Giving cancer patients hope is as valuable as giving them medicine

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Giving cancer patients hope is as valuable as giving them medicine

Israeli cancer patients rely on ICSN’s volunteers and services to help them cope, fight, and recover

Families grappling with the double pressures of watching their children suffer through cancer while simultaneously having earn a living benefit most from ICSN's services, such as transport and financial assistance.

Families grappling with the double pressures of watching their children suffer through cancer while simultaneously having earn a living benefit most from ICSN’s services, such as transport and financial assistance.

To recover from cancer, having the best doctors, treatment, or medication is not enough. Without hope and personal connection, the prognosis for cancer patients is decidedly poorer. This is exactly why Israel Cancer Support Network (ICSN) offers cancer patients and their families the warmth they need to survive emotionally and the firm support they need to meet the challenges of suffering through painful cancer treatments. 

The emotional, physical, and fiscal strain of treating cancer, from arranging doctors’ appointments to meeting personal expenses and trying to maintain a “normal” family life, are hurdles that many have a tremendously difficult time overcoming.

In less than a decade, ICSN has helped over 11,000 families dealing with cancer, giving 50,000 car rides to cancer patients in need of transportation to the hospital and back. That comes out to 150 trips each day. ICSN uses a network of volunteers to create a community of support throughout Israel. Over 2,000 multilingual volunteers from the Jerusalem metro area and further away take time out of their busy lives to transport cancer-stricken children and adults to and from the hospital, around the clock year-round.

But these services represent only a fraction of what ICSN does.

ICSN sets up fully stocked, 24/7 coffee stations in cancer wards so that patients and families can savor a hot drink at any hour of the day. In its 15-year history, the organization has served over a million cups of coffee to cancer patients. ICSN also assists patients with the herculean task of gaining access to top doctors with long waiting lists for appointments.

The bottom line is that ICSN’s services are integral to the recovery of those who use them.

Many families suffer extreme difficulties as a result of cancer treatment and the financial damage caused by months of treatments can be crippling. Patients often lose their jobs due to the inability to work while parents miss countless hours of work accompanying their children to treatments. ICSN eases the burden by offering cash stipends and gift certificates to cover the cost of household help, including shoes, clothing, basic food items and life-saving drugs.

But beyond the financial, physical, and logistical help they provide, ICSN most importantly furnishes cancer patients with hope.

“A smiling volunteer driver picking you up in the middle of the night with his car to take you to the hospital is just as valuable as the cancer treatment itself,” said Shlomi, a recipient of ICSN’s services.

Personal outreach has a distinct therapeutic effect, according to Professor Dina Ben-Yehuda, director of Hematology at Hadassah Ein-Kerem and professor of Hematology at Hebrew University’s Faculty of Medicine. “When you battle a disease like cancer, the supporters are just as important as the fighters.”

During the High Holidays, ICSN goes the extra mile to give cancer patients in need the serene conditions in which to celebrate and usher in the new year.

ICSN functions entirely through donations with no external support.

Learn more about how you can help cure cancer.

Groundbreaking Treatment Cures Woman’s Advanced Breast Cancer in World First

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE GUARDIAN)

 

Groundbreaking Treatment Cures Woman’s Advanced Breast Cancer in World First

A Florida woman is still alive thanks to a unique style of immunotherapy in treating her aggressive breast cancer.

Doctors and cancer patients around the world are taking note of an incredible piece of news. A new therapy has reportedly cured a woman diagnosed with advanced breast cancer which had spread throughout her body.

This marks the first time that a woman with advanced, late-stage breast cancer has successfully been treated with immunotherapy. The team of doctors used patient Judy Perkins’s own immune cells to combat the disease.

Perkins was just 49 years old when the engineer discovered she’d been picked for a new therapy. She’d already undergone chemo treatments which continued to fail her. At best, Perkins had three years left to live.

Doctors from the US National Cancer Institute located in Maryland suggested the immunotherapy. They called her response to the treatment “remarkable.”

“My condition deteriorated a lot towards the end, and I had a tumour pressing on a nerve, which meant I spent my time trying not to move at all to avoid pain shooting down my arm. I had given up fighting,” Perkins said in an interview with The Guardian. “After the treatment dissolved most of my tumours, I was able to go for a 40-mile hike.”

