Posted by: jeanne | December 20, 2011

my headaches

i have started getting headaches.  i’ve had four or five at this point, in the past six months.

i will shift something subtle in my neck.  the first time it happened while stretching for a kiss.  this time it happened sitting up reading a book late last night.  the first i’ll know about the headache is a tiny little nag of discomfort, somewhere in the nether regions of my neck and shoulders. by nether regions, i mean my consciousness, but i could also mean my aura.  not yet quite physical, but there constantly, first in the corner of my awareness, and at the height of it, consuming most of my brain, so that i can think of nothing else but this little thrum of discomfort.

it’s only a headache, after all, but it becomes overwhelming.

it starts mild, but then takes over more and more of my consciousness, and the more i move, the worse it gets.  if i should get up and try to walk the dogs, or anything other than going to the bathroom and back, then i will get nauseous and have to throw up, or at least gag a lot.  i will also have diarrhea from dealing with a low-grade headache all night.

the only cure is to sleep.  that is, being up and about only makes it worse. i can’t keep down any aspirin or stronger, so i don’t know about drugs.

it’s not really sleep.  it’s dozing, diving as far down into sleep as possible, but always aware of the center of pain.  i’m always adjusting my neck, thinking i’ll finally pop whatever vertebra it is and i can go back to normal.

my dreams are instructive.  they’re all about working out problems, finding precise answers, making small adjustments.

this afternoon i realized that the central conflict in my latest novel is the split between male/female yin/yang.  this was something shown me in one of these dreams.

i’ve noticed a direct correlation between noise and headache pain.  when i’m asleep, there’s no input, and no paint.  when i’m dreaming, the pain is talking to me.  when i’m lying there dozing half awake, i’m constantly aware of the pain.  and when there’s outside input – the dogs bark, jim answers the phone – my head hurts with the amount of processing i have to do on the input.  the more i think, the more it hurts.  the more of noise i have to deal with, the more i have to think.  is this just some quantum threshhold of awareness?

finally i’d been in bed for six hours, and slept all i could.

as he rubbed my shoulders, i could feel the tension in muscles down my back, like thick ropy worms, each one painful and swollen.  everywhere he moved his hands to rub – around my clavicles, over my shoulder joints, around the front of my neck – i could feelnew thorbbing pains, new muscles feeling congested and starved of oxygen.

i kept going ooh internally as he swept across a muscle, thinking this is the one that’s causing it.  but i didn’t have the energy to say anything, so he kept moving without any direction from me.

he kept away from the part of my neck where all the pain seems to be coming from.  until the last.  then it felt like it wanted to be touched, so i asked him to rub those muscles that attach to the base of your skull and run all the way down the back.

jim’s energy is strong – he can’t wear watches – and when he rubs my back i can feel it in my organs, way deeper than where he’s touching.  i found myself thinking about all the bodyworkers i know who work with their minds instead of their energy, thinking their way around someone’s body.  i wondered if i shouldn’t become certified in something so that we could rpactice together.  and then i realized that i was thinking, and released the thoughts by concentrating on what jim was doing.

when i was learning a particular soft-massage renegade rolfing technique, they liked to caution you that the work would radically change your body in subtle ways, and that you shouldn’t rely on your normal sense of balance after a session.  but that was rather presumptive of their healing skills.  i always went out and climbed on the rocks down next to the sea after my sessions, laughing about it.  but i daren’t lean over suddenly after my spot massage from jim, because i am half out of my body with the release of attachments.

no matter what he has done to me, the amount of healing i took in, i still have to release the kink in my neck and let everything go back to normal now.  myself.

Posted by: jeanne | December 4, 2011

here’s where sugar is cancer’s achilles heel

anecdotal evidence says a diet full of sugar feeds cancer.  i haven’t researched that, so i’m uncertain, but here’s something that might work against it.

Cancer cells poisoned with sugar

04 December 2011IT’S a heavy price to pay for a sweet tooth. Researchers have tricked glucose-eating cancer cells into consuming a sugar that essentially poisons them – it leaves a “suicide” switch within the cells open to attack.

“Most cancer cells rely almost exclusively on glucose to fuel their growth,” says Guy Perkins of the University of California at San Diego. With Rudy Yamaguchi of Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan, Perkins found the cells would take up a similar sugar called 2-deoxyglucose. But this sugar physically dislodges a protein within the cell that guards a suicide switch. Once exposed, the switch can be activated by a drug called ABT-263. This kills the cell by liberating proteins that order it to commit suicide (Cancer Research, DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.can-11-3091).

