Sometimes, with my warped sense of humor, I see the various drugs used to treat CLL parade before me in a rather grotesque and unsettling beauty pageant. I sit as the judge, flanked by my white-coated medical advisers.
There’s Miss Rituxan, comely and alluring, though some say she’s a bit mousey. Too bad her solo talent is a little too limited. But she’s definitelty going to be one of the winners; for in this pageant there will be a minimum of two and perhaps even a third, that will steal my heart with their combination of talent and beauty. Or what passes for beauty in these things.
Miss Fludarabine comes trotting out again, a contender in every pageant so far, and always an also-ran. She’s big-boned and can belt out quite a tune, but I wish she’d find one besides “You’re My Refractory Baby.” Plus, she’s covered with skin cancers. Somehow, I just can’t open my heart to her.
Her sister, Miss Pentostatin, is a little more demure, a little more petite, perhaps a little less able to hit the high notes, as well as the low notes. Somehow she is getting lost in the blur as the contestants tromp across the stage in formation singing: “This is our time, and we’re gonna make it fine!”
I can’t take my eyes off Miss Campath, or as she prefers to be called, Mistress Alemtuzumab. Not every contestant comes attired in black boots and carrying a whip. This isn’t my thing, but she does stand out. She has a certain authority, and is effective in the talent portion, but I do wonder how severely she might kick my ass.
Miss Chlorambucil has been in so many of these that she is going to appear with a Rhinestone-covered walker someday. Her baton twirling act is the best in the land, if you like baton twirling. But it’s coming back in fashion, and some of Miss Rituxan’s glow has rubbed off on her. Maybe she’s wearing her hair differently. All I can think is, “Why, Miss Chlorambucil, I never thought of you like THAT before.”
The show stealer is Miss High-Dose-Methyl-Prednisolone. The name wouldn’t even fit on the sashes that the other contestants are wearing, but Miss HDMP is a lot taller than the others, and so her sash is a great deal longer. She also has biceps as big as a tree trunk. Dig those washboard abs! No swollen spleen or nodes in there. She reminds me of those pumped-up East German female athletes of yore, and she is winking at me a lot.
Somewhere back in the crowd is that perennial contestant, Miss Cyclophosphamide. She usually blows it during the question-and-answer part, when I inquire about her views on the 17p deletion. Just talk about world peace, girl! Maybe your day will come, but don’t get your hopes up too high this time.
Tripping all over herself is Miss Vincristine. Must be the peripheral neuropathy she’s suffering. I do believe Miss Mitoxantrone is having a heart attack in the back, as we speak. Or is that Miss Doxorubicin? Hard to tell from here. They’re among that group that always gets eliminated shortly after they’re introduced. Chief among them is Miss Mini-Allo. She can puff out her chest all she wants; it ain’t going to help. Still, it’s nice to see she’s there.
I hear there may be some interesting contestants in future years. There’s a lot of buzz about Miss Humax, but she’s still learning how to walk and smile at the same time, and as much as I might want to fantasize about other contestants -- stop the show, it’s Miss Cure! -- I am left with the group that I am left with.
It’s quite a circus -- er spectacle -- er pageant. And I can’t wait for the finale. I have some white-coated advisors to consult, but I’ll let you know who wins.
ASH 2017: Dr. Adrian Wiestner on Resistance Mechanism in CLL (chronic lymphocytic leukemia) - I had the opportunity to interview Dr. Adrian Wiestner from the National Institutes of Health at ASH 2017 in Atlanta GA about his and other researchers wor...
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