Brain Tumour Survivor

A site dedicated to leading edge treatment for brain tumours
It is currently Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:13 am

All times are UTC + 10 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 70 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next
Author Message
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:46 am 
Offline
Registered User
User avatar

Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 4:03 pm
Posts: 18130
Location: Australia
Experimental Drug Fights Most Common Form Of Leukemia

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Dennis Hickey had a diagnoses that seemed to come out of nowhere.

He was told that he had Chronic lymphatic leukemia, and was told that without treatment, he would have six months to live.

Hickey chose treatment, with two debilitating years of chemotherapy, and had no real improvement, 10TV's Andrea Cambern reported.

Hickey found his way to Ohio State's James Cancer Hospital and Dr. John Byrd, a researcher who was having great success with an experimental treatment. The drug he was using causes lymph nodes and other components of the disease to shrink.

"The great majority of people who are taking it feel so much better because it relieves the disease symptoms associated with their CLL and lymphoma," Byrd said.

Byrd called the drug one of the most exciting that he has seen in more than 15 years researching blood cancers. Not only does it relieve symptoms, it reduces recurrence.

"What's amazing is most patients -- if they stay on the drug -- we've had very few relapses on this, and they feel great on the drug, unlike chemotherapy, so they don't want to go off because they don't have a lot of side effects with it," Byrd said.

The drug has given Hickey a new lease on life. He now takes three pills a day.

"No more sickness or illness with side effects," Hickey said. "I'm in real estate. I can do my job. I look forward to getting older. I'm excited about life and I want everybody to enjoy theirs as well."

That is also Byrd's goal, Cambern reported.

"One of the things that we're working with is to try to get access to this drug to as many people as we can with CLL and lymphoma, before it's approved because it really is an amazing drug," Byrd said.

Phase two clinical trials are under way. Much of Byrd's research is funded by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

http://www.10tv.com/live/content/health ... ml?sid=102


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 7:14 pm 
Offline
Registered User
User avatar

Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 4:03 pm
Posts: 18130
Location: Australia
NHRC orders probe into Andhra drug trial scandal

The National Human Rights Commission will probe the Andhra Pradesh drug trial scandal. Headlines Today had exposed how several unsuspecting women were used as guinea pigs for an illegal clinical trial for a breast cancer drug in Andhra Pradesh.

The women, all from Guntur district, fell ill. The NHRC has now taken note of the poor illiterate women being lured by money to come for drug trials. The commission has also asked its director general, investigation to depute a team to inquire into the matter and submit its report.

The state government has already ordered an inquiry into the clinical trials conducted by a Hyderabad-based pharmaceutical company.

How the racket works

Brokers are used to lure people with money for clinical trials. In the case of what has happened in Andhra Pradesh, it's a woman from Guntur who hired the guinea pigs. There are rules against all this, but companies blatantly flout it.

The trial has to be approved by the ethics committee. But there are no guidelines on who can set it up. This leads to manipulations. Also, testing of foreign drugs has become much easier after changes were made to the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules in 2005.

Earlier, trial was allowed only after an experimental drug had already been tested on a small group of people. This prevented Indians from being used as guinea pigs.

But with the change of rules, drugs can be tested on 1000-3000 people even if the drug hasn't been tested on a smaller group. What is clearly laid down in the rules is that marginalised people can't be the first to be tested.

Phases of testing

Human clinical trials are conducted in four phases.

In the first phase, an experimental drug is tested on a small group 0f 20-80 people. This stage is to evaluate how safe the medicine is and identify its side effects. Permission to carry out tests in phase 1 is given based on data of animal studies.

In phase 2, the drug is given to a larger group of 100-300 people. This is to see if it is effective and to further evaluate its safety.

The drug is administered to 1000-3000 people in the third phase. This is to confirm its effectiveness, side effects and compare the drug to other commonly used treatments.

Post marketing studies are carried out in the fourth phase to gather additional information. Permission for each phase is given on the basis of data of the previous stage.

Recent illegal trials

The guidelines are there, but they are blatantly violated. The Indian council of Medical Research says marginalised people can't be the first to be tested. But they are the most vulnerable. Take a look at these recent cases:

Unauthorised clinical trial of vaccine against cervical cancer were conducted by an NGO on 25,000 minor girls in Khamman, Andhra Pradesh and in Vadodara, Gujarat.

A government funded hospital in Bhopal was conducting clinical trials on unwitting patients. The MGM Medical College in Indore enrolled children for illegal drug tests for nearly ten years.

At a government-run Regional Cancer centre in Thiruvananthapuram, 25 patients of oral cancer were given an experimental drug.

Trial and error

India is an easy target for clinical trials. The business is already some Rs 1500 crore worth. Poor unsuspecting people are easy meat for those trying out tests of drugs, which are in the very preliminary stage of development.

More than 1,500 people have died in clinical experiments in the last 28 months. What's shocking is that pharmaceutical companies have accepted only 25 cases of these deaths as caused by trials.

Even more terrible is that compensation was given only in five cases and that was a measly Rs three lakh.

Trial details

The women from Piduguralla town of Andhra Pradesh's Guntur district have no idea what they were tested for. Even today, it's only a calculated guess that were part of trials for a drug against breast cancer.

The women were promised that they would be paid between Rs 3000 and 10,000 for agreeing to be a part of the trials. But Axis Laborataries did not take their informed consent. The women say they were not told which drug was being tested on them.

The victims say they were taken to the laboratory several times. There they were given "some unknown tablets and injections." The women consulted a local doctor after some of them developed complications.

The doctor told them, they could have been tested for breast cancer drugs.

