Posts Tagged ‘chemoembolization’

Meso warriors urged to rally around Debbie

10 May 2012 by under Organizations, People

Debbie Brewer april 2012 209x300 Meso warriors urged to rally around DebbieOne of our favorite Meso Warriors, , was disappointed this week to learn that her had progressed. Many of you have been following Debbie’s story through the past several years, since she originally shared it with us. Debbie has become a leader in the fight for awareness, and is an outspoken advocate both in her home in the U.K. and worldwide. (more…)


UK meso survivor Debbie Brewer featured in Plymouth paper as story of hope

31 Dec 2009 by under News, People

debbie front page herald1 UK meso survivor Debbie Brewer featured in Plymouth paper as story of hopeIt has been a difficult year for many in the family. Many have lost loved ones, or are facing a scary diagnosis. But 2009 also held a lot of good news. To illustrate that, I’d like to share a news article about our great friend in the UK, . Just after Christmas, Debbie was featured on the front page of The Herald, a newspaper that covers the Plymouth area. The paper describes Plymouth as a “hotspot for asbestos-related deaths.”

In the feature, Debbie talks about how she moved from what was presented to her as a death sentence to her new outlook of happiness, hope and survival. Debbie was diagnosed in November 2006, at which time she thought she might be seeing her last Christmas. Doctors estimated she had only six to nine months to live.

As most of you know, Debbie refused to accept the prognosis that she had only months to live, instead actively seeking alternative medical treatments that might take a fresh look at her cancer and provide her with new options. Primarily, she found Prof. Thomas Vogl at the University Clinic in Frankfurt, Germany, who administers a therapy called chemoembolization. In this therapy, chemotherapy drugs are introduced directly to the tumor area through a catheter into the lung.

Because the treatment is still in clinical trial stages, Debbie had to travel to Germany for each treatment, not available in the UK, and paid for travel expenses and medical care from her own pocket. However, results were amazing, and Debbie’s tumor shrunk by more than 80 percent, putting her in full remission.

Despite a recent setback, when a September check-up showed cancer in her lymph node had increased in size (the tumor in her lung remains stable), she is optimistic. She lobbies energetically for mesothelioma and asbestos awareness, and also to bring chemoembolization to the UK so that more people might try this new therapy that has shown so much success in her case.

The paper quotes Debbie as saying, “Christmas is the time of year I celebrate being here. ”

We love you, Debbie, and we are SO glad to celebrate another Christmas with you, and we look forward to spending 2010 with you!

Read the full article.


Debbie remains upbeat as she undergoes radiotherapy

11 Nov 2009 by under Events, People, Research/Treatment

debbie at radiation treatment 11 09 cropped 300x296 Debbie remains upbeat as she undergoes radiotherapyEveryone following ‘s story on this site knows that last December it was determined she was in remission from – a miracle! – following successful chemoembolization treatment in Germany. Then, in September, she received a worrying report that appeared to show growth in a lymph node in her chest, which showed up on a CT scan. Subsequent tests revealed that there was growth, which would require treatment.

This week, Debbie started radiotherapy on the lymph node. She tells me that the radiotherapy treatment is a 3-week course, Monday to Friday, and depending on how the lymph node responds could go to 5 or 6 weeks.

Doctors also did a biopsy on her right groin area, which was the site where Dr. Vogl introduced the chemoembolization procedure. There is some question about whether the mesothelioma could have seeded at the induction site. Debbie says Dr. Vogl – who is pioneering the chemoembolization treatment at the University in Frankfurt – is hopeful and optimistic that this is not the case. However, the treatment is still experimental, so it is hard to know what to expect, she says. The chemoembolization treatment was done six times, each time in the same area.

The biopsy was done on Tuesday, with doctors taking two samples. Debbie is now waiting on the results.

She is in good spirits and keeping a positive outlook, so I’m sure she’d appreciate the continued well wishes and encouragment. She promises to let us know when she receives the results. You can also read more about Debbie’s story, and the other goings-on in her life, at her own blog, Mesothelioma & Me.