The approach could ultimately spell doom for several types of cancer, including liver, lung, breast and blood. In mice, the treatment made aggressive human prostate cancer tumours virtually disappear within days.

Yamaguchi and Perkins are now hoping to mount a clinical trial at UC San Diego.

Posted by: jeanne | November 15, 2011

chemo fucks up your brain

i’m so glad my little voice told me not to do chemo and radiation.

Neurological Impairment Associated With Chemotherapy

Article Date: 14 Nov 2011 – 17:00 PST

A report in the November issue of the Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals outlines cases of women who survived breast cancer and showed neurological impairment. The problem seems to be markedly worse in those who received chemotherapy compared with those that did not.

Breast cancer is one of the most common public health issues, with global incidence estimated at 39 per 100,000 individuals per year. Although primary Breast Cancer has not in the past been associated with neurological problems, a growing body of evidence supports the case that patients are at increased risk for altered brain structure and function.

Shelli R. Kesler, Ph.D., and colleagues at Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, Calif., conducted an observational study to find out if profiles of brain activation were different among breast cancer survivors treated with or without chemotherapy, compared with healthy control women. The study included more than sixty women matched for age and other demographic variables :

  • 25 women with breast cancer who received chemotherapy
  • 19 women with breast cancer who did not receive chemotherapy
  • 18 healthy female controls

The women were asked to perform various tasks, and the researchers used functional MRI to measure activation in several areas of the brain.

The report states :

“Women with BC demonstrated significantly reduced activation in the left middle dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and premotor cortex compared with healthy controls … The chemotherapy group also demonstrated significantly reduced left caudal lateral prefrontal cortex activation and increased perseverative errors and reduced processing speed compared with the other two groups.”

In addition it was deemed possible that chemotherapy may well affect brain function according to the person’s level of education and with increased age. Clearly a side effect of chemotherapy that is seldom discussed, would appear to be a duller brain.

The report concludes that :

“This study provides further evidence that primary breast cancer may cause measurable brain injury … Women treated with chemotherapy may show additional prefrontal deficits and have difficulty compensating for neurobiological changes such that they also show impaired executive function.”

Written by Rupert Shepherd

Posted by: jeanne | October 19, 2011

fatigue after cancer

this is the transcript of a conversation i had with a friend about the absolute fatigue you can feel after treatment.  this lasts long after the treatment ends, and it feels like you’ll never have any energy again.  but it does come back.  others will notice before you do.
You may remember [name] (age 73) got cancer last easter.  She had the lump removed, had radiotherapy, and has a very good prognosis, partly due to her age and also had no spread into the lymph nodes.  However, she is now totally exhausted almost all the time and, since she is one of those skinny, tiny, busy women, she is finding it very difficult to cope.  I would say she is dealing with depression for the first time in her life.  How does she compare to your reactions after surgery and after?  Did you have this problem and, if so, how did you deal with it?

yes, fatigue is a big problem.  mine lasted more than a year, where i had to drag myself around the block and stop twice.

there’s nothing for it except to baby yourself and continue.  the continuing is the important part, but also the babying, because you need coddling when you’re recovering from medical shit and also dealing with death.

depression is totally normal, and a necessary process right now.  when you’re going thru something like this, you don’t have the spirit to deal with anything that’s not muted.  distractions are irritating.  and there’s so much to think about and accomplish, even while your perspective on everything is going to shit.

the will to live will out (or not) and the energy will come back, but slowly.  it’s a patience thing.

i hope this helps, feel free to come back for more.

Thanks for this.  I have passed it on to her along with a couple of other bits and pieces I found on the internet.  I often think the recovery part of illness is the hardest, when your body needs all that mixture of effort and cosseting to regain its strength.

fall  is here in earnest.  we just had a tropical storm bring a bunch of the leaves down, and now all that’s left are the pecans and acorns.  it’s a bumper crop this year, and the berries are heavy on the bushes, so i’m figuing a very hard winter here, and am  preparing for that ice storm to take the power out for three days.

i feel for your friend.  her age makes her fragile to be recovering from surgery and chemo, but if she takes it one day at a time and learns to find something to feel joy over, then whatever remains of her life will be pleasant and bring happiness. that’s the key to depression, at least mine.  keep moving, and find something no matter how small to be happy about.  and even when i only gave myself a couple of years to live, that attitude made it bearable, even wondrous to  be alive.  and slowly as my energy came back, the attitude laid the groundwork for my current vibrancy and joy.

