Mat found out on Friday that after his battery of tests on Wednesday and Thursday, he qualified for the clinical trial. It was no small feat -- we got very excited about a clinical trial last July, only to find out Mat couldn't participate because of a marker in his blood related to heart function. Apparently the researchers on this trial don't care as much about his heart, which is fine with us.
If you hadn't guessed, it's very scary to have a life-threatening illness that is not being treated because the treatment options are exhausted. Hope does sometimes come in a bottle (in this case a bottle of pills), and being without a bottle can leave one feeling rather exposed.
Treatment starts on Tuesday with an 11-hour stay at MGH for poking, prodding, and testing. One negative of a clinical trial: it's research for the greater good (not necessarily the patient's good), so there are many more tests. One major positive of this particular trial: the drug comes in a PILL! No infusions, just weekly trips to MGH to be observed actually taking the pill (and then be observed for sometime afterward).
This is a Phase 1 clinical trial, which means the drug is fresh off the "mouse model" it was initially tested on. (Mat is hoping he doesn't sprout a tail, but quite frankly it's preferable to the side effects of some of the other drugs he's taken.) The goal of the trial is primarily to study the drug's side effects at various doses. People who join the study early are given low doses -- doses that probably have minimal side effects, but that also may be too low to block cancer growth. Mat is joining the study in the sixth round, which may mean a high enough dose to have some effect.
To recap: Nearly four years, two major surgeries, and four different chemotherapy regimens later, Mat is starting on a fifth chemotherapy regimen.
Fifth time's a charm? We hope so.