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VISION, JUNE 2014
Success of cancer
immunotherapy
Memorial Sloan Kettering medical oncologist Jedd Wolchok was
featured in the May issue of Scientific American and on its website
For more news and information tailored for cancer describing the new generation of cancer therapies that unleash the patients and families, please join us at immune system to attack tumours. This new approach, which www.cansurvive.co.za and Memorial Sloan Kettering physician-scientists played a major role indeveloping, is producing stunning results when combined with stan- dard anticancer therapies.
"I believe it is finally time to start thinking realistically about long-term Researchers have found a second immune-system-braking molecule, remissions, even cures, because we can now combine standard called PD-1, which can also be blocked with antibodies.
therapies that target the tumour with immunotherapies that boost a Immunotherapies targeting PD-1 have proved successful in treating patient's own defenses," Dr. Wolchok writes.
lung cancer. "No longer can skeptical clinicians dismiss the approach aslikely to be viable for only a few specific kinds of tumours," Dr. Wolchok In the 1990s, researchers discovered the importance of CTLA-4, a pro- writes. "Odds are this approach will soon join chemotherapy and radia- tein receptor on the surface of immune cells called T cells that puts the tion as a standard treatment for many kinds of tumours." brakes on these cells and prevents them from carrying out attacks.
Immunologist James Allison identified an antibody that blocks CTLA-4 Dr. Wolchok's research on immune therapies for melanoma continues, and showed that turning off those brakes allows T cells to destroy including a study last year that found more than half of patients with cancer in mice.
advanced skin melanoma experienced tumour shrinkage of more than80 percent when given the combination of ipilimumab and the anti- Anti-CTLA-4 eventually became ipilimumab (YervoyTM), a drug body drug nivolumab, which blocks PD-1.
approved in 2011 for the treatment of metastatic melanoma, themost deadly form of skin cancer. Dr. Allison and Dr. Wolchok helped Dr. Wolchok describes the optimism that has grown throughout the guide the development of ipilimumab from the first laboratory studies medical community over the last few years about immunotherapy through the late-stage clinical trials that led to the drug's approval.
treatments in patients with advanced leukemia and kidney and lung Results of the latest clinical studies show that just over 20 percent of cancers. "Although immunotherapy is by no means a panacea, the patients with metastatic melanoma treated with ipilimumab show recent advances may allow us to make significantly more progress long-term control of their disease, remaining alive for more than three against the later stages of cancer than we have been able to achieve in years after treatment. (Previously, median life expectancy was seven to recent decades," he writes.
GOLF DAY AND DINNER FUNDRAISER
for Cancer Buddies and
on Tuesday 29 July
at Eagle Canyon Golf Club,
Come and join us - prizes,
goodie bags, a great meal and
For more details contact
Grant Pitt at wobegong@lantic.net
or 083 454 9448




VISION, JUNE 2014
Fasting triggers stem cellregeneration In the first evidence of a natural intervention triggering stemcell-based regeneration of an organ or system, a study in CellStem shows that cycles of prolonged fasting not only protectagainst immune system damage — a major side effect ofchemotherapy — but also induce immune system regenera-tion, shifting stem cells from a dormant state to a state of self-renewal.
In both mice and a Phase 1 human clinical trial, long periods ofnot eating significantly lowered white blood cell counts. Inmice, fasting cycles then "flipped a regenerative switch," Netcare Unitas Hospital Open Day
changing the signaling pathways for hematopoietic stem cells,which are responsible for the generation of blood and immune Cancer Buddies, CanSurvive and CanLiveWell were represented systems, the research showed.
by Bernice Lass and Samantha Guerrcio at the Unitas Open Dayheld during June. They offered advice on healthy eating, cancer awareness and patient support to members of the public. Therewill be a series of Netcare Open Days this year.
The study has major implications for healthier ageing, in whichimmune system decline contributes to increased susceptibilityto disease as people age. By outlining how prolonged fasting count goes down with prolonged fasting. Then when you re- cycles — periods of no food for two to four days at a time over feed, the blood cells come back. So we started thinking, well, the course of six months — kill older and damaged immune where does it come from?" cells and generate new ones, the research also has implicationsfor chemotherapy Prolonged fasting also protected against toxicity in a pilot clinical tolerance and for those with a wide range of immune system trial in which a small group of patients fasted for a 72-hour period deficiencies, including autoimmunity disorders.
prior to chemotherapy, extending Longo's influential past research.
"We could not predict that prolonged fasting would have such "While chemotherapy saves lives, it causes significant collateral a remarkable effect in promoting stem cell-based regeneration damage to the immune system. The results of this study suggest of the hematopoietic system," said corresponding author that fasting may mitigate some of the harmful effects of Valter Longo, Edna M. Jones Professor of Gerontology and the chemotherapy," said co-author Tanya Dorff, assistant professor of Biological Sciences at the USC Davis School of Gerontology clinical medicine at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and director of the USC Longevity Institute. Longo has a joint and Hospital. "More clinical studies are needed, and any such appointment at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and dietary intervention should be undertaken only under the guidance "When you starve, the system tries to save energy, and one of "We are investigating the possibility that these effects are applica- the things it can do to save energy is to recycle a lot of the ble to many different systems and organs, not just the immune sys- immune cells that are not needed, especially those that may tem," said Longo, whose lab is in the process of conducting further be damaged," Longo said. "What we started noticing in both research on controlled dietary interventions and stem cell regenera- our human work and animal work is that the white blood cell tion in both animal and clinical studies.
