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The Octava Tests to Detect the Presence of Breast Cancer

The Octava Tests to Detect the Presence of Breast Cancer | Breast Cancer News | Scoop.it

"EventusDx researchers have developed the Octava™ tests as the first in a new class of rapid, accurate and cost-effective blood tests that measure breast cancer-specific autoantibodies to detect the presence or absence of breast cancer. The Octava tests are designed to be used in conjunction with annual screening mammograms. They have been validated by clinical studies conducted at cancer centers in the U.S., Israel and Italy that analyzed blood samples from over 800 women. These women all had positive mammograms and their breast cancer pathologies were verified by biopsy.

An article reporting the results of a large clinical study of the Octava Blue test conducted in collaboration with researchers at the MD Anderson Cancer Center and other leading breast cancer specialists was recently published in the peer reviewed journal, Biomarkers in Cancer. The study assessed blood samples from more than 500 women who had positive mammograms followed by breast biopsy to definitively ascertain whether or not they had breast cancer. It showed that the Octava Blue test was accurate, correctly identifying the presence or absence of breast cancer with very high sensitivity and good specificity.

The Octava Blue test is designed for use in conjunction with screening mammograms to provide additional diagnostic information to help physicians confirm true abnormal mammography results with high accuracy, while also helping to reduce the large number of unnecessary biopsies caused by false positive results. False positive mammograms are common. Studies show that 80% of the biopsies performed after an abnormal mammography result are negative, indicating that no cancer is actually present. Octava Blue has the potential to help confirm true positive results and reduce the number of unneeded biopsies by up to 50%, saving many women the anxiety and invasiveness of the biopsy procedure while also reducing unnecessary medical costs."

Susan Zager's insight:

"The Octava Pink test is designed to provide additional diagnostic information to help physicians confirm true negative mammography findings with high accuracy, while helping to identify the presence of cancer in more than half of the cases where mammography produces a false negative result and cancer is actually present.

The Octava Pink and Octava Blue tests have been approved for marketing in the European Union, and marketing approval in Israel and several countries in Asia is expected soon. The Octava Pink test is currently available as part of a pilot program being conducted with selected physicians in Italy and Israel. Information on participating in the pilot program is included in the section below.

EventusDx is conducting additional Octava clinical studies for its planned 2014 submission to the FDA for approval to market the Octava tests in the U.S.

Broader availability of the Octava Pink and Octava Blue tests in Europe is expected during 2014."


To see the abstract related to this test go to: http://www.la-press.com/an-antibody-based-blood-test-utilizing-a-panel-of-biomarkers-as-a-new--article-a3962


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Hope Rises for Immunotherapy in Breast Cancer

Hope Rises for Immunotherapy in Breast Cancer | Breast Cancer News | Scoop.it

"Elizabeth A. Mittendorf, MD, PhD, needs only a single word to answer this question: Is immunotherapy ready for prime time in breast cancer?


No.

The most advanced treatment candidates are just beginning later stage trials.

That said, their performance so far suggests that immunotherapy may become a powerful tool against breast cancer for those oncologists who follow the research and prepare for its arrival.

Mittendorf differentiated the main types of immunotherapy and highlighted some of the most interesting results in breast cancer trials during her presentation at the 32nd Annual Miami Breast Cancer Conference. She also discussed why different types of immunotherapy might be appropriate for different types of breast tumors at various stages of development.

“Researchers have dreamed of turning the immune system against tumors for more than half a century now, and—after decades of incremental progress—the science has reached the sort of tipping point that has produced a large number of promising compounds,” Mittendorf, an associate professor of surgical oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, said in an interview.

Breast cancer specialists once assumed that the relative paucity of nearby T cells limited the potential of immunotherapy in their field, so they concentrated (very effectively) on targeted treatments. Patients with breast cancer have thus had limited access to the kinds of immunotherapies that are currently available to people with melanoma or prostate cancer. But that may change."


Susan Zager's insight:

Once again here's more information about hope rising for immunotherapy related to vaccines including metastatic breast cancer. 

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Luck of the Irish: On my relatives' disease risk and my latest CT scan

Luck of the Irish: On my relatives' disease risk and my latest CT scan | Breast Cancer News | Scoop.it

This redheaded Irish lass never misses a chance to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.

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New Lejeune water contamination report raises concerns - Military - The Daily News, Jacksonville

New Lejeune water contamination report raises concerns - Military - The Daily News, Jacksonville | Breast Cancer News | Scoop.it

"As Gavin Smith read over a new report released this week from the Institute of Medicine, it was what is missing from the document that raised his concerns.

The report offers recommendations to improve a draft Veterans Affairs clinical guidance document intended to help health care providers determine whether a veteran or family member has a medical condition covered by legislation established in response to groundwater contamination that was documented at Camp Lejeune.