Laszlo Radvanyi serves as a scientific director at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. Like many keeping up with this news, Radvanyi was not involved in treating Perkins. However, he’s certainly taking notice — calling the treatment “an unprecedented response in such advanced breast cancer.”

“We are now at the cusp of a major revolution in finally realising the elusive goal of being able to target the plethora of mutations in cancer through immunotherapy.”

“We are now at the cusp of a major revolution in finally realising the elusive goal of being able to target the plethora of mutations in cancer through immunotherapy,” Radvanyi said.

Doctors now hope for a major revolution in treatment opportunities available for patients. Some research teams are already developing massive clinical trials to determine just how effective immunotherapy could be for certain patients.

Simon Vincent, director of research at Breast Cancer Now, told interviewers: “This is a remarkable and extremely promising result, but we need to see this effect repeated in other patients before giving hope of a new immunotherapy for incurable metastatic breast cancer.

“Metastatic breast cancer remains incurable, and if we are to finally stop women dying we urgently need to find new ways to target and stop the spread of the disease. We are thrilled by this early finding, but we must remember that this type of immunotherapy remains an experimental approach that has a long way to go before it might be routinely available to patients.”

The process of immunotherapy takes biopsies of the primary tumor and its metastases to determine any mutations specific to a patient’s cancer. Those immune cells that made it through tumor tissue then get cultivated into billions of immune cells in a lab. The tumor tissue itself goes through a bit of gene sequencing so researchers know the main mutations of the tissue. The immune cells being grown then get analyzed to see which ones can target cancer specifically. Those immune cells are the ones that get put back into a patient in order to kill the cancer cells.

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Perkins had over 80 billion immune cells put into her body. After 42 weeks of treatment, Perkins was declared free of cancer.

She’s been free of cancer ever since.

“It feels miraculous, and I am beyond amazed that I have now been free of cancer for two years,” Perkins said.

“I had resigned my job and was planning on dying. I had a bucket-list of things I needed to do before the end, like going to the Grand Canyon,” she added. “Now, I have gone back to normal everyday life.”

Via: The Guardian

New nano treatment gives cancer patients fresh hope

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SHANGHAI CHINA’S NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

New nano treatment gives cancer patients fresh hope

The world’s first surgery using NanoGun technology — jointly developed by Chinese and French scientists — was performed on a lung cancer patient in Shanghai yesterday.

The new minimally invasive treatment, which can be used on patients deemed no longer healthy enough for chemotherapy, injects the radioactive element rhenium-188 covered with nano-particles, including nitroimidazole — an organic matter.

While engulfing the nitroimidazole, the cancer cells also take in the rhenium, which eventually kills the tumor.

The patient, 71, was in the terminal stage of lung cancer and was too ill for further chemotherapy.

“It usually takes three days for the rhenium to kill the cancer cells,” said Gao Yong, the doctor in charge of the operation at Shanghai East Hospital. “There won’t be any side effects (from the rhenium) as the element will lose its radioactivity after three days.”

NanoGun is a Shanghai-based technology developed from scratch. It won China’s top innovation award in 2016.

Yang Guanghua, one of the scientists who helped develop the technology, said that although rhenium had long been ideal to treat cancer, there had been no ideal medium for delivery. It often diffused throughout the body and was hard to be absorbed by the irregular shaped cancer cells.

It took Yang and his colleges almost 10 years to find the right coating material, nitroimidazole, which matches perfectly with rhenium to make sure it directly reaches the nidus, or “nest”, of the cancer.

“Diffusion of the element (rhenium) hindered the effectiveness of the treatment in the past,” said Dr. Sadeg Nouredine, one of the French scientists working with Yang.

The surgery, approved by the hospital’s ethics committee as part of the treatment’s clinical trial, was free.

“We are working on the next stage of the technology in the lab,” said Yang. “So that it can hit multiple niduses simultaneously.”

If the trial succeeds the treatment will be available by 2020, by which time Shanghai will have built a pharmaceutical factory and hospital in Songjiang District to provide rhenium.

