Tuesday, November 29, 2011

VA Recognize These Diseases as being Linked to AGENT ORANGE

More than 40 years have passed since the U.S. military used Agent Orange in Vietnam, but only in recent years have health care costs escalated rapidly.

In a report by The Institute of Medicine, an association between exposure to Agent Orange and illnesses including soft-tissue sarcoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, Hodgkin lymphoma and chloracne has been found.

The report requests further research to determine whether there could be a link to other illnesses such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, tonsil cancer, melanoma and Alzheimer’s disease.

Federal officials estimate that 10,000 more veterans have sought medical compensation for diseases related to Agent Orange over the last two years than projected. Over the next decade, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is expected to pay $50 billion for health care compensation for only one of the 14 diseases the VA says is associated with Agent Orange exposure.

Last year, ischemic heart disease, Parkinson’s disease and B-cell leukemia were added to the list of diseases the VA associates with Agent Orange exposure. According to a VA report, ischemic heart disease alone added $236 million in 2010 and $165 million this year in compensation costs.

Alan Simpson, former chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, is among those questioning how the VA will afford the compensation claims without increasing the strain on the national budget. He maintains that today’s veterans could become subject to longer delays for disability-compensation claims, primarily because of the backlog created by veterans from previous generations.

Here is a list taken directly from the Department of Veterans Affairs of diseases that are currently recognized as being linked to Agent Orange:

Acute and Subacute Peripheral Neuropathy
A nervous system condition that causes numbness, tingling, and motor weakness. Under VA’s rating regulations, it must be at least 10% disabling within 1 year of exposure to herbicides and resolve within 2 years after the date it began.

AL Amyloidosis
A rare disease caused when an abnormal protein, amyloid, enters tissues or organs.

Chloracne (or Similar Acneform Disease)
A skin condition that occurs soon after exposure to chemicals and looks like common forms of acne seen in teenagers. Under VA’s rating regulations, chloracne (or other acneform disease similar to chloracne) must be at least 10% disabling within 1 year of exposure to herbicides.

Chronic B-cell Leukemias
A type of cancer which affects white blood cells.

Diabetes Mellitus (Type 2)
A disease characterized by high blood sugar levels resulting from the body’s inability to respond properly to the hormone insulin.

Hodgkin’s Disease
A malignant lymphoma (cancer) characterized by progressive enlargement of the lymph nodes, liver, and spleen, and by progressive anemia.

Ischemic Heart Disease
A disease characterized by a reduced supply of blood to the heart, that leads to chest pain.

Multiple Myeloma
A cancer of plasma cells, a type of white blood cell in bone marrow.

Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
A group of cancers that affect the lymph glands and other lymphatic tissue.

Parkinson’s Disease
A progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects muscle movement.

Porphyria Cutanea Tarda
A disorder characterized by liver dysfunction and by thinning and blistering of the skin in sun-exposed areas. Under VA’s rating regulations, it must be at least 10% disabling within 1 year of exposure to herbicides.

Prostate Cancer
Cancer of the prostate; one of the most common cancers among men.

Respiratory Cancers
Cancers of the lung, larynx, trachea, and bronchus.

Soft Tissue Sarcoma (other than Osteosarcoma, Chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, or Mesothelioma)
A group of different types of cancers in body tissues such as muscle, fat, blood and lymph vessels, and connective tissues.

Photo thanks to vsai under creative commons license on Flickr. 

Dom's Latest Numbers

From November '11

HCT:    36.1
WBC:   5.3
ANC:   3330

Since they were sticking him, anyway.....


Cholesterol:  150
Triglycerides:  112
HDL:    56
LDL:    86

All of this fell into the "Optimal Range"

We're very pleased, as are his doctors.

Onyx Pharma Says FDA Accepts NDA For Carfilzomib To Treat Multiple Myeloma

Onyx stated that carfilzomib data makes it a suitable candidate for accelerated approval in the relapsed and refractory treatment setting. The company expects a decision from the FDA in the next few weeks regarding a priority or standard review.

Carfilzomib achieved an overall response rate, which is a partial response or greater, of 24.1 percent and a median duration of response of 7.8 months in 003-A1 study, an open-label, single-arm Phase 2b trial. The median overall survival for all patients in the study, regardless of response to drug, was 15.6 months.


Our Fabulous Thanksgiving Week- We're Truly Blessed

Hi gang-

I trust that everyone had a great Thanksgiving.  We had non-stop fun.  Dear friend, Chris arrived on Wednesday morning.  The 3 of us hopped in my car and went to Crystal's Trip.  Wendy and Bubs met us there for beers.  As I was designated driver, I limited myself to 2.