Symptoms

The fact that a group of women in Andhra Pradesh's Guntur district were administered trial drugs came to light after nine women complained of severe body ache. Six women were hospitalised on Friday. Many women have developed complications after being administered the trail drugs.

Several women on whom the drugs were tested have complained of severe body ache, chest pain, pain in the joints, extreme weakness, swollen legs and palpitations. A few women also had difficulty walking.

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/site/story ... 42285.html


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 7:48 am 
Offline
Registered User
User avatar

Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 4:03 pm
Posts: 18130
Location: Australia
Cancer centre targets trials

INCREASING the number of cancer patients with access to clinical trials of cutting-edge treatments will be a major goal of Victoria's new Comprehensive Cancer Centre, its executive director says.

In his first interview since taking up the post last month, Jim Bishop said efforts by British authorities had boosted from 3 to 15 per cent the number of cancer patients on clinical trials there.

''We're better than the UK was when it started, but we will be wanting to increase that fairly substantially,'' he said.

Professor Bishop, formerly Australia's chief health officer, said he believed thousands of patients would currently be involved in cancer trials in Melbourne but one of his first priorities would be to ascertain exact numbers and set goals.

''If we are offering a trial to a patient we are offering a new, cutting-edge treatment that might benefit that patient,'' he said. ''But we are also offering to study that new innovation for future patients.''

Professor Bishop said he was excited about the ''huge opportunity to make a big impact on cancer in Australia'' offered by the $1 billion centre, now being built in Parkville.

The world-class centre will provide a new home for the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and a new Melbourne University cancer research and education centre.

It will be linked to the Royal Melbourne, Royal Women's and Royal Children's hospitals, and incorporate the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute.

While the building is not due for completion until 2015, Professor Bishop said his immediate task was to integrate the partner institutions working on cancer in Melbourne, in a bid to deliver innovation.

''A clinician might only think about new advances at a [research] meeting twice a year but what we want to do is make that a daily occurrence, so that everything new is known immediately,'' he said.

Professor Bishop said researchers who will be part of the centre were making promising findings, particularly by targeting cell mutations that lead to cancer proliferating.

http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/cance ... 1glsx.html


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2011 7:43 am 
Offline
Registered User
User avatar

Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 4:03 pm
Posts: 18130
Location: Australia
New trials aim to improve pancreatic cancer treatment

A diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is like a death sentence for most people, so receiving the right chemotherapy drugs is crucial to prolong and improve quality of life.

New research at the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton hopes to find a biomarker or sign in people's pancreatic tumours that would indicate to doctors what treatment would work best.

There are no such indicators identified yet and oncologists are forced to guess and give drug cocktails with nasty side-effects without knowing if the medications will work.

"As we are trying to search for this elusive cure for cancer, wouldn't it be nice to have a test that we could do up front for people to say, 'You should get this treatment,' or 'You should get this treatment,' and potentially not allow them to be exposed to a drug that won't work for them," said Dr. Jennifer Spratlin, who focuses on gastrointestinal cancers.

New funding is allowing her team to launch two clinical trials to determine if patients with pancreatic cancer, who have a specific protein in their tumours, do better if given one specific drug regimen that has been the traditional workhorse drug in the industry.

"It's very important. Everybody wants to have better treatment for pancreas cancer. Bottom line is that pancreas cancer is a bad cancer to get. If you get it, you're almost sentenced to, at some point, death, and relatively quickly. If we can extend people's lives, if we can live longer, if we can give them a treatment that doesn't make them more sick, I think that's really the key."

Ken Ritz, 58, was given only a few months to live after he was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer last fall. He had been having unexplainable back aches and stomach troubles since February 2010, but visits to the chiropractor, then blood tests and X-rays couldn't find anything unusual. He lost 65 pounds before he found out he had pancreatic cancer that had spread to his lungs and elsewhere.

He was given three options for treatment, one of which included the drug Gemcitabine, which is commonly given to people with pancreas cancer. The problem is, researchers at Cross Cancer have determined the drug can't get into the cancer cells to fight them unless the patient has a specific protein that transports the drug into the cell.

If patients do have that protein, Gemcitabine is believed to work well and is more gentle to the system than another chemotherapy drug, which can cause nausea, nerve damage in the fingers and toes and the sensation that the patient's throat is closing.

Spratlin is testing patients such as Ritz -all of whom have cancer that has spread widely -to see if they have the proper proteins to help absorb Gemcitabine better. If the Gemcitabine treatment in turn works better on them, cancer doctors would be able to give the most suitable drug to help the patients. If the protein isn't present, another drug combination called Folfox might be the better option.

"We're always aiming to personalize medicine and this is a chance, from our own backyard homework here at the Cross Cancer Institute and University of Alberta," said Spratlin, whose study is supported with $300,000 from the Alberta Cancer Foundation and Alberta Innovates Health Solutions. "We have developed this from the beginning."

Spratlin will be searching for 150 patients such as Ritz across Canada. So far, Ritz's tumours have shrunk slightly. He also made it past Christmas, his first time goal.

"I'm already in rarefied air, I'm in my 10th month," Ritz said. The life expectancy for people whose pancreatic cancer has spread through the body is less than six months. The prognosis is particularly bad because pancreatic cancer comes with few symptoms. By the time tumours are discovered the disease has progressed significantly. Those whose cancer has spread locally within the pancreas have a life expectancy of nine months to one year.

For these patients, surgery isn't an option.

"It was a kick at first. It's certainly something you have to face head on," Ritz said. The extra time he's been given has allowed his life to return to some normality, with Ritz back at his job as an engineer for a few half-days each week.

"Of the three (treatment) options, there was some uncertainty about it, but I guess that was part of the appeal. That if it worked, it probably would work better. . That's good for me because it lets me get my feet under myself and deal with it on a daily basis with some predictability."

