When I arrived at The University of Kansas Cancer Center to see the oncologist I had seen in 2000, my wife and I asked him if the ZEVALIN treatment regimen would be a good candidate to treat me with. He agreed that it was a good option, but with one prerequisite.
NOTE: ZEVALIN (ibritumomab tiuxetan) targets specific B-cells and uses radiation to destroy them. There is a lot of interesting information about the process on the ZEVALIN website.
Prerequisite — Harvest my Blood Stem Cells
The process included harvesting my stem cells using apheresis, which removed whole blood from one of my arms, separated the blood to capture the peripheral blood stem cells I needed for my transplant, and returned the remaining blood back into my other arm. After the stem cells were removed from my blood they were frozen using a process called Cryopreservation, which is the process of cooling and storing the stem cells at very low or freezing temperatures to save them for future use. My stem cells were stored at the hospital for me to use when I needed them.
ZEVALIN Salvage Therapy Administered
With the prerequisite completed I received the ZEVALIN treatment regimen. It was a very simple process that involved a long wait to find out if had worked.
ZEVALIN Salvage Therapy Failed to Achieve Remission
Once again I was told that the treatment regimen that we used failed to achieve remission. This was the second time I faced the situation where the cancer was resistant to treatment.
Remember that prerequisite my oncologist had for me before he would give me the ZEVALIN treatment regimen? It became a huge part of my life as I moved forward to Plan “C.”