immune systemsApril 18, 2012
The first article after “The Talk of the Town” in this week’s New Yorker, which I lazily opened after propping myself up in bed a little early last night, inadvertently chronicles technical facets of my and Clark’s story.
The subhead for “The T-Cell Army” by Jerome Groopman reads “Can the body’s immune response help treat cancer?” and chronicles the phases of a clinical trial of the “adoptive cell transfer” Clark would have received had his cancer not ballooned in such a dangerous spot (in the very place doctors had resewed his intestines together) so quickly.
In the latest of three trials of patients with melanoma who underwent adoptive cell transfer at the National Cancer Institute, nine of twenty-five patients have been in complete remission for more than five years.
The article features an interview with Dr. Steven Rosenberg, who conceived of the treatment and once stood beside Clark and I as we told our story to the pack of researchers and doctors seated in a semicircle around us.
Later, Groopman writes of a man in remission. It is certainly effective for the piece to single out a man who once expected to live no more than six months and now thrives after receipt of this treatment. This man, like Clark, had melanoma in the lymph nodes of his left groin and lungs, but now he lives. Of course the focus of this advancement is on the victories, the moment when two pieces fit together in this tedious puzzle. Of hope for the future.
My story, though, is still not here, so I continue to write, though I take a moment to push through this feeling of being left behind.