In 2012, Congress passed the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act, which provides hospital care and medical services to veterans and family members who have any of the 15 health conditions associated with use or consumption of the contaminated water.

The report states that between 1957 and 1987, the groundwater at Camp Lejeune was inadvertently contaminated with chemicals that were later found to cause cancer and other health problems."

Susan Zager's insight:

To see the report of VA Clinical Guidance for the Healthy Conditions Identified by the Camp Lejune Legislation (2015) go to: http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=18991&page=R1


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Lost in Transition After Cancer

Lost in Transition After Cancer | Breast Cancer News | Scoop.it

“You are being deported,” a surgeon announced to me last fall. That’s a scary thing for a child of two immigrants to hear. But he was referring to the removal of my port, a medical device implanted just beneath my right collarbone — a gateway for the dozens of rounds of chemotherapy, antibiotics and blood transfusions that have entered my body since I received a leukemia diagnosis at age 22.

I love a good pun, but I wasn’t in the mood for laughter or lightness that day. After three and a half years of cancer treatment, I no longer needed the port. My doctors had finally pronounced me in remission. I had thought I’d want to celebrate or dance a jig in my hospital gown or throw a rager when I got there. But it didn’t feel anything like the endgame I had imagined.

It took me a long time to be able to say I was a cancer patient. Then, for a long time, I was only that: A cancer patient. Now that I’m done with my treatment, I’m struggling to figure out who I am. On paper, I am better: I no longer have cancer, and with every passing day I’m getting stronger. The constant flood of doctor’s appointments, blood tests and phone calls from concerned family and friends have trickled to a slow drip. But off paper, I feel far from being a healthy 26-year-old woman."

Susan Zager's insight:

Suleika Jaouad writes, "My disease has left countless invisible imprints in its wake: infertility, premature menopause, a thyroid condition, chronic fatigue and a weakened immune system that sends me to the emergency room on a regular basis. And that’s just the short list. Then there are the demons of depression and the fears of relapse that sneak into my head just when I think I’ve gotten a grip."

View the “Life, Interrupted” video series and read previous “Life, Interrupted” columns, to learn more about Ms. Jaouad’s journey with cancer. 

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Breast cancer blogger dies at 45

Breast cancer blogger dies at 45 | Breast Cancer News | Scoop.it
Writer attracted devoted following for her blogs about metastatic breast cancer.
Susan Zager's insight:

Lisa Bonchek Adams, who attracted a devoted online following for writing unflinchingly about her experience with breast cancer, died from the disease Friday at age 45.

Through her blog, tweets and Facebook posts, Adams wrote candidly about everything from her diagnosis with metastatic disease to advice for other parents going through cancer.

More than 15,000 people followed her on Twitter, where she posted 176,000 tweets. People touched by her story filled social media over the weekend with remembrances. A breast cancer group has scheduled a Twitter chat about her tonight at 9 p.m.

New York's Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where Adams was treated, says it has received more than $100,000 in donations thanks to Adams' online requests, first made in 2012, when Adams learned that her cancer had returned.

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Lisa Bonchek Adams, a Prominent Cancer Blogger, Has Died

Lisa Bonchek Adams, a Prominent Cancer Blogger, Has Died | Breast Cancer News | Scoop.it
She wrote extensively about her experience with breast cancerLisa Bonchek Adams, a prominent online writer who inspired and provoked readers with her extensive writing on her experience with cancer, died Friday evening.

“The thousands upon thousands who knew and loved Lisa Bonchek Adams … will find it hard to believe that her steely will and indomitable spirit were finally overcome by the disease she had lived with for so many years,” the announcement on her website read. “In keeping with Lisa’s wishes, this web site will be maintained as a resource of Lisa’s writings about metastatic breast cancer, grief and loss, life, and family.”

A Connecticut mother of three, Adams shared her story in more than 176,000 tweets and frequent blog posts. She was treated at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. “I gather up my pump cords, release myself from the wall’s grip,” Adams wrote in a post typical for its grit and intimacy. “I walk, counterclockwise around the nurse’s station with a vengeance, trying to push the pain and discomfort away.”

Adams’s frequent updates attracted more than 15,000 Twitter followers, as well as controversy over the role of social media in writing about death and disease. Earlier this month, Adams wrote that “things have gotten exponentially harder in last few weeks.” Her family reports that she died peacefully and surrounded by loved ones, writing, “We know that Lisa will always be a part of your lives, as she will be a part of ours.”

