Toronto dad dies after fighting for experimental treatment.
We are sorry to inform you that our father, Darcy Doherty, passed away at home surrounded by family on Tuesday, July 10. Darcy was a tremendous partner, father, sibling, uncle, neighbour and friend. He is greatly missed.
We also wanted to thank you for all of your efforts and good wishes over the past number of weeks as we shared his story and tried to get him access to a new cancer drug.
Although unsuccessful, we are proud that in raising these issues and sharing Darcy's story we provided information and hope to many people facing a similar diagnosis.
Our whole family is grateful and has been touched by the kindness and generosity that we have received from you and so many during our dad’s illness.
A video appeal for our dad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olwDT7NPSsM&feature=share
Time is running out. Our family has no other hope. Without this treatment we will lose our dad.
A new drug, BMS-936558, manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb, similar to an earlier immunotherapy treatment our dad, Darcy, received ipilimumab (Yervoy®), produced a fantastic response increasing his life by years. Bristol-Myers Squibb is refusing access to the new drug, the one that his doctor says could save his life.
If BMS would just grant us compassionate access to this drug as they have done before, our family could have more precious time together.
To help our dad, Darcy, get access to this new drug, please visit www.facebook.com/HelpSaveDarcyNow or sign this online petition and contact Bristol-Myers Squibb at (212) 546-4000. #helpsavedarcy
Darcy Doherty, a 48 year old father of three, is seeking compassionate access to a new cancer treatment in a desperate attempt to extend his life. The experimental drug, BMS-936558, is in Phase 1 clinical trails at research locations in Canada and the U.S.A. In April, Doherty was excluded from one because of new marginal cancer growth in his brain.
“Darcy has led a brave and heroic struggle against this disease for the past five years,” explains his wife, Rebecca Cumming. “And now, the kids and I are devastated that a promising drug is out there and proving successful in patients with Darcy’s diagnosis, yet we can’t get to it.”
Doherty’s oncologist, Dr. David Hogg, Attending Physician at Princess Margaret Hospital and Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto, believes that his patient can benefit from this new treatment. “Mr. Doherty had a fantastic response to the then-experimental immunotherapy drug, ipilimumab (Yervoy®), in 2007. That drug has given him four years of life, and I believe that he may experience a similar benefit from BMS-936558.”
The manufacturer of Yervoy,Bristol-Myers Squibb whose Canadian head office is in Montréal, also produces this new drug. The company has repeatedly blocked Cumming’s appeals for access over the past weeks explaining that it does not have a compassionate use program.
“I respect the company’s trial criteria,” Cumming states, “but cannot accept that we are not able to get compassionate access to this potentially life-saving drug. We’ve all come so far and worked too hard to be prevented from this new treatment.”
In Canada, patients with serious or life-threatening conditions can access experimental drugs on a compassionate basis before they are approved by the government. Health Canada’s Special Access Program allows a physician to administer trial drugs when conventional therapies have failed, are unsuitable or not available.
Dr. Michael Giordano, Head of Development, Oncology and Immunosciences at Bristol-Myers Squibb explains his company’s position. “We strive to develop promising drugs as quickly as feasible while remaining mindful of protecting patient safety. [This drug] currently does not have an established benefit/risk profile, given [its] limited experience in humans. We are not in a position to allow [its] use outside of a highly controlled trial.”
For a devastated and discouraged Cumming, “it doesn't add up. Darcy has absolutely nothing to lose.” Given his previous success with immunotherapy she declares, “We see no risks at this point; without this drug he will die.”