Spratlin is also conducting a smaller clinical trial on the 20 per cent of pancreatic cancer patients whose cancer hasn't spread, allowing surgeons to remove their tumours. This group of patients can potentially be cured, even though only five per cent of them are still alive after five years. Spratlin said their life expectancy is around 23 months.

She will be searching for 20 such patients, most of whom will be from the Edmonton area. If they test positive for the protein, they too will receive Gemcitabine in the hopes their cure rate improves.

Better treatments and drugs are needed for this deadly cancer, Spratlin said.

"It's not as well-known (as cancers such as breast or prostate). It's not as well studied, probably because it's not as common. But it is the fourth leading cause of cancer death worldwide, so it's really important we develop better drugs."

Only lung, breast and colorectal cancer kill more people. Each year, about 4,000 Canadians are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, 400 of them in Alberta.

"It's almost a death sentence and we really should be doing better," Spratlin said.

http://www.montrealgazette.com/health/t ... story.html


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 7:18 am 
Offline
Registered User
User avatar

Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 4:03 pm
Posts: 18130
Location: Australia
Kids' medical records abandoned in office

Thousands of children's medical files from a controversial treatment program for hyperactivity and dyslexia were left strewn throughout an abandoned clinic in Melbourne.

The files including the names, dates of birth, home addresses and medical details were left inside the Dore clinic at Hawthorn when the British parent company went into voluntary administration in 2008, The Australian reports.

Since then, squatters and vandals have trashed the building, allowing anyone to walk in and access the files.

Advertisement: Story continues below Victorian Health Services commissioner Beth Wilson said she was "horrified" to learn sensitive documents had been unsecured for three years.

Victoria Police have been notified of the abandoned files.

The Dore company went into liquidation in 2008 after owing $13 million to creditors.

It closed 13 clinics in Australia as part of a global shutdown.

http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-na ... 1itei.html


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 7:35 am 
Offline
Registered User
User avatar

Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 4:03 pm
Posts: 18130
Location: Australia
McGorry aborts teen drug trial

THE FORMER Australian of the year Patrick McGorry has aborted a controversial trial of anti-psychotic drugs on children as young as 15 who are ''at risk'' of psychosis, amid complaints the study was unethical.

The Sun-Herald can reveal 13 international health experts lodged a formal complaint calling for the trial not to go ahead.

They were concerned children who had not yet been diagnosed with a psychotic illness would be unnecessarily given drugs with potentially dangerous side effects.

Quetiapine, sold as Seroquel, has been linked to weight gain and its manufacturer AstraZeneca, which was to fund the trial, last month paid US$647 million ($622 million) to settle a lawsuit in the US, alleging there was insufficient warning the drug may cause diabetes.

Professor McGorry, one of the Prime Minister's key mental health advisers, planned the trial at Orygen Youth Health in Melbourne, listing it on the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry last March.

It was to investigate whether the drug would decrease or delay the risk of people aged between 15 and 40 with early signs of mental illness, developing a psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia.

Last month, psychiatrists, psychologists and researchers from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Britain and the US lodged a complaint with the ethics committee of Melbourne Health, the umbrella service which includes Orygen. They argued there was little evidence the onset of psychosis can be prevented and it was potentially dangerous to use anti-psychotics on those who merely had risk factors such as a family history or deterioration in mental health, with evidence showing up to 80 per cent will never develop a disorder.

Professor McGorry insists the decision to scrap the trial was made in June and is unrelated to the complaint, which he said he was only alerted to just over a week ago.

He said Orygen had to choose between the drug trial or pursuing another trial using fish oil - which had proven useful as an early intervention treatment for schizophrenia in a smaller study. It opted for fish oil because it had less potential for side effects.

Melbourne Health's research ethics committee will still consider the complaint in September.

The Sun-Herald recently revealed a growing backlash against the government's mental health reforms, with Professor McGorry's peers claiming his youth early intervention model had been ''massively oversold''.

Associate Professor Geoff Stuart from La Trobe University's school of psychological sciences, who signed the complaint, said serious questions about the aborted trial remain.

''He [Professor McGorry] was willing to endorse a trial which was exploring the use of anti-psychotic medication in an at-risk group,'' he said. ''There's a major ethical issue about medicating four people to supposedly save the fifth when you're not saving them anyway, you're just masking their symptoms.

''We're talking about kids as young as 15 who could get a full dose of anti-psychotics and they're not psychotic.''

Anti-psychotics are vital but should not be used without clear evidence of the benefits, experts say.

Professor McGorry admitted the evidence suggested anti-psychotics were not effective as a first-line treatment for the at-risk group. But he said the risks had been exaggerated and he would consider a similar trial on patients for whom other treatments had failed.

http://www.smh.com.au/national/health/m ... 1j3k1.html


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 7:13 am 
Offline
Registered User
User avatar

Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 4:03 pm
Posts: 18130
Location: Australia
Human guinea pigs lend their courage to a golden era of cancer research

David Cox is a human guinea pig. He is also a man with a cancer for whom there are no more conventional options and who reasonably believes that, at 56, it is too early to call it a day. So Cox is only too happy to be one of the first people to try out a new drug, fresh from the laboratory. It could come with a load of unpleasant and unexpected side-effects. But it just might save his life.

Cox was diagnosed with mesothelioma three years ago – the result of working as an engineer in a boiler room full of asbestos, he believes. It's a cancer that doesn't usually have a good outcome. Like many people with advanced cancers, he has been on one trial after another. The last was a phase 2 – the trial of a drug that has been shown to be safe and have some effect in some people already. It seemed to work for six months, he said, and then it stopped.

