Dad who campaigned for experimental cancer drugs dies of melanoma

Nick Auden, the 41-year-old Denver man who had been pleading with drug companies for one last chance to beat his terminal cancer, has died.

savelockys dadnick/via YouTube

Nick Auden, the 41-year-old Denver man who campaigned for access to experimental cancer drugs outside of clinical trials, has died of melanoma, his family announced.

A Colorado father of three with cancer who campaigned for access to the experimental drugs he hoped would cure him has died, his family announced.

Nick Auden, 41, passed away last Friday with his wife at his side after losing his battle to melanoma, according to a statement posted on SaveLockysDad.com.

The Save Locky’s Dad campaign, named for Auden’s oldest son Lachlan, 7, began as an effort to convince drug giants to let Auden try an experimental medicine he hoped would halt his disease.

Auden's oldest son Lachlan is the namesake of Save Locky's Dad, the family's campaign for drug companies to expand their compassionate use access to new drugs that have not been approved for wide use.

savelockys dadnick/via YouTube

Auden’s oldest son Lachlan is the namesake of Save Locky’s Dad, the family’s campaign for drug companies to expand their compassionate use access to new drugs that have not been approved for wide use.

Auden and his wife Amy spent what would be the last several months of his life petitioning Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb for access to their anti-PD-1 drugs. The so-called “wonder drugs” have reportedly shown promise in early clinical trials, but are not available outside the trials.

Auden qualified for a Merck trial in July, he told ABC News earlier this year, but was then disqualified because of a perforated intestine.

The Audens began asking the drug companies to provide Nick with anti-PD-1 medications through what is called compassionate use rules, in which drug companies can grant people access to experimental drugs outside of clinical trials.

Auden's wife Amy appears in a video on SaveLockysDad.com to tell her husband's story.

savelockys dadnick/via YouTube

Auden’s wife Amy appears in a video on SaveLockysDad.com to tell her husband’s story.

SaveLockysDad.com was part of that effort. Through an emotional video appeal, the Audens racked up more than 500,000 signatures on a Change.org petition, and over 31,000 followers on Facebook.

In the video, the Audens share the story of Nick’s cancer diagnosis, which began when he had a cancerous mole removed in March 2010. A year and a half later, doctors told him the cancer had returned and spread.

“Nick came in from work, and he told me about a lump he found under his arm,” Amy Auden says in the video. “And not long after that, we found out he had stage 4 melanoma.”

The video, made this summer, shows Auden as a loving, active father to his three children while coping with his terminal illness.

savelockys dadnick/via YouTube

The video, made this summer, shows Auden as a loving, active father to his three children while coping with his terminal illness.

Nick kept up his athletic lifestyle, chasing after Lachlan and younger children Hayley and Evan and continuing his favorite outdoor activities.

“I think I can be a case study for this drug to show how it works,” he states in the video. “What they need, actually, is someone with melanoma who is fit and strong.”

Both drug companies ultimately declined to provide Auden their drug, Merck citing difficulty in producing enough to supply its trials, and Briston-Myers Squibb due to safety concerns, ABC News reported.

“In the end, Nick’s death … beams a spotlight on a glaring need for change in compassionate access practices for life-saving drugs in late-stage investigational trials,” the family’s statement read.

“Nick’s life, his determination and drive, his work ethic, and his friendship touched many of our lives, and we will continue to be inspired by his example.”

tmiller@nydailynews.com


Health – NY Daily News

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