June 27, 2007

Goldeneye - redux

This is the story I meant to post last week.
Golden bullet' may be cancer hunter and killer
By David Derbyshire
June 22, 2007 01:00am

A "GOLDEN bullet" treatment for cancer which tracks down tumours before wiping them out with a blast of heat is to be tested on patients within weeks, it was revealed yesterday.

The "seek and destroy" technique uses an injection of microscopic glass spheres, coated in gold, which seek out potentially deadly cancers in the body. Once enough spheres have flocked to the tumour, doctors "activate" them using a low energy beam of light.

In tests, tumours have been totally destroyed. Unlike conventional cancer treatments, the golden bullet approach uses no toxic chemicals and no radiation, reducing the risk of unpleasant side effects.

It could also be far cheaper than existing treatments. Cancer scientists have predicted that it could help tackle a range of potentially deadly diseases, from skin cancers to cancers of the cervix, breast, brain and neck.

Tests on mice found that the treatment worked exceptionally well, New Scientist magazine reported yesterday. When it was tried on nine mice with colon cancer, the tumours were

Rice University (Texas) professor Jennifer West, who helped develop the
treatment, said clinical trials on cancer patients were expected to begin in
the US within weeks.

The first phase will find out whether the treatment successfully kills off tumours.A second stage, due to start in a couple of years, will test the particles'ability to identify tumours.

"From the work we have done so far, we believe that this therapy will work on any soft-tissue tumours, such as the breast, prostate, brain, skin, head, neck and cervix," Professor West said.

Cancer Council Queensland director of community services and research programs Associate Professor Suzanne Steginga said the emergence of nanotechnology as a potential area for cancer treatment emphasised the critical importance of research.

"The question, of course, will be how this work transfers from animal to human models, and this will take some years to answer," she said. "We wait with great interest for the outcomes of these trials."

The golden bullet treatment is not the first to use "nanoparticles". Past studies have shown that microscopic capsules injected into the bloodstream can deliver drugs directly to tumours.

June 25, 2007

Tears for cheers....

This weekend I received an email that finally brought a few tears to my eyes. I say finally, because I haven't had a good cry in a while. 
Apparently, the daughter of a relative in St. Louis was volunteering at a summer camp for kids with cancer. Her mother showed up one day, it happened to be 'hat day'.  She found her daughter and what was she wearing? One of our FLHW hats.
So why the tears? I'm not sure. Maybe it just sparked something...a need for a release? Without having given it too much thought, they were certainly tears of joy and happiness.  In some instances, crying is good. It is cleansing and even stress relieving. 

June 22, 2007

The Man with the Golden Gun or is it Goldfinger?

There haven't been many updates in world of PC lately, well there was the whole Provenge story, but that wasn't very encouraging for us dealing with Advanced PC. So here's a story from Israel, that involves, gold, 'nano-pharmaceutics' [my word].The story is below.
New Method For Combating Prostate Cancer Under DevelopmentScience Daily 06.22.2007A novel method of drug delivery to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells has been developed by a doctoral candidate in pharmacy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death for men in the U.S. Present treatments for metastatic prostate cancer (cancer cells that spread to other parts of the body) include hormonal therapy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which frequently have serious side effects.

The well known drug, paclitaxel, exhibits a wide spectrum of anti-tumor activity. However, its therapeutic application in cancer therapy is limited, in part, due to its low water solubility, making it difficult to effectively deliver the drug to the points needed. It is also known to induce hypersensitivity reactions. Therefore, novel methods are needed that would allow for delivery of effective concentrations of paclitaxel over extended time intervals while minimizing toxicity.
Targeting drugs to disseminated prostate metastases is one of the most challenging goals in prostate cancer therapy. Drug carriers -- nanoemulsions, liposomes (fatty droplets) and nanoparticles -- have shown great potential as delivery systems for an increasing number of active molecules. Although capable of enhanced accumulation in the target tissue, these carriers cannot achieve their missions unless specific binding agents are attached to them which will ensure that they succeed in attaching to the targeted tissues.