"I went for the results of some scans on the Tuesday," he said. "They told me the results and the options I had. Within three days they'd got me on this trial." This is a phase 1 trial – a drug that has never been tested in humans before.

Cox didn't think twice about it. "I had nothing to lose," he said. When he was warned about possible side-effects, he remarked that the side-effects of not trying another drug were death. "You can't get much worse than that," he told his doctor.

Both his trials were run by the Royal Marsden, the world-renowned cancer hospital. The first was at its Chelsea site in west London. The latest is taking place at the other site in Sutton, south London, where the Marsden's cancer doctors work in close collaboration with scientists at the cutting edge of drug discovery and genomics in the adjoining building belonging to the Institute of Cancer Research.

When Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK talks of a "golden era" of cancer research, these are some of the scientists and clinicians who are making it happen.

The Marsden uniquely has a drug development unit integrated into the hospital, allowing patients who have run out of options on conventional drugs to join trials where they can get the latest experimental medicines. Where those drugs were once aimed at a single cancer – breast or prostate or lung – these days they are targeted at particular mutations in the cancer. The old drugs worked in only up to a third of patients because each cancer is different. The new drugs aim to have a higher success rate – in a much smaller group of patients tested for the particular mutation.

Sarah Stapleton who runs the unit, said: "The patients have exhausted standard therapies and they are offered the option of a voluntary trial of targeted therapy."

For the volunteers with advanced cancers, these experimental drugs are their last chance, but Stapleton and the doctors have to be careful what they say to them. "We have to be very honest about what we're offering to our patients here. There are lots of ethical considerations for a patient entering a trial. These drugs are at a very early stage. They might not help and there is a fairly low chance of helping and they could cause them more problems in terms of side-effects than they are experiencing at the moment.

"The key is explaining it is not a miracle drug. Sometimes that is what people can expect, but it is not what we have got."

A trial will last two or three years. Patients have to stay in hospital usually for the first month – though they go home at weekends. "It is a huge time commitment because they have to come every week. We are going to take some time that they may not get back," said Stapleton. But many are philosophical and altruistic. They join the trial in the hope that it may help others, even if not themselves.

The exciting times are when they see particularly good and sometimes even dramatic results. It happened with a drug to prevent cancer returning in women with the BRCA genes that predispose them to breast and ovarian cancer. "We saw very good response rates from that," said Stapleton.

If Kumar from Cancer Research is right, the unit could be seeing more and more good outcomes. The Marsden is involved in the tumour testing trial that is about to start – supplying patients and also one of the three labs that will design and interpret panels of genetic tests. Somehow, they have to do it within a tight budget – the plan is to find a relatively cheap and feasible way to offer these molecular diagnostic tests across the whole of the NHS.

Dr David Gonzalez de Castro, head of the Marsden's molecular diagnostics laboratory, said the first two years, involving 9,000 tumour samples from patients in seven hospitals, was a bid to find out whether it was possible. "The question is can the NHS provide molecular diagnosis for all cancer types routinely and can this be linked not only to patient outcome but also research?" he said.

Each genetic test for lung, colorectal or breast cancer costs around £150 to £200. Cancer Research's plan is to carry out a panel of five or six tests for each cancer type for maybe £300. Gonzalez de Castro shakes his head in a sort of wonder. "It's a challenge," he says with a laugh. If all goes well, after two years the tests will begin to be offered in a further 10 to 20 centres. Then before long, the testing will be available throughout the NHS. The government is behind the scheme – it committed to developing and funding a national testing structure in the last cancer plan in January.

The testing is essential even now to find out whether, for instance, a woman with breast cancer is HER2 positive and needs Herceptin or a man with bowel cancer has a K-RAS gene mutation and should be given another cancer drug called cetuximab. Yet, according to a recent study by the Royal College of Pathologists, not everybody who needs a test is getting one.

But the new trial has a second and equally important and exciting purpose beyond securing equal access to tumour testing. All the patients who join will be asked if their results can be stored, along with details of their treatment and the outcomes. Cancer Research will be working with the cancer registries who already collect anonymised data on patients, said James Peach, its director of stratified medicine who is in charge of the project.

It is exciting, says Peach, because researchers will be able to find out what works, not just in terms of drugs but also surgery and radiotherapy, for people with cancers caused by specific genetic mutations. It opens the way to much better, more accurate treatment. "We will find out which drugs we should not be using and discover combinations we did not know about," he said. There will also be significant benefits in surgery and radiotherapy, because scientists may discover which sorts of tumours are likely to be more aggressive than others.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/ ... r-research


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2012 7:28 am 
Offline
Registered User
User avatar

Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 4:03 pm
Posts: 18130
Location: Australia
University cancer research looking for success in clinical trials

Since University researchers narrowed the scope of cancer treatment, they have wanted to move forward.

After success in a mouse model, the research has taken a more focused direction on whether the same results can be executed in humans. And Geert-Jan Boons of the Boons Group at the University’s Complex Carbohydrate Research Center said the outcome is looking positive.

“The next step we’re taking in collaboration with Mayo Clinic is trying to predict whether this molecule will work in humans,” Boons said. “Our preliminary data suggests that the human cells can actually do this. With that data in hand, we are ready to move into clinical trial.”

Boons’ new treatment could be available to patients with certain types of cancer — including breast, pancreatic, prostate and lung cancer — in a year and a half.

But if the possibility of removing the negative implications from the lives of victims and their families is to manifest itself, Boons’ work is not done.

Traditional treatments are based on a “shotgun” approach, in which compounds are sent through the body with the hope that they will be toxic to cancer cells but not to healthy cells.

The new researched treatment, co-authored by Sandra Gendler of the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, employs the immune system to introduce the molecules to cancer cells only.

“Our approach is based on teaching the immune system to selectively target cancer cells,” Boons said.

