Group Room/Med Briefs
Well, after a few frustrating attempts with my browser and getting the
RealAudio Plug-in to work, I was able to connect to the Web site that
picked up the "Group Room" broadcast for those of us not in an area where
it could be heard on the radio. Anyway, while Janice and I were listenting,
I called in (cell phone, thank goodness it was a 1-800 number) and I
actually got on the program after being on hold almost 45 minutes. It was
really neat, I got to ask Dr. Wendy Harpham a question and got to thank
Ellen Cohen and her on the air.
Anyway, Wendy brought up the 'mailing list' (us) and asked if I had heard
of the CFL. I told her they were on the list and if people were interested
in an information only mailing list on low grade lymphoma they could access
it at the LRFA's website.
Anyay, my question was on what Wendy thought of allogeneic BMTs
specifically for low grade lymphoma. She said she wasn't an oncologist and
allogeneic BMTs were not an option for her since she wasn't a match. Then
the resident oncologist, Dr. Michael added that allogeneic BMTs were pretty
much unproven and too toxic. I THINK Ellen interrupted at that point and
said that in fact there have been studies that show that it could be the
only 'curative' protocol out there for low grade NHL.
I don't have the exact transcript but I am guessing she was talking about
several of the studies that most of us have seen on NHL-low. I think we
picked up a few more subscribers to nhl-low and it was exciting and a
thrill to talk to Ellen and Wendy. Wendy found out just last Friday her
blood tests "weren't quite right." Ellen is in the middle of treatment.
REMARKABLE women for going on and doing a talk show on lymphoma, given
Welcome new subscribers: 209
If you go to the Vital Options (Group Room) home page via www.lymphoma.org,
good luck trying to e-mail them, none of the e-mail addresses work.
Bone marrow transplants for chronic myeloid leukemia
A new study concludes that bone marrow transplants from
unrelated tissue matched donors may be safely used to treat some patients
with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).
- CML has been thought to be curable using only hematopoietic
stem-cell transplantation, using marrow from siblings with matching tissue.
- researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
in Seattle, Washington, report that a study of 192 patients with chronic
received marrow transplants from unrelated donors found that graft failure
occurred in 5% of patients within five years of transplant, rate similar to
that seen among recipients of marrow from siblings.
- authors further note that survival was improved among
participants through the prophylactic use of the drugs fluconazole and
- the study is in The New England Journal of Medicine
MedBriefs (INC inc.) 4/3/98
Increasing the efficacy of chemotherapy
Researchers say antisense DNA may increase the efficacy of
chemotherapy drugs, and help shrink or eliminate tumors in mice that are
derived from human melanoma cells. Researchers used the single strand of
genetic material that can bind to and effectively "cancel out" production
of certain targeted proteins (antisense DNA) by directing it at a molecule
that helps cancer cells avoid apoptosis and found that the treatment
increased the efficacy of the chemotherapy drug dacarbazine by causing
tumors to disappear completely in three out of six animals. Apoptosis is
the cell-suicide program that normally keeps cells from growing out of
control and many chemotherapy drugs work by inducing this process.
Researchers at the University of Vienna in Austria worked in collaboration
with San Diego-based Genta Inc. and the University Hospital in Leiden, The
Netherlands. Researchers say the therapy may work for other types of
cancers including breast, lung, gastric, colorectal and
prostate. Reported in the journal Nature Medicine (1998;4:232-234).
MedBriefs (INC inc.) 3/31/98
Mechanism by which cancer cells invade bone
Researchers say they have determined how cancer cells invade bone.
Researchers at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor say some cancer cells
invasion of bone begins when they attach to the lining of blood vessels that
supply bone marrow and that "...there is a specific receptor-ligand
that mediates the docking of prostate tumor cells to bone marrow endothelial
cells." The researchers studied the endothelial cells that line the blood
vessels supplying bone marrow, watching how normal cells and cancer cells
tried to bind to them and found that prostate cancer cells have a
propensity to establish themselves in bone and a preferential adhesion to
bone marrow endothelial cells. The scientists claim to have found several
molecules and antibodies that hinder cancer cells from adhering to bone in
lab cultures but have not determined if the compounds would work in humans.
Reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (1998;90:84-5,
MedBriefs (INC inc.) 3/31/98
Studying chromosomal abnormalities in leukemia patients
A recent study appears to confirm previous findings that
the study of chromosomal abnormalities (cytogenetics) can help to predict
treatment and disease outcomes in leukemia patients.
- researchers at Ohio State University followed 628
leukemia patients for 15 years to collect data.
- reports of the findings say the study showed significant
correlations between a patient's cure status and their cytogenetics, and
between their cytogenetics, survival, and effective treatments.
- authors say one of the primary benefits of cytogenetics
in leukemia patients is the ability to identify sub-forms of leukemia that
are likely to respond to a certain type of treatment and those that won't.
- the study was reported in a supplement to the journal
Cancer (March, 1998).
MedBriefs (INC inc.) 3/26/98
Cigar smoking and risk of cancer and heart disease
A recent report concludes that men who smoke cigars
regularly are at increased risk death from heart disease and cancer.
- researchers at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, California,
studied a subset of 225 regular cigar smokers from a cohort of more than
14,000 persons over a period of 10 years to collect data.
- found that the cigar smokers were at slightly higher risk
of death overall than non-smokers, and that they were at twice the risk of
dying from all forms of cancer and heart disease than non-smokers.
- authors note that none of the 225 cigar smokers studied
had any sign of heart disease or cancer when the study began.
- the report was presented at the American Heart
Association's 38th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology
and Prevention in Santa
Fe (March 20, 1998).
MedBriefs (INC inc.) 3/23/98
Oral anemia treatment available in the U.S.
Unimed Pharmaceuticals has announced the availability in
the U.S. of Anadrol(R)-50 (oxymetholone) 50 mg tablets, the only oral
anabolic-androgenic hormone indicated for the treatment of anemia.
- studies of the drug are reported to have shown its
ability to stimulate red blood cell production by enhancing the body's
release of erythropoietin and by signally stem cells to produce red blood
- developers say the oral formulation of Anadrol provides
an appealing and safe alternative to injection-based treatments for anemia,
a condition which often appears in HIV/AIDS, cancer, lupus, aplastic
anemia, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease patients.
- data taken from a Unimed Pharmaceuticals release (March
MedBriefs (INC inc.) 3/19/98
Depression risk in users of interferon-alpha
A new report warns of the risks of depression associated
with use of the drug interferon-alpha (IFN-a).
- IFN-a is used to treat adult leukemia, certain kidney
cancers, the skin cancer melanoma, and hepatitis B and C.
- Dr. Alan D. Valentine of the University of Texas M.D.
Anderson Cancer Center writes that among the common side effects of IFN-a
depression, paresthesias (changes in sensation), impaired
concentration, amnesia, confusion, and anxiety.
- Valentine further notes that the side effects are rarely
serious and can usually be treated provided both physicians and patients
are aware of the risks.
- the report is in the journal Seminars in Oncology
MedBriefs (INC inc.) 3/16/98