Susan Zager's insight:

This is sad news. Her blog is at: http://lisabadams.com/2015/03/07/in-memorium/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+LisaBAdams+%28Lisa+B+Adams%29

Our prayers go out to her family and children. She had such a great impact with her words and incredible social media presence. So many of us got a glimpse in to the lens that Lisa let us travel with her on her journey. Her journey lives on in many of our collective journeys-for I have truly been blessed to be reminded every day by Lisa's words: “Find a bit of beauty in the world today. Share it. If you can’t find it, create it. Some days this may be hard to do. Persevere.”

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New test can predict a woman's chance of surviving breast

New test can predict a woman's chance of surviving breast | Breast Cancer News | Scoop.it

Women whose immune cells were clustered together around breast cancer cells have a better chance of survival, said scientists at The Institute of Cancer, London...

So far the test is being trialled only on women with a type of breast cancer called oestrogen receptor negative (ER negative), which affects up to one in three patients and is particularly hard to treat.

But researchers plan to extend testing to cover women with the more common form of the disease.

Dr Yinyin Yuan, Team Leader in Computational Pathology and Integrative Genomics at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said: ‘Our research is aiming to develop completely new ways of telling apart more and less aggressive cancers, based on how successful the immune system is in keeping tumours in check.



Susan Zager's insight:

This looks like fascinating research although currently only done on women who are estrogen negative. To learn more go to: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-02/iocr-nbc022715.php


To see abstract link published in Modern Pathology go to: http://www.nature.com/modpathol/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/modpathol201537a.html

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20th annual edition of NCCN Guidelines for Breast Cancer published

20th annual edition of NCCN Guidelines for Breast Cancer published | Breast Cancer News | Scoop.it

Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer globally and the leading cause of cancer-related death in women. However, the incidence of breast cancer has somewhat stabilized over the past few decades, and breast cancer mortality appears to be declining, suggesting a benefit from the combination of early detection and more effective treatment

From a surgical standpoint, said Dr. Gradishar, axillary lymph node dissection was the standard of care in 1996. Today, the less invasive sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy is the standard of care for patients with early-stage breast cancer to determine spread of the disease, which has removed the risk of unnecessary extensive lymph node removal, as well as decreased the risks of post-surgical complications.

"How we thought about adjuvant therapy has changed," said Dr. Gradishar. "Physicians used to look at the number of nodes as a determinant of whether a patient was a candidate for chemotherapy, as well as what kind of chemotherapy was appropriate. Now we use genomic profiling to influence our decision-making. Additionally, the chemotherapy regimens have changed and endocrine therapy options have expanded, as has the duration of therapy."

Indeed, genomic testing and targeted therapies have changed the course of breast cancer treatment. In particular, according to Dr. Gradishar, 20 years ago human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER2)-positive disease was not listed in the guidelines, and today the NCCN Guidelines recommendations include a cadre of successful neoadjuvant and adjuvant chemotherapies for people with HER2-positive disease.

Susan Zager's insight:

To see these new guidelines go to: http://www.nccn.org/patients/guidelines/cancers.aspx#breast


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A Biological Quest Leads To A New Kind Of Breast Cancer Drug

A Biological Quest Leads To A New Kind Of Breast Cancer Drug | Breast Cancer News | Scoop.it

"Each year, the Food and Drug Administration approves dozens of drugs, but often those medicines don't make a huge difference to people with disease. That's because these "new" drugs are often very much like existing medicines — or are, in fact, existing medicines, approved for a slightly different purpose.

But every now and then the FDA approves a truly new drug. And that's the story of Pfizer's palbociclib, brand name Ibrance, which the agency approved for the treatment of a common form of advanced breast cancer.

"What you're seeing here is a very important step in the right direction. But it's one step, and we have to follow the journey out to the very end, which is preventing metastasis as well as preventing cell division."

- Dr. Larry Norton, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

The story of this drug illustrates the challenging road that connects a fundamental discovery in biology to a pill that can make a difference.

This pill's story began years ago in academic labs that were churning out the basic science that explains biology but rarely makes the headlines. Scientists who were trying to understand how healthy cells divide uncovered one critical step in that process, a step controlled by a set of enzymes known (for short) as CDK4/6.
Susan Zager's insight:

For more information about this drug and where to look for financial assistance go to:  http://www.pfizerrxpathways.com/?step=1


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A Cancer Cluster Is Tough to Prove

A Cancer Cluster Is Tough to Prove | Breast Cancer News | Scoop.it

"Last month, thousands of Marines and their families were blocked in federal court from pursuing their claim that the government had given them cancer. The decision, involving people exposed to contaminated drinking water while stationed at Camp Lejeune, a base in North Carolina, didn’t consider the science.

Long before expert witnesses could be called to testify, a United States Court of Appeals let stand its earlier ruling that the lawsuit had come too late. It failed to meet the requirements of a state statute banning claims arising more than 10 years after the final occurrence of a harmful act.