But the approach has its challenges.

“The difficulty is identifying proper targets only found on cancer cells and bringing the molecules in,” Boons said. “Even if the molecules in cancer are bad, they’re still cells, and the immune system doesn’t go after cells.”

And thus began the search for a molecule specific only to cancer cells.

When Boons found that molecule, the results were more than promising.

“After a lot of trial and error we found a formulation that was very, very potent and was able to reduce tumor mass in a mouse-model of breast cancer by as much as 80 to 90 percent,” Boons said.

Despite the high success rate in the mouse, Boons pointed out there is still a possibility it will take longer to see the success in humans.

“The most important point that I always want to stress is that we’ve cured a mouse,” Boons said. “And that’s very exciting. But, still, it’s a mouse. It is a significant step to translate results from a mouse to a human. We are very excited, but we are also realistic.”

The translation of the results into humans with cancer will not solely rely upon the vaccine the team created. Existing strategies for battling cancer, Boons said, will also play a key role in ridding the body of it.

“We envision a combination strategy,” Boons said. “What we think the future of the vaccine is going to be is that patients will still have radiation, surgery, possibly chemotherapy to really remove most of the cancer. And then the vaccine is able to remove all remaining cancer cells.”

And human success would not only be an achievement for Boons and the rest of the team — it would be a win for all those who have been touched by cancer.

Tobi Collins, a University alumna, felt the effects cancer can have on a loved one.

Her friend’s mother, who she said was much like a mother to her as well, went through a bout with breast cancer and, after going into remission, has recently been diagnosed with leukemia.

She said the discovery of this vaccine is an exciting development in the medical world because cancer is a destructive force.

“When someone goes through cancer, it’s not just sickness,” she said. “It’s psychological and the family also has to deal with it. It can be very devastating.”

Before this technology can be used on the market, the vaccine must go under clinical trial. The first trial will last a year after approval from the Food and Drug Administration and a manufacturer agrees to produce the vaccine.

“To prepare for a trial is a lot of work,” Boons said. “If you show safety and produce immunogenicity in a small number of patients, then you move to more advanced clinical trials with a greater number of patients.”

http://redandblack.com/2012/01/27/unive ... al-trials/


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:16 am 
Offline
Registered User
User avatar

Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 4:03 pm
Posts: 18130
Location: Australia
Fight to help cancer patients in the bush

The Rural Doctors Association says it is time the Federal Government did more to help cancer sufferers in remote areas.

Of the tens of thousands of Australians diagnosed with cancer every year, one-third live in remote and rural areas.

But cancer sufferers in remote areas are 35 per cent more likely to die within five years as compared to patients in major cities.

As well as a higher mortality rate, rural residents have higher rates of bowel and prostate cancer.

Lesley Reilly, who lives outside Alice Springs, was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer 12 years ago when a mobile breast screen clinic visited town.

"It was a shock because I had no sense of being unwell. I had no symptoms. It's a big thing to get your head around," she said.

She decided to have a double mastectomy, which meant travelling 1,500 kilometres to get specialist care and radiotherapy.

"That's pretty hard, and I think it's hard on your family too," she said.

"I went down on my own. My husband and youngest daughter came down for a week.

"But for many other people, and particularly for Aboriginal people, you're in very much a foreign environment and away from your community and cultural norms."

Ms Reilly says more help is desperately needed for sufferers in rural and remote areas.

"I feel like we have to fight for everything," she said.

"There are programs going that they have elevated some of the services, but out there on the ground I think a lot more could really be done."

The Rural Doctors Association has made a pre-budget submission to the Federal Government.

"I mean you can't just ignore those situations and the input they're having into the economy for all Australians," the association's president Paul Mara said.

"I mean we're providing food for the nation, we're providing the major economics for the nation in terms of the mining industry."

Dr Mara says they are calling for more doctors and medical facilities in rural and remote areas.

"We're looking for a national advanced training program that rolls out advanced skills for doctors so it gives them the skills, the qualifications and competence to practise in the bush," he said.

"We're seeking those doctors that have those skills and competence to actually have incentives and the requisite remuneration structures that they can actually be paid for going out and providing those services."

Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek was not available for an interview.

But in a written statement she acknowledged "rural cancer patients often have poorer outcomes".

The Government says the 24 regional cancer centres announced last year will go some way to addressing that situation.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-02-08/h ... =melbourne


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:41 am 
Offline
Registered User
User avatar

Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 4:03 pm
Posts: 18130
Location: Australia
Cancer trial participants may have misconceptions

People enrolled in early stage trials for possible cancer treatments may underestimate the risks involved and overestimate the potential benefits, suggests a new study.

The early trials, known as "Phase 1," are often the first time a new drug is given to humans and the goal of the studies is to test for side effects and acceptable dosage levels. Participation rarely benefits the person's health.

One of the new report's authors says it's well known that people taking part in early trials confuse the research for medical care, but it goes beyond that.

"What we found was that the picture of understanding is much more complicated than once thought," said Rebecca Pentz, a research ethics professor at Emory University's School of Medicine in Atlanta who led the study.

Pentz told Reuters Health in an email that when participants describe the risks and benefits of participating in the trial, they may use their descriptions to stay hopeful. She added that they also may not understand that participating in research comes with its own risks, including extra biopsies.

For their study, the researchers interviewed and surveyed 95 patients in a Phase 1 cancer trial.

To find out if they were confusing the research for medical care, the researchers asked whether the trial was meant to help research or them as a person, and whether the study or their own physician decides what the treatments will be.

Only 31 people correctly said that the aim of the study was to benefit research and that the study decided the treatment.

