Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Multi-Tracer PET Assessment
"The Study will use a relatively new imaging scan, called positron emission tomography (PET), to study how your tumor behaves. The PET scan uses imaging agents, called "tracers", to look at your tumor. Each tracer has a small amount of radioactivity, which allows that scanner to see where the tracer goes. This study will use four tracers to look at you tumor in a way that hasn't been done before. The four tracers are:
1. FDG, which measures how fast your tumor is metabolizing sugar;
2. FLT, which assesses how fast tumor cells are dividing;
3. Water, which measures blood flow to the tumor; and
4. Acetate, which characterizes how fast the tumor cells are growing larger.
PET scanning with these tracers can provide a more complete picture of the status of tumors, and may potentially provide new insight into the best ways to treat and manage patients with brain tumors."
They are hoping that by doing this study they will be better able to pick the right kind of treatment for primary brain tumors. As I stated in a previous post, this study will have no effect on Dad's treatment plan. This is all for the benefit of future patients.
Tuesday Dad had his first round of PET scans. He was there for a little over three hours. He said it was really hard to have no one else is in the room with him because of the radioactivity. He asked the nurses if someone could go in with him and hold his hand today, but they said no. He has to lie still for 2 hours while he's given these "tracers" and scanned. At the same time they take blood samples. In the paper work it says they will take about 23 blood samples (a total of about 5 teaspoons).
After Tuesdays scans Amy and I brought him lunch at his work. When he told us how hard it was for him I told him it was totally elective and he could drop out of the study and not have to go back for another round. He responded, "If this helps someone else, so they don't have to go through what I am, then I'll do it."
And that is what we all hope, that better treatments come available to lengthen life and preserve quality of life for others. Especially because this really isn't any fun for anyone. To be candid, it is really difficult to watch my Dad struggle, to watch him decline by the day. And as hard as it is to watch daily, I'm grateful I get to be here at my parents home to help in any way I can and to spend whatever time I can with my Dad.