when jim’s wife died, he threw himself into fixing up the other house and preparing to sell the one they were in.  they’d been planning to move right before she got sick, so he stuck to that, and spent all his depression-energy on laying the groundwork for the next phase in his life.  it was a very productive way to handle it, and it brought him a side benefit – me.

i said ‘whatever remains of her life’ but that doesn’t mean as bad as it sounds.  having cancer, you accept that your life has an end, and if you have cancer long enough, you find that it hasn’t ended yet and you’ve got to get on with it.  we all die, but people who haven’t faced death haven’t really lived.  that’s what a death sentence gives you, a better perspective.

depression, jim always reminds me, is masked anger.  you swallow the anger because you can’t direct it, and it brings you down.  she’s not suffering from depression per se, but fatigue, which is different.  if she can live with the fatigue, and baby herself, it will pass.  depression is a side effect, and can kill you.  so she’s got to be careful not to let it go there.  that’s why treating yourself like a baby, like your demented little sister, is so helpful.  because you don’t get depressed when someone else is having trouble; you care more and go slower and be more gentle.  and that’s what you need.  especially if you don’t have someone who will do it for you.

another process involved in having cancer is a thorough review of your life.  the situations you’ve lived with, the people you’ve put up with, the indignities you’ve suffered.  while you’re healthy and everything is fine, it seems like you can put up with these little slings and arrows.  but once you get cancer, you realize that these indignities are at the root of what’s making you sick, and you learn to be more ruthless with your life.  you start to hang up on people who just want to harangue you over the phone.  you don’t let people impose on you as much.  you get angry when someone asks you to endure something.  you start speaking your mind.  you start standing up for yourself.  and why not?  you’ll be dead soon, why should you put up with all this nonsense when it just drains the little energy you have?

in the years after i got cancer, i jettisoned a few false friends, stopped doing work for other people, learned to terminate conversations when i started feeling bad about them, and learned to tell my mother exactly what i was thinking about what she’d just said.

it improved my life immeasurably.  i was no longer a victim, i was much more in control of my emotions and my responses, and didn’t have to get all tied up inside about things that really don’t matter when you’re going to die.  it’s great to have that perspective; if more  people had it, there wouldn’t nearly be the nonsense in the world that we have to put up with.

Posted by: jeanne | October 6, 2011

alone again together

it’s been quite a while since i’ve put anything personal up on my blog.  i have a whole shitload of blogs, and usually i put related things together – fabric, quantum theory, tales of bad people, food and medical industry crime.  but i don’t usually write anything very personal.

well, that’s a lie.  i’m all over everything i write.  especially in my fabric blog, where i talk about the art i do and how i do it.  but i don’t usually talk about my self.

and here’s the place to do it.  this is my ‘i’m going to die’ blog, and if there’s anything more personal, it’s sex, and i haven’t gotten around to a blog on that one…

so here’s where i talk about what’s happening personally.  and since it’s the autumn of the year, i’ve just gone thru a seasonal buildup of energy and achievement, and am now coming down off it.  in the past, i have gotten sick after my summer of activity.  but i’m not that person anymore.  touch wood i don’t get sick.

never have, aside from asthma, until i gave myself cancer.  and that was ten years ago at this point.

the last few months have seen a flurry of completed projects, some of which were a year old at that point, a hectic vacation with my sister, the concerted run-up to dragoncon and the frantically fun labor day dragoncon weekend, and then several art applications to accomplish (takes a week to do an application, especially when you only figure out at the last minute that the artist statement you’ve worked so hard on can only be 300 words or less).

vacation, still working hard

and the big change – my brother has gone home.  he was staying with us since the spring; work being so hard to find where he was living.  but with hard work and tons of networking connections, he has made it viable to go home and work, so he left last night with his truck packed to the top, and now i’ve got a spare bedroom again.

this means i can run around the house naked again.

but for that, i have no complaints.  living with my brother was like living with one of my best friends.  not like living with family.  it was a blessing, and i got time to spend with someone i love that i wouldn’t have otherwise had.  and when you’re going to die, this is important.

but anyway, his now being gone means i’ve got space in my psychic life, and it’s a bit echoey.