Worrisome news for Debbie in UK; please send her your support

17 Sep 2009 by under News, People

debbie rich and kieran 100x100 Worrisome news for Debbie in UK; please send her your supportOur good friend Debbie Brewer, in the UK, (pictured with sons Rich and Kieran) who has been in remission from her since December 2008, had a worrying report from her latest medical checkup. She visited her oncologist in the UK on Sept. 16, and they have detected some increase in size in her lymph node as the result of a CT scan of her chest, abdomen and pelvis.

“My oncologist is putting me in the Meso box again, and I am not going there,” she told me in an email this morning.

She’s posted the medical records on her blog, Mesothelioma & Me, so please visit her site to check out the full report. According to the findings section, the scan detected “a new 5mm nodule and several smaller new nodules withing the lower left lobe.” However, the scan does not show any growth or changes in the existing areas where they knew there was tumor previously.

It’s been a rough several weeks for Debbie, as she only recently was released from the hospital after suffering a bad case of swine flu and pneumonia! In her blog, she says she is hopeful the increased lymph node could be related to the infection and pneumonia from her illness rather than cancer cells.

Debbie experienced wonderful success in the treatment of her mesothelioma under the care of Dr. Thomas J. Vogl, who she began seeing in May 2008 for an experimental new treatment, chemoembolization. Under his care, her tumor (which she calls Theo) shrunk an amazing 83 percent. Debbie must travel to to participate in the clinical trial at J.W. Goethe University Hospital at Frankfurt University.

Debbie said she has contacted Dr. Vogl about her latest test results, and will consult with him about treatment following a P.E.T. scan.

We know that Debbie is an ultimate fighter and wonderful advocate for mesothelioma awareness and for justice for victims of asbestos disease. Please send her some well wishes! You can contact her through her blog or email her at phu_phita@hotmail.com. I know she’d love to hear from you!

I will keep you posted!


Debbie hopes to make groundbreaking mesothelioma treatment more widely available

15 Jun 2009 by under News, People, Research/Treatment

I reported last week that Debbie Brewer, our friend in the UK, had another amazing report from Germany, where she has been undergoing to treat her mesothelioma. Her tumor has now shrunk a total of 83 percent! Debbie is sharing her experience with media in Britain, hoping to gain more widespread acceptance of as a treatment for meso, and to raise awareness that the therapy, currently in clinical trials, exists.

Debbie was diagnosed with mesothelioma in November 2006, at which time her doctor gave her only a few months to live. That was when Debbie began looking for new treatments. She began chemoembolization in May 2008.

Chemoembolization, which is being pioneered by at J.W. Goethe University Hospital at Frankfurt University, introduces chemotherapy directly into a tumor, where it is basically sealed off so that it is concentrated in the area of need. The clinical trial started three years ago, and will continue for about two more years. The treatment is only available at the clinic in Germany.

Recently, BBC News featured Debbie and her efforts to bring chemoembolization to the UK, and beyond.

Watch the video.


Theo loves Germany – Debbie’s tumor continues to shrink!

9 Jun 2009 by under News, People, Research/Treatment

debbie june 09 100x100 Theo loves Germany   Debbies tumor continues to shrink!Today I heard from Debbie Brewer, our friend in the UK. She is just returned from another visit to Dr. Thomas Vogl in Germany, where she had wonderful success with the clinical trial for chemoembolization. She first visited Vogl for the treatment in May 2008. In March 2009, she found that her tumor had shrunk an amazing 73 percent since her first treatment. This week, she reports that even was surprised to see that Theo – as she nicknamed the tumor – had shrunk an additional 10 percent! That’s a total reduction of 83 PERCENT for those of you keeping score!

This is truly wonderful and amazing news, particularly for a cancer like , which has no known cure. This sounds pretty darn close for Debbie, who is considered in remission with this amount of tumor gone.

Those who have been following Debbie’s story and have read the Q&A with Dr. Vogl we posted on this site know that chemoembolization is a procedure currently in clinical trials. The process involves introducing chemotherapy directly to the tumor, and basically trapping it there, concentrating it where it is most needed. Dr. Vogl is head of the Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology at J.W. Goethe University Hospital at Frankfurt University.

