Karen Milich looks forward to spending one month of every summer with her grandson, Giles.-
“He’s the apple of my eye.”
But in the summer of 2019, she received devastating news about her health. The lung cancer she had been fighting had spread
“I had already did chemotherapy, 40 rounds of radiation ,and immunotherapy. And after all of that, I was re diagnosed to stage four”
“It was getting desperate, at that time and she was running out of great options especially when she has this KRAS mutation, driving her cancer”
The cancer gene KRAS is behind many cancers in the body. Its ability to mutate and produce rapidly has made it up until recently ‘untreatable’. A specific KRAS mutation accounting for 13% of lung cancer cases-including Karen’s.
In 2019, after nearly 40 years of research, a clinical drug trial for a pill called Lumakras started showing benefits as a potential treatment
With few options left, Karen enrolled in the drug trial at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center with Dr Li. And within months, her stage 4 cancer was disappearing
“It’s been remarkable how her cancer has essentially melted away it’s, it’s not even visible on the CT scan. Many people would say this is a remission in layman’s terms
“I take this pill every day, and now I’m cancer free. It’s, it’s incredible
“This drug had produced a objective response rate of 37% this means major tumor shrinkage of more than 30% at least proven on CT scan mode for part two at least two CT scans, in terms of clinical benefit rate or disease control rate or tumor shrinkage rate we’ve seen this in 81% of patients.
Last Friday, the medicine used in the trial has been FDA approved. Lumakras, a pill developed by AMGEN will now be available to help treat previously thought untreatable cancer
“It’s a good case to remind us that that perseverance is an important part of the process here.”
For Karen, this means a future of summers with the apple of her eye.