AUSTIN (KXAN) - The Austin woman fighting to get an experimental drug that could prolong her life is taking her fight to the nation's capital.
Andrea Sloan will speak to lawmakers in Washington, D.C., this week about her personal situation and the issue of compassionate use of experimental drugs.
Sloan is the director of the Texas Advocacy Project and a seven-year survivor of ovarian cancer. Last month, she learned her cancer had returned and traditional treatment was no longer an option.
Her doctors believe a drug called BMN 673, currently in clinical trials, is her best hope for survival. Sloan is seeking "a single-patient access compassionate use exception," but so far, the drugmaker BioMarin has not allowed her to take it.
BioMarin has told KXAN it is too early in the clinical trial process to grant such an exemption.
BMN 673 has been through one phase of ovarian cancer trials, where it was tested on 28 ovarian cancer patients. The third phase of trials on breast cancer patients is set to begin later this month.
KXAN has learned the FDA grants a majority of the expanded access, or compassionate use, requests they receive. Through an open records request, KXAN obtained data from 2009 through 2012 showing a total of 3,170 requests for compassionate use. The FDA approved 3,149 of those requests.
On her way to Washington on Monday, Sloan recorded a video, praising the doctors and scientists at BioMarin who developed the drug.
"I just want to thank you for the hours and hours of tireless work you have put in to make this drug possible and now I'm humbly asking you to make this drug available to me," Sloan, 45, says in the video. "I know it's not a panacea but it does offer me hope in a bottle. With sincere gratitude, I thank you for the consideration of my request."
On Monday, a letter written by state Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, with the signatures of 70 members of the Texas House, was sent to the California legislature asking for their support in requesting BioMarin grant a compassionate use exemption to Andrea to save her life.
So far, seven congressman from Texas, one from Missouri, U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich have reached out to BioMarin on Sloan's behalf. An online petition supporting her fight has garnered more than 30 thousand signatures in two weeks.
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