Do You Read All Of Our Blogs?
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Do you read all of the blogs published by medicineworld.org? Many of our bloggers are busy keeping you updated on the various health related topics. We publish the following blogs at this time.
I manage the cancer blog with lots of help and support form other bloggers. Through this cancer blog my friends and I try to bring stories of hope for patients with cancer. The cancer blog often republishes important blog posts from other cancer related blogs at Medicineworld.org. If you are searching for a blog that covers wide variety of cancer topics, this may be the one for you.
Breast cancer blog:
Breast cancer blog is run by Emily and other bloggers and they bring you the latest stories, news and events that are related to breast cancer. Increasing awareness about breast cancer among women and in the general population is the main goal of this breast cancer blog.
Lung cancer blog:
Lung cancer blog is managed by Scott with the help of other bloggers. Through this blog Scott and his friends constantly remind the readers about the dangers of smoking. It's a never-ending struggle against this miserable disease with which a social stigma of smoking is associated.
Colon cancer blog:
Colon cancer blog is run by Sue and other bloggers. Sue brings a personal touch to the colon cancer blog since her mother died of colon cancer few years ago. She writes about stories, research news and advances in treatment related to colon cancer.
Prostate cancer blog:
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among American men. American Cancer Society estimates that over 230,000 new cases of prostate cancer occur in the United state every year. This important blog about prostate cancer is run by Mark and other bloggers. This blog brings news, stories, and other personal observations related to prostate cancer.
Medicineworld.org publishes a diabetes watch blog
and this blog is run by JoAnn other bloggers. This diabetes watch blog brings you the latest in the field of diabetes. This includes personal stories, advances in diagnosis and treatment, and other observations about diabetes. Improving awareness about diabetes is an important mission of this group.
Heart watch blog:
About 13 million Americans suffer from coronary artery disease. Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of death in American men and women amounting a staggering 20 percent of all causes of death. The tremendous responsibility of running a heart blog is entrusted to Daniel. He is creating blog posts with the help and support of other bloggers.
Sep 15, 2005
Why some lung cancers stop responding to tarceva
Scientists have recently found an explanation for why some lung cancers stop responding to the drugs erlotinib (Tarceva) and gefitinib (Iressa). Gefitinib and erlotinib are so-called targeted therapies. The two drugs are effective in about 10 percent of US patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Previous work have showed that these two drugs work specifically in patients whose cancers contain mutations in a gene that encodes the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Lung cancer patients with these mutations are often people who have never smoked. This discovery may lead to the development of new therapies to use when these agents stop working.
"Even though these targeted therapies are initially effective in this subset of patients, the drugs eventually stop working, and the tumors begin to grow again. We call this acquired or secondary resistance," said Vincent A. Miller, MD, a thoracic oncologist at MSKCC and one of the study's two lead authors. "This is different from primary resistance, which means that the drugs never work at all," Dr. Miller said.
The study involved six patients who had received treatment with gefitinib or erlotinib and who later developed acquired resistance. Scientists studied samples taken from the patients' tumors at different times before and during treatment. All of the tumors had the kinds of mutations in the EGFR gene that were previously associated with responsiveness to these drugs. But, in three of the six patients, they found that tumors that grew despite continued therapy had an additional mutation in the EGFR gene, strongly implying that the second mutation was the cause of drug resistance. Further biochemical studies showed that this second EGFR mutation, which was the same in all three tumors, could confer resistance to the EGFR mutants normally sensitive to these drugs.
Please note that Gefitinib (Iressa) is no longer promoted in the U.S. Market because it did not demonstrate a survival advantage in a large randomized clinical trial. Gefitinib is still available through special programs.
Sep 12, 2005
Lung Cancer Vaccine Shows Promising Safety and Efficacy
A few days ago, I wrote how I would like to see a vaccine for lung cancer, where you could vaccinate a smoker to prevent the occurrence of lung cancer, just like how you vaccinate a child against chicken pox.
Introgen Therapeutics, Inc. has a lung cancer vaccine in phase II clinical trials named as INGN 225. This is not a vaccine to prevent the occurrence of lung cancer in smokers, but is a treatment for patients who have been diagnosed with small cell lung cancer.
Interim results from an ongoing phase II clinical trial with this vaccine were recently presented at the 13th International Conference on Gene Therapy of Cancer. It showed that this vaccine is well tolerated and appears to sensitize lung tumors to additional chemotherapy, with 62 percent of patients who received second-line chemotherapy exhibiting objective responses. There were no appreciable INGN 225 related toxicities in any of the treated patients
INGN 225 is a personalized vaccine consisting of a cancer patient's dendritic cells, that utilizes the p53 tumor suppressor gene, to stimulate a cancer patient's immune system to destroy cancer cells.
"Historically, the expected objective response rate in patients with this type of advanced lung cancer is less than 25 percent," said Dmitry Gabrilovich, M.D., Ph.D., professor of oncology at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and co-principal investigator of the study. "The results of post- vaccination second-line chemotherapy are striking -- double what we would predict in this patient population. These data strongly suggest that INGN 225 sensitizes lung cancer cells to the effects of chemotherapy and may in fact significantly enhance the efficacy of subsequent chemotherapy."