The genetic mutations that cause cancer can take decades to manifest themselves, far longer than the North Carolina statute of repose allowed. But the laws we cobble together often trump those of science. And even when legal obstacles can be overcome, a link between a cancer and environmental pollutants is exceedingly difficult to establish, whether in a laboratory or a court of law….

Especially puzzling were some 80 Lejeune veterans who came forward with diagnoses of male breast cancer, some at an unusually early age. The annual incidence of this condition is about 1.4 cases per 100,000 men — about 1 percent of the rate for women."

Susan Zager's insight:

This is shocking. There's no reason these marines and their families should be blocked by the court. because of the claim by the court of appeals that it "had come too late." This article brings about the important science being missed and how we hope  that this case can come to life with the right legal action to bring life to this important case.

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FDA approves Ibrance for postmenopausal women with advanced breast cancer

FDA approves Ibrance for postmenopausal women with advanced breast cancer | Breast Cancer News | Scoop.it
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today granted accelerated approval to Ibrance (palbociclib) to treat advanced (metastatic) breast cancer.
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Myriad Genetics Ending Patent Dispute on Breast Cancer Risk Testing

Myriad Genetics Ending Patent Dispute on Breast Cancer Risk Testing | Breast Cancer News | Scoop.it
The biotech company, the subject of a 2013 Supreme Court ruling that genes cannot be patented, said it was giving up trying to stop other companies from offering tests.
Susan Zager's insight:

According to the article, "Settlements have been reached with LabCorp, Invitae and Pathway Genomics. Mr. Rogers said Myriad was in talks with Ambry, Quest Diagnostics, GeneDx and Counsyl." It's about time!

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Some Breast Cancer Patients Lack Knowledge About The Health Issue

Some Breast Cancer Patients Lack Knowledge About The Health Issue | Breast Cancer News | Scoop.it
A new analysis shows that many women with breast cancer may lack knowledge regarding their illness. In fact, the findings show how minority patients may be less likely than others to know and report accurate information about their tumors' characteristics.
Susan Zager's insight:

For more information go to: http://eu.wiley.com/WileyCDA/PressRelease/pressReleaseId-115362.html


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Angelina Jolie Pitt: Diary of a Surgery

Angelina Jolie Pitt: Diary of a Surgery | Breast Cancer News | Scoop.it

"LOS ANGELES — TWO years ago I wrote about my choice to have a preventive double mastectomy. A simple blood test had revealed that I carried a mutation in the BRCA1 gene. It gave me an estimated 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer. I lost my mother, grandmother and aunt to cancer.

I wanted other women at risk to know about the options. I promised to follow up with any information that could be useful, including about my next preventive surgery, the removal of my ovaries and fallopian tubes.

I had been planning this for some time. It is a less complex surgery than the mastectomy, but its effects are more severe. It puts a woman into forced menopause. So I was readying myself physically and emotionally, discussing options with doctors, researching alternative medicine, and mapping my hormones for estrogen or progesterone replacement. But I felt I still had months to make the date."

Susan Zager's insight:

This is really well written and empowering. Angelina Jolie opens up with such candor. It's very impressive. 

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HBO documentary offers hope of curing cancer in the future

HBO documentary offers hope of curing cancer in the future | Breast Cancer News | Scoop.it

"The phrase “a cure for cancer” is one we’ve all heard countless times — but likely never taken literally.

After all, there are more than 200 forms of cancer that can develop in any of the body’s 60-plus organs. There’s no way that a singular “cure” could be developed for all of them, right?In 2010, Dr. John Bell of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute became the first researcher to show how an injectable form of the smallpox virus could be manipulated into killing cancer cells without harming healthy tissue.

Well, maybe not just one cure — but rather multiple options for cure.

At least that’s what anyone who’s seen HBO’s remarkable documentary — VICE Special Report: Killing Cancer — can be forgiven for thinking.

The hour-long program, which debuted last week, chronicles the potentially game-changing methods being implemented in clinical trials in the U.S. and Canada.

As Shane Smith, the man behind HBO’s Emmy-winning VICE series, and the documentary’s narrator, explained, “Today in real time there is a revolution happening in the treatment of cancer and the story is almost too incredible to believe. That: (A) The diseases that used to kill us en masse like smallpox, measles, and even HIV actually hold the key to stopping this disease in its tracks; and that: (B) For the first time in medical history we just might be on the verge of curing cancer.”