Some believe the misconception may stem from early trial participants -- who may have tried medications that failed, or have a rare illness for which the study drug is targeted -- having few treatment options, but the researchers did not find this to be the case.

As to whether participants overestimated the trial's benefits or underestimated its risks, the researchers found that 59 people said they had a 70 percent or better chance of having some sort of personal benefit. That same number of people estimated their risk to be 30 percent or less.

The researchers said 89 people misestimated the risks and benefits.

A popular theory is that a person's optimism may cloud their judgment when evaluating what risks are involved.

While 89 people ranked their optimism level as "high," and the authors say that may support the claim, Pentz says she was surprised to find 29 people estimated their personal benefit to be lower or their personal risk to be higher than the rest of the group. They were pessimists.

"We know that many research trial participants are optimistic that they will do better than most people on trial. But we found a significant minority who expected to do worse but still participated in the trial. We don't have an explanation for this," Pentz told Reuters Health.

Overall, the authors write in the journal Cancer, their results show participants still confuse the research for treatment and don't understand how the two differ, despite advancements made in the last decade.

Mary Faith Marshall, a professor of bioethics at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, said despite the study's limitations -- which include being from a single center and surveying a predominately white and affluent group -- the results are consistent with past research.

"We've known for a long time that this problem exists and that there are ways to improve the informed consent process that would get at some of these problems," said Marshall, who was not involved with the new study.

Marshall said researchers can make sure participants know the trial's intent and risks by quizzing them and avoiding language that would suggest that there are benefits.

For example, Marshall said sometimes the forms people fill out before a trial use the word "patient," instead of something like "research participant."

"When you see the word patient you're going to think 'therapeutic.' Why wouldn't you?" Marshall told Reuters Health.

Christine Grady, acting chief of the Department of Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center said federally funded research and research that will eventually be vetted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration must meet certain requirements regarding consent.

"The regulations are not specific to Phase 1 studies. They're generic," Grady told Reuters Health.

She added that regulations include such things as the fact that the trial is voluntary, what the expectations are, the risks and benefits and who to contact for more information.

In fact, the National Cancer Institute, which provided funding for Pentz's study, has a consent form template available on the agency's website.

But Marshall said it's understandable that people can be confused, especially if they're suffering from cancer or in other stressful situations.

"If you have a diagnosis of cancer it's a hugely stressful time. Even when investigators and their staff do the best job, we forget things," said Marshall.

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/02/1 ... z1m0uOJ2LN


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:19 am 
Offline
Registered User
User avatar

Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 4:03 pm
Posts: 18130
Location: Australia
Cancer 'will never be eliminated'

There will never be a single cure for cancer and although its incidence will gradually diminish over the next 50 years, it will never be entirely eliminated, according to Britain's top scientist.

Sir Paul Nurse, president of the Royal Society, said that scientific advances have helped to understand the fundamental mechanisms that turn a cell cancerous but because cancer is so many different diseases, a universal cure is not possible.

"There's never going to be a cure for cancer because cancer is a generic term to describe a set of widely differing diseases, with widely differing causes, that happen where cells divide out of control. And most of the time, cancer is a disease of old age," Sir Paul said in the Radio Times.

"We have repair systems working to repair all cell damage but over time, those damaged cells will 'escape'," he said. "Now this knowledge is fantastic ... It means we're in a position where we could create drugs that will be more specific for a particular cancer. My view is that over decades – it could be 50 years – the incidence of cancers will gradually come down. It's never going to be zero."

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/scien ... 37421.html


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 8:28 am 
Offline
Registered User
User avatar

Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 4:03 pm
Posts: 18130
Location: Australia
‘Hybrid’ aspirin curbs cancer cell growth, shrinks tumors without harm to healthy cells

“If what we have seen in animals can be translated to humans, it could be used in conjunction with other drugs to shrink tumors before chemotherapy or surgery.” – Dr. Khosrow Kashfi, City College of New York

The humble aspirin may soon have a new role, say researchers at CCNY. They’ve developed a new compound using classic aspirin as a 'scaffold' that has great promise to be a very potent cancer-fighter - but also safer than the aspirin we know. They recently published findings from two trials - one treating cancer cell cultures and one treating animals with tumors.

The new designer aspirin curbed the growth of 11 different types of human cancer cells in culture…
…(including leukemia and colon, pancreatic, lung, prostate and breast cancer cells) without harming normal cells, according to a report published by ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters.

“The key components of this new compound are that it is very, very potent and yet it has minimal toxicity to the cells,” says principal investigator Khosrow Kashfi, PhD, a pharmaceutical biochemist at CCNY.

The aspirin compound also shrank human colon cancer tumors by 85% in live animals…
…again without adverse effects, according to the second paper in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications [see before & after photos of mice treated for human colon cancer tumors here]. This paper was published by the CCNY team with colleague Kenneth Olson, PhD, of Indiana University School of Medicine, South Bend.

“If what we have seen in animals can be translated to humans, it could be used in conjunction with other drugs to shrink tumors before chemotherapy or surgery,” says Dr. Kashfi

About NOSH: Two Molecules Increase Aspirin Safety, Potency

Long the go-to drug for minor aches and pains, aspirin and other so-called NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen, are known primarily for their ability to calm inflammation. Studies in the 1980’s resolved a decades-old debate on the utility of a daily dose of aspirin to cut the risk of heart attack and stroke.

More recent studies tracking regular use of the drug and other NSAIDs demonstrated their remarkable ability to inhibit the growth of cancer. “There’s a lot of data on aspirin showing that when taken on a regular basis, on average it reduces the risk of development of colon cancer by about 50% compared to nonusers,” notes Dr. Kashfi.

The fly in the ointment has been that prolonged use of aspirin posed its own dangers: side effects ranging from bleeding ulcers to kidney failure.

