Archive for the ‘cancer’ Tag

New Genetic Studies Opening Up New Paths for Lung Cancer Research   Leave a comment

Here’s some hopeful news for cancer researchers:

Professor Ramaswamy Govindan, of Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, USA, who worked on two of the studies, said that the research gives scientists ‘a penthouse panoramic view’ of lung cancer, whereas before they had been only ‘looking through a keyhole’.

The papers – the first in an expected wave of ‘cataloguing studies’ – reveal a complex series of genetic changes across the genome, and identify lung cancer as a highly diverse or ‘heterogenous’ disease. New mutations discovered include those that allow tumours unrestricted growth, or that enable them to evade the body’s immune responses. Other mutations have been unearthed in genes involved in DNA repair mechanisms.


Posted September 19, 2012 by lymphomactivist in Research

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Health Insurance Companies Not Always on Your Side   Leave a comment

I don’t know where you stand on Obamacare and all that, and I don’t really want to know or even to get into it. But this story is a reminder that we all need to stay vigilant when it comes to our health care and our insurance.

Now, I don’t mean to get too dramatic with the title of this post, and I don’t mean to say that insurance companies are against you. It’s just that they’re looking out for themselves and their own bottom lines. The article in question is about a Vermont state representative undergoing treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and his insurance provider declining to pay for some of his treatments because they weren’t sure they were necessary. Even though his oncologist had ordered them! This man was able to call the chairman of the state house’s health committee, who was able to call the chief lobbyist of the insurance provider, who was presumably able to call someone at the company, who was able to take care of the payment for service.

But it shouldn’t have to come to all that, should it have? And the state rep. rightly points out that people who don’t have his connections would’ve been out of luck. I don’t know what the answer is, but there’s got to be some better way than this.

Posted September 7, 2012 by lymphomactivist in NHL

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How a Proton Accelerator Can Help Fight Cancer   Leave a comment

I don’t even really know what a proton accelerator is, but a doctor in St. Louis does, and he’s hoping to use one to get rid of tumors.

With traditional therapies like X-ray, a patient’s healthy tissues are often hit by radiation. This machine is so precise that doctors can hit tumors with higher doses–without damaging surrounding organs.

“For a tumor that’s near the eye, you don’t want to spray it with excess radiation,” said Dr. Bradley.

Until now, proton beam facilities in the United States would cost more than 150 million dollars and require the space of a football field. This machine cost 75 percent less and fits into a single room. While it could cost up to 20 percent more than traditional treatments, for some patients it could be worth it.

It sounds amazing, but I especially like the talk of how much smaller this one is than previous versions, when it still weighs 50 tons and takes up an entire room. It sounds so much like stuff you see about what people in the 1970s and 1980s were saying about computers that seem gargantuan to us compared to our smart phones.

Johnson & Johnson Partnering with Smaller Drug Makers to Find Breakthroughs   Leave a comment

Johnson & Johnson is paying Pharmacyclics $50 million in what is called a milestone payment as the small drug researcher works on a new drug to combat mantel cell lymphoma, one of the more rare forms of NHL.

Apparently the drug giant is doing this thing more and more, as it allows the large company to benefit from innovation and advanced research without taking on the high risks that come with such work. It also, of course, gives funding to smaller companies in desperate need for the money. All in all, it sounds like a great plan to me.

The important thing of course, is that the research looks promising. Here’s hoping!

The two companies, which partnered up at the end of last year, are working to develop a novel kinase inhibitor known as ibrutinib as a medicine for patients who have suffered a relapse of mantel cell lymphoma, one of the rarest forms of non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas or cancers of the body’s B cells.

The drug candidate is also being studied as a treatment for patients who have developed a resistence to other medicines.

Pharmacyclics, which is based in Sunnyvale, Calif., said it is eligible to receive up to $725 million more in funding as it advances work on the drug.

Bone Marrow Transplants Growing in Use as an NHL Treatment   Leave a comment

Here’s an interesting look at the increasing popularity of bone marrow transplants as a treatment for NHL. They were once recommended only as a last resort, but doctors have begun to perform the transplants more often recently:

The procedure of a bone marrow transplantation for the treatment of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma used to be the procedure of last resort, only used after all other treatment modalities failed. This was the case because the procedure can be extraordinarily difficult to endure for the patient, and even life-threatening considering the many complications. However, the procedure is becoming more common.

Genome Senquencing of Lymphomas Progressing   1 comment

This is very good news, it seems to me.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic have completed the first genome-wide sequencing of peripheral T cell lymphomas, which will allow doctors to delve into this cancer of the immune system that account for 12% of all non-hodgkin’s lymphomas and are among the most deadly. Fewer than 35 percent of patients live five years beyond diagnosis. Andrew Feldman was the lead investigator and said of the breakthrough:

“Every time I diagnose a peripheral T-cell lymphoma, I know that two out of three patients will succumb to that lymphoma,” says Dr. Feldman. “That’s a very unsatisfying feeling, and I hope that our research can help change those statistics.”

How little, in fact, doctors understand about this type of cancer is summed up in the name of the most-common form of the disease:

“The most common type of T-cell lymphoma is called ‘not otherwise specified.’ It’s basically a wastebasket diagnosis because we don’t understand enough about the specific genetic abnormalities to be able to pinpoint subtypes of T-cell lymphomas that might trigger different treatments by the treating oncologist,” says Dr. Feldman.

Let’s hope his work will lead to better days ahead.

Posted August 7, 2012 by lymphomactivist in NHL, Research

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A Cancer Cell Factory   Leave a comment

Here’s an interesting piece on what it takes to fight and overcome — when possible — non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It stresses having the right attitude and making the necessary sacrifices to take action when needed. The post also talks about the importance of self-educating and working just as hard as your doctor in finding out ways that will help you in the battle.

It struck home for me, because that’s what I’ve been trying to do with this blog … educating myself and others. I hope it helps.

But what really got me was her description of NHL as turning “the lymphatic system into a cancer cell factory.” Scary. I just hope this blog and the stories and research it highlights can help those fighting NHL and other forms of cancer.

Posted August 6, 2012 by lymphomactivist in NHL

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