Its OK to TALK ABOUT CANCER! Join us at the CanSurvive Cancer Support Group - have a cup of tea/coffee,
a chat with us and listen to an interesting talk.
Upcoming meetings: 09:00 at PARKTOWN - 12 July - Hazeldene Hall (opp. Netcare Park Lane Hospital)
MIDRAND - 26 July - Netcare Waterfall City Hospital 9:00 - Speaker
Enquiries:
Chris 083 640 4949 or cansurvive@icon.co.za
Bernice 083 444 5182 or bernicelass@gmail.com
The Group is run in association with the Johannesburg Branch of Cancer Buddies and is hosted by Netcare. The Group is open to any survivor, patient or caregiver. No charge is made.



VISION, JUNE 2014
Important seminar for
breast cancer patients
We invite you to join us at The People Living with Cancer / CancerBuddies Metastatic Breast Cancer Breakfast Seminar on Saturday 26 For cancer patients, the henna July 2014 from 9.00 am.
crowns really are a healing experi- The aim of the seminar is to create awareness for women with ence. The use of henna for tattoos advanced breast cancer as well as to discuss challenges, new develop- is an ancient art that goes back ments and ptovide helpful guidelines.
many centuries, and the crownsfeature beautiful feminine floral Living with stage 4 breast cancer, or a recurrence or metastasis, is not patterns, religious symbols and easy. The possibility of recurrence and spread (metastasis) of breast messages of health, hope and well- cancer stays with you. You may be considering coming to the seminar ness. These crowns helps those who have lost their hair to because you fear this possibility. Or you may be coming because it's chemotherapy or women who have lost their hair due to other dis- already happened to you! You might know someone who is going eases, and gives them more pride in their appearance, from sick to through this process or perhaps would just like to learn more. Keep in mind that a recurrence of breast cancer or metastatic(advanced) disease is NOT hopeless. Many women continue to live Dr Marc Maurel - an Oncologist who will be talking about new options long, productive lives with breast cancer in this stage. It is also likely of treatment available.
that your experience with treatment this time will be somewhat differ- Dr Jenny Edge - a well-known breast cancer Surgeon.
ent from last time. There are so many options for your care and somany ways to chart your progress as you move through diagnosis, Dr Padayachee - will be discussing diagnostic radiation technology to treatment, and beyond.
aid and assist in making a diagnosis that will help with makinginformed decisions.
It is natural to be anxious, uncertain and overwhelmed when hearingthe term metastatic breast cancer. We will do our best to help you find Dr Maritha Kotze - a Genetic researcher will be talking about the role information about this important topic during our marooning seminar genetics play in diagnosis and treatment planning that will empower you to make informed decisions! To learn more book your seat at our morning breakfast seminar A panel of experts that will be talking at the breakfast. They include: Hope to see you all there!!! VISION, JUNE 2014
Dr. Salwitz is a Clinical Professor at Robert Wood Johnson Finding hegira from cancer Medical School.
He lectures frequently in the community on "You have cancer." topics related to Hospice and Palliative Care You hear the words. Your mind does not understand.
and has received numerous honours andawards, including the Physicians Leadership "You have cancer." Award in Palliative Care. Shock. Distance. Isolation. Someone else. A mistake. A lie. Bizarre, His blog, Sunrise Rounds, can be found at strange, you float above the room. Everyone speaks; nothing is said.
"You have cancer." A fog-like curse, a venomous reality, a phantom idea. A cold ghost and the choices. Leave one's body and be a critical observer of deci- foreign to the soul. I must run. Escape. Deny. Get away.
sions and care. The doctor's defense, clinical distance.
Hegira: to take flight to escape. To travel from a place of danger to a Others abdicate responsibility and knowledge. Do not know. Do not place of safety. understand. Do not care. Let someone else make the choices.
Perhaps the doctor. Or the spouse. Safety by not being involved … in To emotionally survive cancer, we must create perspective; distance between the disease and ourselves. How can we run away from ourown flesh, bone and blood? How can one flee from an invader, A few patients compartmentalise well. "I am only sick when I am at which matches our every step? Patients do it everyday.
the hospital or clinic." "I have cancer, but just on Tuesday when I getchemo." "The cancer is only in my lymph nodes, which means Some patients "take control" of their health and lives. There is com- everything else is healthy." fort in becoming an expert in one's illness. Know the facts, the data, Other patients immerse themselves in day-to-day life. They workhard or give to others. They create, change, act, lead or follow. "Ihave responsibilities, I do not have time to be sick." Their minds fillwith social involvement and complex tasks. They focus somewhereelse, not in the body. They push down the beast.
There is great peace for many in prayer. The temple, mosque andchurch lift the burden of disease, which is so heavy and daunting.
Prayer mends the soul and gives eternal balance to suffering.
Some patient's take real journeys, as their bodies allow. They travelthe world not to complete some list, but to leave the diseasebehind. Flooded with new smells, ideas and culture, it is possible toforget illness, if just for a while.