To resolve this, the researchers created a hybrid of two earlier formulations, which they have called “NOSH-aspirin.” They used the aspirin as a scaffold to support two molecules that have been shown to increase the drug’s safety and potency.

• One arm of the hybrid aspirin releases nitric oxide (NO), which helps protect the stomach lining.

• The other releases hydrogen sulfide (H2S), which the researchers have previously shown enhances aspirin’s cancer-fighting ability.

The researchers suspected that the hybrid would be more effective than either of the two components alone to boost aspirin’s safety and power against cancer. “The hybrid is more potent - and it is more potent by orders of magnitude - compared to aspirin,” Dr. Kashfi says. Only 24 hours after treating a culture of cancer cells, the NOSH-aspirin demonstrated 100,000 times greater potency than aspirin alone.

“At 72 hours it is about 250,000 times more potent in an in-vitro cell culture against human colon cancer,” Dr. Kashfi adds. “So you need a lower amount to get the same result.”

The effect of the hybrid was also far greater than the sum of its parts. Its potency was as much as 15,000 times greater than existing NO-aspirins and 80-fold more than those that incorporate H2S. The upshot is that a drug based on this hybrid would require lower doses to be effective, minimizing or potentially eliminating its side effects.

In the second study, when mice bearing human colon cancer tumors on their flanks were given oral NOSH-aspirin, the compound:

• Caused cancer cells to self-destruct,

• Inhibited the proliferation of the cells and significantly reduced tumor growth,

• Without any signs of toxicity in the mice.

The stage is set for the development of a drug based on NOSH-aspirin, Dr. Kashfi notes.

But any routine working therapy for humans is years away, the next steps being toxicity testing, and then human clinical trials.

Dr. Ravinder Kodela and Dr. Mitali Chattopadhyay are members of Professor Kashfi’s lab at CCNY's Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education and co-authors on both papers. These studies were funded by The National Cancer Institute through a subcontract from ThermoFisher, and also by the National Science Foundation.

http://www.prohealth.com/library/showar ... ibid=16867


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 6:28 am 
Offline
Registered User
User avatar

Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 4:03 pm
Posts: 18130
Location: Australia
Doctors praise endless courage and fighting spirit

AN AGGRESSIVE approach to treatment and willingness to try everything helped Jim Stynes live longer than most with advanced melanoma, his doctors say.

When Jim Stynes showed his long-time friend and plastic surgeon Graeme Southwick a lump in his back in 2009, the specialist wanted it out immediately. As Mr Southwick suspected, it was cancer, but unfortunately, it had spread.

''Most people would have given up at that stage because he had secondary spread into his lung and other areas but we decided we would be very aggressive with his management,'' Mr Southwick said yesterday.

Despite having the five-by-five-centimetre tumour successfully removed from his lung, the prognosis was terrible. On average, people diagnosed with a melanoma that has spread live for nine months.

But Stynes refused to accept the cruel prediction and signed up for everything and anything that might help.

Since his diagnosis in June 2009, he has endured months of chemotherapy, tried two experimental drugs, had 23 operations, and subjected himself to a range of alternative approaches, including smoke ceremonies in Indonesia, coffee enemas and drinking his own urine.

While some of his doctors worried about his use of these unproven tactics and were honest about their views, Mr Southwick said together with the best medical treatment, it may have helped Stynes live for as long as he did.

''The concept was to improve his drive and will and if that helped him do that, then it was terrific and I think it did,'' he said yesterday.

Stynes' oncologist at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Professor Grant McArthur, said Stynes' remarkable attitude undoubtedly made a difference as he embraced two clinical trials of experimental drugs in an effort to help others, as well as himself.

''He had a lot of treatment over three years, so his attitude coupled with the fact that we're starting to make some advances in the battle against advanced melanoma is why he did as well as he did,'' said the leading melanoma expert. Professor McArthur, Mr Southwick and Stynes' neurosurgeon Professor Jeffrey Rosenfeld all praised his courage yesterday and said he had helped others work through serious illness.

''He was a shining exemplar to those with cancer showing them that you need not ever give up the struggle and should live life to the fullest through difficult times,'' said Professor Rosenfeld from The Alfred hospital.

Mr Southwick said unlike others who find themselves in a similar position, Stynes continued to live a very full life until the end, making his doctors nervous at times, particularly when he travelled to South America with his family after brain surgery in January.

''We were concerned because he could have had a major bleed from the brain and he was in an area where it may have been very difficult to get treatment to him, but he wanted to be with his family and do that which was great, and it turned out to be a wonderful thing for him,'' he said.

In a statement sent to The Age, Dr Peter Sherwen, a palliative care doctor at Epworth and Caritas Christi, said he felt privileged to care for Stynes over the last eight months before he died peacefully at home with the help of palliative care nurses and his extended family.

http://www.theage.com.au/afl/afl-news/d ... z1pgtEPSw2


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 6:02 am 
Offline
Registered User
User avatar

Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 4:03 pm
Posts: 18130
Location: Australia
Brain device gives Hawking hope of communicating

LA JOLLA, California: Already surrounded by machines that allow him, painstakingly, to communicate, the physicist Stephen Hawking last year donned what looked like a rakish black headband that held a feather-light device the size of a small matchbox.

Called the iBrain, this simple-looking contraption is part of an experiment that aims to allow Professor Hawking - long paralysed by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease - to communicate by merely thinking.

The iBrain is part of a new generation of portable neural devices and algorithms intended to monitor and diagnose conditions such as sleep apnoea, depression and autism. Invented by a team led by Philip Low, a 32-year-old neuroscientist, the iBrain is gaining attention as a possible alternative to expensive sleep labs that use rubber and plastic caps riddled with dozens of electrodes and usually require a patient to stay overnight.

