Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Avastin Ye Swabby!

Lounging at the infusion center at the new Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center at the Indiana University Hospital in downtown Indianap0lis.

I was delighted to learn - less than 24 hours before I was scheduled for my first infusion of irinotecan and Avastin - that my insurance carrier gave its approval to pay for the "off label" treatment. Talk about taking a proverbial load off of our minds. Since these drugs are not yet FDA-approved for the treatment of brain tumors, we would have been faced with paying about $10,000 per infusion had the insurance company not come through. Now let's just hope the stuff works!

Irinotecan is used primarily to treat colon cancer while Avastin is FDA-approved to treat colorectal, lung and breast cancer. Clinical trials involving the use of Avastin alone or in combination with irinotecan have produced favorable results for patients like me with recurrent, malignant gliomas. Earlier this monthly, Genentech, the maker of Avastin, asked the FDA for approval to use the drug as a secondary treatment for glioblastoma, the most aggressive of brain tumors (what I have).

The first treatment occurred on Tuesday, November 11 and took about three hours. I will go back every two weeks for the foreseeable future. A monthly MRI is part of the regimen, as well.


brooke said...

Thrilled about insurance news. I was gearing up cupcakes caps for that bake sale... ;-)

Lottsa good thoughts your way and Happy Turkey Day,

Rhori Johnston said...

Terry --
just a note to let you know we're all pulling for you down here in Nashville. Keep the spirits up and keep the great sense of humor. I hope you and the clan enjoy a terrific holiday season!
~ Rhori