It has been shown that the HER2 receptor is over-expressed in prostate cancer cells. It was also known that trastuzumab (an antibody) binds specifically to HER2. But there had been no clinical data indicating that this antibody would provide any relief for prostate cancer patients.

Danny Goldstein, a student of Prof. Simon Benita, was able to show that attaching trastuzumab molecules to the surface of oil droplets in nanoemulsions made possible the targeting of such droplets to cells over-expressing the HER2 receptor. He coupled trastuzumab with emulsions containing the toxic agent paclitaxel-palmitate and evaluated the efficiency of these emulsions in laboratory tests on cancerous prostate cells and on mice with induced prostate cancer. He found that this emulsion compound did not cause a hypersensitive reaction upon injection and even yielded better results than known drug treatments while inhibiting tumor growth substantially.

Goldstein cautions that this inhibiting activity of tumor metastases growth was not absolute and that while the results are encouraging, there is a need for further research to combat metastatic prostate cancer. Prof. Benita added that he hopes clinical trials using the new method can begin in about two years.

Danny Goldstein, received the Barenholz Prize for Creativity and Originality in Applied Research for his work.

Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Copyright 2007 Science Daily

June 19, 2007

Something for you to ponder

I found this on one of the Prostate Cancer message boards I monitor. I found it very insightful:
Even when a cure is not possible, healing always is.  You see, a cure involves our physical body. Healing involves that inner process of the mind and the spirit.  There are people who are cured but are never healed.  And then there are people who are healed even though they are not cured.
No more crutches and though the cramp/Charlie horse remains, it is lessening as well.
I have even ventured through the kitchen etc. without the boot on. I hope to be rid of it the first week of July!

June 15, 2007

I revisit the blahs.....

Not much going on, we're in that period of time between tests so I'm a little blah.
I am walking without crutches. Not all the time but a lot. Stairs are a challenge. I've also developed this 'Charley horse' in my right calf.  I think it's from lack of use then walking with the boot on. It awakened me about at 4:00am this morning, I never went back to sleep.
I keep wishing I could play disc golf and after running into my friend Pete last night, I REALLY wish I could play! But with age comes patience, not sure who said that? So I will wait patiently until early July.
This weekend is Father's Day and because of that Major League Baseball and the Prostate Cancer Foundation are holding events at most parks.  The Kansas City Royals players are all wearing blue wrist bands and the team is auctioning off some autographed items.  If you are attending a game, look for the tables!!!!

June 07, 2007

Doctor Update: 2.0

I had my third and final doctor appointment for the week this morning. This was with my Urologist, actually his nurse. Today I received my tenth injection of Lupron. Lupton is the medication that shuts down the production of testosterone and lowers PSA levels. Since one of the side effects are hot flashes, it was only appropriate that I had a real beauty while receiving the injection!

Yesterday afternoon I received my updated PSA number from Monday's blood draw:

Up a little but still a rather insignificant change. Historical numbers are below:

Date: PSA:
6/04/07 17.80
4/30/07 16.25
4/2/07 17.68
3/5/07 21.87
2/5/07 20.90
1/8/07 18.90
12/11/06 24.86
11/13/06 43.61
10/16/06 51.48 (Started "High Dose" Ketoconazole and Hydrocortisone, 10/01)
9/11/06 83.97 (started Zometa)
8/23/06 41.77
8/18/06 54.66
(no tests in June or July)
5/19/06 11.37 (stopped Casodex)
4/3/06 4.25
3/5/06 1.45
1/27/06 0.44
12/28/05 1.85
[some day I'll go find the missing data]
Pre-treatment test: 2/?/05 219
Original test: 12/?/04 189

June 06, 2007

Doctor update 1.0

Monday's meeting with my Oncologist went fine. He was certain the leg break was not related to the
metastasized prostate cancer. Apparently, mets in distant skeletal areas is VERY rare.  PSA update due any time.
We saw the orthopedic doctor this morning. Everything is going as planned and I was even told to start putting a little weight on my leg. The goal is to be on one crutch next week and perhaps without crutches the following week! I can't wait! The boot is not an issue and there is no related pain in my leg but the crutches are hell.  You would think with all of the advances in modern medicine, someone would have figured out how to improve crutches? I did find a $995 titanium version on the web (http://www.fetterman-crutches.com/crutchescanes/shepardT.html), I think I'll make do with the aluminum version for now!
That's it for now, I'm REALLY anxious to start playing disc golf again, but yes Mary, I will keep my promise and wait until early July!!! For those of you unfamiliar with the sport, here's a teaser: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1QVLQriAlM 