All I have to say is every small step forward is an important step forward in the treatment of lung cancer.
Sep 10, 2005
Drug that Blocks Spread of Lung Cancer in Mice Discovered
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found a compound that has the ability to block the spread of lung cancer cells in mice. The compound is blocks an enzyme that is known to keep cancer cells immortal and that is implicated in almost all human cancers.
Preliminary results with GRN163L, a compound designed and synthesized by UT researchers, showed that this compound prevents the spread of lung cancer cells in mice. They injected human lung tumor cells into the tails of mice and found that GRN163L blocked the development of metastatic tumors over several months. The higher the dose, the fewer tumors developed. The researchers are not expecting any serious side effects when phase I clinical trial start with this compound.
If fully developed this compound may become very useful for use after surgery to prevent the residual cancer from spreading. In this setting it may be used in combination with chemotherapy to kill the residual cancer cells as well.
GRN163L works on a stretch of DNA called telomer at the end of the chromosome. Normally, as cells divide and age, telomeres become shorter and shorter. When they reach a certain length, the cells stop dividing and eventually die.
Cancer cells often develop an enzyme called telomerase, which counters the normal shortening of telomeres, thus giving immortality to cells. Telomerase may be detected in about 85 percent to 90 percent of tumors. GRN163L works by inhibiting telomerase enzyme in cancer cells.
Sep 8, 2005
Tobacco companies should pay for lung cancer research
A lung cancer advocacy group (Lung Cancer Alliance) is asking the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., to force the tobacco industry to contribute to a fund to support independent research on the etiology, diagnosis, treatment and cure of lung cancer. The Lung Cancer Alliance filed a "friend of the court" brief in the federal government's ongoing racketeering lawsuit against the country's biggest cigarette makers, which includes Greensboro-based Lorillard Tobacco Co. and Winston-Salem-based Reynolds American Inc.
The organization argues that the cigarette industry strategy of concealing scientific facts concerning the health and addictive effects of smoking and characterize smoking as a free adult "choice," had profound influence on how lung cancer is perceived and treated in society. The "stigmatization" has led to lung cancer victims routinely being blamed for their own disease and ultimately resulting in inadequate research funding from both public and private institutions.
"Survival rates for lung cancer over the past three decades have shown little to no improvement," Laurie Fenton, president of the Lung Cancer Alliance, said in a news release. "We strongly believe the tobacco industry has contributed to this unacceptable situation. The legal situation and all its important remedies is an important step."
Sep 6, 2005
FDA approval sought for new lung cancer drug
Cell Therapeutics Inc. is planning to approach for the US and European approval for marketing an experimental treatment for non-small cells lung cancer, which has reached its advanced stage.
A new drug application will be submitted by Cell Therapeutics to the food and drug administration for bringing up the drug, Xyotax (paclitaxel poliglumex) as first-line monotherapy for women with advanced non-small cell lung cancer who are in their advanced stage with a poor performance status.
The use of monotherapy in first line patients who are suffering from non-small cell lung cancer will also be sought by filing in Europe. However this is not expected to be limited to women alone.
Xyotax (paclitaxel poliglumex) is a novel polyglutamate polymer that uses a water soluble polyglutamate protein polymer to deliver the chemotherapy drug paclitaxel more selectively to tumors. The polymer technology results in a new chemical entity, designed to deliver higher and potentially more effective levels of paclitaxel to tumors.
Xylotax is designed to provide a potentially more effective treatment by delivering more paclitaxel to the tumor cells and reducing the toxicities associated with standard treatments.
Sep 3, 2005
The right chemotherapy radiation combination for non-small cell lung cancer
Over the last decade, researchers have established that same time radiation therapy and chemotherapy is the optimal treatment strategy for patients with locally advanced lung caner (lung cancer that is advanced at it's original place with no spread to other organs). However the right combination and timing for this combined treatment is not clear yet.
A new study conducted by researchers from Jefferson Medical College adds to growing evidence that giving same time chemotherapy and radiation at the beginning of treatment improves survival in patients with locally advancer lung cancer.
These results appear September 1, issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO)
In this multicenter, randomized phase 2 trial, researchers compared three different approaches. They divided more than 250 patients into three treatment arms. One group received chemotherapy before radiation. A second group had chemotherapy before and during radiation. Patients in the third arm received chemotherapy and radiation at the same time.
Dr. Curran and his colleagues found that the patients in the third arm did best, living several months more on average when compared against the standard treatment.
"That's in keeping with the observed results of other studies says Walter J. Curran Jr., M.D., professor and chair of radiation oncology at Jefferson Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and clinical director of Jefferson's Kimmel Cancer Center, who led the research. "Giving radiation and chemotherapy from day one appears to be the best approach for these patients," though side effects can at first appear to be worse.
Aug 31, 2005
Targretin may prolong survival in subgroup of patients with lung cancer
Targretin® is a member of a subclass of retinoids that selectively activates retinoid X receptors. This drug is FDA approved for the treatment of lymphoma that affects the skin.
