Sunday, February 26, 2012

"Lucky" cancer survivor gets high profile date with Taylor Swift

Sometimes this type of thing seems a bit staged or patronizing - but I'm buying this.  Good for you, Taylor!

Taylor Swift to take N.J. teen with cancer to ACMs

Kevin McGuire invited singer to his prom, but she had better idea

CLICK HERE to read all about it.  Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat

Using computers more efficiently will be a key to developing therapy innovations in the future

Now this sounds like a good idea... Here is an excerpt from MedPage Today:

Supercomputer 'Watson' Tries Hand at Medicine

By Emily P. Walker, Washington Correspondent, MedPage Today

LAS VEGAS -- IBM's supercomputer Watson -- the formidable Jeopardy! contestant who beat two humans by answering trivia questions at record speed -- may be able to apply the same technology in a clinical setting and arrive at a diagnosis faster than a doctor can...

...Most doctors' brains don't hold the encyclopedic knowledge that the fictitious Gregory House, MD, seems to posses on the TV show House. Rather, diagnosing a patient with mysterious symptoms can involve wading through books, sending emails to colleagues, and using a computer or smartphone to look up symptoms and diagnosis.

In fact, one of the most significant challenges for a physician is searching through vast amounts of data, processing it, and selecting the information that will benefit patient care, van Terheyden said.
That's where Watson comes in...

Worth a try, right?  CLICK HERE to read more about this interesting experiment.

Let's face it.  Using computers more efficiently will be a key to developing therapy innovations in the future.

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Colonoscopy study confirms lifesaving value of the test

Here is a link to a New York Times article: Report Affirms Lifesaving Role of Colonoscopy.

Read this excerpt:

"In patients tracked for as long as 20 years, the death rate from colorectal cancer was cut by 53 percent in those who had the test and whose doctors removed precancerous growths, known as adenomatous polyps, researchers reported on Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine. The test examines the inside of the intestine with a camera-tipped tube..."

At a time when the value of cancer screening has come under question, it is good to know that a colonoscopy is worth drinking all of that obnoxious sludge for.  The article is definitely worth a look.

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

More about counterfit chemotherapy drugs...

Click-on the headline link below to access Fox News article:

Counterfeit drugs becoming big business worldwide

Dare we hope that this is good news on the pancreatic cancer therapy front?

This is very early, pre-clinical testing.  But so far, so good...

Pancreatic cancer: Trial drug MRK003 shows promise

Scientists say they may have found a new weapon against pancreatic cancer after promising early trial results of an experimental drug combination.

Giving the chemotherapy agent gemcitabine with an experimental drug called MRK003 sets off a chain of events that ultimately kills cancer cells, studies in mice show.

CLICK HERE to read more about this English study.

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat

Saturday, February 18, 2012

How scary is this?

Fake Cancer Drug Found in U.S. 


The maker of the widely used Avastin cancer drug said Tuesday that it is warning doctors, hospitals and patient groups that a counterfeit version of the medicine has been found in the U.S...

CLICK HERE to read more.

I often think about whether my oral chemotherapy Revlimid capsules are the real deal.  After all, at over $500 a pop there is certainly incentive to counterfeit them!

Scary!  Pat

Friday, February 17, 2012

Chemotherapy drug shortages really hit home when kids are involved...

Here is another news story about the ongoing chemotherapy shortage - this time focusing on children:

28 cancer medications in dangerously short supply


Thousands of children with leukemia count on a particular drug to survive. But supplies are running dangerously low. In many cases, doctors have enough for only three weeks. CBS News correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook looked into what's behind the shortage -- and what's being done about it. 

Even though 8-month-old Elena Schoneveld was diagnosed with leukemia, her devastated parents were hopeful.

"The fact of the matter is it's curable," her father Mark Schoneveld explained. "There are a lot of cancers that are not curable. So, in regards to leukemia, we feel -- in a weird way -- lucky that they have a track record of curing it."

The cure depends on a cocktail of chemotherapy drugs. But, one of the crucial medications, methotrexate, is running out. 

"Children will die because they can't get methotrexate," Dr. Jon Maris said. He is the chief of oncology at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where Elena Schoneveld is being treated.

Maris explained that methotrexate is a lifesaving drug and a known curative agent when injected into the bloodstream. It is one of the main medications credited with preventing leukemia cells from infiltrating the spinal fluid.

However, the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia only has two months supply of the medication left, and children usually take it for three years.

It's not just methotrexate that's running out. Twenty-eight cancer drugs taken by more than 550,000 patients are in short supply. 

One of the main problems is that companies have a a smaller profit margin because many of these cancer-fighting drugs have become generic. Fewer suppliers are interested in making the drug, including the largest manufacturer of methotrexate, which shut down its plant last fall. 

