Tag Archives | Cancer

U.S. Government Glossed Over Cancer Concerns As It Rolled Out Airport X-Ray Scanners

X-RayMichael Grabell reports on ProPublica:

On Sept. 23, 1998, a panel of radiation safety experts gathered at a Hilton hotel in Maryland to evaluate a new device that could detect hidden weapons and contraband. The machine, known as the Secure 1000, beamed X-rays at people to see underneath their clothing.

One after another, the experts convened by the Food and Drug Administration raised questions about the machine because it violated a longstanding principle in radiation safety — that humans shouldn’t be X-rayed unless there is a medical benefit.

“I think this is really a slippery slope,” said Jill Lipoti, who was the director of New Jersey’s radiation protection program. The device was already deployed in prisons; what was next, she and others asked — courthouses, schools, airports? “I am concerned … with expanding this type of product for the traveling public,” said another panelist, Stanley Savic, the vice president for safety at a large electronics company.

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President Obama Issues Executive Order To Ease Shortages in Vital Medicines

Empty BottleWhatever Obama does, the Republicans will say it’s the wrong thing to do … but wouldn’t it be something if he dealt with the root of the problem (Big Pharma)? Lara Salahi reports for ABC News:

While many advocates say President Obama’s executive order to reduce a dire shortage of life-saving hospital medications is an essential step, others say the order is not enough to stop price gouging by some pharmaceutical companies.

Essential cancer drugs have arguably taken the hardest hit. Hospitals have reported the worst shortage in nearly a decade of chemotherapy agents like doxorubicin.

The new order instructs the Food and Drug Administration to broaden reporting of potential drug shortages, expedite regulatory reviews that can help prevent shortages, and examine whether potential shortages have led to price gouging. The drug shortage has compromised or delayed care for some patients and may have led to otherwise preventable deaths.

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Ecstasy As Cancer Cure

Ecstasy (MDMA)

Ecstasy (MDMA)

Who would have thought – popping an E could cure cancer! From BBC News:

Modified ecstasy could one day have a role to play in fighting some blood cancers, according to scientists.

Ecstasy is known to kill some cancer cells, but scientists have increased its effectiveness 100-fold, they said in Investigational New Drugs journal.

Their early study showed all leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma cells could be killed in a test tube, but any treatment would be a decade away.

A charity said the findings were a “significant step forward”.

In 2006, a research team at the University of Birmingham showed that ecstasy and anti-depressants such as Prozac had the potential to stop cancers growing.

The problem was that it needed doses so high they would have been fatal if given to people.

The researchers, in collaboration with the University of Western Australia, have chemically re-engineered ecstasy by taking some atoms away and putting new ones in their place.

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A Cancer Breakthrough

Photo: Dr. Carl June / Penn Medicine

Photo: Dr. Carl June / Penn Medicine

Eryn Brown reports for the LA Times that in early results from a clinical trial, genetically engineered T cells eradicate leukemia cells and thrive. Two of three patients studied have been cancer-free for more than a year:

In a potential breakthrough in cancer research, scientists at the University of Pennsylvania have genetically engineered patients’ T cells — a type of white blood cell — to attack cancer cells in advanced cases of a common type of leukemia.

Two of the three patients who received doses of the designer T cells in a clinical trial have remained cancer-free for more than a year, the researchers said.

Experts not connected with the trial said the feat was important because it suggested that T cells could be tweaked to kill a range of cancers, including ones of the blood, breast and colon.

“This is a huge accomplishment — huge,” said Dr.

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If Exercise Were A Cancer Drug, It Would Be A Blockbuster

Personal trainer monitoring a client's movement during a fitball exerciseBut we all know that Big Pharma won’t let doctors prescribe exercise for their very profitable customers patients. Report from Medical News Today:

If exercise were a cancer drug, it would be a blockbuster, appears to be the conclusion of a new review on the benefits of physical activity to people surviving and living beyond cancer. In a report released today, 8 August, the leading UK charity Macmillan Cancer Support, firmly sweeps aside the tradition that cancer patients should “rest up” and “take it easy”, and urges doctors and nurses to prescribe physical activity to patients “at all stages of cancer from initial diagnosis through to the later stages”. However, despite the emergence of this evidence, many health professionals are failing to tell their cancer patients about the benefits of exercise, they added.

Ciaran Devane, Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, told the press that the evidence in the report, whose short title is “Move More”, shows how important physical activity is to recovery from cancer, yet “very little attention to its benefits is given by health professionals or by those commissioning health services”.