There is healing and perspective in catharsis. Humour purges painand floods the mind with fresh air and peace. Tears give relief andfreedom. We need the comfort, which comes from both laughterand crying; they are two sides of the same feeling.
All of these, and more, are ways of finding peace and distancebetween life and disease. Every patient does several, combined andat different times. However, it seems to me that the greatest suc-cess in obtaining hegira from cancer is from love.
The bond between two persons or among many is the greatestpower for healing of all. The connection between husband and wife,child and mother, brother and sister, friend, doctor and even col-league, is the base on which the greatest emotional peace can beachieved.
Love is there at moments of joy and loss. Love holds us when we areweak and celebrates when we are strong. Humans are lifted by thepower of love and never is it more wonderful, powerful and impor-tant, than when we are weak and sick. Not only does love give com-fort, support and guidance, it helps us find our way. Love is the mag-nificent, gentle guide on our journey to find hegira, together.
To study the phenomena of disease without books is to sail an uncharted sea, while to study books without patients is not to go to sea at all. - Sir William Osler VISION, JUNE 2014
Outriders cancer survivors Medical Schemes may not
Double Century Team Applicants and members of medical schemes have certain The Outriders cycle Club based in Table View is a club which caters forpeople of all cycling abilities, from league riders to beginners. rights and responsibilities.
The club members meet every Saturday, Sunday and public holiday Section 29 (1) (n) of the Medical Schemes Act specifies that morning to enjoy a couple of hours cycling with friends, the rides membership applications may not be influenced by an always include a stop somewhere for coffee.
applicant's age, sex and past or present state of health. This Some time ago one of our members suggested that we form a team of means that you have the right not to be unfairly discrimi- cancersurvivors to compete in the Coronation Double Century nated against or charged a higher membership fee on the (200km) cycle event in November 2014.
Whilst we were drinking coffee at the end of one of our Saturday morning rides we identified seven club members out of membership of 200 who are cancer survivors. The cancers include melanomas, breast,prostate, testicular, lymphoma, and colorectal.
• Gender• Marital status Double Century Teams consist of a maximum of twelve riders, the timeat which the sixth rider crosses the finish line determines the finish • Ethnic or social origin time for the team.The training for the event will start in the near • Sexual orientation future, and as we have identified seven members who say they want to participate, I would like to invite any cancer survivors who would like to join us and commit to the training, to please contact me.
• State of health The object of us riding this event as the Outriders/PLWC team is toraise the awareness of cancer, the fact that cancer can beaten, and of Section 29 (2) further states that your membership may the great support available to cancer sufferers offered by People Living not be cancelled or suspended except on the grounds of: With Cancer (PLWC) support services offered by Cancer Buddies. • failure to pay, within the time allowed in the medical Our aim is to be on the start line in Swellendam with 12 cancer sur- scheme's rules, the membership fees required in such rules vivors and their bicycles, then to support and encourage each other • failure to repay any debt due to the medical scheme throughout the day for the whole 200 kms in order that all 12 of us • submission of fraudulent claims cross the finish line together in celebration of us all having previous- • committing any fraudulent act ly overcome a much harder challenge when we BEAT our variouscancers.
• non-disclosure of material information For more information contact: Martin Connolly, 0828826097, connolly.martin44@gmail.com.
HELP US TO PROVIDE SUPPORT
FOR CANCER PATIENTS
Head and Neck Support Group
The CanSurvive Head and Neck Support Group is for anyonewho has had trauma to the head or neck – not only cancerrelated – although that applies to the vast majority. The Group isfor patients who are just starting this journey, as well as thosewho are many years down the treatment and recovery road.
The objective is to provide information, share experiences, andhelp with coping mechanisms. It is run FOR the patients BY thepatients. There is always a medical member of the MorningsideHead and Neck Oncology Team present and also trained CancerBuddies. Partners are encouraged to attend the meetings as well.
The informal and supportive meetings are usually held on thefirst Thursday of each month at Rehab Matters, 1 De la Rey Rd.
Rivonia from 18h00 to 20h00, There is also a Facebook group:South African Head and Neck Support Group For more information, contact Kim Lucas, on 082 880 1218 ore-mail: lct@global.co.za VISION, JUNE 2014
Cancer Buddies Johannesburg branch, and
CanSurvive Cancer Support Groups : 083 640 4949,
Rondebosch Medical Centre Support Group. GVI Practice 4th floor. 18:00-19:30 Contact Linda Greeff 082 551 3310 Cancer Buddies/People Living with Cancer, Cape Town:
076 775 6099, info@plwc.org.za, www.plwc.org.za CanSurvive Head and Neck Support Group, at RehabMatters, 1 De la Rey Rd. Rivonia at 18h00 GVI Oncology /Cancer Buddies, Rondebosch Medical Centre
Support Group. Contact: Linda Greeff 0825513310 10&12CANSA Pretoria Support Group 10:00 32 Lys Street.
