Last Friday I got the results of my latest PET scan—CLEAN! No sign of cancer. It’s my second clear scan in a row, which ties my personal best.
Still, I’m back in the Memorial Outpatient Oncology Clinic today for the first of four rounds of Rituxan chemo. It’s part of a two-year maintenance program.
It’s also my fifteenth bout with chemo in the last 30 months. I have returned to my old corner office by the window, working on my laptop and trying not to be too agitated.
The star of this show is Rituxan, aka Rituximab, a special class of drug known as a monoclonal antibody—one of the fabled “magic bullet” in the field of medicine.
Monoclonal antibodies when administered i the body seek out and bind to cells in the body that have a specific protein (sometimes called a cluster of differentiation, or CD) It is thought that this binding activates the body’s own defense mechanisms to attack these cells, and that the binding may also cause the cells to self-destruct. Targeting the attack on the cancer in this way reduces many of the side effects of broad-based chemotherapy treatments, which tend to damage more healthy tissues.
This focused chemo certainly isn’t as hard on the body but it does have its drawbacks. I’ll mention these in my post from the clinic next Monday.