while i wait for my creative juices to settle on a distinct path (finish those baby dresses, start on next year’s dragoncon paintings, paint some more clouds with wax), i am helping jim with his entry for this year’s national gallery portrait contest.  it’s a biennial thing, and he’s entered it twice before, with no result.  jim likes to point out that he’s been kicked out of all the best shows.

the first time he entered a portrait of his granddaughter, a nice sitting on the couch in the living room, looking as bored as she tends to look.

the second time, he entered a portrait of our friend asha dancing the world into creation.

but this time we’re going to do something more personal.

the subjects in the first two years were young, attractive women.

this year he’s painting me.

me as medusa

Posted by: jeanne | September 24, 2011

alpha radiation for cancer

i’m not fond of radiation treatments in general, but what’s this?

Alpha radiation treats prostate cancers

By James Gallagher Health reporter, BBC News
23 September 2011 Last updated at 21:32 ET
Alpha particle emissions
Alpha particles can damage cells

A trial of a new cancer drug, which accurately targets tumours, has been so successful it has been stopped early.

Doctors at London’s Royal Marsden Hospital gave prostate cancer patients a powerful alpha radiation drug and found that they lived longer, and experienced less pain and side effects.

The medics then stopped the trial of 922 people, saying it was unethical not to offer all of them the treatment.

Lead researcher Dr Chris Parker said it was “a significant step forward”.

Cancer Research UK said it was a very important and promising discovery.

Radiation has been used to treat tumours for more than a century. It damages the genetic code inside cancerous cells.

Alpha particles are the big, bulky, bruisers of the radiation world. It is a barrage of helium nuclei, which are far bigger than beta radiation, a stream of electrons, or gamma waves.

Dr Parker told the BBC: “It’s more damaging. It takes one, two, three hits to kill a cancer cell compared with thousands of hits for beta particles.”

Alpha particles also do less damage to surrounding tissue. He added: “They have such a tiny range, a few millionths of a metre. So we can be sure that the damage is being done where it should be.”

Prostate cancer

  • Each year in the UK about 36,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer; about 10,000 die from it
  • In most cases, it is a slow-growing cancer and may never cause any symptoms or problems.
  • Some men will have a fast growing cancer that needs treatment
  • Worldwide, an estimated 913,000 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008, and more than two-thirds of cases are diagnosed in developed countries

In 90% of patients with advanced prostate cancer, the tumour will have spread to the bone. At this stage there are no treatments which affect survival.

The study looked at patients with these secondary cancers, as the source of radiation – radium-223 chloride – acts like calcium and sticks to bone.

Half were given the radium-223 chloride drug alongside traditional chemotherapy, while the other patients received chemotherapy and a dummy pill.

The death rate was 30% lower in the group taking radium-223. Those patients survived for 14 months on average compared to 11 months in the dummy group.

The trial was abandoned as “it would have been unethical not to offer the active treatment to those taking placebo”, said Dr Parker.

He added: “I think it will be a significant step forward for cancer patients”.

Researchers also said the treatment was safe. Curiously there were fewer side-effects in the group taking the treatment than those taking the dummy medicine.

The findings are being presented at the European Multidisciplinary Cancer Congress but they have not yet been peer-reviewed by other academics.

Prof Gillies McKenna, Cancer Research UK’s radiotherapy expert and director of the Gray Institute for Radiation Oncology and Biology, said: “This appears to be an important study using a highly targeted form of radiation to treat prostate cancer that has spread to the bones.

“This research looks very promising and could be an important addition to approaches available to treat secondary tumours – and should be investigated further.”

23 September 2011 Last updated at 21:32 ET

Posted by: jeanne | September 5, 2011

curing cancer with dirt

can you patent dirt, i wonder.

Public release date: 4-Sep-2011
Contact: Laura Udakis
Society for General Microbiology

Harmless soil-dwelling bacteria successfully kill cancer

IMAGE: Professor Nigel Minton works at the University of Nottingham.

Click here for more information.

A bacterial strain that specifically targets tumours could soon be used as a vehicle to deliver drugs in frontline cancer therapy. The strain is expected to be tested in cancer patients in 2013 says a scientist at the Society for General Microbiology’s Autumn Conference at the University of York.

