by Tom Porter
International Business Times
‘A 53-year-old British father has become the first man to have his prostate removed because tests revealed he was carrying a “faulty” cancer gene.
A clinical trial at London’s Institute of Cancer Research revealed that he carried the BRCA2 gene, which research shows is associated with a high risk of developing prostate cancer.
Several of the man’s family had suffered from breast or prostate cancer, which is why he took part in the study.
The closely associated BRCA1 gene has been known for some time to have links with breast cancer, and last week actress Angelina Jolie revealed that she had undergone a double mastectomy when tests revealed that she carried the gene.’
by Ben Child
‘Tommy Chong, the veteran star of the dope-fuelled Cheech and Chong films, says he has beaten prostate cancer with a combination of cannabis use and a special diet.
Chong, 74, was diagnosed with cancer in June last year following a three-year period in which he said he had been drug free. He now says he is 99% free of the disease after a Canadian doctor helped him change his diet to include a variety of special supplements, as well as hemp oil. He then sat for a number of sessions with a practitioner named Adam Dreamhealer, described as a “world-renowned healer”.
“That’s right, I kicked cancer’s ass!” Chong wrote on the website CelebStoner.com. “So the magic plant does cure cancer with the right diet and supplements. I’m due for another blood test, MRI, etc, but I feel the best I’ve felt in years. And now for a celebration joint of the finest Kush …”’
by Jamie Doward
‘Anti-smoking campaigners have accused the government of caving in to pressure from the tobacco lobby and running scared of Ukip after plans to enforce the sale of cigarettes in plain packs failed to make it into the Queen’s speech.
Minutes released by the Department of Health show that one of the industry’s leading players had told government officials that, if the move went through, it would source its packaging from abroad, resulting in “significant job losses.”
Cancer charities and health experts were expecting a bill to be introduced last week that would ban branded cigarette packaging, following a ban introduced in Australia last December. At least one health minister had been briefing that the bill would be in the Queen’s speech. But the bill was apparently put on hold at the last minute with the government saying it would be a distraction from its main legislative priorities.’
The ban, which came into force in England in July 2007, has been associated with an annual 5% drop in adult admissions, they said.
Researchers from the University of Bath examined the number of emergency admissions during the first three years after the ban on smoking in public places was introduced in England – where the prevalence of asthma is one of the highest in the world, affecting almost 5.9% of the population.
The study, published in the journal Thorax, looked at the 502,000 emergency admissions for asthma among adults aged 16 and over in England between April 1997 and December 2010.’
by Lisa Collier Cool
With some new, potentially lifesaving cancer drugs costing up to $138,000 a year, about 120 leading cancer specialists have joined forces in an unusual protest aimed at getting pharmaceutical companies to cut prices.
Charging high prices for drugs cancer patients need to survive is like “profiteering” from a natural disaster by jacking up prices for food and other necessities, leading cancer doctors and researchers from around the world contend in a new paper published in Blood, the journal of the American Society of Hematology.
Of 12 new cancer drugs that received FDA approval last year, 11 of them cost in excess of $100,000 a year—prices that the specialists attack as “astronomical,” “unsustainable,” and maybe even immoral. What’s more, only three of these drugs were found to improve patient survival rates and of these, two only increased it by less than two months, according to the Washington Post.
by HEIDI EVANS
New York Daily News
Cancer among 9/11 responders is 15% higher than among people not exposed to the Ground Zero toxins, a study by Mount Sinai Hospital’s World Trade Center Health Program has found.
The increase was seen primarily in three types of the disease, thyroid, prostate and blood cancers, such as leukemia and lymphoma.
Researchers analyzing data from 20,984 participants in the WTC Health Program from 2001 to 2008 found 575 cases of cancer, compared with the 499 epidemiologists expected to see in the general population for that size sample.
The findings will be published online Tuesday in the medical journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
The US Supreme Court is about to hear arguments in a case challenging patents on breast and ovarian cancer genes. If the court upholds the company’s right to patent human genes, the course of US medical research could forever be altered.
The case involves the Utah biotech firm Myriad Genetics, which for years has been facing a lawsuit for placing patents on human genes and restricting cancer patients’ treatment options.
