Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Around the Web

Quinn and I spent most of the day yesterday on the couch. He was recovering from a minor but necessary surgery that left us both exhausted and me frayed all around my edges. (Quinn on the other hand seemed totally fine, as long as I continued to supply him with jello.)

A photo posted by Jen Campisano (@jencampisano) on

The anesthesiologist allowed me to carry Quinn back to the OR, where I held him while he protested (Quinn, not the anesthesiologist). Quinn was screaming and crying that he didn't want the mask they'd tried to tell him was a superhero mask, while the doctor held it gently above my child's face. I rubbed Quinn's sweaty hair off his forehead and told him how brave he was. Somehow, I held it together until he passed out, then broke out in sobs as I walked out of the room.

Quinn and I watched four -- yes, four -- movies in a row yesterday. Three of which we already owned. I hesitated about paying the money to purchase the fourth one.

"It's twenty dollars, buddy," I said.

"I can handle that," Quinn answered.

HA. Ha ha ha ha ha.

I chuckled so hard that I gave in and paid the money. Well handled, indeed, my little man.


On to the news I came across over the last week. Is it just me, or is this week's round-up exceptionally full of good news and hope? Here's to 2015, people.

Why Do Some People Develop Resistance to Cancer Therapies? 

Duke researchers may have the answer, according to a couple of recently-published studies.

"The team managed to map the particular steps that breast cancer cells (along with melanoma and blood cancer cells) use to gain resistance to drugs."

And a Potential New Drug Target for Combating Those Resistant Cells

"Researchers have identified a signaling pathway that contributes to the slow proliferation of difficult-to-kill cancer cells. These cells, which are resistant to current treatments, are believed to be responsible for instances of cancer relapse. The researchers believe that the signaling pathway could therefore provide a potential target for new treatments.

'Most cancer treatments target rapidly dividing cancer cells but leave the slowly dividing ones unharmed and still capable of causing disease recurrence after the initial treatment,' Dr. Ramaswamy adds. 'Our goal has been to understand how these slow proliferators are produced in order to devise ways to eliminate them.'"

FDA Fast-Tracks Drug to Treat Advanced Triple Negative Breast Cancer

"The FDA. . . granted fast track status to sacituzumab govitecan, an antibody–drug conjugate in development for treatment of patients with triple-negative breast cancer who failed prior therapies for metastatic disease, according to the drug’s manufacturer.

The FDA’s Fast Track program is intended to facilitate the development and expedite the review of new drugs intended to treat serious conditions, as well as agents that would fill unmet medical needs.

The FDA based its decision on the efficacy sacituzumab govitecan has shown in patients with advanced triple-negative breast cancer."

Well, This is Potentially HUGE for Her-2+ Breast Cancer Patients...

"Scientists at Dalhousie University’s medical school have found a never-before-used combination of drugs that shut down aggressive breast cancer tumours and prevent the disease from recurring."

(I couldn't not put emphasis on that entire sentence.)

Could This Spell the End of Cancer?

"By tapping into a cell's natural processes, researchers may have found a way to inhibit tumor growth and ultimately kill off cancer cells.

'We believe this small molecule will address an unmet cancer need in an underexplored area that will be rapidly applicable to the clinic,' said Dr. Jerry Shay, vice-chairman and professor of cell biology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and senior co-author for the study."

New Drug for Hormone-Driven Breast Cancer Set for Approval This Spring

"The first in a new class of cancer medicines, Pfizer's Ibrance, appears poised for approval to treat advanced breast cancer within a few months and could quickly become a blockbuster, some analysts believe.

Those drugs are believed to block enzymes, called CDK4 and 6, that help cancer cells divide uncontrollably."

Breakthrough as Gene Driving Triple Negative Breast Cancer is Discovered

"Scientists have identified the gene behind one of most aggressive forms of breast cancer in a breakthrough which could bring life-saving new treatments.

Triple-negative breast cancer is one of the most deadly forms of the disease and nearly one quarter of patients diagnosed will not survive for more than five years.

Now researchers at Cambridge University and the Wellcome Trust’s Sanger Institute have found that the BCL11A gene is overactive in eight out of ten patients."

Personal Liberty vs. An 85% Chance of Survival for One 17-Year-Old Girl

On the one hand, I'm a strong believer in letting children have some say in what happens to their bodies. Meaning: if Quinn says stop tickling, I stop tickling. And I don't force him to give hugs, much to his grandparents' chagrin. 

HOWEVER, I would certainly make my child receive chemotherapy if there was an 85% chance of survival. There would be no question. She would sit in that infusion center and I would hold her hand through side effects and uncertainty and I would hate it but I would make her fight. (This hypothetical 17-year-old girl child of mine.)

Having gone through what I've gone through to spend more time with my family, I cannot wrap my head around this mother's position one little bit. But I'm curious: what's your take?

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