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February 15, 2007

What is Avastin

Dear Mother Nature, Please turn the heat back on in Kentucky. Oops, sorry, we're supposed to talk about Avastin. Avastin is bevacizumab. Now you know why they call it Avastin. I asked the doctor once how in the world they named these drugs. He said "you don't want to know". I never did pursue that. Avastin is an angiogenesis drug. To start angiogenesis, a tumor sends out signals to blood vessels. These signals cause new blood vessels to grow toward the tumor. Once these new blood vessels reach the tumor they provide the supply of blood that provides oxygen and nutrients to the tumor. This helps the tumor grow. Avastin is though to work by blocking one of the key signals that causes angiogenesis, a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor. This may allow Avastin to affect the tumor in different ways. It may cause the blood vessels to shrink away from the tumor, blocking the oxygen. It may also cause the existing blood vessels to change in ways that help the chemotherapy reach the tumor more effectively. And, it may interfere wilth the growth of new blood vessels, helping to block further growth of the cancer. So, this is the drug helping me. Out of my learning search, I contacted the manufacturer of Avastin, Genentech, and asked what studies they have on how long Avastin would be effective. Another answer of nothing real definite. The drug has only been used since 2004 and they did have an 18 month study I guess of survival. I told the lady I'm approaching 18 months so they better study me. The length of time does give me some concern, naturally, what else could it do. I always wonder if I ask too many questions. Be happy it's still working. Oh yes, another technical term. My new CEA blood test I discovered. The technical name is carcinoembryonic antigen. Gads! Treatment this week was normal. I evidently sounded a little depressed so I was offered a Zoloft prescription. No thanks, not interested. A lot of cold weather blahs I hope is the problem. Now that you're "educated" I guess I'll close this entry. As usual I wish you all good health.

Posted by Robert at 1:14 AM