As I refused to cook anything until Thursday, the 3 of us went to Yo Yo's Mexican Restaurant and loaded up on great food.

Got home around 4 pm.  I got busy in the kitchen with prep-work for the feast while the boys shot pool.  Joe and Ping arrived around 6pm.  We had a fun evening of pool, darts, catching up.... basically whooping it up.

Dom cooked breakfast for the gang on Thursday morning.  (he's a wonderful help to me on holidays!)  I banished everyone from my kitchen and got cooking:

*22# Turkey.... cooked ala Martha Stewart ... cheesecloth, wine and butter
*Cornbread, cranberry, sausage and pecan stuffing
*Mashed Potatoes and gravy
*Carmelized Balsamic Pearl Onions
*Corn Pudding
*Lima Beans
*Sweet Potato/Pecan Casserole
*Spinach/Arthichoke Casserole
*Store bought Pecan Pie and Pumpkin Pie
*Butter Pecan and Vanilla Ice Cream
*Beaujolais Nouveau

I stayed in the kitchen sipping on wine and cooking all day.  The others did a little target shooting.  I'm fond of the picture of Ping shooting.... you can see the smoking gun!

Had dinner by candlelight with The Nutcracker and Johan Strauss playing.  Very festive.  Alot of fun.  Ended the night in the hot tub for awhile.

Everyone left on Friday morning.  Yours truly did not even get out of bed until after noon.  SERENITY NOW!

Had a lazy weekend.  Wendy and Bubs came over for a day of pool, darts and beer on Sunday.

Got our wonderful call from Tulane Cancer Center..... Dom continues to be in Complete Remission/Response ..... 28 months post Stem Cell Transplant!

Last night, our Saints demolished Eli Manning and his NY Giants.  GREAT GAME.  GREAT WEEK. 

GREAT to get back to normal!

Umbilical Cord Blood Stem Cells: Prime Source for Transplants and Future Regenerative Medicine

The 5th ITERA Life-Sciences Consortium Symposium took place in Maastricht, the Netherlands, and showcased the progress of stem cell research and promising therapeutic applications. Thanks to solid scientific data, researchers confirmed that umbilical cord blood stem cells are one of the prime sources to be used in current stem cell transplants, ongoing research and future regenerative medicine.
Cord blood is one of the prime sources for stem cells, more and more used for stem cell transplants

Monday, November 28, 2011

Dom Continues to be in Complete Remission/Response..... YAY!!!!!!

Just hung up the phone with Tulane Cancer Center.

His latest M-Spike test showed ZERO..... he's now been clean for 28 months!!!!  Modern medicine is marvelous, isn't it?

Bone marrow cancer hope as scientists identify gene that increases risk by 30 per cent

Related to last evening's post:
*Relatives of those suffering from multiple myeloma are four times more likely to develop cancerous cells  

*First time genes responsible for the disease have been identified


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Scientists identify first genetic link to myeloma

 Although we've been convinced that Dominic's MM was a result of Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam, this was interesting.... we live in amazing times, gang.... best of luck to all of you!

"Rather than identifying who will or won't develop the disease, the researchers hope that the study will help to identify drug targets or further information about the disease's causes."

Good read here:   http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/news/archive/cancernews/2011-11-27-Scientists-identify-first-genetic-link-to-myeloma

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Emerald Coast Cruisin'

This was quite the impressive event.  Over 3000 classic cars and rat-rods were in town last week.  Our dear friend, Donn gave us VIP Tickets for this event.  Free entry and preferred parking.

We strolled around the event on Friday afternoon and looked at cars.  These pictures were taken then.  When we headed back on Saturday, we were alarmed to see Back Beach Road literally STOPPED with cars waiting to pull in.  We blew it off.  At 10 bucks per person per day, and 3 dollar parking per car, they made a BUNDLE.  Thanks again, Donn.... you saved us money, honey!

Saturday night, we strolled over to Pineapple Willy's http://www.pwillys.com/  via Coyote Ugly Saloon and Dee's Hangout.  They were hosting the FIRE SHOOTING CONTEST.  Unfortunately, my camera batteries died, but it was alot of fun...

Emerald Coast Cruizin

Dee's Hangout Does it Again!

The gang at Dee's Hangout never fail to blow us away with their food and service.  This has turned into our favorite joint on the beach.

Whether it's po-boys, baked oysters, burgers or plates, this is our MUST STOP place.

Went in a couple of nights last week.  Wanted to share pictures of their JALAPENO BAKED OYSTERS....  delicious!   Washed 'em down with ice cold pints of beer for only a BUCK!
Visit Dee's on Facebook

Check out Dee's Menu

Pier Park on Veteran's Day..... Nice Job!