CanSurvive Cancer Support Group, Hazeldene Hall, GVI Cape Gate Support group: 10h00-12h00 in the Boardroom,
Cape Gate Oncology Centre. Cape Gate Oncology Centre, "Look Good, Feel Better" Contact: Caron Caron Majewski, 021 9443800 Bosom Buddies, Hazeldene Hall, Parktown 10:00 GVI Oncology Somerset West Group for advanced and metastatic
CanSurvive Cancer Support Group, Netcare Waterfall City cancers. Contact person: Nicolene Andrews 0218512255 Hospital, Midrand 9:00 Cancer.vive, Frieda Henning 082 335 49912, info@cancervive.co.za
Rondebosch Medical Centre Support Group. GVI Practice Can-Sir, 021 761 6070, Ismail-Ian Fife, ismailianf@can-sir.org.za
4th floor. 18:00-19:30 Contact Linda Greeff 082 551 3310 Support Group: 076 775 6099.
Cancer Buddies and Cancer.vive Golf Day and Dinner atEagle Canyon. Details from Grant Pitt: 083 454 9448, Bosom Buddies: 011 482 9492 or 0860 283 343,
Netcare Rehab Hospital, Milpark. www.bosombuddies.org.za. CanSurvive Head and Neck Support Group, Rivonia,
Johannesburg. Contact Kim Lucas 0828801218 or lct@global.co.za CanSurvive Head and Neck Support Group, at RehabMatters, 1 De la Rey Rd. Rivonia at 18h00 Prostate Cancer Support Action Group, MediClinic
CanSurvive Cancer Support Group, Hazeldene Hall, Constantiaberg. Contact Alan Mitchell on 073 560 3067 or St. John's Catholic Church Awareness Group, North Riding, Wings of Hope Breast Cancer Support Group
10:30. Subject Lymphoma 011 432 8891, info@wingsofhope.co.za Reach for Recovery, 19 St.Johns Road, Johannesburg.
St. John's Catholic Church Awareness Group, enquiries to Pam -
Speaker: Sue Serebro - Lymphodema 011 678 3677 / 083 307 0315 Cape Gate Oncology Centre, 10h00-12h00 CHOC: Childhood Cancer Foundation SA; Head Office:
14&16CANSA Pretoria Support Group 10:00 32 Lys Street.
086 111 3500; headoffice@choc.org.za; www.choc.org.za Wings of Hope Breast Cancer Support Group at German CANSA National Office: Toll-free 0800 226622
School, Parktown. 09:30 CANSA Johannesburg Central: 011 648 0990, 19 St John Road,
Bosom Buddies, Hazeldene Hall, Parktown 10:00 Rondebosch Medical Centre Support Group. GVI Practice CANSA Pretoria: Contact Miemie du Plessis 012 361 4132 or
4th floor. 18:00 - 19:30Contact Linda Greeff 082 551 3310 082 468 1521; Sr Ros Lorentz 012 329 3036 or 082 578 0578 Reach for Recovery (R4R) : Johannesburg Group, 011 487 2895.
CanSurvive Head and Neck Support Group, at Rehab Reach for Recovery (R4R) Pretoria Group: 082 212 9933
Matters, 1 De la Rey Rd. Rivonia at 18h00 Reach for recovery, Cape Peninsula, 021 689 5347 or 0833061941
Cape Gate Oncology Centre, 10h00-12h00 Reach for Recovery: Durban, Marika Wade, 072 248 0008,
11&13CANSA Pretoria Support Group 10:00 32 Lys Street.
CanSurvive Cancer Support Group, Hazeldene Hall, Reach for Recovery: Harare, Zimbabwe contact 707659.
Breast Best Friend Zimbabwe, e-mail bbfzim@gmailcom
Wings of Hope Breast Cancer Support Group at GermanSchool, Parktown. 09:30 St. John's Catholic Church Awareness Group, North Riding, Cancer Centre - Harare: 60 Livingstone Avenue, Harare
10:30. Subject: Kidney cancer Tel: 707673 / 705522 / 707444 Fax: 732676 E-mail: Rondebosch Medical Centre Support Group. GVI Practice 4th floor. 18:00 - 19:30Contact Linda Greeff 082 551 3310 VISION, JUNE 2014
thought about Apple's new HealthKit platform and Samsung's new SAMI platform, both designed to act as repositories for health datacollected by wearables.
"It's exciting, and it'll be interesting to see where it goes," Holmes told me. "But I think the real acid test for these things is who owns Exemestane appears more potent than
my data. If it's my data can I export it any time I want and takesomewhere else, or are these companies going to keep the data for tamoxifen in hormone-sensitive breast
themselves and use it?" Women undergoing treatment to prevent breast cancer recurrenceappear to have better outcomes if they are treated with the aro- New clinical guidelines for cancer-related
matase inhibitor exemestane rather than standard of care tamox- ifen, according to a study presented at the 2014 Annual Meeting ofthe American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).