The molecular diagnostic company, which is based in Salt Lake City, holds a number of patents on genes related to breast cancer and ovarian cancer, two of which US District Court Judge Robert W. Sweet ruled invalid in 2010, the decision that Myriad appealed. The genes in question, BRCA1 an BRCA2, often appear in cancer patients, sometimes before the cancer has even developed. With methods to diagnose these genes patented by Myriad Genetics, patients are unable to go to any other doctors for a second opinion before seeking treatment.
by Sarah C. P. Williams
A single drug can shrink or cure human breast, ovary, colon, bladder, brain, liver, and prostate tumors that have been transplanted into mice, researchers have found. The treatment, an antibody that blocks a “do not eat” signal normally displayed on tumor cells, coaxes the immune system to destroy the cancer cells.
A decade ago, biologist Irving Weissman of the Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto, California, discovered that leukemia cells produce higher levels of a protein called CD47 than do healthy cells. CD47, he and other scientists found, is also displayed on healthy blood cells; it’s a marker that blocks the immune system from destroying them as they circulate. Cancers take advantage of this flag to trick the immune system into ignoring them. In the past few years, Weissman’s lab showed that blocking CD47 with an antibody cured some cases of lymphomas and leukemias in mice by stimulating the immune system to recognize the cancer cells as invaders. Now, he and colleagues have shown that the CD47-blocking antibody may have a far wider impact than just blood cancers.
by Sarah Kliff
Cancer clinics across the country have begun turning away thousands of Medicare patients, blaming the sequester budget cuts.
Oncologists say the reduced funding, which took effect for Medicare on April 1, makes it impossible to administer expensive chemotherapy drugs while staying afloat financially.
Patients at these clinics would need to seek treatment elsewhere, such as at hospitals that might not have the capacity to accommodate them.
- Cayenne Pepper: Desensitizes the respiratory system to tobacco and chemical irritants helps stop cravings for cigarettes. Take the spice daily: add a couple of pinches to a glass of water.
- Ginger: Ingesting pure ginger helps you quit smoking. Ginger has a warming and heating effect in the body, which promotes perspiration. When your body sweats it excretes toxins and relieves some chemical loads from the body. A great detox for a smoking addiction. Also - Drink ginger tea. Instead of smoking try preparing a cup of ginger tea. This is effective because it helps form a new habit instead of smoking.
- Ginseng: Prevents nicotine-induced releases of the neurotransmitter dopamine found in cigarettes. Take a teaspoon of ginseng powder in some cereal or maybe a health shake. (prevents cravings)
- St. John’s Wort: Recommended 450 mg capsule 2 times a day
- Peppermint: nausea can be alleviated with peppermint tea or peppermint oil. It’s great for relieving nausea but is also helps relaxation. It has an anesthetic and pain-relieving effect on the body – that’s perfect for combating this dirty habit.
- Lobelia: Active ingredient is lobeline, thought to have similar properties as nicotine. Research has shown that lobeline may increase levels of dopamine in the brain similar to cigarettes.
The p53 gene becomes activated when DNA is damaged. Its gene product makes repair proteins that mend DNA. The higher the level of DNA damage, the more p53 becomes activated.
“We don’t know much about the foods we eat and how they affect cells in our bodies,” says Scott Kern, M.D., the Kovler Professor of Oncology and Pathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “But it’s clear that plants contain many compounds that are meant to deter humans and animals from eating them, like cellulose in stems and bitter-tasting tannins in leaves and beans we use to make teas and coffees, and their impact needs to be assessed.”
Kern cautioned that his studies do not suggest people should stop using tea, coffee or flavorings, but do suggest the need for further research.
The Johns Hopkins study began a year ago when graduate student Samuel Gilbert, working in Kern’s laboratory, noted that a test Kern had developed to detect p53 activity had never been used to identify DNA-damaging substances in food.
For the study, published online February 8 in Food and Chemical Toxicology, Kern and his team sought advice from scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture about food products and flavorings. “To do this study well, we had to think like food chemists to extract chemicals from food and dilute food products to levels that occur in a normal diet,” he says.
Using Kern’s test for p53 activity, which makes a fluorescent compound that “glows” when p53 is activated, the scientists mixed dilutions of the food products and flavorings with human cells and grew them in laboratory dishes for 18 hours.