(Humor Poem) Queen Piggy

QUEEN PIGGY

 

Queen Piggy we inherited her when cancer

Took her mommy from this earthly world

She was a mere six months old

When she came prancing and dancing

Into our family’s little fold

 

 

She was so cute you just had to hold and love her

For wherever she was, she always stole the show

Everyone who ever cast their eyes upon her

Would soon lose their heart to this hairy little girl

For 18 wonderful years she ruled our little home

 

 

To her, every hand she met was a new friend

For everyone always wanted to pet and hold her

So cute partly because of her snarly little grin

You see, Queen Piggy was a Pekingese puppy

With smashed snout, hairy toes and toothy smile

 

 

Everyone that she met was now her newest best friend

We loved this little girl as to our home, light she did bring

But now it’s the Angels turn to smile with Queen Piggy

Flying around Heaven tucked up underneath their wings

Here on earth we will always miss her and her sweet love

 

 

All the smiles she brought we will always miss her

But who am I or we to complain of missing her love

For last night in my dreams the scene I did see her

I saw Piggy fast asleep being petted by our Savior

There in Heaven upon the Good Lord’s knee

Thousands of strangers gave a sick child an early Christmas. Days before Thanksgiving, he died.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

 

Thousands of strangers gave a sick child an early Christmas. Days before Thanksgiving, he died.

 November 20 at 2:28 PM

Jacob Thompson, 9, died Sunday after fighting a rare cancer for four years. (Family photo)

Jacob Thompson spent nearly half of his short life battling cancer.

The 9-year-old boy, who loved penguins, died Sunday, four years after he was diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma, a rare cancer that affects mostly young children.

As his family had expected, Thompson didn’t live long enough for Christmas, a holiday he loves. But shortly before his death, countless friends, family members and complete strangers inspired by the terminally ill boy’s story brought an early Christmas to him. They decorated his hospital room with a tree, requested a special visit from Santa Claus, and sent him gifts and dozens of homemade holiday cards.

Jacob and his family celebrated Christmas on Nov. 12. He died a week later.

“Each and every person who sent Jacob a Christmas card, a gift, a Facebook message or video, or a prayer made a difference in the final days of his life,” his family, from Saco, Maine, wrote on a Facebook page they used to chronicle his journey. “You brought Jacob joy, and you brought us all optimism for the future. Thank you for taking the time, and taking an interest in our sweet boy’s journey. Sadly, there are many others like him that we hope you will continue to help.”

Jacob was admitted to the hospital “for the last time” Oct. 11, his mother, Michelle Thompson Simard, wrote on a GoFundMe page. The cancer had spread to his skull and to several bones in his inner ear. His hip was so covered with tumors that it looked like lace, Thompson Simard wrote. Chemotherapy and radiation had offered little signs of hope.

The boy’s family was “told that we should be spending as much time as possible with him and we should start making arrangements for his passing,” Thompson Simard wrote, adding later, “No one thinks about having to do this type of planning for their child and because of that we did not nor do not have life insurance on him.”

The GoFundMe campaign has raised nearly $160,000 as of Monday to pay for Jacob’s funeral.

Thompson Simard documented the response from people who sent Christmas cards and toys to make the early holiday memorable for Jacob. On Nov. 1, she posted a picture of Jacob with the first card he received. It featured a penguin, which his family, from Saco, Maine, says is his favorite animal.

For the next several days, Jacob was showered with presents. Pictures his mother shared on social media showed boxes of toys, games, books, cards and, of course, more penguins — including penguin socks.

He even received a video greeting from actor Rob Lowe and the cast of “Code Black.”

Merry Christmas, Jacob! http://dlvr.it/Pyx3zQ  Please send cards:
Jacob Thompson
Maine Medical Center
22 Bramhall St
Portland, ME 04102

Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in Portland, Maine, where Jacob was being treated, saidthe response was “wonderfully overwhelming” but asked people to not personally deliver cards to the hospital because of safety concerns.

On Thursday, three days before Jacob died, his family shared a picture of him in his hospital bed wearing a blue Superman T-shirt. His dog, Piper, was lying near his feet.

Jacob had just gone through a round of radiation to help him with some pain in his leg, his family wrote.

“Jacob spends most of his time resting, but has had a few good hours to play and open all your cards and gifts,” his family wrote.

In the post announcing Jacob’s death, his family said they hope his story would help raise awareness about neuroblastoma, a rare type of cancerous tumor that affects mostly infants and young children, according to the American Cancer Society. There are about 700 new cases every year in the United States. The majority are diagnosed by age 5.

“We hope that donations will be made, and a cure will be discovered as a result,” Jacob’s family wrote.

Breast Cancer Deaths Drop Nearly 40% In the U.S.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME.COM)

 

Breast Cancer Deaths Drop Nearly 40% In the U.S.

