Friday, September 30, 2011

A New Twist/Concern About Growing Cancer Drug Shortages...

Growing shortages of several chemotherapy drugs is alarming for a number of reasons I have shared on this site, as well as our site: More About Chemo Drug Shortages From U.S. News & World Report...

But this Wall Street Journal report from last week adds a new twist:  Clinical Studies being sabotaged as drugs used in trials dry-up:  

Drug Shortages Threaten Cancer Research

Wall Street Journal

This is subscriber-only content.  But we are allowed to view a tease, stating:

WASHINGTON—Cancer-drug shortages in the U.S. have caused hundreds of clinical trials to be stopped or delayed, threatening progress on new treatments, a top health official told Congress Friday.

Howard Koh, assistant secretary of health for the Department of Health and Human Services, said drug shortages are "dramatically affecting clinical trials." Dr. Koh testified Friday before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health during a hearing on drug shortages...

Here is a LINK to the WSJ site.

Unfortunate.  Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat

Mayo Clinic Starts New Cancer Vaccine Human Trial

Is this news as exciting as it sounds?  Hope so.  But there have been so many false alarms in the world of cancer research, odds say this isn't any different:

Cancer-vaccine trial to begin at Mayo Clinic

By  Maura Lerner
(Minneapolis) Star Tribune Friday September 30, 2011

MINNEAPOLIS — A few weeks ago, the Mayo Clinic made an intriguing announcement: One of its scientists had discovered a possible way to prevent ovarian and breast cancer with vaccines. And Mayo was ready to start testing them in people.

Within days, word had spread around the globe. Hundreds of women were suddenly vying for a few dozen spots in the clinical trials in Minnesota.

Keith Knutson, 47, the lead scientist, wasn’t surprised: If his experiments pan out, they could signal a turning point in the battle against cancer.

The experiments, set to begin early next year in Rochester, are designed to see if the vaccines can prevent recurrences of ovarian and breast cancer in women who have survived earlier bouts.

Knutson is among an elite group of scientists trying to attack cancer the way that their predecessors fought diseases like smallpox and measles.

“Ultimately,” he said, “we want to develop a vaccine that can actually prevent breast and ovarian cancer.”
Knutson, who has spent a dozen years on the project, says many women are understandably eager to take a chance on cancer vaccines, even experimental ones.

Cancer survivors, he said, “just feel like sitting ducks.” Long after treatment, they live in fear that the disease will return. Often, it does.

The first goal of the research is to test safety, so fewer than 50 women will be in the first round of trials.
“They’re going to want us to watch them for a couple of years,” Knutson said.

Only then, if all goes well, can larger studies begin to prove whether the vaccines work.

Hope I'm wrong and this works.  But more likely a baby step in the right direction. 

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Healthcare Reform Law Reaches Supreme Court

WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration today filed a petition with the Supreme Court asking for a speedy ruling on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. 

No links or comments available.  This law has the potential to help a lot of seniors and cancer patients/survivors.  But I understand many are opposed to it and why.  Stay tuned...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

BREAKING NEWS: New Breast Cancer Drug Trial Results Announced In Europe

Here is a headline link to report from 2011 European Multidisciplinary Cancer Congress taking place in Stockholm, Sweden:  Click-on headline above to read report.  

Roche Study Shows New Breast Cancer Drug Improves Progression-free Survival 

While an advance like this one is good news, please note that the new drug, trastuzumab emtansine, also known as T-DM1,only extended progression free survival by five months.

Baby steps.  Progress--but only baby steps.

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

BREAKING NEWS: Ovarian cancer is notoriously difficult to see. New technique allows surgeons to spot a tumor 30 times smaller than the smallest they could detect using standard techniques...

Click-on the headline link below to read about how new technology illuminates ovarian cancer cells, making it easier to detect and remove tumors:

Glowing cells guide ovarian cancer surgery


Exciting new aid to help oncology surgeons "get" all of the cancer.  My wife, Pattie had this surgery many years ago, long before this new technology was available.

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Two Women From Two American Political Families Die At Age 51

Eleanor Mondale and Kara Kennedy both passed away Yesterday.  Here are links to articles about their deaths:

Eleanor Mondale, daughter of Walter Mondale, dies

Kara Kennedy, Daughter of Edward Kennedy, Is Dead at 51

Eleanor Mondale had been battling brain cancer, and Kara Kennedy lung cancer--although Ms. Kennedy apparently died of a heart attack, most likely caused by years of chemotherapy weakening her heart.

Both were remarkable women and great Americans.  They will both be missed.

Try to feel good and keep smiling, even in the face of tragedy- Pat