The therapy uses Clostridium sporogenes – a bacterium that is widespread in the soil. Spores of the bacterium are injected into patients and only grow in solid tumours, where a specific bacterial enzyme is produced. An anti-cancer drug is injected separately into the patient in an inactive ‘pro-drug’ form. When the pro-drug reaches the site of the tumour, the bacterial enzyme activates the drug, allowing it to destroy only the cells in its vicinity – the tumour cells.

Researchers at the University of Nottingham and the University of Maastricht have now overcome the hurdles that have so far prevented this therapy from entering clinical trials. They have introduced a gene for a much-improved version of the enzyme into the C. sporogenes DNA. The improved enzyme can now be produced in far greater quantities in the tumour than previous versions, and is more efficient at converting the pro-drug into its active form.

A fundamental requirement for any new cancer therapy is the ability to target cancer cells while excluding healthy cells. Professor Nigel Minton, who is leading the research, explains how this therapy naturally fulfils this need. “Clostridia are an ancient group of bacteria that evolved on the planet before it had an oxygen-rich atmosphere and so they thrive in low oxygen conditions. When Clostridia spores are injected into a cancer patient, they will only grow in oxygen-depleted environments, i.e. the centre of solid tumours. This is a totally natural phenomenon, which requires no fundamental alterations and is exquisitely specific. We can exploit this specificity to kill tumour cells but leave healthy tissue unscathed,” he said.

The research may ultimately lead to a simple and safe procedure for curing a wide range of solid tumours. “This therapy will kill all types of tumour cell. The treatment is superior to a surgical procedure, especially for patients at high risk or with difficult tumour locations,” explained Professor Minton. “We anticipate that the strain we have developed will be used in a clinical trial in 2013 led by Jan Theys and Philippe Lambin at the University of Maastricht in The Netherlands. A successful outcome could lead to its adoption as a frontline therapy for treating solid tumours. If the approach is successfully combined with more traditional approaches this could increase our chance of winning the battle against cancerous tumours.”

Posted by: jeanne | August 7, 2011

vitamin d is the shit

these are excerpts from an article by dr mercola, rather controversial in some circles, but followed by several members of my family.

The Truth about Vitamin D

Everyone’s talking about vitamin D right now, especially since the Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) updated their recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for it. The truth is that most Americans are deficient in vitamin D, and studies show that vitamin D supplementation can both prevent and kill many infections and diseases, including cancer.

Vitamin D isn’t actually a vitamin, although scientists refer to it as such. It’s actually a steroid hormone that you get from sun exposure, food sources and/or supplementation. The term refers to either vitamin D2 or D3, but according to the National Vitamin D Council, D3 (chemical name 25-hydroxy vitamin D) is real vitamin D, and is the same substance produced naturally through your skin by sun exposure.

Older research appears at odds on whether your body cares which form of D it’s getting. But a study in the January 2011 Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that D3 is 87 percent more effective than D2, and is the preferred form for treating vitamin D deficiency. It’s measured in international units (IU’s) in nanograms per milliliter, or ng/mL. The Vitamin D Council believes that a person’s D3 levels should be at least 50 ng/mLfor your body to function properly. (To determine whether you might be deficient, you need to get your vitamin D levels tested, and ideally, you’ll want to get tested regularly thereafter to ensure you’re maintaining optimal levels year-round.)

Fourteen famous vitamin D researchers gave the FNB this information, but the FNB apparently ignored the information that the researchers presented because their “updated” RDA levels ended up being so pitifully low that it’s doubtful it can significantly impact Americans’ deficiency, let alone fight off diseases like cancer and heart disease.

From breast to prostate, to colorectal to brain cancers, and even basal cell carcinoma (skin cancer), Drug companies such as Pfizer and Merck are currently either sponsoring or collaborating on clinical trials based on the premise that vitamin D administered orally, intravenously or topically (for skin cancer) may either prevent or cure cancer. Cancer foundations and institutes are all in on the clinical study game as well, such as the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health. Even the U.S. Department of Defense and the Department of Veteran Affairs are studying ways to prevent and cure cancer with vitamin D!

What’s really interesting is that several of these studies are using vitamin D in amounts of 50,000 IUs a day or more – which flies strongly in the face of the FNB’s claims that self-supplementing with 10,000 could be dangerous to your health. Since recent studies show that supplements of up to 40,000 IUs a day don’t appear to be toxic, and that doses as low as 400 IUs a day are too low to even maintain skeletal health, let alone prevent cancer,

Because cancer is almost wholly a man-made disease, it’s especially important to recognize that you do have power over many things that could cause you to get cancer. Taking control of your health will put you in a position to make the best health decisions possible if you do get cancer.