12:04 PM ET
TIME Health
For more, visit TIME Health.

Efforts to improve screening and access to treatment for breast cancer are making a difference nationally, according to the latest figures from the American Cancer Society.

From 1989 to 2015, deaths from the disease dropped by 39%, which translates to 322,600 lives saved from breast cancer. The latest numbers continue a steady downward trend for breast cancer deaths over the past few decades.

In some states, the death rates from breast cancer among white women and black women are equalizing, suggesting that access to screening and treatments are more evenly distributed in those parts of the country.

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But the data still show that black women have the highest death rates from breast cancer nationally. Among black women, the death rate was 42% higher than among white women from 2011 to 2015. Other studies have documented that black women tend to be diagnosed with more advanced-stage cancers, which are harder to treat and have higher mortality rates. Aggressive triple negative cancers that are deadlier are also more common among this group of women.

MOREI Treated Breast Cancer for Years as a Doctor. Then I Was Diagnosed

The overall drop in mortality is a positive sign suggesting that wider mammogram screening and improved treatments for the disease are helping women survive breast cancer. Yet in the U.S., breast cancer remains the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women and the second deadliest. During her lifetime, a woman has a one in eight chance of developing the disease. Ensuring that more states start to equalize access to screening and treatments is critical to sustaining the decline in deaths, say the authors.

Queen Piggy

 

Queen Piggy was a pretty little girl

We inherited her when cancer

Took her mommy from this earthly world

She was a mere six months old

When she came prancing and dancing

Into our family’s little fold

She was so cute you just had to hold and love her

For wherever she was, she always stole the show

Everyone who cast their eyes upon her

Would soon lose their heart to this hairy little girl

For 18 years she ruled our home

To her, every hand was a friend

For everyone always wanted to

Pet her or hold her,

Even with her snarly little grin

You see, Queen Piggy was a Pekingese

With smashed snout, hairy little toes

And her toothy little smile

Everyone that she met was now

Her newest best friend

We loved this little girl

As to our home, light she did bring

But now it’s the Angels turn

To smile with Queen Piggy

Tucked up underneath their wings

Here on earth we will always miss her

For all the smiles she did bring

But who am I to complain of missing her

For last night in my dreams

I saw Piggy fast asleep being petted by our Savior

There upon His knee

Where Marijuana Is Legal: Opioid Deaths And Alcohol Sales Are Way Down

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF HIGH TIMES MAGAZINE)

For many years, the biggest threat to marijuana legalization and fledgling legal cannabis businesses was the police.

Fears of DEA agents breaking down the front door at dawn, prosecutions in federal court with its accompanying mandatory minimums or warrantless visits from helicopter-riding police who merely cut down plant and leave—such things happen and are legal—was what kept people involved in cannabis up at night.

But now, with legalization sweeping the country and a vast majority of Americans in support of medical marijuana, the real enemy is revealing itself.

And as recent events in Arizona demonstrated, it’s Big Pharma.

In 2015, U.S.-based companies made up 40 percent of the global pharmaceutical trade, a market share worth $413 billion. These companies are well aware that cannabis is becoming an accepted treatment for chronic pain and many of the other lifelong afflictions now treated by highly profitable trademarked drugs—and some have proven willing and able to take steps to make sure marijuana stays out of the hands of law-abiding Americans in order to protect that enormous bottom line.

“Pharmaceuticals are going to run me down,” Dr. Gina Berman, medical director of the Giving Tree Wellness Center, a Phoenix, Arizona-based cannabis dispensary, told the Guardian. “We have a small business, and we can’t afford to fight Big Pharma.”

The most egregious case to date is Insys Therapeutics. Insys, is an Arizona-based drug manufacturer of pain drugs that contain fentanyl, the powerful synthetic opioid that’s been fingered in many fatal opiate overdoses (including the death of Prince).

Arizona was the lone state where a marijuana legalization initiative failed at the ballot in November—and one of the leading donors to the anti-legalization campaign, with a $500,000 check, was Insys. (Another was Trump-supporting casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp. Here are the Vegas nightlife spots to boycott, forever.)

As the Intercept reported this fall, Insys executives openly recognized the threat to its market posed by marijuana. And in a devious twist, Insys identified marijuana as an existential threat and moved to keep it illegal, while developing a new drug based on synthetic THC.

