chemotherapy

Senator John McCain's (R-AZ) office just released the following statement with regard to his current clinical status while battling an aggressive form of brain cancer known as Glioblastoma (aka GBM). In part, it acknowledges he is "receiving treatment at Walter Reed Medical Center for normal side effects of his ongoing cancer therapy."

"On Monday, July 31," his office had revealed his new diagnosis of brain cancer and that "he will begin a standard post-surgical regimen of targeted radiation and chemotherapy." At that time when his diagnosis was made public, it ...

As if having cancer were not enough to worry about, people undergoing chemotherapy need to keep bacterial infections in the forefront of their concerns at all times. Now, a group from Flinders University in Australia presents a model that suggests that chemotherapy may make bacterial infections worse. 

A new opinion article in Trends in Microbiology entitled, "Not Just Antibiotics: Is Cancer Chemotherapy Driving Antimicrobial Resistance?, presents a theory that chemotherapy creates a perfect storm within a cancer patient's intestine that creates antibiotic resistant bacteria, allows them to multiply and leak into...

It's because of the stem cells.

Cornell University researchers determined that for testicular cancer, those cells are more capable of responding to chemotherapy, and they do so better than stem cells in other forms of cancer. And this effectiveness takes place with testicular cancer even after it metastasizes.

"We conclude that the chemosensitivity of TGCTs," or testicular germ cell tumors, the authors wrote in their study, "derives from the sensitivity of their cancer stem cells to DNA-damaging chemotherapy." The paper was published Tuesday in the journal Cell Reports.

Additionally, the findings, which used mouse models, are significant because determining why these...

Sadly, a woman’s tragic story-- recently all over the news-- plays out in the real world more often than people may realize. The devastating tale of Carrie DeKlyen who just died after succumbing to brain cancer, which was discovered after becoming pregnant and declining certain treatments to protect her unborn baby, ends with more misfortune. The baby she continued to carry beyond her own lost consciousness, who was born prematurely as a result, has also died.

Due to crippling, intolerable headaches with vomiting, Mrs. DeKlyen got evaluated...

Given modern medical advances extending survival rates for chronic diseases like cancer along with the population aging at an exponential rate, companies are seeing opportunities for niche markets. Hormel —of Dinty Moore stews and Spam canned meat fame—has designed its Vital Cuisine meal line specifically to target cancer patients, for example. 

This veil of social responsibility manages to obscure what is likely at its core an economic decision. Patients are more and more frequently being managed as outpatients for cancers, so hospitals and long-term care facilities are no longer the only avenue to access them. Enduring chronic illness while living at home and still going to work is very much a...

Senator John McCain’s office just released a statement from the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix detailing his newly diagnosed Glioblastoma brain tumor. It had been disclosed he was recovering from a surgical excision of a blood clot performed on Friday, July 14, 2017 that was discovered at a routine annual physical. 

The blood clot was removed through an opening made above his left eye, described as a “minimally invasive craniotomy with an eyebrow incision.” Craniotomies come in multiple forms— some large while others are small, which is what ...

Let's call progress against cancer a mixed bag. Until 20 years ago, chemotherapy drugs — poisons that kill or stop the division of cells— have been the mainstay of cancer treatment. These cytotoxic drugs, many of which are more than 50 years old, work on the principal that cancer cells divide more rapidly (1). So that anything that poisoned all cells would disproportionately affect cancer cells. It works-- sort of. 

Some commonly used cytotoxic chemotherapy drugs and the year they were discovered or approved. Progress?

Two of the many flaws in the use of cytotoxic drugs are...

You may have noticed a number of headlines referencing the “Tree Man” from Bangladesh with claims he is “cured” after 16 operations for his rare genetic disorder that transformed his hands and feet into bark-like warts and cutaneous horns.  

Also called Epidermodysplasia Verruciformis (EV), this debilitating, heritable condition is often referred to as “Tree Man Illness” or “Tree Man Syndrome.” Though it manifests throughout the body via innumerable abnormal growths on the skin, it is considered to be caused by a genetic impairment that triggers a defect in a person’s cell-mediated immunity.  

More than 200 cases have been reported since it was first described in 1922 by two dermatologists, hence, its other name “Lewandowsky Lutz Dysplasia.” (1) Most present in childhood...

I hope you enjoyed Part I of the "Brain Tumors: Fact vs. Fiction" series.  

Welcome to the concluding piece where I continue to enlist Dr. Gregory Riggins, Professor of Neurosurgery and Oncology and Director of the Brain Cancer Biology and Therapy Research Laboratory at Johns Hopkins, to help clarify myth from reality:

 

Why is location so critical to a patient's success?  

Dr. Riggins:  Location is critical and the location – along with the neurosurgeon’s skill - dictates how much can be removed, and whether removal will on average...

Beau Biden, son of Vice President Joe Biden, died from brain cancer.  As did Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy.  Brittany Maynard - suffering from a terminal type - became widely known for fighting for her right-to-die.  

Aside from the occasional high profile cases and Hollywood movies, brain tumors rarely make center stage.  And, when they do, it tends to be the most ominous story that gets told.  

Fortunately, there is variability in diagnoses and early discovery can better your chances with certain forms.  Benign (aka not cancerous) masses are common.  As I have previously emphasized, however, location is crucial to many disease states.  When it comes to the brain and tumors, prime real estate exerts tremendous influence on operability, survival, and impairments.  So does...