I misread Facebook today. I thought it was the 75th wedding anniversary for Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter. Nope, it’s their 76th!
In 1927 in Plains, Georgia, a three-year-old boy named Jimmy Carter lived next door to an auto mechanic, Francis Smith, and his pregnant wife, Allie. That August, Allie went into labor, and Jimmy’s mother, a nurse, helped deliver her daughter. The next day, little Jimmy went next door and peered into the crib. The baby inside was named Rosalynn.
Former president Carter turned 97 on 01 October 2021, more than six years after he had been diagnosed with an “aggressive” form of metastatic melanoma that had spread to his liver and brain (stage IV cancer).
“I didn’t think I was going to live but two or three weeks because they had already removed part of my liver because I had cancer there,” Carter said. “After that, when they did an MRI, they found four cancer places in my brain so I thought I just had a few weeks to live.”
What was his treatment plan?
In September 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted accelerated approval to pembrolizumab for the treatment of certain patients whose metastatic melanoma had not responded to other treatments. The drug is a monoclonal antibody that binds to the PD-1 receptor and releases brakes on the immune system, allowing it to attack the cancer.
A monoclonal antibody is type of protein that is made in a laboratory. These antibodies can bind to a specific place in the body. Some monoclonal antibodies can treat some forms of cancer as well as Covid-19.
These molecules are “engineered to serve as substitute antibodies that can restore, enhance, modify or mimic the immune system’s attack on cells that aren’t wanted, such as cancer cells.”
Also seven years ago, the Georgia legislature passed, and Governor Brian Kemp signed, a bill (HB 965) that would provide Georgians with “health plans that cover the treatment of advanced, metastatic cancer, which typically involves Stage IV patients” access to treatments like that offered the former president.
Carter underwent brain surgery in November 2019 for “subdural hematoma, likely caused by a recent series of falls.”