Measuring and comparing p53 activity with baseline levels, the scientists found that liquid smoke flavoring, black and green teas and coffee showed up to nearly 30-fold increases in p53 activity, which was on par with their tests of p53 activity caused by a chemotherapy drug called etoposide.
Previous studies have shown that liquid smoke flavoring damages DNA in animal models, so Kern’s team analyzed p53 activity triggered by the chemicals found in liquid smoke. Postdoctoral fellow Zulfiquer Hossain tracked down the chemicals responsible for the p53 activity. The strongest p53 activity was found in two chemicals: pyrogallol and gallic acid. Pyrogallol, commonly found in smoked foods, is also found in cigarette smoke, hair dye, tea, coffee, bread crust, roasted malt and cocoa powder, according to Kern. Gallic acid, a variant of pyrogallol, is found in teas and coffees.
Kern says that more studies are needed to examine the type of DNA damage caused by pyrogallol and gallic acid, but there could be ways to remove the two chemicals from foods and flavorings.
A mother who failed in her legal bid to stop her own cancer-suffering son’s radiotherapy has vowed to carry on fighting the courts.
Sally Roberts launched a High Court bid to stop her seven-year-old brain tumour son Neon from having the invasive treatment.
She said she ‘absolutely’ didn’t want Neon to undergo chemotherapy, as it was ‘barbaric and plain torture’.
Neon’s father Ben – who is separated from Ms Roberts, said the youngster has completed his course of
radiotherapy as planned, but Sally insists Neon is ‘causing problems, not saving his life’.
Ms Roberts said her son was feeling ‘absolutely rubbish’ after undergoing radiotherapy.
She told ITV’s Daybreak: “He is not great, he has just had radiotherapy so he is very ill, weak, fragile, emotional.”
However, Daybreak’s Dr Hilary Jones, who sat beside her during the interview, warned that without treatment he would face a ‘death sentence’.
He said: “Any parent who is faced with a choice about radiotherapy in this situation, today, next week, next month, please talk to the doctors, you will be reassured.”
“If this was my son, I wouldn’t hesitate to go ahead with the evidence-based treatment we currently have.
Yes, there are side-effects, they are predictable, and we know about them. But the alternative is much worse than that.”
A statement released on his behalf by his lawyer said: “He (Neon) is currently having a short break from treatment but will start his chemotherapy in early April, after his birthday, as planned.
Ten Years Later, U.S. Has Left Iraq With Mass Displacement and Epidemic of Birth Defects, Cancers ~ Democracy NOW!
Al Jazeera reporter Dahr Jamail discusses how the U.S. invasion of Iraq has left behind a legacy of cancer and birth defects suspected of being caused by the U.S. military’s extensive use of depleted uranium and white phosphorus. Noting the birth defects in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, Jamail says: “They’re are extremely hard to bear witness to, but it’s something that we all need to pay attention to … What this has generated is from 2004 up to this day, we are seeing a rate of congenital malformations in the city of Fallujah that has surpassed even that in the wake of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that nuclear bombs were dropped on at the end of World War II.” Jamail has also reported on the refugee crisis of more than one million displaced Iraqis still inside the country, who are struggling to survive without government aid, a majority of them living in Baghdad. (DEMOCRACY NOW!)
Judge Orders U.S. Tobacco Companies To State They Lied About Their Products To Public For 50 Years ~ BBC
by Paul Joseph Watson
Russian Communist Party head Gennady Zyuganov today demanded an international investigation into the death of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, claiming it was “far from a coincidence” that six leaders of Latin-American countries who had criticized the U.S. simultaneously fell ill with cancer.
“How did it happen that six leaders of Latin American countries which had criticized US policies and tried to create an influential alliance in order to be independent and sovereign states, fell ill simultaneously with the same disease?” Zyuganov told Russian state television, urging an investigation under “international control” into Chavez’s death.
Zyuganov is accurate so far as his claim that six Latin-American leaders were diagnosed with cancer within a relatively close period of time, most notably Argentina’s President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in December 2012, although later analysis proved that she had never actually suffered from the illness.
Current Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Paraguay’s Fernando Lugo, and the former Brazilian leader Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, have all been hit with cancer in the last few years. In 2006 it was also reported that retired Cuban leader Fidel Castro was also diagnosed with cancer.