''The iBrain can collect data in real time in a person's own bed, or when they're watching TV, or doing just about anything,'' Dr Low, chief executive of the San Diego company NeuroVigil, said.

The device uses a single channel to pick up waves of electrical brain signals, which change with different activities and thoughts, or with the pathologies that accompany brain disorders.

But the raw waves are hard to read because they must pass through the many folds of the brain and then the skull, so they are interpreted with an algorithm that Dr Low first developed for his PhD, earned in 2007 at the University of California, San Diego. The original research, published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was done on zebra finches.

Of the Hawking experiment, he said: ''The idea is to see if Stephen can use his mind to create a consistent and repeatable pattern that a computer can translate into, say, a word or letter or a command.''

The researchers travelled to Professor Hawking's offices in Cambridge, England, fitted him with the iBrain and asked him ''to imagine that he was scrunching his right hand into a ball''. ''Of course, he can't actually move his hand, but the motor cortex in his brain can still issue the command and generate electrical waves in his brain,'' Dr Low said.

The algorithm, called SPEARS, was able to discern Professor Hawking's thoughts as signals, which were represented as a series of spikes on a grid.

''We wanted to see if there was any change in the signal,'' Dr Low said. ''And in fact, we did see a change in the signal.''

NeuroVigil plans to repeat the study in large populations of patients with ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases.

These preliminary results come as Professor Hawking's ability to communicate diminishes as his disease progresses. The 70-year-old physicist now needs several minutes to generate a simple message. He uses a pair of infrared glasses that picks up twitches in his cheek.

''Dr Low and his company have done some outstanding work in this field,'' Professor Hawking said in a statement. ''I am participating in this project in the hope that I can offer insights and practical advice to NeuroVigil. I wish … most importantly, to offer some future hope to people diagnosed with ALS and other neurodegenerative conditions.''

Scientists not connected with Dr Low say they are excited by the iBrain's potential.

''Philip Low's device is one of the best single-channel brain monitors out there,'' said Ruth O'Hara, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at Stanford University Medical School. She plans to use the iBrain for autism studies.

NeuroVigil has not said what the device will cost.

''I can't speak to the veracity of his latest data [which has not been published],'' Dr O'Hara said. ''But the preliminary data I have seen is compelling. It could be a significant contribution to the field as a window into brain architecture.''

Dr Low plans to team again with Professor Hawking to present their initial data at a neuroscience meeting in July. NeuroVigil will continue to work with the Hawking team to refine their technology to decipher signals generated by Professor Hawking's thoughts.

''At the moment I think my cheek switch is faster [than the brain-computer interface],'' Professor Hawking said in an email sent by an assistant, ''but should the position change I will try Philip Low's system.''

Much work remains, however, including the integration of Professor Hawking's brain waves with the devices that allow him to communicate. ''Wouldn't it be wonderful to have a mind like Stephen Hawking's be able to communicate even a little bit better?'' Dr Low said.

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/technol ... z1rCLUlUzG


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 5:48 am 
Offline
Registered User
User avatar

Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 4:03 pm
Posts: 18130
Location: Australia
Too many patients left off transplant lists

NEW research confirms the longstanding concern that the number of people on Australian organ donation waiting lists is far lower than the number of people who need a life-saving kidney transplant.

The research, published yesterday in the Internal Medicine Journal of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, also reveals the percentage of dialysis patients listed fell from 33 per cent in 2005 to 22 per cent in 2009.

Yet over the same period the donor rates remained stable or increased slightly, and the rate of new patients going on dialysis for kidney failure also remained stable - about 110 per million population a year.

Of 10,425 people on dialysis as of December 31, 2009, only 1105, or 10.7 per cent, were on a transplant waiting list, according to the research team headed by nephrologist Bruce Pussell, who is with the University of NSW and Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney.

"We must question why so few patients are waitlisted for transplantation," says Pussell, who calls for a comprehensive review of the eligibility criteria for waitlisting patients.

He argues the guidelines in the Consensus Statement on Eligibility Criteria and Allocation Protocols released last July are non-specific and rely too heavily on the transplant physician's judgment.

Yesterday, the Transplantation Society of Australia and New Zealand's president Peter Macdonald told Weekend Health there is a plan to review the protocols, produced by TSANZ. "We are in discussions with the Organ and Tissue Authority," he said.

"The process will start within the next 12 months."

A spokesman for the Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing, Catherine King, confirmed the guidelines will be reviewed, saying: "There are a range of issues that require further discussions as part of the process".

Pussell reviewed annual data released by the Australian and New Zealand Transplant Registry along with colleagues Aric Bendorf, a doctoral student at the University of Sydney's Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine, and Ian Kerridge, CVELM director and a haematologist with Sydney's Royal North Shore Hospital.

"The report reveals a series of disturbing features of transplantation practice in Australia," they write.

Among them is the comparatively low percentage of waitlisted dialysis patients aged less than 65 years. In Britain, 48 per cent of such patients are listed for transplantation. In France, 49 per cent are on lists, as are 33 per cent of patients in the US. In Australia the figure is 18 per cent.

Their analysis reveals large disparities between dialysis patients put on waiting lists, depending on where they live. The percentage of waitlisted Northern Territory dialysis patients, for example, is 1 per cent, compared with 38 per cent in the ACT.

"It's astonishing," says Bendorf. "Certainly something is causing this disparity, but we don't know why.

"Whatever it is it must be justified and inappropriate discrimination removed."

https://sslcam.news.com.au/cam/authoris ... 6325208258


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 70 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next

All times are UTC + 10 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group
[ Time : 0.134s | 15 Queries | GZIP : Off ]