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Jay Lopiccolo was preparing for a 150-mile cycling event in 2013 when he noticed that despite his training, he wasn’t getting any stronger. He was also having pain in his rib cage, but the X-rays showed no signs of fracture. Later in the year, while helping a friend move furniture, he experienced sharp back pain. In November 2013, he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma.
His doctor referred him to Dr. Douglas Nelson, a physician at MD Anderson in The Woodlands. At MD Anderson, Jay received a relatively new multiple myeloma chemotherapy regimen before it became the standard of care. It was a 21-day cycle which consisted of one lenalidomide (Revlimid) capsule for 14 days, four bortezomib (Velcade) injections over the first 12 days and two dexamethasone (Decadron) tablets taken in conjunction with each injection. Then, in April 2014, he received an autologous stem cell transplant.
After that, Jay had a choice: He could restart the induction therapy protocol, begin a typical maintenance therapy protocol or join a Phase II clinical trial under Dr. Robert Orlowski. The trial was for a potential new maintenance therapy involving a medication then known as “MLN-9708,” or ixazomib (Ninlaro).
He opted for the clinical trial. And while he does have a few lingering side effects—mainly mild neuropathy, muscle fatigue and digestive upsets—they are totally manageable and not significantly different than what would be expected with traditional maintenance therapy. Best of all, there has been no disease progression since starting the clinical trial.
Today, Jay is living a nearly normal life, even with an incurable cancer. And that is what’s most important to Jay, his wife and their children.