Toronto father seeks access to experimental cancer drug

A Toronto father is hoping to convince a major pharmacuetical company to provide him with an experimental drug which he hopes will help him battle a recurrence of brain cancer.

A father's last chance

11 years ago
Duration 2:21
A drug company won't allow a Toronto man to use an experimental drug his doctor says is his only chance to live.

A Toronto father of three is pleading with a drug company to give him an experimental drug to treat the cancer that has returned to his brain.

Darcy Doherty and his oncologist believe the drug BMS-936558 is his only hope of survival.

But so far the drug company, Bristol Myers Squibb, has told the family it does not have a compassionate use program for that particular drug.   

A patient's last hope

Click here to watch an extended interview with Dr. David Hogg, Darcy Doherty's oncologist. In this video, he explains the difficulties in convincing drug companies to make experimental drugs available, even when it represents a patient's best chance at survival.

Rebecca Cumming is doing everything she can to convince the company to give her husband the experimental cancer drug.

"I personally think they have an ethical responsibility to provide this drug to us," she said. 

Darcy Doherty was successfully treated five years ago with a similar drug when his brain cancer first appeared.

"I think I did pull off a miracle one time," he said.  "I am also confident there are two miracles."

Dr. David Hogg, Doherty's oncologist, says the new drug is already being used on cancer patients beyond initial phase one clinical trials and Doherty would be a good candidate.

"He did respond to Ipilimamab and there is some initial data out using this particular drug (BMS-936558) that suggests that in patients who have responded to Ipilimamab this drug may come out and rescue those patients," he said.

"Without this drug he has no hope," said Hogg. "His disease is progressing, he will die of the disease and I don't have any other therapy to provide him at this point."

Doherty's son Ganden, 13, is pleading with Bristol Myers Squibb to provide the drug.

"People don't understand how much he means to me," he said. "He's just such a great person and you know if BMS could just let him get on this drug you know, I'd be grateful forever."

The family has started a Facebook campaign called Help Save Darcy.