June 04, 2007

Doctor, Doctor, Doctor

This is the week of the doctor.
Today I have my  monthly Oncologist appointment, PSA test and my 10th Zometa treatment. We should have a lengthy discussion with Dr. H after I gimp in on crutches!
Wednesday I have my two week follow up with the Orthopedic specialist. They will take new x-rays to make sure things are healing correctly. I'm not sure how I could have been anymore careful than I have been over the past two weeks!
Thursday I have my four month Lupron shot. No change in the side effects, hot flashes come and go as usual and actually are a little worse this time of year due to the increased humidity in Kansas City.
And now for a brief glimpse into how schizophrenic the Prostate Cancer 'industry' is for a patient.  When I was first diagnosed Mary and I read about studies showing that flaxseed had benefits (actually shrunk PC tumors in lab rats). For the first eighteen months or so I added a scoop of ground flaxseed to my smoothie each morning.
Then, last summer we received some information that a pretty widely know 'expert' was suggesting NOT to take flaxseed while being treated for PC, so we stopped.  Now today comes a story from the annual ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncologist) in Chicago.  Read the following....Mary is on her way to the store, consumption begins again with tomorrow's smoothie!!! 

Flaxseed, ginseng show benefit in cancer treatment

Mon Jun 4, 2007 10:15AM EDT

By Julie Steenhuysen

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Flaxseed slowed the growth of prostate tumors in men, while ginseng helped relieve the fatigue that cancer patients often feel, U.S. researchers reported on Saturday in two of the first scientifically rigorous looks at alternative medicine.

The studies reflect doctors' efforts to explore the risks and benefits of foods and supplements that are routinely taken by their patients with little scientific proof they help.

Americans spend between $36 billion and $47 billion a year on complementary and alternative therapies, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

"Patients are taking these compounds but we need to know if they are doing any good or any harm," said Dr. Bruce Cheson of Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, who led a panel on alternative therapies at a meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

In the flaxseed study, researchers at Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina and colleagues evaluated the seed's role as a food supplement in 161 men who were scheduled to undergo surgery for prostate cancer.

"The growth rate was decreased in the men who got flaxseed," said Dr. Nancy Davidson, an oncologist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore who is president-elect of ASCO. "I think this is fascinating."

Flaxseed is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and lignans, a fiber found on the seed coat.

"We were looking at flaxseed because of its unique nutrient profile," said Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, a researcher in Duke's School of Nursing, who led the study.

Half of the men in the study added 30 grams of flaxseed daily to their diets for about 30 days. Half of the flaxseed group also went on a low-fat diet.

After the surgery, the researchers looked at the men's tumor cells to see how quickly the cancer had multiplied.

The cancer cells in both the flaxseed groups grew about 30 to 40 percent slower than the control group.

But Demark-Wahnefried is not ready to prescribe flaxseed.

"It's a healthy food. It has a lot of vitamins and a lot of fiber. But we can not definitively say at this point you should take flaxseed because it is protective against prostate cancer," she said, adding that flaxseed now needed to be studied to see if it can prevent prostate cancer.

In the ginseng trial, Debra Barton of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and colleagues tested three different doses of the herb on patients with a variety of cancers who were expected to live at least six months.

Twenty-five percent of patients taking a 1,000-mg dose and 27 percent of patients taking a 2,000-mg dose said their fatigue symptoms were "moderately better" or "much better."

Only 10 percent of those taking a 750-mg dose reported an improvement, which was about the same as the placebo group.

Patients in the trial took Wisconsin ginseng from a single crop that was tested for uniform potency. It was powdered and given in a capsule form.

"I wouldn't have predicted this, I have to admit," Davidson said in an interview. "We might want to test this on a large scale."

The flaxseed study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the ginseng study was supported by U.S. Public Health Service grants.