We are preparing for the development of the next immunotherapy vaccine with the Health & Wellness Center. I had a 2-hour conversation on the phone the other day with Dr. John Catanzaro, who talked us through why this vaccine is different and something to be particularly hopeful about... the most significant being that he is now partnering with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston!
The first time that Chelsa and I read anything speaking of a CURE for Multiple Myeloma was forwarded by a friend from an article published about advances by doctors at Dana-Farber. This provided us with a great deal of hope, as well as assurance that the treatment we are pursuing with Health & Wellness Center is legitimate. It was SUPER encouraging to hear Dr. John say that he is now partnering with Dr. Ken Anderson at the Dana-Farber Institute to develop the same kind of vaccine for Chelsa that Dana-Farber Institute has experienced so much success with. (I included some links below if you want to know more).
This next vaccine is going to be an expensive one though. Here's a recent email from Dr. John explaining the expenses we are looking at:
<April 17, 2013> Matt, Reminding you that Chelsa's HLA testing needs to be set up asap. We need to in three weeks time have her urine sent over frozen to Dana Farber to begin analysis.
HLA High resolution testing should be $700 through Labcorp.
Vaccine Development Cost: The cost for them for the full analysis is $5,000. The cost of peptide development is $5500 and the blood vaccine $5500. The total cost of HLA matched vaccine with cells then is $16,000. This is with the cancer research group sponsoring 50%. Otherwise the cost is $32,000.
The Cost of vaccine development with HLA High Res testing included is $16,700.
Dr. John A. Catanzaro, Medical Director Clinical Research
Health & Wellness Institute
HWIFC Cancer Research Group
When first hearing this figure, I was a bit shocked, but thinking back on the past year... God was faithful to provide. There were SO MANY joyful givers, amazing examples of generosity, and beautiful moments in which we were lifted up and provided for by our friends, family, and an absolutely awesome community of people near and far away. Just looking back at our older blog posts -- my worries and temptation to take all of the responsibility on myself have been squished.
If you feel moved to help us, please consider the following options:
- Give using a Checking/Savings Account
This can be a one-time donation or you can arrange to have a small amount withdrawn from your bank account monthly for as long as you would like to support us.
- Give using a Credit or Debit Card
This is run by our friends at EFT Giving who generously have decided to take 0%, so all of your donation goes directly to pay for Chelsa's medical expenses.
- Tax-Deductible GiftsYou can give a tax-deductible gift directly to the Health & Wellness Institute to help us pay for the development of Chelsa's vaccine by calling the Health & Wellness Institute at (425)697-6112 with your credit card information, or by mailing a check to the HWIFC Cancer Research Group: Payable to: HWICRG, *Be sure to indicate that it is for Chelsa Wojciakowski: 5603 230th St. S.W., Mountlake Terrace, WA 98043.
"Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." ~2 Corinthians 9:6-8
"Then the people rejoiced because they had given willingly, for with a whole heart they had offered freely to the LORD." ~1 Chronicles 29:9
Here's some of the news explaining why we are excited about this new vaccine treatment with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in case you are interested...
"Peptide 'cocktail' elicits immune response to multiple myeloma" (December 12, 2011) -- this was the first encouraging article we read after Chelsa was first diagnosed (on May 18, 2011). I am confident that God has designed this timing for Chelsa to be on the forefront of the discovery for a cure that will help a lot of people with this disease and glorify HIS name in the process.
"Targeted Cancer Drugs Keep Myeloma Patients Up And Running" (February 18, 2013) -- National Public Radio recently did this piece on the advances for treating Multiple Myeloma, including an interview with Dr. Ken Anderson from Dana-Farber (who Chel's doctor is working with). The segment quotes Dr. Anderson stating -- "We're close, close, close... that's doctor-speak for a CURE."
Here's another short piece about the therapy: "New technique extends cancer-fighting cells' potency in melanoma patients" (April 27, 2011) And for the more medically savvy, here's some of the research results published by NCBI: "Myeloma-specific multiple peptides able to generate cytotoxic T lymphocytes: a potential therapeutic application in multiple myeloma."
For the more business-minded, lot's of big money has recently been invested in funding the development of these vaccines, which we also find encouraging that money is being put behind this new treatment, including the Syros Pharmaceuticals company, founded by a few Dana-Farber docs, receiving $30mil. recently and huge growth being reported in the peptides sector of the biotechnology industry.