Susan Zager's insight:

To watch the episode on VICE  using viruses to kill cancer go to: http://www.vice.com/read/watch-vice-on-hbos-special-report-on-killing-cancer-217


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Oncology Times

Oncology Times | Breast Cancer News | Scoop.it

"Metastatic breast cancer is currently a lethal disease for the great majority of patients, but will it always be so? That was the subject of a provocative debate at the Miami Breast Cancer Conference.

 

On the pro side, George W. Sledge, Jr, MD, Professor of Medicine and Chief of Medical Oncology at Stanford University School of Medicine, channeled his “inner Pollyanna,” as he put it, and argued that metastatic breast cancer is ultimately “just a disease,” and as such is ultimately amenable to human intervention.

 

Clifford A. Hudis, MD, Chief of the Breast Medicine Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, starting out by acknowledging himself as a “hard-bitten New Yorker,” pointed out that there has never been a study in which cure has been suggested as the result of treatment for metastatic breast cancer.

 

As with many medical debates, though, each side saw merits in the points of the other, and in the end both expressed hope for the future.

 

Sledge: ‘Embrace Your Inner Pollyanna’

Sledge opened with a downer, admitting that it would be easy to take the con position in this debate. “When I sit down with a patient with metastatic breast cancer, almost the first words out of my mouth are: 'You have a disease that is likely to claim your life.' That has not changed in 30 years, though we’ve certainly made many real improvements and delayed things.”

 

But then he asked the audience to “embrace your inner Pollyanna, and take a journey with me towards a cure, a journey towards a more positive future.”

 

Working definitions are always helpful, and Sledge provided three: “To a statistical purist, [a cure means] no one relapses and no one dies. For the patient there is the personal cure, to die of something else. And the corollary to that is the definition of the word 'specialist'--a doctor who wants his patient to die of some other doctor’s disease.”

 

He continued with the second definition as the more fruitful for his patients in the clinic. Some cases of metastatic breast cancer are already cured, Sledge said: in the adjuvant setting, where it is micrometastatic disease but still metastatic; and with oligometastatic breast cancer, as the CALOR (Chemotherapy for Isolated Locoregional Recurrence of Breast Cancer) trial has shown recently (Aebi et al. Lancet Oncology 2014;2:156-163).

 

“So the question is not why can’t we cure, but rather why don’t we cure more?” he said.

 

Clearly the size of the recurrence matters, he said, which the outcomes in CALOR trial would say--that the same chemotherapy given to a large tumor will not cure a cancer that is cured when it is micrometastatic disease.

 

There may be a simple explanation, he said, that given a large enough tumor, there will be a number of mutational events that allow the development of resistant clones--and clearly biology in the form of drug resistance matters, he said.

 

To improve the cure rate, Sledge suggested undertaking a research program with three elements: find and treat smaller metastases; give the right drugs to the right patients; and then use new biology to develop new drugs.

 


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Senators Re-introduce Bipartisan Bill Aimed at Helping to End Breast Cancer by 2020 | Chuck Grassley

Senators Re-introduce Bipartisan Bill Aimed at Helping to End Breast Cancer by 2020 | Chuck Grassley | Breast Cancer News | Scoop.it

"WASHINGTON – Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) this week reintroduced bipartisan legislation to help end breast cancer by creating a clearinghouse and catalyst for research, public-private partnerships and trans-disciplinary collaboration.

“Breast cancer is much too common and results in tens of thousands of deaths every year,” Grassley said.  “We need an all-hands-on-deck approach that brings experts together with the goal of making a breakthrough for a cure.”

“Every year, tens of thousands of American women die from breast cancer,” Whitehouse said. “This legislation will help drive the development of better treatments for breast cancer, and sets the ambitious goal of ending breast cancer by the end of the decade.  And I appreciate the opportunity to work with Chairman Grassley to rally support from our colleagues and get this enacted into law.”

“As one of the most pressing health concerns in this country, breast cancer remains the disease many Americans fear most, and it is past time we change that mentality. My family has been touched by this sickness, and I know the difficulty that comes with the day-to-day life of breast cancer patients.  That is why I am determined to help eradicate this horrible illness – the Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act of 2015 will move us toward that goal,” Heller said.  “I am proud to work with Senators Grassley, Whitehouse, Reed, Collins, Brown, Capito and Casey on this important piece of bipartisan legislation.”

“Some breast cancer survivors have a saying that ‘problems wouldn’t be called “hurdles” if there isn’t a way to overcome them.’  We’ve come so far in the fight against breast cancer: advancing research, raising awareness, and improving treatment options.  We still have a ways to go and this bill is designed to accelerate innovation, collaboration, and the eradication of this disease by 2020,” Reed said.

“Breast cancer has taken a tremendous toll on far too many Americans and their families, and for this reason I’m proud to support the ambitious goal to end breast cancer by 2020,” Collins said. “By identifying promising research and creating partnerships between the government and the private sector, we can grow closer to finding better treatments and eventually, a cure.”