On March 23, the DEA ruled that Insys’s new drug, called “Syndros,” could be marketed and sold as a Schedule II drug—meaning it could be prescribed to patients as soon as this fall.

So far, the FDA has approved Syndros for AIDS-related weight loss and vomiting and nausea associated with chemotherapy—two of the original applications for medical marijuana.

“It’s pretty absurd that federal law considers marijuana to have no medical value, but allows for the development of synthetic versions of the same substance,” Mason Tvert, a spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, which sponsored Arizona’s legalization measure, told the Guardian.

But what about Insys Therapeutics? It’s a company straight out of a Superman comic. 

In December, Justice Department prosecutors took the “unusual” step of charging six former Insys executives, including former CEO Michael L. Babich, with racketeering for its “aggressive” marketing of a fentanyl-based pain drug called Subsys, the New York Times reported. Prosecutors alleged that in order to sell more Subsys, the company arranged lavish dinners and other events for doctors who prescribed “lots of” the drug, and when that didn’t work, the company resorted to kickbacks. 

One Connecticut nurse pleaded guilty in 2015 to accepting $83,000 in kickbacks from the company. Families of dead patients, prescribed Subsys despite prescriptions for other drugs that are fatal when combined, and despite no cancer diagnosis—the drug is only FDA-approved from cancer-related pain—have also sued the company.

In a statement, Carmen Ortiz, the-then U.S. attorney for Massachusetts (before she and many others were summarily fired by Trump administration officials earlier this year), pinned part of the blame for the country’s opiate epidemic squarely on “corporate greed.”

In January, Insys founder John Kapoor stepped down as chairman, a role he took over from the indicted Babich in late 2015. Kapoor’s exit came after Insys’s sales plummeted 40 percent, as Forbes reported. (Wonder if the alleged kickbacks had anything to do with the inflated numbers?)

It’s all very ominous, but in a real way, marijuana activists should let Insys try—and then fail, spectacularly, as they are primed to do.

Insys’s proposed product, called Syndros, is a solution of “oral dronabinol.” Dronabinol is the generic name for another synthetic version of THC that’s been on the market for quite some time, called Marinol—and if you know anyone who has used Marinol, you know what they think of it. Namely, it kind of sucks.

For many patients, fake weed simply doesn’t work. As one patient prescribed Marinol told CBS News, “It might as well have been M&M’s.”

This is almost certainly because as synthetic THC only, Marinol and Syndros both lack cannabidiol, or CBD, as well as dozens of others cannabinoids. And as per the “entourage effect” theory, proffered by luminaries like CNN’s Sanjay Gupta and many more, your body and brain need all of cannabis’s component parts in order for its medical “magic” to work.

But let’s say Insys strikes out with Subsys. It won’t end there.

This is a company accused, with enough evidence to indict in a federal court, of being willing to see people die in order to sell more drugs. And it won’t end with this company.

Big Pharma is scared of weed—terrified—and as any animal scientist will tell you, a cornered and frightened animal is the most dangerous. And that applies to humans.

You can keep up with all of HIGH TIMES’ marijuana news right here.

Queen Piggy

 

Queen Piggy was a pretty little girl

We inherited her when cancer

Took her mommy from this earthly world

She was a mere six months old

When she came prancing and dancing

Into our family’s little fold

She was so cute you just had to hold and love her

For wherever she was, she always stole the show

Everyone who cast their eyes upon her

Would soon lose their heart to this hairy little girl

For 18 years she ruled our home

To her, every hand was a friend

For everyone always wanted to

Pet her or hold her,

Even with her snarly little grin

You see, Queen Piggy was a Piganeese

With smashed snout, hairy little toes

And her toothy little smile

Everyone that she met was now

Her newest best friend

We loved this little girl

As to our home, light she did bring

But now it’s the angels turn

To smile with Queen Piggy

Tucked up underneath their wings

Here on earth we will always miss her

For all the smiles she did bring

But who am I to complain of missing her

For last night in my dreams

I saw Piggy fast asleep being petted by our Savior

There upon His knee

Rusted Honey

Poetry, haiku, tanka, and micropoetry

a lost soul

Darkness all around

Ganduri

https://alexandraturony87.wordpress.com

Jamaica Kitchen

nuh weh nuh nice like yard

Motivation/Environment/Tech

Enlightenment on how to make the most out of life from the least quantity of resources available.

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