Monday, May 21, 2012

Treatments for Multiple Myeloma

If you've been recently diagnosed with multiple myeloma or have been living with the cancer for a while, you know that there's no one-size-fits-all treatment option. But that's actually good news. There are numerous therapies and medications that can be tailored to your needs.  Whether you're just starting treatment or have experienced a remission and need to re-evaluate your options, it's important to work closely with your doctor. Treatment can vary based on your age, health, symptoms, and other factors.


"Jungle Jada" vs. "Molly the Mockingbird"

We have been dealing with a very aggressive mockingbird.  It's been attacking Jada.  Swoops right out of the sky and goes after her.

Not any more.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Stem-Cell-Based Drug Gets Approval in Canada

The company, Osiris Therapeutics of Columbia, Md., said Thursday that Canadian regulators had approved its drug Prochymal, to treat children suffering fromgraft-versus-host disease, a potentially deadly complication of bone marrow transplantation.
“It’s really a good day for the concept and the hope behind stem cell therapies becoming a reality,” C. Randal Mills, the chief executive of Osiris, said in an interview.
Prochymal is a preparation of mesenchymal stem cells, which are obtained from the bone marrow of healthy young adult donors. The stem cells are separated out from the marrow and expanded in culture, so that one donation is enough to make as many as 10,000 doses.
Because these are adult stem cells, they do not raise the ethical concerns of embryonic stem cells, whose creation usually involves the destruction of human embryos.
Graft-versus-host disease occurs when the immune cells in a bone-marrow transplant see the recipient’s organs as foreign and attack them, causing potentially severe damage to the skin, liver and digestive tract. This happens most often when the donor is not an exact match for the recipient.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

No Bisphosphonate Superior to Another in Multiple Myeloma

This updated review concludes that zoledronate (Zometa) appears to be superior to both etidronate (Didronel) and placebo. However, it was not superior to pamidronate (Aredia) or clodronate (Bonefos) for improving overall survival or any other outcome, such as vertebral and nonvertebral fractures.


We were SO HAPPY when they switched Dominic from Aredia to Zometa.  Infusions went from a couple of hours down to about 15 minutes.  Plus, the Aredia left him laying in bed the next day for about the 1st 6 months.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Agent Orange 'tested in Okinawa' Documents indicate jungle use in 1962

Thankfully, the VA has been WONDERFUL with Dom..... this is disturbing, though......

Recently, more than 30 U.S. veterans — all of them suffering from diseases consistent with dioxin-exposure — have spoken to The Japan Times about the presence of Agent Orange at 15 military installations in Okinawa, causing widespread alarm that the prefecture remains polluted by notoriously persistent dioxins.
The U.S. government has repeatedly denied assistance for these ailing veterans, claiming Agent Orange and similar herbicides were never present in Okinawa. However, the U.S. government still refuses to release large sections of its records related to the defoliant tests it conducted in the 1960s.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Making Chemical Giants Happy at Our Expense

Thanks to the blessings of nature and good farmers, you and I can enjoy such scrumptious delights as fresh corn-on-the-cob, popcorn and many other variations of this truly great grain. And now, thanks to Dow Chemical and federal regulators, we can look forward to “Agent Orange Corn.”

The chemical giant is in line to gain approval for putting a genetically altered corn seed on the market that will produce corn plants that won’t die when doused with high levels of 2,4-D.

This potent pesticide was an ingredient in Dow’s notorious Agent Orange defoliant, which did such extensive and horrific damage to soldiers and civilians in the Vietnam War. However, the corporation and the feds claim that 2,4-D was not the deadliest ingredient of the killer defoliant and has not yet been proven to cause cancer in humans, so they’re pressing ahead to let this corporate-constructed seed be planted across America.

Special Report: Still Fighting (AGENT ORANGE)

In 1962, the United States started spraying Vietnam with a powerful defoliant known as 'Agent Orange.'
Fighting in the Vietnam War ended in 1975, but even today, many veterans of that war are still battling health problems they believe were caused by the chemicals.
"If you was in Vietnam, out in the field, you were exposed to Agent Orange, or to the chemical," Irby said.
 "This big old plane would come over and this sticky stuff like on you. You didn't think nothing about it. All we know a couple of days the leaves was gone," Carruthers said.
These men returned home thinking they had escaped the war. "I thought that was the end of it. You know, come back to the states and just pick up where I left off. But it didn't turn out that way," Lastinger, an Army Vietnam Veteran from 1967, said.
No one is sure how many Vietnam War vets are still alive, but some veteran group studies have estimated less than half. The Veteran's Administration says all the disease problems these men face are presumptive to exposure to the dioxin in Agent Orange.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

More Revlimid Info

Studies found lenalidomide lengthened time disease did not worsen, but risk of second cancers was doubled

WEDNESDAY, May 9 (HealthDay News) -- Three new studies confirm that the drug lenalidomide can significantly lengthen the time that people with multiple myeloma experience no worsening of their disease, either after having a stem cell transplant or getting chemotherapy.
The most significant and concerning side effect was an increased risk of a second cancer. In all three studies, the rate of second cancers was more than doubled in people taking lenalidomide. Low white blood cell counts were also more commonly associated with lenalidomide therapy.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Yesterday's Wicked Weather - some neat pictures

Reminded us of the movie, "Something Wicked This Way Comes"  It seemed to come out of nowhere and FAST! 

Lost some tree limbs and satellite reception for about an hour, but that was the extent of it.  

Note the light colored tree leaves.... they're flipped around to protect themselves.  (Something that my favorite childhood neighborhood mom, Mrs. Hill, taught me at a young age!)