Susan Zager's insight:

To get involved and/ or learn more about the Deadline 2020 go to: http://act.breastcancerdeadline2020.org/site/PageServer;jsessionid=283C784E687537A9E6F6EE0D8492C40E.app303a?pagename=About_The_Summit


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Facing The Un-Fixable And Finding Beauty: How Lisa Bonchek Adams Told Her Cancer Story

Facing The Un-Fixable And Finding Beauty: How Lisa Bonchek Adams Told Her Cancer Story | Breast Cancer News | Scoop.it

"Lisa Bonchek Adams, who chronicled her life with terminal disease before a loyal audience of Internet readers, died at home last week at age 45 from metastatic breast cancer. She is survived by her mother, father, husband, three children, other family and friends in her community.

Lisa was pulled onto the national stage in January 2014 when Emma Keller, then a contributor to the Guardian, and Keller’s husband Bill, then an op-ed writer at the New York Times, wrote a pair of bruising columns about her. Emma criticized Adams for oversharing, and Bill suggested she give up non-palliative treatments. Their harsh treatments created an uproar, and also highlighted sensitive issues relevant to detailing health information on the Internet, medical journalism and goals of cancer care.

For many, Lisa offered a window into what it was like to be dying of cancer but still reaching for new experimental therapy, for continued treatment, for hope grounded in reality. She was clearly and understandably trying to hold on to her life. Meanwhile she was receiving palliative care aimed at relieving symptoms and she wrote about that, too. She looked at her condition head-on; she planned for this end.

I didn’t know Lisa well, but I sat with for her for hours one cold, wintery day in December 2013 at Java Girl, an old-style coffee shop on East 66th Street. She picked the spot, just paces from the medical center. The place was dreary and sunless but, by neighborhood standards, hip for its old wooden furnishings and throw pillows. Lisa was participating in a clinical trial, taking an experimental PI3 kinase inhibitor about which she wrote on her blog. She’d been up since around 6 AM to take the train to Manhattan, to get to the medical center where she would have her blood drawn before a 10AM check-up.

When Lisa entered the café, I recognized her instantly. Some people don’t match their Twitter TWTR +2.46% photos, but hers was true. She stood tall and smiled broadly. We exchanged greetings and hugged. Close, but not too close. We were each a bit wary, perhaps – as is normal – when you meet a person you “know” on-line. She took off her bulky winter coat and sat down."

Susan Zager's insight:

Elaine Schattner has written a beautiful article about Lisa. Elaine writes, "For many, Lisa offered a window into what it was like to be dying of cancer but still reaching for new experimental therapy, for continued treatment, for hope grounded in reality. She was clearly and understandably trying to hold on to her life. Meanwhile she was receiving palliative care aimed at relieving symptoms and she wrote about that, too. She looked at her condition head-on; she planned for this end."

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New drug could boost fertility in breast cancer survivors

New drug could boost fertility in breast cancer survivors | Breast Cancer News | Scoop.it

 "Young breast cancer patients who want to have kids following treatment may now have new hope.

Chemotherapy often prompts the distressing side effect of early menopause in breast cancer survivors, but a drug called goserelin helps to prevent that from happening, a new clinical trial has found.

“It decreases the chance of going into menopause early after chemotherapy, which is great news for women who want to become pregnant,” said Dr. Stephanie Bernik, chief of surgical oncology at Manhattan’s Lenox Hill Hospital.

“The overall survival is also better,” she said.

Just 8% of women who got a shot of goserelin once every four weeks during their chemotherapy regimen faced early menopause two years later, compared to 22% for those who had standard chemo, according to the study of more than 200 women, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The patients who received goserelin injections also had higher survival rates — 92% compared to 82% for those who underwent standard chemotherapy.

Bernik, who had been waiting to see the trial’s results, said she has patients who are currently taking goserelin, which is sold under the brand name Zoladex."


Susan Zager's insight:

To see the study go to: http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMoa1413204


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As I lay dying

As I lay dying | Breast Cancer News | Scoop.it

I"I am dying, literally, at my home in Hollywood, of metastatic breast cancer, the only kind of breast cancer that kills. For six years I've known I was going to die. I just didn't know when.

Then, a couple of weeks before Christmas, a new, deadly diagnosis gave me a deadline. No doctor would promise me I'd make it to 2015.

Promise me, I told my friends and family, that you'll never say that I died after “fighting a courageous battle with breast cancer.” This tired, trite line dishonors the dead and the dying by suggesting that we, the victims, are responsible for our deaths or that the fight we were in was ever fair.



