Thursday, June 19, 2014

Around the Web

Here's what I found this week. Have something you'd like me to feature here? Please leave a note in the comments or send me an email.

Reducing the risk of recurrence in hormone-sensitive cancers

"A new treatment option is more effective than tamoxifen at preventing a return of breast cancer in young women, according to the results of two international trials."

Still requires shutting down ovaries, unfortunately.

And another promising option for post-menopausal breast cancer patients

"The inexpensive anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) reverses resistance to tamoxifen, a widely used breast cancer drug, in mice."

Anti-malarial? Really?

(Thanks to my friend Andrea for this one.)

At least one insurance company using incentive program to "reign in costs"

Would you want your doctor receiving financial incentives from an insurance company for how he or she prescribes the medicine you'll receive? Would you care? In an era of more and more individualized medicine, I'd be concerned the quality of care was at risk. But maybe that's just me?

(Thanks to my friend Andrea for this one, too.)

Decoding the role immune cells have on metastases

"Normally, macrophages -- chubby cells with a big mouth-like orifice -- are friends, not foe. They gobble up dead tumor cells and virtually any kind of debris, including infectious organisms. Picture the old Pac-Man video game that consumed dots.

But macrophages, Egeblad said, also send signals in the vast communication network of the body allowing cells to "talk" to each other.

"What we found is that when you give chemotherapy, the macrophages come in and clean up all these dead cells but they are also sending signals to the [tumor] cells that are not killed in the first round of chemo. And those signals are making it easier for the tumor to bounce back after chemo," she said."

I had no idea cells could be chubby.

Immunotherapy is all the rage lately

"A promising new study from Mayo Clinic, in conjunction with Caris Life Sciences, points to immunotherapy as a possible treatment option for patients with the difficult-to-treat triple negative breast cancer mutation."

I sat in on a Twitter chat (tweet chat?) earlier this week that focused on immunotherapy and where it is headed. Big things are happening, if you believe all the scientists. All of us patients are trying to temper our excitement with the reality that many of these amazing/brilliant/promising results are still in the very early trial stages. But I am staying tuned...

A friend's cousin and her beautiful love story

Worth the read AND the incredible photos taken by my friend Kristi's wildly talented sister Joy Marie.

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