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Sutent Treatment (Sunitinib or SU011248) - Experimental Drug

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  • Sutent Treatment (Sunitinib or SU011248) - Experimental Drug

    Well i've posted before on this forum, but I have not been here in a while but i thought my new treatment I will be getting starting next week would be of use and interest to other cancer patients on this forum

    Next week I start onto Sutent (Also know as Sunitinib or SU011248) which is part of an experiemental study on the effectiveness on germ cell tumors. I am very lucky to get onto this as there are only 30 people in Canada and Germany going to be enrolled in this particular study. So far there have been 1500 people or so put onto Sutent with various cancers and studies.

    Unfortunately to get onto this trail you have to fail chemotherapy. So far i've had 9 cycles each of which put a massive dent into the cancer, but i'm yet to be cured of have a stable period. The main positive thing is that in order to get onto this study you can not have an liver/kidney problems which I somehow have avoided. On another positive note, the last 4 TIP cycles it had completely removed all the tumors in my body including lymph nodes which no longer have to be removed. All that is left are 2 stubborn tumors in my right lung which have shrunk to a nickel like size. My doctors no longer want to give me chemo because my poor bone marrow has nearly died out, it now takes 5-6 weeks for my counts to come back up.

    Simply put, Sutent is one of the first major breakthroughs in anti-cancer drugs that is not related to chemotherapy. It is a cancer targeting drug. The next part is way beyond my understanding but comes from the massive consent form I have to sign.

    "SU011248 inhibits enzymes (chemicals that help cells function) called tyrosine kinases, which are imprtant enzymes for tumor growth and tumor spread in your body. If these enzymes are blocked, tumor growth may be disrupted and subsequently the cancer cell may die. There is some evidence that the enzymes inhibited by SU011248 also play an important role in the development and growth of germ cell cancers"

    So far one of the biggest areas that Sutent has worked is the lungs, which is biggest problem.

    There are a horrible list of possible side effects, but the main ones include hair color change and fatigue both of which they figure will be no problem for myself as I am extremely active (hair lose / change has gotten very old!) One major issue with Sutent is the drug interactions. You pretty much can be on nothing but Sutent while taking the drug. So far i've been placed into the trail for the next 4 months, and if after that if there is a noticeable change in the tumors in my lungs and no more spread, they will place me on the drug permanently until it no longer becomes effective.

    But because of this simple little pill, I am now able to do whatever I please which includes leaving the country to go pursue my passion, which is high altitude climbing! As long as I am not gone for more than 1 month at a time they have no problem with me doing anything!

    Well If you have any questions about Sutent (i'm just a patient so my information is limited to what they tell me and the massive amounts of information they gave me) e-mail me at niki_s 'at' or goto my website and e-mail through it.

  • #2
    It is going to be interesting how this trial turns out. Sutent, I think, is one of the few drugs that target protein tyrosine kinases (PTK). The major difficulty in targeting a PTK is that there are over 1,500 different ones, and the major obstacle in having them as cancer targets is that the differences between them are so subtle that it takes years to develop a good and selective inhibitor. This is also why side effects are likely and why one needs to be off any other medications.

    It is because of people like you, the pioneers of therapies, that new cures and forms of treatment eventually make it to the general public. Best of luck and I wish you the best in this climb.

    "Life moves pretty fast; if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." -Ferris Bueller
    11.22.06 -Dx the day before Thanksgiving
    12.09.06 -Rt I/O; 100% seminoma, multifocal; Stage I-A; Surveillance; Six years out! I consider myself cured.