Consultants choose their words carefully and they are certainly not prone to outbursts of emotion. So when ours called last night with the results of Fabian’s most recent BMA and said he was cautiously optimistic we knew it was indeed good news. It has been a month since T Day and this BMA result would be the first – and most important – indicator of whether immunotherapy had worked. We knew the T cells had multiplied, thankfully because of the presence of EBV virus, since the original infusion had been so small and may not have been sufficient to overcome the disease which the last test had confirmed was already returning. Furthermore, Fabian is still struggling to maintain his blood counts due to the tenuous bone marrow engraftment. Last weekend he was close to being neutropaenic and anaemic and required both platelet and Hb transfusions plus GCSF to stimulate white blood production. However, the BMA result showed a zero reading against one marker and reduction of half in the other.. This is unequivocal proof that the leukaemia has been significantly reduced and one can assume that extrapolating this forward he will be disease-free within days or weeks! More importantly for the clinical trial, this has been achieved without the use of drugs. Caution, though, tells me to hold fire on a mega-rave celebration just yet.. We were also told that an unintended consequence has been the loss of all remaining EBV so the concern is that those precious T cells will remain in his body, without which Fabian will have no continued protection. We’ll know more after clinic this week.
So I guess the words ‘joyful Christmas’ take on new meaning for us now. It is truly the best present, other than the true reason for the season. With Christmas approaching, Fabian is looking forward to big sister Oleander coming home from Uni tomorrow and his present list reads like the Argos catalogue. Even the likelihood of family squabbles over the holiday period seems inconsequential compared to the value of togetherness.