Fatigue is a debilitating problem for cancer patients undergoingtreatment; however, it also poses a huge detriment after treatment "For years, tamoxifen has been the standard hormone therapy for and can significantly affect quality of life. Approximately 30 percent preventing breast cancer recurrences in young women with hor- of cancer patients endure persistent fatigue for several years after mone-sensitive disease," said Olivia Pagani, MD, Breast Unit at the treatment, according to an expert from the American Society of Oncology Institute of Southern Switzerland, Bellinzona, Switzerland, Clinical Oncology at a press briefing. "These results confirm that exemestane withovarian function suppression constitutes a valid alternative." ASCO created the panel to develop assessment, screening, andtreatment guidelines for medical professionals to help patients who The researchers demonstrated that treatment with exemestane plus experience fatigue after completing primary treatment. ovarian function suppression led to a 28% reduction in the risk ofwomen developing a subsequent invasive cancer, and specifically The panel recommends that all health care professions regularly reduced the risk of breast cancer recurrence by 34% when com- screen and measure fatigue and other associated problems in can- pared with tamoxifen therapy plus ovarian function suppression.
cer patients through health history, physical examinations, and lab-oratory analysis. It is important for all patients to be educated "Our findings indicate that exemestane is better than tamoxifen, about fatigue and its associated medical problems.
when given with ovarian function suppression, but longer follow-upof these young women will be important to assess survival, and any Behavioral and psychoeducational therapies have also been report- long-term side effects and fertility," said Dr. Pagani.
Game changer for leukaemia therapy
Adelaide researchers are zeroing in on a promising new approach tokilling off cancer cells in patients with leukaemia.
South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI)and the University of Adelaide's Centre for Personalised CancerMedicine, researchers have found that cancer cells decide whether tolive or die after a short period of intense exposure to targeted thera-py, opposing the current requirement for continuous treatment.
The researchers say this study presents a new treatment strategywhich will translate to a significant reduction in side effects forpatients.
Health wearables: "Who owns the data?"
People from Apple and Samsung have been talking about how indi-vidual wearable products like FitBit report the data they collect intoindividual repositories, so that someone or something can't analysethat data or combine it with other types of data. That's bad, they say.
Apple, Samsung, and others are trying to build large tech platformsinto which all sorts of health and fitness wearables can connect andsend data.
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich made wearable devices a priority when hetook the helm a couple of years ago. But it looks at the platformapproach that Apple and Samsung espouse with skepticism. Maybethere's some sense in leaving wearables data in "silos" after all.
VP of Intel's New Devices group, Steven Holmes, was asked what he VISION, JUNE 2014
ed to reduce fatigue in cancer patients. The panel recommends thatpatients interested in these options be referred to psychosocial Do you need a Cancer Buddy? service providers who specialise in cancer. Some studies also suggestthat yoga, acupuncture and mindfulness-based approaches may The Cancer Buddies support project emphasises the importance also be beneficial. of support while learning to live with cancer, and that this isfundamental to developing a true cancer survivor approach. The panel does not recommend medication to alleviate fatigue incancer patients after treatment. While some data suggest that med- Talking with someone who has survived cancer and has regainedhis or her life offers hope and a sense of empowerment. Through ication can help patients suffering from fatigue who have advanced empowerment comes a fighting spirit that can assist in building disease or are receiving cancer treatment, there is insufficient evi- dence that these medications relieve fatigue in patients after treat-ment.
The service is offered absolutely free via our website at The new guidelines appeared in the April 14 issue of the Journal of www.cancerbuddies.org.za or our toll-free line, Clinical Oncology.
and is open to and helps anyone touched by any type of cancer,at any cancer stage, at any age, living anywhere in South Africa. Robotic sperm is here, and it might help to
treat cancer

A number of different elements work together in the vaccine. It con- Meet the humble "Magnetosperm," a tiny, sperm-like robot with tains the vaccinia virus (used in the smallpox vaccine) with three incredible potential in the medical world. It's approximately six gene modifications: the addition of two that signal T-cells to come times longer than a human sperm, and scientists at the American to the tumour and reduce the number of immune suppressor cells Institute of Physics say in a paper that Magnetosperm "technology in the tumour, respectively, and the deletion of a viral gene which could be used not only to help with fertilization, but also leads to infected cells sending more signals to the immune system.
chemotherapy treatment." And, to avoid the immune system from being triggered immediate- Patients who undergo chemotherapy to kill cancer cells can experi- ly, before the virus reaches the tumour, scientists have modified its ence serious negative side-effects, if healthy cells are damaged in surface to delay the immune response.
the process. Using the sperm-like robots, doctors could more accu- All of that, the company hopes, would add up to a targeted and rately target the cancer cells, and could help protect healthy cells potent therapy that would be given to cancer patients in a few from exposure.
doses after surgery, likely in combination with other drugs.
But that's easier said than done. Now it's time for the company to Virus that helped eradicate smallpox takes
put its data where its mouth is. Rote said he's rounded up some of on cancer
the top leaders in the field to serve as advisers to the fledgling com-pany, and is in the process of raising a $2 million Series A.
With a little genetic engineering, the vaccine that was key in helping The plan is to complete animal safety testing and apply to the FDA eradicate smallpox more than 30 years ago could also be key in cur- to begin a human clinical trial in a range of solid tumours, initially ing cancer, if a young Cleveland biotech has anything to say about it.
focusing on kidney cancer. Rote thinks it will take $15 million to Western Oncolytics is developing a dual-mechanism therapy that advance the drug to determine whether it works in humans and, if combines oncolytic virus and gene therapy technologies with the so, to reach the point of exit or partnership.
hope of wiping out the ability of cancer cells to survive in the body.
