Defying The Odds - One Man's Battle Against Malignant Mesothelioma

The average post-diagnostic survival time of malignant mesothelioma sufferers is between one and two years. Traditional mesothelioma treatments have had no success in eradicating the disease and have produced limited success in extending patient survival time. New and experimental mesothelioma treatments are therefore becoming increasingly popular options for sufferers.

This is the story of Billy Joe Speicher who was given six months to live after being diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma in November of 2003. Suffering through the symptoms of pleural mesothelioma for years (severely chronic chest pain, shortness of breath, malaise), Mr. Speicher continuously sought medical attention to address his concerns. Time and time again, his condition was missed or misdiagnosed. From asthma, pneumonia and bronchitis to lung cancer, he heard it all.

Mr. Speicher was of the impression that his condition might be related to asbestos exposure; however, lack of knowledge / experience with the disease continuously led his doctors down a more conventional path and misdiagnosis. It wasn't until 2003 and an eventual lung biopsy that the malignancy of the pleura was confirmed.

After diagnosis, he was given a couple of bleak treatment options. Trimodality therapy involving chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery was suggested; however, this could only promise a 20% chance of 18-month survival. When taking into consideration that recovering from surgery would take five months and recovering from chemotherapy and radiation therapy would take an additional five months, Mr. Speicher was left with the grim reality that the amount of pain and discomfort he would be forced to endure would really only add a couple of months onto his life (discounting 10 months of pain and suffering as "living").

Selecting to pass on traditional mesothelioma treatments, he turned his attention to experimental drug treatments; namely those involving the anti-angiogenesis drug manufactured by Vasgene Therapeutics, Inc., Veglin (VEGF-AS). An angiogenesis inhibitor used to combat a variety of cancer types, Veglin stops the formation of blood vessels required for tumor growth.

Mr. Speicher's Veglin treatments encompassed two trial periods (four months and two months) during which Veglin was administered in shot form using a syringe. This process was continued every other week. A break-period of four months was taken off the drug between trials to monitor the tumor. Having not experienced additional tumor growth, Mr. Speicher was able to begin his second trial period during which he administered himself a daily dose of Veglin.

Veglin is not a "cancer-killer." The purpose of Veglin treatments are for the containment of a cancer, limiting/preventing growth and allowing for additional treatment options. Mr. Speicher has lived well-beyond the six months he was diagnosed with thanks to Veglin treatments and has experienced no further growth of the cancer (though it remains in his system). The success of his Veglin treatment is a testament to the drug and to the progress of science in the treatment of advanced disease types that are thus far without cure.

For more information about Veglin or to get information about any Veglin trials that may be occurring, contact Dr. Gill at 1-800-909-MESO (6376).

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