Posted by Jamie Reno (@jamiereno) · Nov 25, 2013
Cancer Patient Nick Auden Dies While Fighting Drug Companies for Treatment
I just received some heartbreaking news: Nick Auden, the focus of the worldwide Save Locky’s Dad campaign which I wrote about here at CancerConnect last month, has died as a result of stage IV melanoma.
The 41-year-old husband and father of three young children had been bravely campaigning for access to a clinical trial of anti-PD-1, a treatment currently being tested by pharmaceutical companies Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS).
Nick's doctors concluded that this treatment was his last and only chance to survive. But Nick could not convince either drug company to give him the drug.
Two weeks ago, as the disease progressed and Nick failed to gain access to the potentially lifesaving drug, he flew to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston with his wife Amy for a last-ditch, experimental treatment (TIL Therapy) that they hoped would stave off the cancer’s progress until he got anti-PD-1.
But it was sadly too late. Nick was admitted to intensive care a week ago during the course of the treatment. He was then flown to his Denver home on Tuesday via air ambulance to spend a last, precious few days with his three beloved children, Locky, 7, Hayley, 5, and Evan, 1.
He died on Friday, November 22. The great tragedy, of course, is that this did not have to happen.
Amy told me last night, "We were airlifted back to Denver mid last week. We got home in time so the kids could see him. It is a tragedy and I am barely coming to terms with it. Thank you and CancerConnect for all your wonderful support."
I only wish I could have done more somehow.
More than half a million people worldwide signed the change.org petition pleading with Merck and BMS to give Nick the drug. The campaign attracted support from cancer experts, politicians, the Federal Drug Administration, celebrities and the general public around the world.
It is Amy's fervent hope that Nick’s campaign can make a difference in the future for others in this heartbreaking position. I share that hope. This was, and is, a very important campaign for all cancer patients and their loved ones.
Amy says the law must change to compel drug companies to provide compassionate access to potentially lifesaving medicines in late phase trials.
While the Auden family was not successful in convincing either Merck or BMS to provide anti-PD-1, Amy concludes poignantly, "I sincerely hope that the campaign is a catalyst for much needed change in the attitude of all large pharmaceutical companies with potentially lifesaving drugs."