For all the advances in cancer care over the last several decades (not the least of which is in the field of genomics), most of the time we are still reduced to three choices: poison, knives or radiation. You either kill it, cut it or burn it.
Cisplatin, which is one of the drugs my mother is taking, is a platinum-based drug developed in the 19th century. The FDA approved it for use in cancer treatment in 1978. Yet it is one of the most widely used cancer drugs used today (not to mention one of the least expensive), despite “great advances” in new drugs.
One of the potential side effects is damage to the kidneys. Considering my mom is working on only one, this is obviously a major concern. This is why the majority of our time in the infusion center was spent in flushing out her system. Two bags of IV fluids were administered before and one after the actual drug treatment. Almost like flushing out a radiator.
MIT reported in 2010 the possible development of a way to package cisplatin into nanoparticles that are too large to enter the kidney.
Although the UCSF doctor had recommended carboplatin (what a friend called the “kindler, gentler cousin” of cisplatin), a study presented last year at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) demonstrated better overall and complete response with cisplatin vs. carboplatin.
In any case, we’ll see how mom reacts to this poison in her body.