The clinical trial is currently treating between 300 and 400 patients with primary and secondary lung cancer annually, and about 20 mesothelioma patients.

For more information, see the Q&A with Dr. Vogl.

Read more of Debbie’s story at her blog, Mesothelioma & Me.


Great news from Debbie’s visit with Dr. Vogl

10 Mar 2009 by under Events, News, People, Research/Treatment

debbie brewer march 091 100x100 Great news from Debbies visit with Dr. VoglOur friend Debbie Brewer has reported that after her visit with Dr. Thomas J. Vogl in Germany this week, she can report that her tumor has shrunk an additional TWENTY PERCENT!! This is a total of 73 percent smaller than when she began the experimental chemoembolization process! Amazing!!

Even better, Debbie reports on her blog, Mesothelioma & Me, that a doctor in London is interested in bringing Professor Vogl to the to present his technique! Currently, this therapy is only available in Germany, where Dr. Vogl is pioneering the procedure for the treatment of cancer including mesothelioma at the University Clinic, Frankfurt.

Those who have been following Debbie’s story know she began chemoembolization under Dr. Vogl’s care in May 2008, and now she is essentially in remission! As a result of her success, Debbie is a vocal campaigner to bring the procedure to more widespread availability.

Debbie was just featured in The Plymouth Herald, speaking out about her success with chemoembolization and her efforts to bring the treatment to the UK. Doctors originally told Debbie she had only six to nine months to live at her original diagnosis.


A Q&A with Dr. Vogl about mesothelioma trial

16 Jan 2009 by under News, People, Research/Treatment

vogl portait 150x150 A Q&A with Dr. Vogl about mesothelioma trialI know a lot of people who follow this blog are excited about the wonderful results our friend Debbie Brewer has experienced as a result of her participation in a chemoembolization trial in , with her tumor shrinking 53 percent, and now essentially “dead.” The trial is spearheaded by Dr. Thomas J. Vogl, who is head of the Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology at J.W. Goethe University Hospital at Frankfurt University. He has developed the clinical trial to use chemoembolization to treat mesothelioma.

Because there is so much interest in this clinical trial, even though it is currently only available in Germany, I contacted Dr. Vogl to see if he could provide a little more information about the program.

Q: Explain the basic procedure of chemoembolization / locoregional therapy in the treatment of cancer. How does it work?

A: The basic principle of chemoembolization/locoregional therapy is to achieve a transarterial approach to the tumorous lesion. In the treatment of mesothelioma we have to find the direct supply to the cancer. Then the chemoembolization material can be selectively inserted directly to the lesion. A concentration of cytotoxic drugs of up to 20 times higher can be achieved compared to systemic chemotherapy with reduced adverse events. By cutting off the vascular supply, chemotherapy can be retained in the affected region for several weeks.

Q: How did you learn that this treatment is effective for mesothelioma?

A: During treatment of patients with primary and secondary lung cancer we learned that locoregional therapies are effective for the treatment of mesothelioma.

Q: When did this clinical trial begin? (or how long has it been going on?)

A: The clinical trial started three years ago and will be continued for the next two years.

Q: What are the goals of the clinical trial for this treatment?

A: The goals of the clinical trial are to improve local tumor control, to reduce clinical symptoms like breathing problems and pain, and to increase survival.

Q: How many people with mesothelioma are you currently treating in this clinical trial?

A: Currently we treat 300 to 400 patients with primary and secondary lung cancer per year, and we treat about 20 patients with mesotheliomas.

Q: What are the general / overall results you are seeing in the trials?

A: Clinical symptoms and clinical status of the patients have improved. Local tumor control has improved as well.

Q: What is involved in evaluating a person to see if they are a good candidate for this type of treatment? (What is a good candidate?)

A: Normally we need the following material from the patient before treatment: histology of the cancer, therapy protocols so far obtained, images showing the extension of the tumor. A patient with a localized pleuromesothelioma in one half of the chest is a good candidate.

Q: Explain the procedure for someone receiving this treatment – what happens during a typical treatment visit? How long does it take?

