Saturday, April 28, 2012

Great article about Robin Gibb and colon cancer...

Hit the headline link below and access an excellent Huffington Post review of singer Barry Gibb's fight against colon cancer--along with a great review about colon cancer itself:

Colorectal Cancer: Robin Gibb, Bee Gees Singer, Is Battling The Disease, But What Is It?

Sorry that Mr. Gibb--and others we may or may not know--have to suffer through a life with colon cancer.  Good luck to researchers as they race to find ways to slow this insidious disorder down.

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Will increased leukemia risk give desperate parents pause?

I saved this article from a few days back.  See what you think...

Fertility drugs more than double childhood cancer risk, scientists say

Fox News - April 24, 2012  

Children born to women who took fertility drugs are more than twice as likely to develop leukemia, French scientists announced Tuesday.

Researchers from the Center for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health (INSERM), based in a southern suburb of Paris, linked the use of ovarian-stimulating drugs to a 2.6-fold increase in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common type.

The risk of developing the rarer acute myeloid leukemia was increased 2.3-fold by the drugs, according to research presented at the Childhood Cancer 2012 conference in London.

Children whose mothers struggled to conceive for more than a year were 50 percent more likely to develop ALL, the study found.

The research, which looked at the mothers of 764 French children diagnosed with acute leukemia and 1,681 without the disease, did not find an increased risk with in vitro fertilization (IVF) or artificial insemination.
Study leader Dr. Jeremie Rudant said, "It has always been hypothesized that assisted reproductive
technologies may be involved in the onset of childhood cancer as they involve repeated treatment at the time of conception and/or manipulation of the sperm and egg. And it is now established that a majority of acute leukemia have a prenatal origin."

He added, "Previous studies have suggested a link between infertility treatments and acute childhood leukemia, but there haven't been many studies. Most of them have been small, and they focused either on IVF or hormonal treatment. Our study was much larger, and it's the first time that a specific increased risk linked to fertility drugs has been found."

Rudant said that the findings, which were not yet published in a scientific journal, "indicate that more research is now needed to investigate more closely the link between specific types of fertility drugs and what role the underlying causes of infertility may play in the potential development of childhood leukemia."
Statistics indicate that infertility affects one in six couples worldwide, with an estimated 250,000 babies born every year as a result of fertility drugs.

However, in Britain, where about 44,000 cycles of fertility treatment are carried out each year, there are just 400 cases of childhood leukemia each year.

Statistically, this isn't much of a risk, is it?  Unless you are a family who's child develops leukemia!

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

If wrong cells are used to research how to treat a specific tumor, these mistakes "are an utter waste of public money, charity money and time...

According to researchers, "As many as 20 percent of cancer cell lines included in repositories for use by researchers may be improperly identified."

John Masters, a professor of experimental pathology at University College London, said finding a cure for cancer might be hampered by the inaccurately labeled cancer cell lines that comprise research.

Read all about it by clicking-on headline link to UPI story below:

Cancer research compromised by bad cells


Monday, April 16, 2012

Links to celebrity cancer news...

Here are several links to two big celebrity-related cancer news stories from recent days, involving Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, former singer with the Bee Gees, Robin Gibb and actor Ryan O'Neal:

Chavez Misses Obama Summit Confrontation Fueling Cancer Scare

Bloomberg Business News 

Bee Gees' Robin Gibb is gravely ill, hospitalized, reports say 

LA Times


Doctors Debate Ryan O’Neal’s Cancer Prognosis

ABC News


Promising ovarian and lung cancer chemotherapy drug spurs multi-million dollar investment by Merck

Check this out:

Endocyte soars on cancer drug deal with Merck

(Reuters) - Endocyte Inc said Merck & Co Inc had acquired the development and marketing rights of its experimental cancer drug, the latest in the string of licensing deals by the No. 2 U.S. drugmaker to beef up its cancer drug pipeline.

Endocyte, which is responsible for a majority of the funding and completion of the ovarian cancer trial, will receive $120 million in cash and up to $880 million in milestone payments.

"We also believe that this transaction definitely cracks the door open for an eventual acquisition by Merck, if they like what they see in the next couple of years ...," Cowen and Co analyst Simos Simeonidis said in a note to clients.

The upfront payment will also give Endocyte the ability to invest in their early-stage pipeline and a couple of years of cash, he added.

Endocyte, which had $128.1 million in cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments at end-December, has three other drugs in early-stage development.

The company will receive an equal share of profits in the United States, if the drug is approved. It will also get a double digit percentage royalty on sales of the product in the rest of the world.

Merck, through a subsidiary, will gain worldwide rights to commercialize the drug vintafolide.

Merck has four cancer drug candidates in mid-stage trials and one that is under review for approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

In the last four months, it has acquired the rights to two cancer drugs from Threshold Pharmaceuticals and Exelixis Inc.

Vintafolide is currently being tested in a late-stage trial for ovarian cancer and a mid-stage trial for non-small cell lung cancer.

Endocyte had planned to file for marketing approval for Vintafolide in the third quarter of 2012. The drug received an orphan drug status in Europe last month.

Does this mean that Endocyte's new ovarian cancer drug is a winner?  Obviously Merck thinks so.  But they have been wrong before.  I say it is still way too early to tell.  Stay tuned!

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Study proves that poverty, silence and racial inequities — not genetics — are responsible for high breast cancer mortality rate...

Breast cancer mortality rates for African American women disproportionately high

Monday, April 9, 2012

Lots of news about Hugo Chavez' cancer and treatment. Read the latest below from CNN:

Venezuela's Chavez returns to Cuba for cancer treatment

From Marilia Brocchetto, CNN
(CNN) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez flew to Cuba early Sunday morning for another round of radiation treatment.

He was greeted at the Jose Marti International Airport, southwest of Havana, by Cuban leader Raul Castro with whom "he maintained a lively exchange," Cuba's state-run Juventud Rebelde newspaper said.

The 57-year-old president has not specified the type of cancer he is battling, and the government has released few specifics -- fueling widespread speculation about his health and political future.

On Thursday, he returned home to Venezuela from a second round of treatment -- and spent the weekend there.
So far this year, Chavez has spent 34 days in Havana.

Speaking at a Mass in his home state of Barinas on Thursday night, he teared up at times as he discussed his struggle with illness.

"Christ ... give me life, because I still have things to do for the people and this country. Do not take me yet," he said.

Chavez described cancer as "a true threat that marks the end of the path for many people. The end of the physical path, that's the truth."

But Chavez said that he was recovering, adding that he had "much faith, much hope, much willpower to defeat this threat, as many people have, with the help of God and medical science."

He ended his sometimes somber, sometimes jocular remarks with what he said was his message for God.
"Give me your crown, Christ, give it to me. Let me bleed. Give me your cross, 100 crosses, so I can carry them. But give me life, because I still have things to do for the people and this country," Chavez said. "Do not take me yet. Give me your cross, give me your thorns, give me your blood. I am prepared to carry it. But with life, Christ. Amen."

The outspoken, flamboyant socialist leader has led Venezuela since 1999 and has pledged to run for re-election in October.

On Saturday, Chavez told Venezuelan television he intends to return home from this round of treatement on Wednesday or Thursday -- in time for the country's planned celebration of the failed coup against him in 2002.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Eating lots of veggies may help fight cancer, not just prevent it

No surprise here, but good news nonetheless:

Bok choy and broccoli may boost breast cancer survival - Fox News

April 4, 2012

After being diagnosed with breast cancer, Chinese women who ate vegetables from a group that includes bok choy and broccoli had a better chance of surviving, according to a study out Tuesday.

In the paper presented at an annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Chicago, scientists looked at data for nearly 5,000 breast cancer survivors in China who were diagnosed from 2002 to 2006.

They adjusted their analysis for demographics, as well as other medical and lifestyle factors, and found intake of cruciferous vegetables -- a group that also includes cauliflower, cabbage and watercress -- was associated with a reduced death risk during the first three years after diagnosis.

"Breast cancer survivors can follow the general nutritional guidelines of eating vegetables daily and may consider increasing intake of cruciferous vegetables, such as greens, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli, as part of a healthy diet," recommended co-author Sarah J. Nechuta, of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.

She noted, however, the level of bioactive compounds thought to play a role in cruciferous anti-cancer effects might depend on both the amount and type of those veggies women eat, suggesting such a study among US women might not produce the same results.

"Commonly consumed cruciferous vegetables in China include turnips, Chinese cabbage/bok choy and greens, while broccoli and brussels sprouts are the more commonly consumed cruciferous vegetables in the United States and other Western countries," Nechuta said in a statement. "Second, the amount of intake among Chinese women is much higher than that of US women."

Most previous scholarship exploring the links between vegetable consumption and cancer has focused on prevention.

A flurry of studies in the 1990s exalted the role of fruits and vegetables in staving off cancer, but recent research has chipped away at the notion that eating your greens will lower overall risk of the disease.

However, Walter Willett, chair of Harvard's department of nutrition, noted in a study two years ago that specific groups of fruits or vegetables can have preventative effects, using the example of lycopene and tomato products which reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

Lots of nutritional news and alternative cancer therapy info on our site.

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Women in Norway mistakenly diagnosed with breast cancer when screened without symptoms

Click-on the headline link below to read this Reuters/Orlando Sentinel article which is bound to stir-up controversy about the value of early breast cancer detection and overuse of mammograms:

Breast cancer screening tied to over diagnosis