CEO Kurt Rote, started making calls to university researchers and it Combination therapy showing promise for
led him to the office of Stephen H. Thorne at the University ofPittsburgh Cancer Center, who had been studying oncolytic viruses breast and ovarian cancer
A two-drug combination that disrupts critical signaling circuits in Oncolytic viruses are genetically modified to infect and kill cancer cancer cells has produced an observable benefit in patients with cells while simultaneously triggering an anti-tumour immune recurrent high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSC) or triple-nega- response. Their promise lies in being able to treat cancers with side tive breast cancer (TNBC). These results, from a phase I clinical trial effects that parallel those of a flu shot, rather than those from of the regimen, was reported by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute inves- tigators at the annual meeting of the American Society of ClinicalOncology (ASCO) in May, 2014.
Although they've been studied for decades, they're just nowadvancing to the point where they're being tested in large-scale The study, which tested successively higher doses of the targeted human trials. Amgen recently completed a Phase 3 study in drugs BKM120 and olaparib in 46 patients, focused on the safety of melanoma patients of an oncolytic virus it bought from Biovex in a the treatment, the optimal dosage, how the drugs are metabolised, 2011 deal worth up to $1 billion. The results of the trial were mixed, and their anti-cancer activity. At each dose level tested, there was potentially limiting the commercial viability of the drug, but the evidence of clinical benefit – tumours either shrank or stopped trial serves as an important milestone for the field.
expanding. Side effects were similar to those associated withBKM120 or olaparib alone.
The therapy developed in Thorne's lab employs similar concepts butis based on more advanced technology and has shown better Although the two drugs attack different survival mechanisms within tumour shrinkage and remission in animal testing, Rote said.
tumour cells, they appear to reinforce each other. The PI3K pathway VISION, JUNE 2014
obstructed by BKM120 is often switched on in cancer cells. The An excellent article giving six breathing exercises to help you cope PARP-1 protein targeted by olaparib helps cancer cells repair DNA damage; shutting down the protein allows DNA damage to accu- mulate to the point where cancer cells begin to die.
Drug expiration dates: how seriously should
New data on immunotherapy in advanced
you take them?
Are drugs that have passed their expiration dates OK to use, or The immunotherapy drug nivolumab continues to show long-term should they be discarded? Here's some advice.
effectiveness in treating metastatic melanoma, achieving a three- The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that an expira- year survival rate of 41 percent against the deadly skin cancer, tion date be placed on most prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
report scientists from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
The expiration date is a guarantee from the manufacturer that a drug The trial involved 107 patients with metastatic melanoma that pro- will remain chemically stable and thus maintain its full potency and gressed despite several treatments with other therapies. Historically, safety -- until that date. Some medications may retain their potency such patients have a median survival of about 11 months, said Hodi.
beyond the expiration date, but there's really no way for a consumer They received nivolumab between 2008 and 2012. According to this to tell which drugs in his or her medicine cabinet are still safe and report, the one, two, and three-year overall survival rates are 63 per- effective, especially after the container has been opened.
cent, 48 percent, and 41 percent respectively. In a study conducted by the FDA on a large stockpile of drugs pur- "This is the longest follow-up of patients receiving PD-1 blocking chased by the military, 90 percent of more than 100 drugs were drugs in metastatic melanoma in this cohort," said Hodi, who also safe and effective to use years after the expiration date, suggesting heads Dana-Farber's Center for Immuno-Oncology. "The responses to they have an extended shelf life. The drugs in the FDA study, howev- nivolumab are continuing to be durable with an acceptable safety er, were stored under ideal conditions -- not in a bathroom medi- profile." He noted that in some cases the benefits have been main- cine cabinet, where heat and humidity can cause drugs to degrade.
tained for more than a year after patients discontinued the drug. To help maintain potency: Analysis of the results suggests that melanoma tumours that Store your medications in a closet or cabinet located in a cool, express the PD-L1 protein are more likely to respond to nivolumab than tumours that don't express the protein. This is being studied inongoing phase III trials evaluating the role of nivolumab in metasta- Don't mix medications in one container: Chemicals from differ- tic melanoma.
ent drugs can interact to interfere with potency or cause harm-ful side effects. If two or more drugs have been mingled for any period of time, discard them.
Breathing exercises to relax
Discard any pills that have become discolored, turned powderyor smell strong; any liquids that appear cloudy or filmy; or any Overworked, underslept and feeling the pressure? There are plenty tubes of cream that are hardened or cracked.
of ways to find calm, without investing in a four-hand spa massage.
All you need is a pair of lungs, your breath and 10 minutes or less.
A few drugs, like insulin and some liquid antibiotics, degradequickly and should always be used by the expiration date.
Replace any outdated drug you're taking for a serious healthproblem, since its potency is more critical than that of an over-the-counter drug you take for a headache or hay fever. If indoubt, consult a pharmacist.
Immunotherapy for prostate cancer in sight
If you are over 50 we would like to suggest that you visit the The immunotherapeutic agent Ipilumumab has been shown to have You've Earned It website at www.youve-earned-it.co.za. a markedly positive effect in the treatment of patients who are Much is covered in this website – Health and Wellness, Travel, resistant to conventional hormone treatments and chemotherapy.