Here’s a list to get you started on a cancer prevention plan:

  1. Normalize your vitamin D levels with safe amounts of sun exposure. This works primarily by optimizing your vitamin D level. Ideally, monitor your vitamin D levels throughout the year.
  2. Control your insulin levels by limiting your intake of processed foods and sugars/fructose as much as possible.
  3. Get appropriate amounts of animal-based omega-3 fats.
  4. Get appropriate exercise. One of the primary reasons exercise works is that it drives your insulin levels down. Controlling insulin levels is one of the most powerful ways to reduce your cancer risks.
  5. Eat according to your nutritional type. The potent anti-cancer effects of this principle are very much underappreciated. When we treat cancer patients in our clinic this is one of the most powerful anti-cancer strategies we have.
  6. Have a tool to permanently erase the neurological short-circuiting that can activate cancer genes. Even the CDC states that 85 percent of disease is caused by emotions. It is likely that this factor may be more important than all the other physical ones listed here, so make sure this is addressed. My particular favorite tool for this purpose, as you may know, is the Emotional Freedom Technique.
  7. Only 25 percent of people eat enough vegetables, so by all means eat as many vegetables as you are comfortable with. Ideally, they should be fresh and organic. Cruciferous vegetables in particular have been identified as having potent anti-cancer properties. Remember that carb nutritional types may need up to 300 percent more vegetables than protein nutritional types.
  8. Maintain an ideal body weight.
  9. Get enough high-quality sleep.
  10. Reduce your exposure to environmental toxins like pesticides, household chemical cleaners, synthetic air fresheners and air pollution.
  11. Reduce your use of cell phones and other wireless technologies, and implement as many safety strategies as possible if/when you cannot avoid their use.
  12. Boil, poach or steam your foods, rather than frying or charbroiling them.

You also can help by voicing your opposition to the FDA’s censorship of alternative cancer treatments by sending a letter to your Congressional representatives and asking them to support H.R. 1364, a bill to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act concerning the distribution of information on legitimate scientific research in connection with foods and dietary supplements. Call or write your Congressman now, and stop the censorship of your right to alternative cancer therapies and possibly a cure.

Posted by: jeanne | August 3, 2011

starving cancer cells of sugar

they’ll go away if you don’t feed them.

Potential Anti-Cancer Therapy That Starves Cancer Cells of Glucose Identified

ScienceDaily (Aug. 3, 2011) — Stanford University School of Medicine researchers have identified a compound that attacks the Achilles’ heel of certain cancer cells by depriving them of their energy source, the sugar glucose.

Cancer chemotherapy can be a rough ride, in part because most of these drugs don’t distinguish between what’s cancerous and what’s not. The chemicals attack all rapidly dividing cells, from cancer cells, to blood cells and the cells that make hair. However, drugs that target a biological phenomenon only found in cancer cells, such as the compound recently discovered by Stanford researchers, could efficiently fight the disease with minimal side effects. The finding will be published Aug. 3 in Science Translational Medicine.

“This study demonstrates an approach for selectively inhibiting the ability of cancer cells to take up glucose, which is a pretty powerful way of killing those cells,” said senior study author Amato Giaccia, PhD, professor and director of radiation oncology.

The researchers focused their study on the most common form of kidney cancer in adults, renal cell carcinomas, which constitute almost 2 percent of all cancers in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The disease is resistant to typical chemotherapies, and patients often have to have the affected kidney removed. Nearly 90 percent of these cancers carry a specific genetic mutation that leads to uncontrolled cell growth.

“Most normal tissues in the body don’t possess this mutation, so a drug that targets this vulnerability should be very specific for cancer cells,” said Giaccia, who is also a member of the Stanford Cancer Institute.

With the help of the Stanford High-Throughput Bioscience Center, the team tested a library of 64,000 synthetic chemical compounds on tumor cells with that mutation and then looked for signs of cell death.

The screen produced two candidate cancer drugs, one reported by Giaccia in 2008, STF-62247, which is now in preclinical testing. The other, STF-31, described in the new study, kills cancer cells in a different way, so a combination of the two drugs would allow a multipronged attack. “Or, if a cancer becomes resistant to one compound, you have another option,” said Denise Chan, PhD, former postdoctoral researcher at Stanford and co-first author of the new study.

