28 Nov 2013

This year I’m thankful for science, and for my mom.

Three years ago Mom was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. If you’re not familiar with cancer staging, that means she had multiple, remote metastases. The prognosis was about a year.

Since then she’s been through first-line chemotherapy, then a clinical trial using a heat-shock protein inhibitor, then radiation, and most recently a very new clinical trial targeting the PD-1 protein, involved in programmed cell death.

This month we got the best news ever: Since she started on the PD-1 drug, Mom’s primary tumor has shrunk by 50%, and her secondary tumors have disappeared from the scans (meaning they are less than 2cm).

Mom’s doctors have said from the beginning that surviving cancer like hers is a matter of staying alive until the next breakthrough, and this drug is exactly that. This cancer-fighting technique wasn’t available in 2010 when she was diagnosed.

This year I’m also thankful for my health, and in particular for my two good legs.

I’m on the Dana-Farber Marathon team with my Dad. Together, we’re planning to run the Boston Marathon in April to raise money for cutting edge cancer research at Dana-Farber. The basic science funded by money we raise is developing the insights to produce new and better treatments that millions of cancer patients like my mom are hanging on and waiting for.

Please, if you have the money to donate this Thanksgiving, I ask you to donate some towards finding a cure: