Saturday, January 25, 2014

American Cancer Society Staff Epidemiologist Finds Link between Type 2 Diabetes, Insulin Use, and Colon Cancer in Men

A recent study by American Cancer Society Director of Tumor Repository Peter Campbell, PhD, suggests that type 2 diabetes and insulin use are associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer in men, but not women. Dr. Campbell is the lead author of the study titled “Prospective Study Reveals Associations between Colorectal Cancer and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus or Insulin Use in Men,” which was published in the October issue of Gastroenterology, the official journal of the American Gastroenterological Association Institute.
Using data from 73,312 men and 81,663 women who were part of the American Cancer Society CPS II Nutrition Cohort, Dr. Campbell found that 1,567 men (227 with type 2 diabetes) and 1,242 women (108 with type 2 diabetes) were diagnosed with colon or rectal cancer by 2007. Among men, type 2 diabetes was associated with increased risk of being diagnosed with colorectal cancer compared to not having type 2 diabetes. Colorectal cancer risk was higher for those participants with type 2 diabetes regardless of whether or not they used insulin. The authors speculate that the lack of an association between type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer risk among women might relate to improved glucose control among women with type 2 diabetes in recent years.
“While our study supports an association of type 2 diabetes with colorectal cancer incidence among men, our results also suggest that insulin use is associated with a slight, but not a substantially increased, risk of colorectal cancer among men with type 2 diabetes,” Dr. Campbell says. “Prevention strategies should emphasize adherence to guidelines intended for the general population such as smoking cessation, weight management, exercise, and regular early detection exams.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

New leukemia therapy destroys cancer by turning blood cells into "assassins"

A new leukemia treatment has experts buzzing over a possible cure that may one day change cancer treatment forever.

How does it work? According to experts, the treatment is a gene therapy that turns a patient's own blood cells into assassins that tracks down and destroys cancer cells.

They've only tested it in three patients so far, but the results were noteworthy. Two patients appear cancer-free a year after treatment, and the third patient still has some cancer but is improved.

"It worked great," said study author Dr. Carl June, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. "We were surprised it worked as well as it did."

Currently, the only hope for a cure is bone marrow or stem cell transplants, which don't always work and can be fatal.

Scientists have been trying for years to find ways to boost the immune system's cancer-fighting ability. Earlier attempts at genetically modifying T-cells, our "bloodstream soldiers," have had limited success -the modified cells didn't reproduce well and quickly vanished.

June and his colleagues used a new technique to deliver the new genes into the T-cells with a signal that tells the cells to kill and multiply. That resulted in armies of "serial killer" cells that targeted and destroyed cancer cells, even new cancer cells as they emerged. T-cells typically attack viruses that way, but June says this is the first time it's been done against cancer.

For the study - published in the "New England Journal of Medicine" and "Science Translational Medicine" - scientists took blood from three patients with very advanced cases of chronic lymphocytic leukemia and genetically altered it in a lab. Then the scientists returned the blood cells to the patients in three infusions.

The scientists detailed the experience of one 64-year-old patient. There was no change for two weeks, but then he became ill with fever, nausea, and chills. He and the other two patients were hit with this condition that occurs when a lot of cancer cells die at the same time - a sign that the gene therapy is working.

"It was like the worse flu of their life," June said. "But after that, it's over - they're well."

The main complication from the therapy seems to be that it also destroys some other infection-fighting blood cells, requiring additional monthly treatments for the patients.

Scientists now want to test the gene therapy technique in leukemia-related cancers, as well as pancreatic and ovarian cancer, June said. Other institutions are looking at prostate and brain cancer.

"This is a form of what I would call ultimate personal therapy," June told CBS News' Dr. Jon LaPook. That's a wave of the future."

Dr. Walter J. Urba, director of cancer research at the Providence Cancer Center in Portland, Ore., called the findings "pretty remarkable" but was cautiously optimistic because of the study's size.

"It's still just three patients," said Urba, one of the authors of an accompanying editorial in the New England Journal. Three's better than one, but it's not 100." He says the key is what happens to these patients years from now.

Dr. Kanti Rai, chief of hematology, oncology at North Shore-Long Island Jewish Medical Center in N.Y., could hardly contain his enthusiasm despite being admittedly more reserved when he comments on studies like these.

"It's an amazing, amazing kind of achievement," he said.

One of the patients released a statement through the university. The man who did not want to be identified, himself a scientist, said he's "very lucky."

Although he wrote that he didn't feel that way when he was first diagnosed 15 years ago at age 50. He was treated successfully with chemotherapy for years until standard drugs no longer worked.

How is he now?

"I'm healthy and still in remission," the man said. "I know this may not be a permanent condition, but I decided to declare victory and assume that I had won."

More than 44,000 Americans are diagnosed with leukemia each year while nearly 22,000 succumb to the disease.

FDA panel votes against wider use of Amgen drug

An advisory panel on Wednesday recommended that U.S. health regulators reject the use of Amgen Inc's drug Xgeva to delay the spread of prostate cancer to the bone, dimming the chance of a wider use for one of the company's key growth drivers.

The outside advisers to the Food and Drug Administration voted 12-to-1 that the benefits of the injectable drug, known chemically as denosumab, did not outweigh the risk of developing a jawbone-destroying condition.

Xgeva is already approved to prevent fractures and related problems in advanced prostate cancer that has spread to the bone, and the company is seeking additional approval for use of the drug to delay or prevent the spread.

The drug did delay the spread of cancer to the bone by a little longer than four months in a clinical trial of 1,432 men with prostate cancer who had stopped responding to hormone therapy.

But about one in 15 men who took the drug developed osteonecrosis of the jaw, a severe side effect in which jawbone tissue dies, exposing the bone. That rate is far higher than has been seen with widely used osteoporosis drugs.

"If you ask a patient, 'Do you want to delay your disease by five minutes, but get significant toxicities?' I think that would give them pause," said panel member Maha Hussain, a professor of medicine in the hematology and oncology division at the University of Michigan.

The FDA usually follows the recommendations of its expert panels and will make a final decision by April 26.

Most analysts had expected the unfavorable panel vote because the FDA had questioned whether delaying the spread of cancer to the bone was a meaningful benefit to patients given that the drug did not help men live longer or delay the growth of prostate cancer..

"We believe the panel recommendation reinforces the FDA's view, which has been consistently negative, and approval is unlikely," said Geoff Meacham, analyst at JP Morgan, in a research note.

However, he said the risk of a rejection of wider approval for Xgeva had only a modest risk to his long-term revenue estimates for Amgen, the world's largest biotechnology company.

Benefits to patients?

Xgeva and a related osteoporosis drug Prolia are seen as among the most important growth drivers for Amgen and are expected to help offset declining sales of the anemia drugs that had been the company's backbone.

In the fourth quarter of 2011, sales of Xgeva rose to $134 million from $100 million in the prior quarter, and it is expected to eventually become a $1 billion-a-year drug.

The company said the new use for Xgeva would be targeted at about 50,000 men in the United States at that advanced stage of the disease.

Panel members questioned whether using the drug earlier actually benefited patients, as many did not have symptoms of the disease, but would suffer any drug-related side effects.

However, the patient representative on the panel voted in favor of approval.

"There isn't a treatment that a man with prostate cancer gets that doesn't have devastating effects on his masculinity and his quality of life," said James Kiefert, of Olympia, Washington. "In my opinion, the men who would be candidates for this treatment would be standing up and cheering another option for them."

His views echoed the favorable comments of several urologists, who testified in favor of the drug during the public hearing.

Amgen said Xgeva provided a meaningful benefit to prostate cancer patients by preventing the spread of their disease to the bones, which is not uncommon.

"We look forward to further discussions with the FDA as they continue to review our application," the company said in a statement after the vote.

If Xgeva gains wider approval, it would be the first drug to delay the spread of prostate cancer to the bone, Amgen said.

Amgen said it was also testing Xgeva in other cancers, including breast and lung cancer and the blood cancer multiple myeloma.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Facebook stalking

Post contributed by Hilton Miranda

Ever since we got our internet through satellite internet service, I have not been able to stay off of Facebook. I don’t know what it is that draws me to it, but it seems like I have to look at it at least ten times a day. I always turn the computer on first thing in the morning while I am having my coffee. First I check my email, and then before I realize it, I have moved on over to Facebook. That is where I get my morning entertainment I guess. I get to see what my friends did the night before if they posted anything. Now if this is a Friday morning that I am looking at Facebook, I have plenty to look at from Thursday night. Everyone I know always goes out on Thursday night. I don’t even know how that got started. I guess we all did that when we were in college. Back in those days, everyone went downtown to all the bars and stayed out until all hours of the morning. Now that we are all grown and have jobs, the partying has calmed down a lot. We can’t just skip work because we stayed out too late. At least I have Facebook to keep me posted on what everyone is doing

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cancer patient cured with his own immune system

A cure for cancer teems through our veins, but the trick is harnessing the immune system's tumour-destroying cells, say doctors.
Now, a US team has developed a new way to turn a patient's T-cells against a deadly, metastasised skin cancer. A 55-year old man who received the immune boost lives tumour-free, more than two years after treatment.
"He had a remarkable response," says Cassian Yee, an immunologist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, US, who developed the new treatment.
Yee's team treated eight other melanoma patients, but he says it is too early to tell whether their tumours have vanished as well.
Other cancer experts say the results could pave the road for a cancer vaccine, but more proof with additional patients is needed.

Helper cells

"They really showed what can be done when you get all the conditions right," says Louis Weiner, an oncologist at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C., who was not involved in the study.
For a tumour to grow and spread, it must trick the immune system into thinking it is normal tissue. Immune cells that keep tumours in check remain oblivious to the malignancy or too low in number to make much of a difference.
But researchers have slowly learned how to unleash this response. The most common strategy is to collect a patient's white blood cells, grow the tumour-killing T-cells in a laboratory incubator and inject them back into the patient.
This approach, while sometimes successful, often requires doctors to kill off a patient's other T-cells and give them multiple cell treatments, as well as a toxic cocktail of immune chemicals.
In hopes of developing a simple regimen, Yee's team focused on a special kind of T-cell, called helper CD4 cells.

Cancer cured

The researchers isolated a handful of these cells from the patient, whose melanoma had spread to his lung and groin. All the cells recognised a protein called NY-ESO-1 - this existed in his tumour, but not most healthy cells.
After the cells had been multiplying in the lab for two months, Yee's team injected about five billion of them into the patient in one dose.
The treatment annihilated the tumours within two months, and nearly two years later, there are no signs that the patient's cancer has crept back, Yee says.
The lab-grown cells remained at high levels for at least three months after treatment. However, Yee suspects that the injected CD4-cells also jolted other immune cells into action because tumour cells that didn't make NY-ESO-1 also disappeared.
"This is a case that really teaches us a huge amount," Weiner says. Ramping up CD4 cells that go after a tumour could be a goal for future cell therapies targeting other cancers and even a cell-free vaccine, he says.
And in the next five to 10 years, cancer immune therapy will expand from its status as a boutique treatment, he says. "What we see in front of us is no longer a mirage, but we still have a bit of distance to travel."

Protein warning

Steven Rosenberg, chief of surgery at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, US, suspects that Yee's treatment conscripted another kind of T-cell - called a CD8 - to help destroy the tumour.
Rosenberg's team has developed a treatment that uses mostly this kind of cell to fight melanoma. At a recent conference, he reported a 72% success rate in a group of 93 patients.
Yet, while encouraging, the new treatment might work for only a fraction of melanoma patients, because many tumours do not contain NY-ESO-1 and not all patients have an immune system that recognises the protein, he says.

12 Brain Boosting superfoods

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Since loosing Sean

I have lost my grandfather to melanoma which was something none of us was expecting. He was diagnosed in June and was placed in hospice care at home. He passed away a week later in his home.
I will miss you pappaw but now you and Sean are able to finish that conversation that you started a while back.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Read something today about treating brain cancer.

Seeds Fight Brain Tumor -- In Depth Doctor's Interview
Theodore H. Schwartz, MD, a neurosurgeon at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, talks about a new treatment for patients with cancer that has spread to their brains.
Radiation seeds for the brain are relativity new, correct?

Dr. Theodore Schwartz: Yes. What we’re doing is implanting brachytherapy, which are radiation seeds that go into the brain which prevents brain tumors. What’s new about them is the specific type of seeds that were using which are cesium-131. A very specific half life that lend themselves to brachytherapy in the brain. We actually permanently implant these seeds into the cavity after we resect a living brain tumor to prevent a local reoccurrence, which we know after you resect a primary brain tumor rather than a metastatic one; there is a risk of local reoccurrence as high as forty percent. So often we treat these patients with radiation therapy. We give them radiation to the whole brain; it’s not very good for the whole brain. It’s better to give focal radiation to just half the brain. We do that with a separate procedure, where we put them in a big machine called a gamma knife, but it’s more efficient to do it all at once. So right when you take out the tumor, we implant brachytherapy right into the brain where the tumor is to keep it from reoccurring.

How many seeds are implanted?

Dr. Theodore Schwartz: It depends on the size of the cavity. If we take out a very big brain tumor, we put in a lot of seeds. If we take out a small brain tumor, we put in a few seeds. So we put in anywhere from 5 seeds to 35 seeds depending on the size.

How much radiation is emitted from these?

Dr. Theodore Schwartz: It’s a very small dose of radiation outside the head. The dose you get right in the cavity is actually fairly high. But if you measure the dose outside the head it’s very small, because if falls off very, very rapidly. By delivering the seeds right into the cavity you get a very high dose of radiation focally to the bed of the tumor and prevent radiation from spreading to the rest of the brain.

Compared to the Gamma Knife what is the difference in the radiation amount?

Dr. Theodore Schwartz: With the issue of the gamma knife, is that to get radiation to the brain using that device, the radiation has to pass through the skull. It passes through the brain so you get multiple beams of radiation that are going through the brain to focus on this one area. This technique avoids that so there’s much less scatter to the surrounding brain, radiation is only delivered right to the cavity where we take the tumor out, it’s much more focal way of delivering radiation to prevent tumor reoccurrence.

What are the differences in side effects between the gamma and the radiation seeds?

Dr. Theodore Schwartz: The side effects are similar in that if you deliver too much radiation to the brain in general you could have what’s called radiation perosus. But we deliver in a much more focal area. So for an example the gamma knife would deliver radiation to the entire brain, although higher in one area that low dose of radiation that goes to the whole brain could actually induce another cancer in the brain. Where the risk of that happening in brachytherapy is extremely low, near zero.

Are there any patients you would not implant the seeds in and use the gamma knife instead?

Dr. Theodore Schwartz: No. Patients that we worry about are patients that have already had radiation therapy, that have a tumor that reoccur’s. Because if we give more radiation therapy, the accumulative dose can be very high. They might not be as good a candidate for it. But we can also tailor the amount of seeds we put in; we can tailor the amount of radiation in each particular seed. The real advantage is that is saves patients from a second procedure where they have to go and get another radiation effect weeks later. Waiting those weeks later the tumor has already grown. We take the tumor out. If there were cells left behind that we microscopically just can’t see, we can treat them right away. Put the radiation right in there; prevent them from growing, before they really start growing. Do additional radiation therapy afterwards, we wait several weeks the tumor is already growing back, you have to give more radiation and it’s less effective.

How long do these seeds last in the brain?

Dr. Theodore Schwartz: The seeds will stay in the brain forever. Most of the dose is delivered within two weeks and just fades away.

Are you and staff in danger with the radiation?

Dr. Theodore Schwartz: You do admit a dose of radiation, but it’s a fairly low dose. In the old days when they used to do brachytherapy with catheters and very big doses, patients had to be in an isolation room and you had to wear a lead cap. But now, technology is advanced. Patients can be in a room with another patient. Really, you just can’t put your head on a lap of pregnant women. That would probably be too much radiation. If your three feet away, it’s really not a problem.

Does this give brain cancer patients a new hope?

Dr. Theodore Schwartz: Absolutely. Our goal with brain cancer is to clean the brain of disease, and often we can’t do it in surgery alone. We can’t sterilize the brain and get it all disease out. So this is a way that after the surgery if there are little microscopic seeds of tumor left behind we clean it up with radiation therapy. It does not require a second surgery. It takes about fifteen minutes, we do it at the time of surgery, just lay the seeds right in there. We use certain techniques to make sure they are separated by a specific distance. It’s a huge hope for patients who have brain tumors.

Have the radiation seeds been used for other cancers?

Dr. Theodore Schwartz: Radiation seeds can be used in the body for lung cancer, liver cancer, for cancer in other places. It’s used less frequently in the brain, particularly these isotopes cesium-131. This particular isotope has never been used in the brain before. That’s what initiative is and new, no one has put cesium-131 seeds in the brain before to treat malignant brain tumors.

Why has no one put cesium-131 in the brain before?

Dr. Theodore Schwartz: Because it’s a new device. It’s a new isotope that’s now in seed form. For many reasons it’s much more advantages for the seeds we used to use than other types of radiotherapy.

So is the gamma knife out of business now?

Dr. Theodore Schwartz: No. The gamma knife will never be out of business; it’s a great device and has a lot of great uses. Were hoping that for particularly malignant brain tumors that spread from somewhere else in the body, this will be the new standard of care.

Could you explain your patient Beth, what exactly you seen in her brain?

Dr. Theodore Schwartz: Beth had a malignant brain tumor that spread from her body, we took it out. She was a wonderful patient, she was very appreciative, and she did extremely well. We were able to align the cavity with seeds. She’s had no reoccurrence of the disease. She hasn’t had any disease anywhere else. She doesn’t need any further radiation therapy for now. Her brain is clean for now.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Over a year

Over a year has passed since loosing Sean. I have since published his book called "Stay". All the royalties from this book will be donated to the american cancer society.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Seans Song

When Sean passed away my little "brother" Andrew said Sean came to him and told him he needed him to tell me some things that he felt I needed to hear. Andrew loves music and has made several cds in the past which was a part of Sean and I's collection. I got an alert in my email on my birthday titled "Happy Birthday" from Andrew. I opened it and it contained a mp3 called "Seans song". I downloaded it and listened and sat there and cried. I wanted to share it with you all and I hope you like it. Click here for song

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Four Months since Sean left

It will be four months since Sean left us this coming Friday and it still honestly hasn't sunk in for me. There are many times when I have been shopping and see something that I know Sean would like and get ready to pick it up and have to stop myself. A few weeks back I was shopping and saw Red Wings shirts on sale. I not only went through the rack to find a size Sean could wear but stood in the line for over twenty minutes to buy it. Only to walk out of the store with two shirts (one for me) and realize I had no one to wear the extra one I had bought. I see people sometimes that remind me of Sean and I have to say to myself that it is not him. I still get excited at the thought of seeing him or spending time with him. I still get excited when I know I am going to get to do something we'd enjoy like a movie or something but then realize I will be going alone. Sean was more to me then just my mate he was my bestfriend. I now know there is and probably never will be anyone else like him in my life. I trusted him with everything and I told him everything as he did me. I recalled reading another womans blog about cancer when Sean was first diagnosed. I was looking for answers and some words of comfort and hope maybe. Her husband had just passed away from cancer and I read her blog and cried for what felt like hours. All I kept saying was please god don't let this happen to us....I feel sorry for people who never really took the time to truely get to know Sean and there were a few. I feel sorry for people he had known all of his life who never treated him the way that he should have been. I feel sorry for people who now after he is gone have used him and situations concerning him to hurt other people. Sean would not of ever wanted that...but Sean also already knew how these certain people were and it really would not of suprised him. I think anyone who had the chance to be in his life was blessed because he was a really beautiful person and there will never be another him. I do miss him. I hope where he is that he will always know that I love him and he will always be in my heart.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Almost Two months

Its has almost been two months since my sweet Sean left us. There is not a day that goes by that I do not think of him. I have moved from where I was living and am now in West Virginia with my mother which is a good thing. Seans memorial was very nice even though some of his family was not able to attend we did celebrate him and everyone seemed to enjoy the memorial. We cooked out and everyone recieved a necklace with a word deemed for them as a keepsake. We also let loose balloons with messages for Sean and had a really nice table set up for him with pictures, balloons, candles and of course Seans cremains. Since is death his family and I have talked about getting a memorial stone for Sean at Father Solanus Church in Michigan as well as a memorial stone at the new Red Wings Stadium. We have also talked of planting a tree in honor of Seans year long battle with Cancer. I miss him so greatly and I am looking into writing a book about Sean and his courage throughout his battle with this monster disease. I just hope he knows how much we all love him and miss him and knows he will forever be in our hearts. I love you Sean

Monday, April 19, 2010

Seans memorial on Facebook

I have created a small memorial for Sean on Facebook. In order to view it please do a search on "Sean Joseph Rip" or follow this link to add him. We have not yet had Seans memorial and I will let everyone know when it is when I am able.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Monday & Tuesday Morning, Rest in Peace Sweet Sean

Seans heart rate dumped Monday into the 50s and his stats were really not good. His blood pressure at one point went to 170/90 after it had been really low only moments before and this seemed to happen a few times. He was developing a fever again and his body was so swollen to touch him anywhere on his arms or legs left finger impressions. I spent awhile in the room alone with him and told him how much I loved him and a few other personal things that I had been needing to say to him. His mother and I discussed the heart rate and the fact that if he went into cardiac arrest that the nurses would do nothing for him due to the DNR order and that was very bothersome to know. We sat with him on and off all day and had his family come again to see him. We all had collectively decided that Sean was no longer with us except in body and that we should turn off the ventilator. He had not been responsive like before for at least two days and the doctor was convinced he was declining fast. Around eleven in the evening on Monday we gathered in his room for a few to sit with him and near twelve the nurses came in and started disconnecting the tubes and so forth from Sean. I kissed him on his cheek and told him I loved him so much. We were asked to stand behind a curtain as they removed the ventilator tube and then we moved back beside him. They had removed all the tubes and so forth and he only had a oxygen mask on his face. He was breathing at 70% for a few moments then his heart rate was going down steadily. I held his hand and rubbed his head and talked to him as much as I could. He was circled by his mother,father,brother, sister in law Jennifer,Uncle Bob and me. He had a few gasps for air and he left us peacefully. I will miss my beautiful angel so so much. My heart aches with the loss of him and I do not believe I will fully grasp his passing for awhile. Thank you all so much who have followed this and fought Seans battle with him through your comments,thoughts and prayers. We love you so much and wish you the best. I do not know if I will blog anymore here but I will consider it. Rest in Peace sweet Sean.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday once more

Sean is at 90% saturation on his oxygen. He has a temp of 103.1 and he seems really tired. I am not sure what the next few days will hold but I wanted to write down my status I put earlier on facebook concerning Sean and I. I will update when I have more to add.

Watching Hockey with Sean in the MICU. I am content to know that our relationship is what most people only dream of having & for that we have been so blessed. We have never had to fake being happy, we have never been a couple to scream & fight, we have always made the best of what we had & didn't have. I am so happy to have had him in my life, to spend the time we have together, loving each other and loving to be with each other and able to know what love really is. I love you Sean & you will always be with me.