Zyuganov’s comments follow similar rhetoric by Venezuelan Vice President Madurs, who in the hours before the announcement of Chavez’ death accused “the historical enemies of our homeland” of being responsible for Chavez’ cancer, claiming that Yasser Arafat had also been “inoculated with an illness.”
Hugo Chavez himself once speculated that the United States had a cancer weapon after being diagnosed with the disease in 2011. “Would it be so strange that they’ve invented the technology to spread cancer and we won’t know about it for 50 years?” he stated.
“Fidel [Castro] always told me, ‘Chávez take care. These people have developed technology. You are very careless. Take care what you eat, what they give you to eat … a little needle and they inject you with I don’t know what,’ Chavez added.
The fact that Chavez was almost certainly the target of numerous CIA assassination plots has bolstered the belief amongst some that his cancer could have been surreptitiously induced as a means of unseating Chavez from power, successfully achieving what a 2002 coup failed to accomplish.
The Department of Energy has said they may start allowing radioactive waste metals to be reenter the consumer market. But that’s okay, what could possibly be near your belt buckle that you wouldn’t want to be radioactive?? Source article: http://bit.ly/12fF8D8
Anastasia Churkina tells the story of Sept. 11th volunteers who abandoned their lives and rushed to the WTC site on 9/11 only to find themselves with deadly illnesses and forgotten by the system over a decade after the tragedy.
The Chinese government has admitted for the first time that so called ‘cancer villages’ exist, as decades of pollution take their toll on the health of Chinese citizens.
For years environmental campaigners in China have said that cancer rates in villages near factories and polluted rivers are far higher than they should be.
Now China’s Environment Ministry has admitted their existence and has called for greater transparency on environmental issues.
“In recent years, toxic and hazardous chemical pollution has caused many environmental disasters, cutting off drinking water supplies, and even leading to severe health and social problems such as ‘cancer villages’,” the document says, which was published in the 12th five-year plan for tackling pollution.
The plan also outlines a clampdown on the use of 58 types of toxic chemicals. Many chemicals are produced and consumed in China, which are banned in many developed nations.
The document continues to warn that China is facing a grave situation in terms of chemical pollution control, including a lack of pollution risk control by enterprises, a lack of policies to stop the use of highly toxic and dangerous chemicals and insufficient pollution monitoring by the authorities, the state news agency Xinhua reported on Friday.
According to a long-term study completed in 2011 by the Chinese Ministry of Environment Protection and the Chinese Academy of Engineering, over 90% of the groundwater in cities was polluted to different degrees. Of 118 major cities, 64 had seriously contaminated groundwater supplies. This is highly alarming, as 70% of China’s population relies on groundwater for their drinking water.
According to Greenpeace East Asia, 320 million people are without access to clean drinking water in China and 190 million people are drinking water severely contaminated with hazardous chemicals.
A national environmental safety survey, carried out between 2005-2006, showed that out of the 7,555 chemical and petrochemical projects surveyed, 1,354 were located on the banks and shores of rivers, lakes and reservoirs; 2,489 were next to densely populated cities or areas; 535 were on major tributaries of key rivers; and 280 were on the upper reaches of protected drinking water-source regions.
“Poor environmental regulations, weak enforcement and local corruption mean that factories can discharge their waste water directly into rivers and lakes”, according to Greenpeace East Asia.
It is mainly water pollution, which is the cause of the high rates of cancer in areas where factories discharge chemicals into rivers, which have earned these settlements their name of ‘cancer villages’.
Cancer is now China’s biggest killer, with an 80% rise in mortality from the disease in the last 30 years, according to data from the Chinese Ministry for Health.
by FIONA MACRAE
Hair dyes used by millions of women contain chemicals linked to cancer, British scientists have warned.
They say that both home hair colouring kits and the dyes used at expensive salons pose a potential risk to health.
Writing in a respected scientific journal, they say chemicals in permanent hair dyes can react with tobacco smoke and other pollutants in the air to form one of the most powerful cancer-causing compounds known to man.
With more than a third of women and one in ten men regularly colouring their hair, the researchers say it is ‘imperative’ that the risk to health is quantified.
However, the cosmetics industry has strongly disputed the claim.
The warning comes from scientists at Leeds-based company Green Chemicals who conducted a review of the chemistry surrounding hair dye. They said that all the information was already available and they simply ‘joined the dots’ to make the link with cancer.