Financial Planning etc. One really nice feature on the Financial These are the words of a core statement from a study which was Planning page is that YEI members are able to ask finance- set up based on collaboration between the world's leading centres related questions via the website on anything from retirement for the research and treatment of prostate cancer. planning, to queries on tax services, investments, wills and The scientists investigated the extent to which immunotherapy estate planning. If travel is your thing, the Travel page show- with this agent is also suitable for the more common type of cases some lovely trips. Like freebies? Competitions and ticket advanced prostate cancer. The medication is already being success- give-aways are featured regularly.
fully used as immunotherapy for advanced melanoma – a compara- Make the most of this new offering by taking a look at tively rare type of cancer.
www.youve-earned-it.co.za and while you are there, subscribe Michael Krainer, Head of the Urological Tumours Working Group to their monthly e-Newsletter,and be the first to know what is within the Department of Oncology (University Department of on offer on this great website.
Internal Medicine I) at the MedUni Vienna, had this to say about the VISION, JUNE 2014
study results: "For us, it is virtually a miracle that immunotherapydemonstrates such a clear effect at such a late stage of the disease.
The results of our study must be regarded as a further major successin the immunotherapy of carcinomas." The substance's mechanism of action is as follows: the Ipilumumab antibodies disable Throughout the year Hospice Wits "inhibitors", giving the body's immune system a boost.
host various short courses: the 5-dayIntroduction to Palliative Care, 2,5-Day Despite this good effect, it's not all plain sailing: the "revved up" Grief, Loss and Bereavement Workshop, 5-day Introduction to immune system can also attack the body's own tissues. According to Paediatric Palliative Care, 3-day Non-Clinical Palliative Care, 3-Day the study, Ipilumumab is therefore not suitable – in view of its side Physical Assessment Workshop, as well as other client specific effects – for treating patients with advanced prostate cancer who are courses which they present on request. Courses and workshops are in poor general health. For this reason, a further study is currently also offered at a clients' premises for groups of more than 10.
underway and is expected to be completed in 2015. This follow-on For further details phone 011 483 9100 or email
study is limited to patients with a better prognosis and who are in better overall health. Krainer syas that: "Based on our results, I anticipate that this study will bring approval for Ipilumumab forpatients with advanced prostate cancer." The researchers measured the brain activity of the study volunteersusing a device called functional MRI, which allows doctors to meas- ure what areas of the brain are active during certain tasks. The tests Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation
were done one to two weeks before chemo treatment, then four tosix months after chemotherapy ended. The other two groups under- celebrates its closing
went the imaging tests at the same times.
The Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation has issued a statement The decrease in brain activity that occurs during multitasking was saying that it will be closing its doors at the end of June. They say seen in those who had chemo but not in the other two groups.
that they have reached the peak of their progress and have funded There was also a link between the patients' complaints about con- all the research of the Kanzius Noninvasive Radiowave Cancer centration and memory and the changes in brain activity seen in Treatment necessary to launch human trials. Under the direction of the imaging tests, according to the study authors. The researchers AkesoGenX and the guidance of lead researcher, Dr Steven Curley, suggested these changes may be due to damage that occurs to the this treatment will continue to advance towards the goal of the late brain during chemotherapy, or because certain connections in the John Kanzius – to provide a "better way" to treat cancer.
brain may be affected by chemotherapy.
The Kanzius Foundation will grant all of its remaining assets and donations to three newly-created funds at the Regional CancerCentres in Erie and Fort Myers and at Baylor College of Medicine in New guidelines recommend longer
Houston. Each fund, bearing the name of John Kanzius, will provide resources for the institutions to conduct human clinical trials.
Breast cancer survivors may benefit from taking the estrogen-block- Memory problems after chemo linked to
ing drug for up to 10 years, experts say The hormone-blocking medication tamoxifen should be given for as Breast cancer survivors who had chemotherapy show changes in long as 10 years following treatment of certain types of breast can- brain activity during multitasking chores, according to a new Belgian cer, according to updated guidelines from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).
These findings may partly explain the phenomenon dubbed "chemo "Tamoxifen taken for five years has been the standard . . but we brain." For years, people who've had chemotherapy have reported now have evidence to recommend up to 10 years of tamoxifen for changes in thinking and memory, especially when doing more than women with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer," guideline one thing at once.
update panel co-chair Dr. Harold Burstein said in an ASCO newsrelease.
"Before you can fix a problem, you need to know what the problemis. And this study demonstrates what the problem may be. It's a The new guidelines include women with hormone receptor-positive really good first step to understanding the what. Now we need to breast cancers between stage 1 and stage 3.
understand the why and how to fix it," said Dr. Courtney Vito, a Life-extending ovarian cancer chemotherapy
breast surgeon and assistant clinical professor of surgical oncologyat the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center in Duarte, Calif.
Vito was not involved in the current study, but reviewed the study's Patients with non-metastatic ovarian cancer live an average of 16 months longer when chemotherapy is delivered into the abdomen In her experience, Vito said, women tend to be affected more by instead of by standard intravenous infusion, yet only a minority of chemo brain than are men after chemotherapy. However, she said, eligible patients are receiving it, report scientists from Dana-Farber ''women tend to multitask more, so this might explain part of it." Cancer Institute.
For the study, Dr. Sabine Deprez from the Catholic University of The use of intraperitoneal (IP) chemotherapy shot up after the Leuven in Belgium and colleagues evaluated 18 women with breast National Cancer Institute issued a rare alert in 2006 recommending cancer who had chemotherapy, 16 with breast cancer who didn't IP chemotherapy as the new standard of care, said Alexi Wright, MD, have chemotherapy, and 17 healthy women without breast cancer.
