Today’s update from the oncologist is pointing in a new direction. Instead of going south to the Mayo Clinic it’s more likely that we will be going east and staying in Canada!
The Lymphoma team met this morning and reviewed my case and of the three options they feel that the CAR-T therapy has the best possibility of a cure / long term remission.
More chemotherapy was not viewed as a good option due to my previous exposure to high dose chemo during the stem cell transplant process. Immune therapy is still an option but is used is to control the lymphoma and is not a cure / long-term remission. Plus it is a treatment needed for the rest of your life.
CAR-T has been available in Ontario for a little while now, but just recently, as in the last few days, has become the choice for Canadian patients. Locations are Toronto (Princess Margaret) , Hamilton and Ottawa with Toronto seeming the most likely. The Mayo Clinic is still an option but only if Canadian capacity is not available.
However, there are still several approvals and likely a ton of paperwork (not me 🙂 ). The meeting of the Lymphoma Team this morning was the first hurdle. Next is approval by the Provincial CancerCare Committee followed by approval from the Provincial Government for the funding. After that it’s applying to Ontario for approval and finding a site with capacity for the therapy.
The timeframe is still up in the air with so many entities involved, but apparently things can move “fairly quickly” in the experience of my oncologist. She said they would follow-up in one week to let us know the status.
In prep for all this to happen there will be YAT (yet another test), this time an MRI of my heart and chest. This is part of the information required by the CAR-T programs so we’re proceeding with getting this done in the expectation of moving ahead.
While the Mayo Clinic would have been good, we’re quite relieved to likely be staying in Canada and with many relatives in the Toronto area that would help a lot.
An encouraging link: New program brings life-saving treatment to cancer patients