks, he could probably leave the Houston area and come back for checkups. At any point in the trial if it isn't working, he can opt out of it.

The trial has had three patients so far, and none have been cured, but all showed some improvement meaning that it did kill part of the tumor area. One lasted six months before the tumor came back, and they removed it by surgery. One lasted four months before it had to be removed by surgery. The third patient didn't respond well, but the injection was done in a separate surgery instead of at the same time as the biopsy, and they think that may have allowed the brain to set up defenses in between times. Tony will be receiving a larger dose of virus than the previous three patients. This kind of treatment did cure human cancer tumors in 60% of mice.

We have been praying for the cancer to go away; maybe this will be how it happens.

Miscellaneous info: his tumor had pockets with 70% division rate...15-20% is considered aggressive; the oncologist had never seen rates as high as 70%. But that could have been just the central part that was taken out; we don't know how aggressive the remaining tumor is.


  1. Thanks so much for finding the time to update all of us. You are all in my thoughts. Hang tough and call if you need a giggle or just to vent. XOXO - tracy

  2. Neal, You are absolutely terrific in keeping us posted - especially in view of the fact you have your hands full right now. At current, all we can do is send our prayers and keep you in our thoughts and hearts. We are not that far so if you need us for any reason, please give us a whistle and we will be there. Please tell Tony how brave we think he is and he has become a hero to our whole family. You and Sherri have done a terrific job in bringing up two wonderful children and we can all take lessons from them both. Know that we love you very much and have all our friends and family praying for a speedy recovery from this new procedure. Talk to you soon.

    Dad and Barb