Promise me you'll never wear a pink ribbon in my name or drop a dollar into a bucket that goes to breast cancer “awareness” for “early detection for a cure,” the mantra of fund-raising juggernaut Susan G. Komen, which has propagated a distorted message about breast cancer and how to “cure” it.

I'm proof that early detection doesn't cure cancer. I had more than 20 mammograms, and none of them caught my disease. In fact, we now have significant studies showing that routine mammogram screening, which may result in misdiagnoses, unnecessary treatment and radiation overexposure, can harm more people than it helps...



Susan Zager's insight:

Laurie Becklund, a former Times staff writer, died Feb. 8. She wrote this over the past few months.


Laurie Becklund: 'Treat me like a statistic and save my life.'

To see  Laurie Becklund, Senior Fellow, USC Annenberg, soeaking at Stanford Medicine X at Stanford University on Sunday, September 7, 2014.go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFmb9OL-oq0#t=23




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Black women less likely to take breast cancer hormone therapy

Black women less likely to take breast cancer hormone therapy | Breast Cancer News | Scoop.it
(Reuters Health) – Among early-stage breast cancer patients in the U.S., black women are less likely than white women to take their prescribed hormone medications, according to a new study that partly - but not entirely - blames economic disparities between races.
Susan Zager's insight:

To see the study in the Journal of Oncology go to: http://jco.ascopubs.org/content/early/2015/02/17/JCO.2014.58.3062


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Heather Swift's curator insight, February 24, 8:53 AM

To see the study in the Journal of Oncology go to: http://jco.ascopubs.org/content/early/2015/02/17/JCO.2014.58.3062

Green Hill Tea's comment, February 27, 5:09 AM
Very Nice Article
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Alethia Biotherapeutics Submits a Clinical Trial Application (CTA) for a Phase I Study with AB-16B5, an Inhibitor of EMT in Patients with Advanced Cancers

Alethia Biotherapeutics Submits a Clinical Trial Application (CTA) for a Phase I Study with AB-16B5, an Inhibitor of EMT in Patients with Advanced Cancers | Breast Cancer News | Scoop.it
MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwired - Feb. 17, 2015) - Alethia Biotherapeutics Inc., a privately held biotechnology company, announced today that it has submitted a Clinical Trial Application (CTA) with Health Canada to initiate a Phase I clinical trial with AB-16B5, a fully humanized monoclonal antibody that inhibits epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT)....
Susan Zager's insight:

For more information about triple negative breast cancer vaccines go to: http://www.antigenexpress.com/

and also look at videos related to this topic go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=UUDz8HHZYm1hG9WDiSnigK6g&v=7CY3J20ZoI8

and  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4F9LMzB8yc


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A lot to love: Celebrating targeted drugs and another Valentine’s Day with stable cancer

A lot to love: Celebrating targeted drugs and another Valentine’s Day with stable cancer | Breast Cancer News | Scoop.it

"Thank you for all of the wonderful responses we received about the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of a drug for patients with advanced metastatic breast cancer. It's not always easy to decide which research has legs and is worth investing in— and I take that task seriously— but when something you believe in succeeds, the reward and sense of inspiration that follows can be immense. The FDA’s approval of Ibrance (palbociclib), a drug that the Noreen Fraser Foundation (NFF) helped fund the development for, did just that.

I have been fighting breast cancer for 13 years, and during that time I have done my homework. I have pored through research, and I have become familiar with the various institutions that are working in the breast cancer arena.

Before I helped co-create and co-produce Stand Up To Cancer, I searched for answers, primarily so my daughter (who was 10 years old at the time) would never hear the words, “You have cancer," as I did.

About halfway through this process, I concluded that a cure may never come. That realization can shock and shake a person up. But, in acknowledging that possibility, I concluded that finding a way to live with and contain cancer would be the next best step. Drugs like Ibrance have the potential to help breast cancer patients do that precisely. Sure, the drug isn't a cure, but targeted therapies like Ibrance can allow cancer to become a chronic disease like AIDS and diabetes— diseases you can live with and not die from.". 

Susan Zager's insight:

Noreen Fraser is living with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. She is the Founder and CEO of the Noreen Fraser Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to funding groundbreaking women's cancer research. Check out her web site at: http://www.noreenfraserfoundation.org/


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Keep A Breast Foundation: I ask that Komen commit at least 50% of total donations to medical research and innovation rather than to awareness and education. I request all other breast cancer non-p...