New research indicates that Targretin may be may be an effective drug in the fight against non-small cell lung cancer. In the recent meeting of the American Society of Oncology (ASCO), R. Govindan of Washington University Medical Center in St. Louis presented data showing the effectiveness of Targretin in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer.
Results of the phase II trial of single-agent Targretin in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer, who had failed on previous chemotherapies, were treated with single agent targretin. This is the first study to evaluate the benefit of targretin as a single agent in the treatment of patients with non-small cell lung cancer.
At the time of presentation data from 146 were available and this showed a median survival of five months and overall one-year survival was 15 percent in previously treated patients with non-small cell lung cancer. The data was also analyzed to evaluate the survival of patients based on the triglyceride response to Targretin treatment. This was done because recently it was shown that high-grade triglycerided levels after treatment with targretin has been correlated with improved survival in patients with non-small cell lung cancer. With this sub analysis, two populations of patients were identified. Those with high triglyceridemia (grade 1 - 4) had a median survival of seven months and a projected one-year survival of 23%, compared with those with no hypertriglyceridemia who had a median survival of two months and a projected one-year survival of only 5%.
An inch forward in the treatment of lung cancer is good news, and this is especially true when the new advance may potentially improved survival in this sinister disease.
Aug 29, 2005
Do you really have to remove your lung to cure lung cancer?
We don't know yet, but that's the question that doctors at Indiana University School of Medicine are trying to answer. Dr. Ronald C. McGarry, professor of radiation oncology wants to change the conventional wisdom that surgery is the best choice for treatment of early-stage lung cancer. The current practice is to remove the whole lung or part of the lung in early stage lung cancer in an attempt to cure this disease if found early.
McGarry is conducting two clinical trials designed to determine whether super-high doses of precisely targeted radiation - both with and without chemotherapy - can eradicate early-stage lung tumors.
The two trials of nonsurgical lung cancer treatment are open to patients from Michiana, McGarry says. "I call this a lung-sparing approach to cancer treatment".
In these trials, patients will be given very high doses of radiation that are precisely targeted to the tumor. The doses are so high that the course is completed in just three treatments given over seven to 10 days.
Currently radiation oncologists use the same dose of radiation to treat lung cancer patients spread over a longer period of time. "The difference is that we give huge doses of radiation in a short time,'' he said. Despite large doses of radiation, side effects are expected to be low because of the precise targeting of radiation thus avoiding undue exposure of the radiation to normal tissues.
Both of these trials are for lung cancer patients who have other health problems, such as heart failure, that make them poor candidates for surgery.
In the second trial, sponsored by Eli Lilly and Co., patients receive high-dose radiation followed by two cycles of chemotherapy. The chemotherapy uses a new drug believed to be less toxic than established cancer drugs.
Aug 27, 2005
Quest For a Lung Cancer Vaccine
The other day I was with my friend when he was taking his kid for vaccination against measles. On my way back home I was thinking how nice it would be if we have a vaccine to prevent lung cancer. It is the dream of every cancer researcher to develop an effective cancer vaccine. Thanks to the relentless efforts of thousands of researchers all over the world, every day we are getting closer and closer to this cherished goal.
GVAX lung cancer vaccine is a patient-specific vaccine that is designed to induce a systemic immune response against the patient's lung cancer. The vaccine is created form the tumor cells of the patient. These tumor cells are then modified using a complex process of genetically modifying the patient's tumor cells to secrete GM-CSF, an immune stimulatory hormone. The cells are then given back to the patient in the form of vaccination against his or her lung cancer.
Cell Genesys presented initial data from initial Phase 1/2 trial of GVAX in patients with advanced non small-cell lung cancer at the International Conference on Gene Therapy of Cancer in December 2002. Of the 33 advanced stage patients, most of whom had failed prior chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy, three patients (9 percent) experienced complete disappearance of all tumors with a median duration of response of 17.8 months. The median survival of all 33 treated patients was 11.6 months (measured from the initiation of vaccine manufacturing), which compares favorably to the approved second-line taxane chemotherapy for such patients. Of these three patients, two were noted to have the BAC subtype of lung cancer. In addition to these complete responses, seven patients (21 percent) achieved stable (non progressive) disease with median response duration of 7.7 months.
Encouraged by these initial trials with GVAX, Cell Genesys is conducting two Phase 2 clinical trials evaluating GVAX. The first of these Phase 2 trials, called GVAX Lung D-0031 is now fully enrolled and is waiting analysis.
The second trial called GVAX Lung SO310 / D-0032 is currently enrolling patients. In this trial surgically resected solid tumor masses or malignant pleural effusions will be collected and processed to make the patient-specific vaccines. If vaccine manufacturing is successful, patients will receive the vaccine under their skin every two weeks for a total of up to 5 vaccine treatments.
If you are interested in enrolling to this trial you may contact the Southwest Oncology Group Protocol Coordinator, Connie Ballon-Almanza at 210-677-8808.
These results are very encouraging, I truly believe that one day many forms of cancer may be preventable or at least treatable by some form of vaccination.