A year ago, the first of three congressional bills was introduced to give the FDA more power to deal with the drug shortage crisis. So far, neither the house nor the senate has brought a bill to the floor.
"This is a real, real crisis," Maris said. 

"Unless something dramatic changes in the next few weeks, myself and other physicians and nurses on this very unit will have to look parents in the eyes and say we don't have methotrexate and the substitute is not as good. And, I am sorry," he added.

That's not what parents like the Schonevelds want to hear.

"We didn't choose this battle but here we are, we need to win it," Mark Schoneveld said. "There's really no other option. We have to win the battle."

CLICK HERE to watch a CBS News video about the story.

Hope someone can help get this stuff straightened-out!  Feel good and keep smiling!   Pat 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cancer Network featured this article about MDV3100, a new novel therapy agent which extended overall survival by 4.8 months in advanced prostate cancer patients...

Novel Drug, MDV3100, Will Likely Have a Major Role in Prostate Cancer Treatment

By Anna Azvolinsky, PhD | February 15, 2012
The new drug, MDV3100, extended overall survival by 4.8 months (P < .001) in men with castration-resistant prostate cancer who had progressed after treatment with docetaxel(Drug information on docetaxel). It also reduced the risk for death by 37% as compared to placebo. This is an impressive feat. Currently, there is no standard of care for this group of patients.
Chemical structure of the antiandrogen MDV3100
MDV3100 is an oral, androgen receptor signaling inhibitor that competitively inhibits the binding of androgens to the androgen receptor, and uniquely inhibits the receptor from translocating to the nucleus and binding DNA. MDV3100 was chosen for development based on robust prostate cancer model systems and activity in early stage trials in both chemotherapy-treated and chemotherapy-naive prostate cancer patients. It is the first in a new class of agents and different from the mechanism of action of currently available treatments.
CLICK HERE to read more.  This doesn't seem like a lot of extra time, but my guess is, like with many of the blood cancers, combinations of these drugs could extend those modest numbers out quite a bit farther...
Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat 

Is this an example of more, unnecessary treatment? Click-on the headline link below to read about how adding radiation after lung cancer surgery does not extend overall survival for a wide variety of older patients...

Radiation After Lung Cancer Surgery Doesn't Help All: Study

Monday, February 13, 2012

Click-on headline link below to access both text and podcast featuring latest innovations treating kidney cancer...

Advances and New Research in the Treatment of Kidney Cancer

Cancer has struck nearly every household in Wewelsfleth, a village of 1,500 inhabitants in northwest Germany...

How bizarre is this?

You have got to read this ABC news story about a town in Germany where a many, many of the residents have cancer.  Click-on the headline link below to access the article:

Cancer Mysteriously Ravages German Village

Gee, think proximity to three different nuclear plants might have something to do with it?  Think government officials don't want to investigate to hard--can you imagine the liability?


Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Latest news about Susan G. Komen decision--then reversal--to cut funding for breast cancer screening partnership with Planned Parenthood...

Susan G. Komen for the Cure founder defends Planned Parenthood decision

Nancy G. Brinker says abortion is not the reason that grants for breast cancer exams are being cut off. Lawmakers, women's health advocates and others continue to criticize the move, and both groups see donations pour in.

CLICK-HERE to read L.A. Times Article...

Feel good and keep smiling--even when politics seems to get in the way! 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Research for certain deadly cancers underfunded world-wide...

Read this interesting report about how research for certain cancers in Australia is grossly underfunded:
Deadliest cancers are missing out on funding.

Of course, the same thing happens here in the United States.  I don't see NFL players wearing a flashy, designated color for skin or lung cancer--the cause of a large majority of cancer related deaths in this country.

Like Pattie always reminds me:  "It's all about marketing."

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Susan G. Komen Run for a Cure rift with Planned Parenthood starting to get ugly...

This latest Susan G. Komen flap is really getting out of control.

Whether politically motivated or not, cutting Planned Parenthood out sends an unfortunate message.  And now this...

In Komen fallout, abortion-breast cancer myth is resurrected-LA Times

More disheartening news about cancer drug shortages...

Here are links to two more articles about ongoing drug shortages which negatively affect cancer patients:

Drug Shortages Are Speeding Cancer Deaths, Survey Says - WebMD


Legislation will target critical drug shortages- Delaware

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

According to CDC, not enough Americans are getting appropriate cancer screening

I wish that the medical community would make up their minds!  First we hear about how prostate and breast cancer screening isn't worth the time and money.  But then I read this USA Today article:

CDC: Too few Americans getting screened for common cancers

The number of Americans being screened for colon, breast and cervical cancers still fall below national targets, federal health officials said Thursday.

CLICK HERE to read the article.

Bottom line:  If it's me, I'm getting screened early and often!  Stats are great, but finding cancer early is rarely a bad thing...

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat