Babette’s Treatment Update

Babette has finally completed treatment at Immunocine. Now back home, the Immunocine Team will stay in contact with her to evaluate any future medical reports and scans. These follow ups are critical to ensure her physicians know what to expect going forward and Babette’s Immune System continues to attack her cancer.

With her treatment complete, Babette kindly volunteered to write an update to her previous blog post

It’s Christmas in Cancun!

December 24, 2022
Cancun, Mexico

I am SO excited!!! When I press down where my biggest tumor is in my lower right abdomen, it hurts! I know this is good. I know it means the tumor tissue is being dismantled, like when there’s tenderness and slight swelling around a bruise that slowly goes away.

Still – as happy as I have been with the evidence of the therapy working, I would be lying if I said that I had spent all of my dendritic cell immunotherapy “flu time” lounging on the beach drinking fresh coconuts straight out of the shell. 

The Start of an Immune Response

Dendritic Cell Injection #1
November 26, 2022

No, what happened is I felt sicker slowly – first a headache, then fatigue, then body aches and fever, then a sore throat, sneezing, and “tooth pain” (more likely sinus pain). I developed one or two new symptoms per day, each day all symptoms becoming stronger until day seven. I felt depressed, l had a poor appetite and even queasiness.

My fever reached 103 degrees Fahrenheit (39.5 degrees celsius) and held for twelve hours. Though at all times, I had access to the Immunocine Team for support and guidance.

This is exactly what happens with any immune reaction, such as to a cold or flu. The whole thing lasted nine days. It wasn’t horrible, but the worst three days were something to get through as best I could, and I did have a nagging thought that maybe this would go on for months.

I did not make it to the beach as usual for the cool breeze during those three days. I sweated out my fever in my Airbnb bed and felt a bit irritated that the air conditioning must be broken – when it was not.

Boy was I relieved the morning I woke up and realized my fever had broken, my room was cool, and my headache had diminished significantly. Within three days of that I felt at 100% again.

Receiving My Second Injection

Dendritic Cell Injection #2
December 8, 2022

On December 8, I had my second DCI injection at Gallenia Hospital. This time, the medical staff decided to skip the interferon injection because my white blood cell count was too low at 1.6 (normal goes roughly from 4 to 13).

Interferon during the treatment helps send white blood cells into the tumor to kill it and in doing so, removes circulating white blood cells from the bloodstream, where they are also needed in case of infection. 

For five days after the second injection, I felt mostly fine. Maybe a little bit tired, maybe a little bit breathless from the low white blood cell count when climbing stairs. 

On day five I began feeling pressure and some bloating in the pelvic area, and tenderness on the right side is. By afternoon a familiar headache had started, like after the first injection, and grew in intensity over the next hours, as did my fatigue. I intermittently read, wrote, and napped.

Preparing to Finish

It’s been almost a week of discomfort in my lower right abdomen, but the pain has waned the last couple days. Tomorrow is my last injection, and I will be formally discharged December 22.

From there the tumor tissue is likely to show up as larger initially on scans, typically for about three months I’ve been told, as the immune system continues attacking (and therefore inflaming) and killing it. After that, over the next six months the tumors should diminish or shrink down into scar tissue.

My Final Dendritic Cell Injection

Dendritic Cell Injection #3
December 21, 2022

Yesterday I saw my medical team for the last appointments, and Dr. Luisa came to my Airbnb this morning to give me my interon shot . I will miss this group of warm, funny, talented, and ultra dedicated humans.

I was given injection number three and now completed all three Dendritic Cell Injections of the Immunocine Treatment!

I also had a CT scan and a biopsy of current tumor tissue, which will be compared to my baseline scans taken at the beginning of the treatment. The Immunocine Team will use these comparisons to confirm the immune response is targeting my cancer. 

In addition, this data is being collected to be ultimately shared with the US company that is currently testing this Dendritic Cell Treatment in FDA clinical trials. Not only am I excited about my personal results, but it is great to know I am helping further cancer research!

A New Chapter in Cancer Treatment

Medical groups have been trying to figure out the dendritic cell immunotherapy conundrum since the 1990s. In contrast to the use of toxic chemicals and radiation, enlisting a person’s dendritic cells to fight their cancer was an elegant, simple idea that inspired many medical minds. 

But it soon became obvious among the medical groups working on this that there was a complicated piece missing: dendritic cells did not automatically “do their thing” when put face to face with cancer cells in an isolated lab setting.

How to get them to “interact” and learn the information about particular cancer, design the attack plan, and lead the charge for all the other pertinent immune cells proved to be quite an elusive puzzle.

Various solutions have been tried over the decades but success among medical groups and clinics offering dendritic cell immunotherapies has been inconsistent and limited.

Enter Immunocine’s Dendritic Cell Treatment

The group that, through trial and error, finally managed to crack this problem is the same group that developed Immunocine’s treatment. They figured it out as far back as 2006 and have been slowly and steadily amping up their research and understanding of Dendritic Cells.  

Many stage four cancer patients with no hope left are alive today thanks to this one of a kind Immunotherapy. I hope and believe that I will soon be one of those patients in the coming months.