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The Roads In North Dakota Are Giving People Cancer

800px-Nd_slope1What do you do when you find out the roads in your town are giving you and your children cancer? Via io9:

In Dunn County, North Dakota, the roads can kill you. In fact, anything you do to disturb rocks in the area, like driving or even sweeping, can kick up naturally-occurring particles that lodge in your body and give you a rare kind of lung cancer up to 30 years later. Dunn County, you see, is home to a lot of rocks containing erionite, an asbestos-like substance that’s highly toxic. Unfortunately, nobody knew that until very recently. And so at least 300 miles of roads in North Dakota are paved with the stuff.

What do you do when you discover that you’ve built your county’s infrastructure out of poison rocks?

So far, nothing is being done. This week, a group of researchers published an article about the problem in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences about the dangers in the county’s roads.

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42% of Britons Will Get Cancer, Statistics Show

There's something wrong with our civilization when you have a better (worse?) than 40% chance of getting cancer in your lifetime. Denis Campbell writes in Guardian:
It was one of the starkest statistics about the nation's health — that one in three of us would get cancer. Sadly, the figures have just got worse. Cancer experts now believe 42% of Britons will get the disease. Macmillan Cancer Support has revised the figure after its researchers analysed official data covering diagnosis of cancer, death from the disease and overall mortality. Of the 585,000 people who died in the UK in 2008, 246,000 of them — 42% — had been diagnosed with cancer at some point. The one in three figure has been used by cancer experts, campaigners and ministers for a decade. It is based on the fact that research into every death in the UK in 1999 showed that 220,000 people — some 35% of the 630,000 total deaths — had previously been found to have the disease.
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Styrene Plates, Cups Found To Cause Cancer

Styrene 3D Balls

Styrene 3D Balls

The only surprise here is that after years of delaying tactics by the plastics and chemical industries, the U.S. Government finally decided to tell its citizens that two very common compounds – styrene and formaldehyde – are carginogens. Rob Stein reports for the Washington Post:

Styrene, which is used to make those ubiquitous white foam coffee cups, food containers and many other products, is probably a human carcinogen, the federal government declared Friday.

The declaration came in the government’s latest update of its official list of known or possible carcinogens. It categorized for­mal­dehyde, a chemical widely used to make many products, and a family of substances found in some herbal remedies as known carcinogens.

Officials stressed that the listings do not mean that any exposure to the substances will cause cancer. Instead, it means that the latest scientific evidence indicates that the agents can cause cancer in some people exposed to enough of the compounds under the right circumstances.

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Waxy Monkey Frog Skin Could Treat Cancer

473px-Sad_frog

Photo: Alexander Maier (CC)

Belfast Telegraph reports:

A little-known frog from South America could hold the key to lifesaving treatments for up to 70 devastating medical conditions, Northern Ireland researchers have found.

Scientists from Queen’s University in Belfast have discovered the poetically-named Waxy Monkey Frog could be used in the fight against cancer.

They also found that the Giant Fire-bellied Toad, native to China and Vietnam, has the potential to treat an array of diseases including diabetes and stroke.

It will bring hope to the 8,500 people in Northern Ireland diagnosed with cancer each year and more than 3,500 people here who are told each year they have diabetes.

The Queen’s boffins stumbled upon the amazing breakthrough – which could revolutionise the treatment of billions of patients around the globe – purely by accident.

[Continues at Belfast Telegraph]

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Tobacco Smoke Promoted As Cancer Cure In Indonesia

Photo: Andrew Magill (CC)

Photo: Andrew Magill (CC)

Agence France-Presse via the Raw Story reports:

An Indonesian woman exhales cigarette smoke into the mouth of a gaunt, naked patient at a Jakarta clinic, where tobacco is openly touted as a cancer cure.

The Western patient is suffering from emphysema, a condition she developed from decades of smoking. Along with cancer and autism, it’s just one of the ailments the Griya Balur clinic claims it can cure with cigarettes.

“I missed this,” says the woman, a regular customer, with an American accent, as Phil Collins?s “I Can Feel It” blares in the background.

Griya Balur would be shut down in many parts of the world, but not in Indonesia, one of the developing-country new frontiers for big tobacco as it seeks to replace its dwindling profits in the health-conscious West.

Long traditions of tobacco use combined with poor regulation and the billions of dollars that flow into government coffers from the tobacco industry mean places like Griya Balur go unchallenged.

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