Most renal cell carcinomas produce energy through a biochemical process called aerobic glycolysis, one that healthy cells don’t typically require. The energy-making process is dependent on the cells’ ability to take up glucose from their environment. “The cells that we are targeting are highly dependent on glucose transport for energy production,” said Chan, who is now an assistant professor at UC-San Francisco. “This compound stops the cells from transporting glucose, so it starves them.”

Renal cell carcinomas aren’t the only cancer cells that are glucose gluttons. Many cancers turn up their rate of glucose import, a fact used by doctors to monitor cancers in live patients. Doctors can inject a radioactively labeled glucose and follow its uptake in the body with PET scanning. Using a similarly labeled glucose, the team found that STF-31 reduced the amount of glucose the cancer cells could ingest, thus robbing them of their energy source.

The team also tested the compound in a mouse model of kidney cancer and found that STF-31 nearly halved the amount of glucose imported by tumors and slowed tumor growth. In mice, at least, the drug appears to have few side effects. Mice treated with the compound for 14 days had no apparent damage to their normal tissues: They maintained a normal immune system and normal numbers of blood cells. “The other major tissue that comes up when you think glucose transport is the brain, and we didn’t see any toxicity with the brain,” said Chan.

Further experiments showed that STF-31 binds directly to a glucose transporter, probably blocking the pore of the channel-like molecule, computational modeling predicts. The team hopes to find other cancer types that are dependent on the same glucose transporter. Palo Alto biotechnology company Ruga Inc., co-founded by Giaccia, has licensed the drug for preclinical testing. Giaccia is on the company’s scientific advisory board; Chan serves as a consultant.

Former Stanford MD/PhD student Patrick Sutphin is a co-first author with Chan. Other Stanford co-authors are former postdoctoral scholars Sandra Turcotte, PhD, Edwin Lai, PhD, and Jen-Tsan Chi, MD, PhD; current postdoctoral scholar Alice Banh, PhD; former master’s student Phuong Nguyen, MD; David Solow-Cordero, PhD, director, and Jason Wu of Stanford’s High-Throughput Bioscience Center; veterinary pathologist Donna Bouley, DVM, PhD; and assistant professor of radiation oncology Edward Graves, PhD. The Stanford researchers collaborated with colleagues at Duke Medical Center in North Carolina and the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

The study was funded by Action to Cure Kidney Cancer, the Cecile and Ken Youner Fund for Cancer Research, the Association for International Cancer Research, the Maurice Wilkins Centre for Biodiscovery and the National Cancer Institute.

Posted by: jeanne | July 31, 2011

slutwalk in dehli

india is listed as one of the worst countries for women.  i’ve heard the harrassment is constant.  maybe it’s like living 23/6 opposite a construction site. or being a woman physicist. if it’s not a great place to be a woman, it stands to reason that it’s a great place for women to protest being treated like prey.

India ‘Slutwalk’ sex harassment protest held in Delhi

Delhi "Slutwalk" rally, 31 July

31 July 2011

A rally has taken place in India’s capital inspired by the “Slutwalk” protests held in a number of countries.

The protest is to challenge the notion that the way a woman looks can excuse sexual abuse or taunting – “Eve teasing” as it is known in India.

Hundreds took part in Delhi, though there was little of the skimpy dressing that has marked protests elsewhere.

The protests originated in Canada after a policeman said women could avoid rape by not dressing like “sluts”.

‘It’s our lives’

The BBC’s Mark Dummett in Delhi says the organisers are trying to challenge the mindset that the victims of sexual violence are to blame for the crimes committed against them.

He says Delhi can be a very difficult city for women, with sexual harassment commonplace, and rapes and abduction all too frequent.

And according to a recent survey, India remains one of the most dangerous countries in the world for women.

One protester told our correspondent: “Every girl has the right to wear whatever she wants, to do whatever she wants to do with her body. It’s our lives, our decisions, unless it’s harming you, you have no right to say anything.”

Another protester said: “There are a lot of problems for women in Delhi because a lot of women do face sexual harassment and just a couple of weeks ago the chief of police of Delhi said that if a women was out after 0200 she was responsible for what happens to her, and I don’t think that’s the right attitude.”

Most of the marchers in Delhi were soberly dressed in jeans and T-shirts or traditional shalwar kameez.

India recorded almost 22,000 rape cases in 2008, 18% up on 2004, the National Crime Records Bureau says.

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