The Abigail Alliance is dedicated to helping create wider access to developmental cancer drugs and other drugs for life threatening illnesses.
The story of the Alliance started in early March of 2001 when Abigail, who had just turned twenty-one, had run out of conventional options in her battle against head and neck cancer. Her very talented oncologist urged her to try and get the EGFR targeted drug C225 (Erbitux) from small Imclone Systems or Iressa from very large Astra Zeneca. Abigail's cancer cells had a very high EGFR expression and her oncologist strongly felt these drugs had a very significant chance of saving her life.
They lobbied the two pharmaceutical companies with much vigor including getting help from some very influential people. Then they had to work hard and furiously to solicit Congressional help. Abigail launched a media effort that resulted in numerous stories in the press. As tired and weak as she was, Abigail did multiple newspaper and television interviews.
Abigail died on June 9, 2001 as she was trying to gain some strength, when we were finally able to get Abigail into a clinical trial of a third drug (OSI774). The Abigail Alliance was incorporated in the state of Virginia in November of 2001.
The Abigail Alliance represents the family and friends of thousands of patients who have lost an oft-repeated battle: they exhausted all possible treatment for their disease; they knew that a drug existed that could help extend their life; they were ineligible for any clinical trial studying the drug; and the pharmaceutical company sponsoring the drug could not provide an Expanded Use or Treatment IND program to allow them access. The ACCESS Act seks to end this problem. The ACCESS (Access,
Compassion, Care, and Ethics for Seriously Ill Patients) Act, S.1956, is an important step toward making regulatory policy work for dying patients. It allows patients to receive these investigational treatments, with the same important safeguards that are in place for other recipients of the same drugs.