Keep A Breast Foundation: I ask that Komen commit at least 50% of total donations to medical research and innovation rather than to awareness and education.  I request all other breast cancer non-p... | Breast Cancer News | Scoop.it
My name is Ann Silberman.  I have metastatic breast cancer - the only type of breast cancer that kills.  Like 90 - 94%  of people now living with Stage IV breast cancer, I was diagnosed with early stage disease. Although this was the year 2009, I did the same type of treatment that has been around for 30 years:  slash, poison and burn.  After my mastectomy and chemotherapy, I’d hoped to go back to a long, healthy life.  Unfortunately, in 2011 breast cancer was found in my liver, and my disease is now incurable. The past four years have been a nightmare: chemo after chemo, surgeries and sepsis, radiation and sickness, scans and tests, hospitals and infusion rooms. Unlike most with a liver metastasis, I am lucky enough to still be alive 4 years later, although nobody can tell me for how long.  Metastatic breast cancer has always been, and still is, incurable.
Over the past 30 years, billions of dollars have been raised for the cause of breast cancer, with Komen being the most prominent non-profit involved. Every October, the US turns pink to support and raise funds to cure those with breast cancer. There isn't a large company in this country that doesn’t attach their name to a breast cancer charity. Most people who buy pink or run races believe that their money goes towards funding for a cure. They are misinformed.
What does it take to cure cancer? Research and Innovation. It takes MDs and PhDs, laboratories and science, creativity, new technology, experiments to find new medications and treatments. Unfortunately, the vast majority  of charitable funding goes towards the concept of “awareness.” And over the past generation, we have learned that being aware of cancer and discovering it early is no guarantee of safety; many women will end up with a metastasis no matter how early they found their cancer, even decades past their original diagnosis.
I ask you, in 2014, who is not aware of breast cancer? As a former school secretary, I can tell you that even children understand what breast cancer is. Women of today are not fearful of speaking to their doctors, and mammographic screening is widespread. Awareness might have been paramount in the 1970s when women didn't discuss their breasts, but it is no longer necessary. Breasts are out and proud and women control their healthcare. The goal of awareness has been achieved.  
Has all this focus on awareness helped cure cancer? The number of deaths from breast cancer has hovered in the 40,000  range for the past 20 years. 25% to 30% of women diagnosed early stage will still progress to the metastatic, fatal stage. Study after study has highlighted the limits of breast cancer screening. The latest study, which was published in the British Medical Journal , was a 25-year analysis that concluded screening didn't decrease the risk of dying from cancer
Scientists still do not understand fully the mechanism of metastasis, and how can one possibly cure cancer without funding to achieve this understanding? Finding breast cancer early is not a guarantee of safety. There are many gaps in our scientific understanding of this disease, and researchers and medical institutions are always in need of money, especially today. Government funding to the National Institutes of Health and other government agencies working on a cancer cure have been cut, and it is imperative that non-profits make up the difference. It is estimated that in the US, only 5%  of funding for metastatic cancer goes towards metastatic research. In today’s society, it is shameful that an organization like Susan G Komen “for the cure” only spends 18%  of their money on the one thing that has the potential cure breast cancer - and that is research.
Pink drill bits won’t cure cancer.  Football players in pink cleats won’t cure cancer.  Pink soup cans won’t cure breast cancer.  If these things cause donations to rise, than the money raised must go towards research - to cure cancer.    
I call on the Susan G.  Komen Foundation for the Cure to live up to the “for the cure” part of its name and to change their funding model.  I ask that Komen disclose exactly where their charitable donations are spent and commit at least 50% of total donations towards medical research.  I ask every breast cancer awareness charity to do the same. I ask the public to hold them accountable. My goal  was to live to see my son graduate from high school, and I am grateful that I was able to do that.  I have a new goal, and that is to live to see a cure.  I want my friends with metastatic cancer to live and raise their own children. It’s time to put down the pink flags, roll up the ribbons, and focus your dollars on research rather than awareness.  If you do this, you will be saving sisters, mothers, daughters and wives.   I will be speaking at SXSW 2015 along with Healthline  to encourage this change in the flow of funding, and will be tweeting with the hasttag #BCcure.  Please join me and let your voice be heard.
Susan Zager's insight:

You can go to the link and sign the petition at : https://www.change.org/p/keep-a-breast-foundation-i-ask-that-komen-commit-at-least-50-of-total-donations-to-medical-research-and-innovation-rather-than-to-awareness-and-education-i-request-all-other-breast-cancer-non-profits-do-the-same?recruiter=223002311&


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New model better predicts breast cancer risk in African American women

New model better predicts breast cancer risk in African American women | Breast Cancer News | Scoop.it
A breast cancer risk prediction model for African American women has been developed by scientists that found greater accuracy in predicting risk for the disease. The use of this model could result in increased eligibility of African Americans in breast cancer prevention trials.
Susan Zager's insight:

To see the study go to: http://jco.ascopubs.org/content/early/2015/01/23/JCO.2014.57.2750


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