We were in town for the Emerald Coast Cruisin' event, and took a drive through Pier Park on Friday.  They truly outdid themselves this year!  I don't know if I've ever seen so many flags before.  Just lovely.

Pier Park has it all.... retail, restaurants, bars.... the works.  Also beautiful landscaping.  Huge place that runs between Front Beach and Middle Beach roads.

Trip Advisor Link

Pier Park Directory

Novel Therapies Put Multiple Myeloma 'On the Ropes'

SAN FRANCISCO – A sweep of new agents are poised to deliver what could be a knock-out blow to multiple myeloma, according to the director of the myeloma program at the University of California, San Francisco.

Some are second- or third-generation agents in a mainstay class that appear to have less toxicity than and/or overcome resistance to their predecessors, Dr. Jeffrey L. Wolf said at the annual Oncology Congress here. Others come from classes not previously used in this disease. 

"There is a rush to develop new drugs in myeloma," Dr. Wolf told attendees. "We [understand] some mechanisms that the disease seems to favor, so we can interfere with those."

The prospects, in turn, are excellent: "We have made such tremendous headway in myeloma, except for those exceptional cases with 17p deletions and some other adverse prognostic features," he said. "As a disease, it seems to be on the ropes." 

More After the Jump

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Multiple Myeloma: Challenges and Progress

 This story is a bit of a downer, but has a nice ending:

“Hopefully, the impressive response rates being reported are durable and will translate into meaningful and long term improvement in survival if not yet cure,” Dingle and Rajkumar concluded.
Link to Entire Story

Diabetes and the Stem Cell Promise

We certainly live in amazing times!

"Another approach to the autoimmune problem is being tested by ViaCyte. The company is working on an embryonic stem cell-based therapy that will enclose beta-cell precursors inside a membrane envelope, then implant them under a diabetic patient's skin. The pouch will allow insulin to flow out of it, into a patient's bloodstream, but won't allow cells of the immune system to get in and attack the implant (or allow rogue cancers from the transplant, should they arise, to escape into the recipient's body).

Finally, diabetes researchers face the same challenges as any other scientists working with stem cells: They need to figure out how to produce large numbers of the beta cells and make sure they're safe and stable.
Over the long term, the best solution would probably be to study how stem cells generate beta cells to figure out how to teach a patient's body to regrow islets for itself from stem cells, and possibly even other types of cells, already in the body, Firpo says. "We could have stem cell therapies that don't actually involve a stem cell being transplanted into a person."


Monday, November 7, 2011

Multiple Myeloma: A Clinical Overview

By Kenneth C. Anderson, MD1 | November 7, 2011

ABSTRACT: Multiple myeloma (MM) is the second most common hematologic malignancy in the United States, affecting slightly more men than women and twice as many African Americans as Caucasians. Older age is the primary risk factor for MM, but obesity also increases risk. MM is incurable, but treatment advances in the past decade have more than doubled the duration of survival. MM is a progressive plasma cell tumor in which an initially stable clone becomes malignant via a multistep process. Causative factors implicated in this process include radiation, environmental toxins, chronic antigen stimulation, and genetics. The malignant plasma cells interact with other hematopoietic and stromal cells within the bone marrow microenvironment to disrupt homeostasis among cells and within the extracellular matrix. These tumor-host interactions lead to MM cell proliferation and migration, angiogenesis, osteolysis, immunodeficiency, and anemia. As a result, patients often present with osteolytic bone lesions, recurrent infections, renal insufficiency, and fatigue. The Durie-Salmon and International Staging Systems are used to stage MM, with the latter providing prognostic information based on readily available laboratory data. However, a number of cytogenetic markers are emerging as prognostic indicators, introducing the possibility of more refined disease staging systems and tailored treatment strategies based on genetic profiles.


This was Fun!

You'll be surprised at how this works. BE HONEST and don't look at the movie list till you have done the math!

Try this test and find out what movie is your favorite. This amazing math quiz can likely predict which of 18 films you would enjoy the most. GUARANTEED!!

Movie Test:
Pick a number from 1-9.

Multiply by 3.

Add 3.

Multiply by 3 again.

Now add the two digits together to find your predicted favorite movie in the list of 18 movies below.

Movie List:

1. Gone With The Wind
2. E.T.
3. Beverly Hills Cop
4. Star Wars
5. Forrest Gump
6. The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
7. Jaws
8. Grease
9. The Defeat of Obama in 2012
10. Casablanca
11. Jurassic Park
12. Shrek
13. Pirates of the Caribbean
14. Titanic
15. Raiders Of The Lost Ark
16. Home Alone
17. Mrs. Doubtfire
18. Toy Story