Vox Populi*: A Daughter’s Thoughts On the 5th Anniversary of Her Mother’s Death From Ovarian Cancer
“European researchers report [at the 2009 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting being held in Orlando, Florida from May 29 through June 2nd] that starting treatment early for an ovarian cancer relapse based on CA125 blood levels alone does not improve overall survival, compared with delaying treatment until symptoms arise.”
Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s charitable initiative supporting groundbreaking research aimed at getting new cancer treatments to patients in an accelerated timeframe, has reached a significant milestone, awarding the first round of three-year grants — that total $73.6 million — to five multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional research Dream Teams. … Each Dream Team’s project, funded for three years pending satisfactory achievement of stated milestones, is “translational” in nature, geared toward moving science from “bench to bedside” where it can benefit patients as quickly as possible. …
A Dream Team of leading cancer researchers will accelerate development of drugs to attack a mutated [PI3K] molecular pathway that fuels endometrial, breast and ovarian cancers, funded by a three-year $15 million grant awarded today by [SU2C] … Genetic aberrations in the network, known as the PI3K pathway, are found in half of all breast cancer patients, 60 percent of all cases of endometrial cancer and 20 percent of ovarian cancer patients. Other cancers that include a mutationally activated PI3K pathway include melanoma, colon and prostate cancers, brain tumors, and leukemia.
A women’s lifetime breast cancer risk is approximately 13 percent, and her ovarian cancer risk is less than 2 percent. But women with BRCA1 (BReast CAncer 1) or BRCA2 (BReast CAncer 2) gene mutations may be 3 to 7 times more likely to develop breast cancer, and 9 to 30 times more likely to develop ovarian cancer, respectively, than women who do not possess such mutations. A recent report, published online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine on May 20, 2009, states that genetic testing of high-risk women for hereditary breast and ovarian cancers is greatly underutilized.
“Researchers in London have demonstrated the ability of adult stem cells from bone marrow (mesenchymal stem cells, or MSCs) to deliver a cancer-killing protein to tumors. The genetically engineered stem cells are able to home to the cancer cells, both in culture and in mouse models, and deliver TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL), destroying the tumor cells while sparing normal cells. …”
Researchers have generated altered immune cells that are able to shrink, and in some cases eradicate, large tumors in mice. The immune cells target mesothelin, a protein that is highly expressed, or translated in large amounts from the mesothelin gene, on the surface of several types of cancer cells. The approach, developed by researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, and at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, shows promise in the development of immunotherapies for certain tumors. The study appeared online the week of Feb. 9, 2009, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In a more recent study, appearing online May 5, 2009, in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, NCI researchers developed a human antibody against mesothelin that shows potential, in laboratory experiments, for cancer treatment and diagnosis.
Researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center reported recently that symptoms of ovarian cancer tend to be relatively stable over time for women who are at increased risk of ovarian cancer based upon family history of cancer or BRCA 1/2 gene mutation.
“People with cancer can reduce post-chemotherapy nausea by 40 percent by using ginger supplements, along with standard anti-vomiting drugs, before undergoing treatment, according to scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center. …”
The 2009 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) will be held in Orlando, Florida from May 29 through June 2, 2009. The ASCO Annual Meeting will be a forum for cutting-edge scientific and educational developments in oncology with a focus on personalizing cancer care. The medical abstracts that will be presented at the 2009 ASCO Annual Meeting were made available for online viewing today at 6:00 P.M. EDT/3:00 P.M. PDT. Late breaking medical abstracts will be available for viewing no later than 12:00 P.M. EDT on May 31st. Continue reading
On May 15, 2009, Craig Broeder Ph.D., FACSM, FNAASO will embark upon a 100-day bike trek that will take him to 32 U.S. cities as part of a 9,000 mile circumnavigation of the U.S. Since July 2008, Craig has been planning this trip to honor his wife, Kay, in her 20th year of surviving clear cell ovarian cancer — a rare and particularly aggressive/chemoresistant form of the disease. During the trip, Craig plans to raise $1 million dollars for ovarian cancer awareness and cancer prevention projects by inspiring one million individuals to contribute $1.00 dollar each. …
“The American Civil Liberties Union and the Public Patent Foundation at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law (PUBPAT) filed a lawsuit … charging that patents on two human genes associated with breast and ovarian cancer stifle research that could lead to cures and limit women’s options regarding their medical care. Mutations along the genes, known as BRCA1 and BRCA2, are responsible for most cases of hereditary breast and ovarian cancers. The lawsuit argues that the patents on these genes are unconstitutional and invalid. …”
“The University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) will be the primary site for a clinical trial of ABT-888, a drug previously proven in combination treatments to improve chemotherapy’s effectiveness by lowering cancer cells’ resistance to treatment. This trial will, for the first time, examine ABT-888 as a single agent for patients with cancers related to BRCA 1 or 2 genetic mutations, which predispose patients to breast and ovarian cancers. …”
“… At Mother’s Day, a new survey from the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC), http://www.ovarian.org, reveals some startling facts about women’s health: more than 52 percent of women expect the economy will impact their gynecological health choices, in many cases delaying or skipping their annual gynecological exams altogether.”
“… A pattern of genetic defects in tumours could indicate whether ovarian cancer patients will respond to common chemotherapy drugs before treatment starts, reveals a Cancer Research UK study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences … The researchers studied patterns of gene expression that indicate high levels of abnormal chromosomes or chromosomal instability (CIN) in cancer. …Patients with high levels of the CIN gene pattern were more resistant to paclitaxel. Crucially, patients with high levels of CIN responded well to carboplatin – another commonly used ovarian cancer drug. In contrast, tumours with low levels of CIN were resistant to carboplatin but responded to paclitaxel. …”
Karen Marquadt is an ovarian cancer survivor. On April 13, 2009, Karen’s oncologist informed her that she had only three weeks to live. Throughout her life, Karen had one dream: To attend a legendary Bruce Springsteen live concert and actually meet “The Boss.” …The Dream Foundation is the first and largest national nonprofit wish-granting organization for adults with life-limiting illness. The Dream Foundation arranged for Karen and her three friends to attend Springsteen’s live Los Angeles performance on Thursday, April 16. What Karen did not not know was that the Dream Foundation also arranged for her to meet Springsteen in person prior to the concert. …On April 9, 2009, NBC’s TODAY Show featured the incredible story of Jill and her only daughter Caitlin, and their journey together down the church isle as part of Caitlin’s wedding ceremony. Jill is not an ordinary mother of the bride; she is an ovarian cancer suvivor who was diagnosed with the disease in 2007. …Because of the charitable actions of the The Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center’s (MSKCC) “Dream Team,” Jill was able to see her daughter Caitlin get married. …