MPH a medical oncologist in the Susan F. Smith Centre for Women's VISION, JUNE 2014
Cancers at Dana-Farber, but after rising from 15 percent in 2005 to50 percent in 2007, use of IP chemotherapy in eligible ovarian can-cer patients did not increase further and may have dropped slightly,reported Wright. Her study is the first to examine whether physi-cians are using IP chemotherapy in clinical practice at six compre-hensive cancer centers.
Strikingly, Wright found that when providers are using IP therapy,they often change the chemotherapy given, an indication that Bracelet helps support the
patients are not receiving the chemotherapy that proved so effec- Cancer Buddies toll-free line
tive in clinical trials. In more than 40 percent of cases, providersreduced doses or substituted less toxic chemotherapy drugs, Wright All cancer patients and their families have free access to free reported. "Oncologists may have lowered the dose of chemotherapy cancer support through Cancer Buddies, a project of PLWC.
to make the treatment easier for patients," said Wright, citing the Cancer Buddies, who take the hands of the cancer patient, are all difficulty that many patients had completing treatment on the trained to take calls and deal with the needs of the patient and landmark clinical trial. "However, this poses other risks to patients their journey. The hope and support offered by this service is because in the past decreasing doses of chemotherapy has come at incredible and assists the patients to feel more in control of their the cost of lower survival rates." journey with cancer.
Surprisingly, even with substandard application of IP chemotherapy, Help us to keep this wonderful lifeline operating! patients who received IP chemotherapy lived longer than thosegiven intravenous chemotherapy: IP chemotherapy was associated Visit the website www.cancerbuddies.org.za for further informa- with a five-year survival rate of 62.5 percent compared with 45.0 tion and to buy bracelets online. The beautiful handmade percent for intravenous therapy.
emblem of the wristband was designed and painted by thefamous artist Pierre Volschenk.
Prostate cancer biomarkers identified in
Using samples from 60 men, Dr Selth and colleagues discovered anumber of small ribonucleic acid (RNA) molecules called microRNAs in seminal fluid that are known to be increased in prostate tumours.
The study showed that some of these microRNAs were surprisingly Improved diagnosis and management of one of the most common accurate in detecting cancer.
cancers in men - prostate cancer - could result from research at theUniversity of Adelaide, which has discovered that seminal fluid "The presence of these microRNAs enabled us to more accurately (semen) contains biomarkers for the disease.
discriminate between patients who had cancer and those who didn't, compared with a standard PSA test," Dr Selth says. "We also Results of a study now published in the journal Endocrine-Related found that the one specific microRNA, miR-200b, could distinguish Cancer have shown that the presence of certain molecules in semi- between men with low grade and higher grade tumours. This is nal fluid indicates not only whether a man has prostate cancer, but important because, as a potential prognostic tool, it will help to also the severity of the cancer.
indicate the urgency and type of treatment required." Speaking in the lead-up to Men's Health Week (9-15 June),University of Adelaide research fellow and lead author Dr Luke Selth Drug-resistant lung tumours respond
says the commonly used PSA (prostate specific antigen) test is by In a phase I clinical trial, about half of non-small cell lung cancer itself not ideal to test for the cancer.
(NSCLC) patients whose tumours no longer responded to conven- "While the PSA test is very sensitive, it is not highly specific for tional targeted drugs had their tumours shrink after receiving a new, prostate cancer," Dr Selth says. "This results in many unnecessary more precisely targeted agent. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute biopsies of non-malignant disease. More problematically, PSA test- researchers reported these findings at the annual meeting of the ing has resulted in substantial over-diagnosis and over-treament of American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in May 31, 2014 slow growing, non-lethal prostate cancers that could have been The drug, known as AZD9291, not only showed encouraging signs of safely left alone.
effectiveness but also produced markedly fewer side effects than "Biomarkers that can accurately detect prostate cancer at an early did earlier targeted therapies for this type of lung cancer, the stage and identify aggressive tumours are urgently needed to researchers found.
improve patient care. Identification of such biomarkers is a major "The effectiveness of targeted therapies for this form of lung cancer focus of our research," he says.
was first demonstrated 10 years ago," remarked Jänne, who is also Dr Selth, a Young Investigator of the Prostate Cancer Foundation the scientific director of the Belfer Institute for Applied Cancer (USA), is a member of the Freemasons Foundation Centre for Men's Science at Dana-Farber. "This study points to promise of a new gen- Health at the University of Adelaide and is based in the University's eration of targeted therapies that can be used when the initial drugs Dame Roma Mitchell Cancer Research Laboratories.
lose their effectiveness." DISCLAIMER: This newsletter is for information purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. Items contained in Vision may have been obtained from various news sources and been edited for use here. Where possible a point of contact is provided. Readers should conduct their own research into any person, company, product or service. Please consult your doctor for personal medical advice before taking any action that may impact on your health. The information and opinions expressed in this publication are not recommendations and the views expressed are not necessarily those of People Living With Cancer, Cancer Buddies, CanSurvive or those of the Editor.

Source: http://www.cansurvive.co.za/downloads/VISION%20June%202014.pdf

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