Hi Lainey, Pam, and Marion.
Jeff recently had cyberknife at Georgetown Hospital to take care of a series of tumors near the head of the pancreas that were pushing on the nerves of the celiac plexus. The pain that was radiating from his lower rib cage around to his back and up his shoulders has diminished we believe from this treatment.
Lately, he has started to experience rigors and sweats. It comes on suddenly and without any significant fever. The highest that it has gone up to is 99.4. blood cultures have always come back negative. We have come to learn recently that these rigors and sweats are probably due to the tumors. The tumors secrete cytokines, which cause an inflammatory reaction, causing the rigors and sweats. It can also be from blood clots as well. Many advance cancer patients have blood clots from secretions from the tumors.
Jeff is getting ready to go into a trial at NIH where they have harvested leukocytes from him and are genetically engineering them to target the tumors and cancer cells to block receptors on the tumors and cancer cells so that they cannot make a blood supply, thus making them starve to death. It is a very interesting approach in that it is systemic (perfect for stage IV) and uses the body's own defenses to fight the cancer. There was another trial that we wanted to have him participate in where they would have harvested a piece of tumor and sensitized his Lymphocytes to attack the cancer cells. Unfortunatley, his tumors are not readily accessible in order for them to harvest a piece of tumor.
In both scenarios his immune system would be wiped out, the genetically altered cells are reintroduced and then he is given a drug to quickly grow up the army of fighting cells. All of this is done in-patient and is cutting edge. There is not much else out there that can help him at this point.
I pray that this approach will have positive results. I hope that things are progressing in a positive manner for each of you. To watch someone you love fade away in front of you is heart-wrenching.