Saturday, November 26, 2016


Some tumors can hide out and quietly repair their own DNA. "Without such repairs, the cells can become so genomically dysfunctional that they have little recourse but to die."

Drugs called PARP [or poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase] inhibitors looked like the answer.
But some tumors have been impervious to PARPs from the start.
Some tumors became immune to PARPs.

Dana-Farber scientists have been working on triple-negative breast cells using an enabler to boost PARP effectiveness.
One of these "boosters" is dinaciclib.

" with a PARP inhibitor and dinaciclib, 

tumors that previously hadn’t responded to PARP inhibitors stopped growing "

As a team, the two drug types can also work on tumors that originally had responded to PARPs, but had become resistant.

Also " the addition of dinaciclib had an especially dramatic effect: 

tumors whose growth had merely been stymied by the PARP inhibitor
 now began to durably shrink."

(Ovarian cancer is also mentioned in this article, but at the moment I don't see specific mention of Dana-Farber working with this pair of drugs on ovarian cancer.)

 "as posted in Cell Reports today"

I'm way out on the diving board with this cell process - suggest you get the TW link to the article, or
When I  just Google Dana-Farber right now, I get the whole headline of release..

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

BREAST CANCER - URGENT - What makes it harder to get answers, clinical trials, and treatments

Today on Twitter, a woman named Phyllis posted the questions that are being asked, particularly by those with metastatic breast cancer, about roadblocks to clinical trials, and many other needs and situations where our medical machine is stalled while patients need answers.

They will be asked of researchers at a conference in December.

If you missed it, it's headlined:   Our questions for researchers at SABCS16 , December 6-9

If you're not on Twitter, I just googled SABCS 16 and immediately got a headline, what to know about the conference, etc.

I'm stressing this not only for breast cancer, but because the questions are probably applicable to other diseases--ones that give patients the same struggle to get clinical trials and other necessary help.

I wanted to get this posted, so have not asked Phyllis if the whole list is available for us to read.

Saturday, November 19, 2016


When I left California a few years ago, I went thru all my keepsakes, trying to winnow them out for the wheelchair flight to my new state.  In a pile of photos was a printed thank-you note that at first I didn't recognize.  The message inside was short, but powerful.  And made me feel cared-for.

Dear M--

Words cannot express how much your friendship has meant to me. 

It might be tested a lot in the next few months.

Love, Rik

It was written after she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.   Breast cancer thought to have started in a flat disk on her chest - beyond the reach of the mammogram.

My work days started and ended early then, so I had time to spend with her --and later time to spend visiting the hospital.  Her roommate and friend of long years was a nurse in the same hospital, and able to have a schedule that kept her near Rik quite a bit. And she had another long-time friend or two in the neighborhood.  


I got a birthday card a few months ago that makes a pretty  bookmark.  On the front, in the top corner is a miniature sketch of the beaky little birds Rik liked so much on our endless walks by the ocean. Some sunsets, the wind blew so hard we got little red lines on our cheeks from flying grains of sand. This new card with the tiny birds brings those sunsets back stronger than I expected.

But now, far from the ocean, I remember Rik, our walks, the real birds, through a new filter - the voice on the phone: "There was cancer" when my DCIS was found.  

Monday, November 14, 2016

Where's All the Cancer Medicine? Enjoyable Atlantic article. Midnight Special

The Atlantic:

"Cuba's Innovative Cancer Vaccine Is Finally Coming to America
The country has a whole arsenal of unique drugs locked behind the U.S. embargo."

This article is a delightful surprise!  Seriously!  If you've ever known anyone who has wanted to visit relatives in Cuba, or a a relative who came here, you'll enjoy this surprising story article even more.

I just googled       Atlantic mag cancer vaccines  

Sunday, November 13, 2016

DIY TISSUE EXPANSION AT HOME? If MIT says so, they're serious

Heather Furnas, MD  posted this photo of air-action tissue expansion device on Twitter today.   Talk about revolutionary--never dreamed I'd be reading this.  

Article  from MIT Technology Review includes quote from Columbia clinical trial participant.

I just Googled MIT Technology Review Tissue Expander.