They warn that chemicals called secondary amines, which are either found in all permanent hair dyes or are formed in them, can penetrate the skin and stay on the hair for weeks, months or even years after the dye is applied.
Over time, they could react with tobacco smoke and exhaust fumes, to form highly poisonous chemicals called N-nitrosamines.
Known to cause cancer, these are banned from use in cosmetics.
But the Leeds researchers argue that they can still be generated via a simple chemical reaction.
Hair dye has previously been linked to a range of cancers, including tumours of the breast, bladder, ovaries and brain and leukaemia.
There are also concerns that increasing numbers of people are becoming allergic to their contents, sometimes with fatal results.
The sale of home hair dye kits alone is worth an estimated £321million a year and the figure is expected to rise as the population ages.
by Julia Evangelou Strait
Cancer drugs should kill tumors, not encourage their spread. But new evidence suggests that an otherwise promising class of drugs may actually increase the risk of tumors spreading to bone, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
The drugs, IAP antagonists, block survival signals that many cancer cells rely on to stay alive. Working in mice, the investigators found that targeting the same protein that makes tumors vulnerable to death also overactivates cells called osteoclasts, which are responsible for tearing down bone.
“These investigational drugs are getting broad attention right now because they seem to be very effective against primary tumors,” says senior author Deborah V. Novack, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine. “There is also excitement because until now, these drugs have not appeared to have major side effects.”
The research appears in the February issue of Cancer Discovery.
by David Ferguson
An interagency panel tasked with studying how the U.S. spends money in the study and prevention of breast cancer said on Tuesday that more money should be spent to study environmental causes of the disease as well as how women can prevent it. According to the New York Times, the group has concluded that funds devoted to breast cancer are being spent inefficiently and without much coordination between agencies tackling the disease.
The committee, made up of one-third scientists, one-third government officials and one-third members of advocacy groups, was empaneled in accordance with 2008′s Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Act. It presented its findings in the report, “Breast Cancer and the Environment — Prioritizing Prevention,” emphasized environmental factors, which included behaviors like diet, alcohol intake and exercise; exposure to chemicals like pesticides, industrial compounds and the dyes and fragrances in makeup, clothing and food; as well as drugs, radiation exposure and factors tied to social status and socioeconomic conditions.
The study noted that scientists have long known that a combination of genetic and environmental factors cause cancer. The question is what environmental factors are driving U.S. cancer rates. Why, for example, do women who move to the U.S. from Japan develop breast cancer at the same rate as American women? Their genetics are the same, so environmental causes would appear to bear the blame.
Committee co-chair Michael Gould, a professor of oncology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, told the Times, “We know things like radiation might cause breast cancer, but we don’t know much that we can say specifically causes breast cancer in terms of chemicals.”
The two main federal agencies studying breast cancer, the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense, each spend about 10 percent of their total funds allotted to breast cancer study on prevention. The committee declined to say, however, what percentage should be spent.
“We’re hedging on that on purpose,” Gould told the Times. “It wasn’t the role of the committee to suggest how much.”
Another committee co-chair, Dr. Michele Forman, an epidemiologist and professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Texas, Austin, said that there is currently little coordination among agencies studying breast cancer, leading to inadequacies in some areas and redundancies in others.
Forman believes that epidemiologists need to study the effects of environmental exposures at all stages of a woman’s life, from gestation forward. Some animals, she said, are good models for the study of breast cancer in humans and should be used more.
She pointed to the HPV vaccine, which helps prevent cervical cancer by preventing HPV, the cause of 99.7 percent of cervical cancers, as an example of where breast cancer medicine could eventually go.
“I look forward to the day when we have an early preventive strategy for breast cancer,” she said.
An eight year-old girl has thanked the users of social network Facebook after enough of them shared her photo to allow her recovery from cancer.
Candice Williams spoke of her relief that enough people were willing to take the time to share a photo of her with no hair and tubes in every orifice to ensure her recovery was possible.
She told reporters,”I really can’t thank them enough – because without them, the doctors probably wouldn’t have tried very hard to save me.”
“Plus I think Mark Zuckerburg tracks these things and pays for the treatment of kids whose photos get a hundred thousand likes. I think it was $1 a share last time I checked.”
“He definitely mentioned this cost item in his last earnings call to investors. Probably.”