It’s been a waiting game this week. We are back at Great Ormond Street Hospital this morning for the results of Henry’s ‘Minimal Residual Disease’ test. Unfortunately they are not ready. He has also had another lumbar puncture to give chemotherapy into his spine to keep the leukaemia out of his brain and central nervous system (intrathecal methotrexate).
The headline news last week was that Henry had responded well to treatment. And although there was no sign of leukaemia cells in his bone marrow using ordinary tests, the MRD test would set the course for future treatment.
The MRD is a highly sensitive molecular technique that searches out the remaining leukaemia cells and gives the doctors an idea of how many remain. They can then decide the level of therapy that will be needed to kill off all the remaining leukaemia cells. The test looks for the DNA of Henry’s individual leukaemia cells which were identified in an earlier procedure but as the DNA is different in every case , it can take longer to identify it in some patients. There’s a slim chance the test won’t work in which case Henry will stay on the lighter toxicity treatment regimen he’s currently on… More likely we’ll have a definitive result in a few more days.