A: After local anesthesia, the femoral vein, which is located in the inguinal region, is punctured. Then a small femoral sheath is usually inserted in the vein through which different catheters can be inserted. After displaying the caval vein, a catheter is pushed forward into the tumor feeding vessels after trespassing the pulmonary arteries. For preventing pain analgetic drugs are administered. Then the chemoembolization as well as the embolizing material are applied. Towards the end of the procedure, the catheters and the sheath system are removed and a compression bandage is applied in order to prevent complications in the inguinal region such as hematoma. After surveillance of 6 to 24 hours, in which complications might be detected and treated, the patient will be discharged. Up to 24 hours after the procedure a CT scan is performed in order to evaluate response to treatment or complications.

Q: How often / frequently does a person receive treatment?

A: The patient normally receives the treatment three up to four times in a 1-month interval.

Q: What are typical side effects of treatment?

A: The typical side effects of the treatment are very low. Normally the patient suffers from fatigue. Nausea and an increasing shortness of breathing are also rarely observed.

Q: How would someone apply to participate in this clinical trial? (Is it still open to receive new patients?)

A: If you send me material (medical reports, MR images, CT scans) I can check it and provide a treatment plan thereafter.

If you are interested in learning more about chemoembolization, or being evaluated for possible inclusion in the clinical trial, you can contact Dr. Vogl here:

Prof. Dr. Th. J. Vogl
Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology
University Hospital
Theodor-Stern-Kai 7
D-60596 Frankfurt

Email: T.Vogl@em.uni-frankfurt.de
Contact telephone number: 0049-69-6301-7277


Meso survivor Debbie campaigns for groundbreaking meso trial in UK

7 Jan 2009 by under News

A young woman suffering from breast cancer, which later spread to her liver and vertebrae, has been inspired by our friend Debbie Brewer’s success with the groundbreaking trial in the treatment of mesothelioma, and hopes to travel to Germany for similar treatments.

Our readers will remember that Debbie recently announced that her tumor has shrunk 53 percent following the chemoembolization treatments, which she received as a part of a clinical trial under the care of , who is pioneering the procedure at the University Clinic, Frankfurt. Debbie began the treatments in May 2008.

A report in the Plymouth Herald says Stephanie Chouette hopes to raise about £12,000 for a three-month course of chemotherapy with Dr. Vogl. Stephanie would undergo “local chemoperfusion,” which the report says is similar to chemoembolization. Her friends and loved ones are hosting a fund raiser Jan. 23 at the Derriford Hospital leisure centre’s function room.

Following her successful treatments, Debbie has begun spearheading a campaign to bring a chemoembolization trial to the UK. She is asking supporters to sign an online petition asking the Prime Minister to support the initiative, which would “ensure that all Mesothelioma patients get treatment in the UK,” so they do not have to travel abroad for healing.

You must be a British citizen or resident to sign the petition. Deadline to sign is July 6, 2009.


Debbie’s treatment success featured on BBC News

18 Dec 2008 by under News, People, Research/Treatment

The success of chemoembolization in the treatment of our friend Debbie Brewer’s mesothelioma has been featured in national press in the UK, covered by BBC News and picked up by The Press Association. In the report, Debbie calls for the pioneering treatment to be brought to the UK. Currently, she must travel to Frankfurt, Germany, for the treatments.

Readers of myMeso have been following Debbie’s story for a while now, and know that the chemoembolization treatment has been successful, resulting in an overall 53 percent reduction in the size of her tumor, which she humorously nicknamed Theo. Her last visit to the clinic was Dec. 12, when she received the great news that she is now in partial remission as a result of the tumor shrinkage.

Chemoembolization is traditionally used to treat liver cancer. Debbie says the Frankfurt program sees a 60 percent success rate in the treatment of mesothelioma using the process, which introduces chemotherapy drugs directly into the tumor.

Diagnosed with mesothelioma in November 2006, Debbie was initially told she had only a few months to live. It is believed that Debbie contracted mesothelioma from contact with on her father’s clothes when he unwittingly brought the substance home from work. Determined to beat the odds, she began researching mesothelioma treatments. In addition to the chemoembolization, Debbie uses mistletoe therapy, injecting the extract twice a week.

Read more about Debbie at her blog, Mesothelioma and Me.