Monday, May 7, 2012

FDA: Second Cancers Can Follow Lenalidomide in Myeloma

The Food and Drug Administration has added a warning about second-cancer risk to the label of lenalidomide, a widely used multiple myeloma drug, after a safety review lasting about 1 year.
Treatment with lenalidomide (Revlimid) for newly diagnosed multiple myeloma is associated with almost a threefold increased risk of developing secondary primary malignancies, the agency announcedon May 7. The finding was based on three postapproval trials of lenalidomide as maintenance therapy in newly diagnosed patients.
"Specifically, these trials showed there was an increased risk of developing acute myelogenous leukemia, myelodysplastic syndromes, and Hodgkin lymphoma," the FDA said. No increase was seen in incidence of nonmelanoma skin cancers and solid tumors,
It noted that as of Feb. 28, 2011, a pooled analysis showed there were 65 second primary malignancies among 824 patients treated with lenalidomide vs. 19 second primary malignancies among 665 patients in treatment arms that did not include lenalidomide maintenance (7.9% vs. 2.8%, respectively; P less than .001). "The median time from start of Revlimid to a diagnosis of a second primary malignancy was two years," the agency said.

The Controversy of the Stem Cell

A wonderful primer on Stem Cell technology:

Uttering the words “stem cell” is unsettling to many sectors in today’s society. However, contrary to common belief, stem cells are produced in fully developed human bodies as well as the embryonic fetus. Stem cells reside in us all and have been used in medical treatments for years.
The existing controversy over stem cell use in medical science stifles current research efforts. Overcoming this hurdle begins with educating the uninformed about a specific type of stem cell.
The two broad categories are adult stem cells and the infamous embryonic stem cells (ES). Adult stem cells are a powerful cure to countless diseases and injuries, acquired safely from children and adults, and already utilized successfully in many countries.
Adult stem cells may be obtained from a living person’s bone marrow, fat cells, or umbilical chord blood. On the other hand, ES cells reside in the unborn embryo.
The controversy over stem cells arises over the acquirement of the ES cell. Until recently, ES stem cells could not be obtained without destroying an early human life.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Veteran: 'There's a blessing in dying' Local Vietnam veteran battles stage 4 cancer of lung, brain, heart

Robert intends to use any extra time to accomplish his final three goals, all of which deal with helping veterans.
The first is to educate Vietnam-era veterans of the effects exposure to Agent Orange can have on their health. Robert attributes his cancer to his time in the jungles of Vietnam, where he said the particles fell from the sky like rain.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, a blend of herbicides was used from 1962 to 1971 to remove foliage that provided cover for the enemy. It was stored in 55-gallon drums with an identifying orange stripe and became known as Agent Orange.
The VA recognizes multiple diseases related to Agent Orange exposure, including numerous forms of cancer. And it isn’t just veterans who are affected.
“Their children are fighting some serious health concerns too,” Robert said. “If your father was anywhere near Vietnam, please look it up, get tested. They are eligible for treatment. It’s not a matter of if they get sick, it’s when. They will get sick, and they will die.”

  • Robert Lee Horton recommends anyone who served in Vietnam be tested for the various ailments tied to Agent Orange exposure. He said testing is available for free at any VA hospital, including Topeka’s Colmery-O’Neil VA Medical Center, 2200 S.W. Gage Blvd.
  • “When it kicks in, it goes fast,” he said of the many health problems facing Vietnam veterans and their families.

Friday, May 4, 2012

New Muscular Dystrophy Treatment Approach Developed Using Human Stem Cells

Wow.... Modern medicine is truly amazing!

ScienceDaily (May 4, 2012) — Researchers from the University of Minnesota's Lillehei Heart Institute have effectively treated muscular dystrophy in mice using human stem cells derived from a new process that -- for the first time -- makes the production of human muscle cells from stem cells efficient and effective. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Shootin', Fishin', Swimmin' and Doctorin'

Hi gang-

Just a quick hello and some photos today.  This month is becoming slightly overwhelming.  During these first 3 weeks of May, we have SIX separate doctor appointments-  The most important being his 3 month M-SPIKE blood work.  July will be 3 years of complete response/remission from the stem cell transplant. 

Thankfully/hopefully, we'll be free to play for another 3 months once we knock these obligatory doctor appointments out of the way.  Dom looks and feels great.  These doctor visit should be a breeze.  As frustrating as it is to have so many check ups, we're very thankful to our thorough Dr. Culasso.... he's the one who saved Dom's life because of his insistence of regular blood work.  We adore that man!

Did some target shooting last week.  Dominic likes me to practice every once and awhile... wants to make certain that I'm comfortable shooting my .38 Special.  As the pictures will reflect, I'm a good shot.  (7 yards)

Wendy and Bubby came over on Sunday.  He's an avid fisherman.  We spent all day at the pond drinking beer and watching him fish. Also took a few dips..... first time in years!  

The last photo looks as though he was describing how big the "one that got away" was.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Low-dose whole-body CT finds disease missed on standard imaging for patients with multiple myeloma

Low dose whole body CT is nearly four times better than radiographic skeletal survey, the standard of care in the U.S., for determining the extent of disease in patients with multiple myeloma, a new study shows.
The study, conducted at the University of Maryland in Baltimore, included 51 patients who had both a radiographic skeletal survey as well as a low dose whole body CT examination. The total number of lesions detected in these patients with low dose whole body CT was 968 versus 248 detected by radiographic skeletal survey, said Kelechi Princewill, MD, the lead author of the study. "The stage of disease determines treatment, and the study found that in 31 patients, the stage of disease would have been different with low dose whole body CT. Thirteen patients would have been upstaged from stage I to stage II; nine patients would have been upstaged from stage I to stage III and nine patients would have been upstaged from stage II to III based on additional lesions detected on the low dose whole body CT," said Dr. Princewill.