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Learning more about cancer

MANTLE CELL LYMPHOMA (MCL) is an “equal opportunity disease” for about 5,000 in the U.S.  Actually, this Leukemia and Lymphoma Society article says 4,200 in 2014

Learning more about cancer

Via an email from a trusted source on this topic, this CANSWERIST* now archives a personal story of a CAR-T patient who was the third person in the world to be treated for NHL with CAR-T (1).  The treatment was in July of 2015.  That was almost three years ago and there has been much work (and progress) to improve the AE's associated with this miracle treatment.  The story provides a detailed overview as told by the patient. ▶ 

* CANSWERIST = a cancer survivor or caregiver for same

Also this: 

▶ Personalized Cancer Treatment -- This is a very broad and non-technical discussion of how personalized cancer treatment began and how it works for those interested in the topic.  The interview is with one of the developers of the treatment plan at MDAnderson Cancer Center, Texas.  It is very general, but good background. ▶ 

(1) CAR-T = A type of treatment in which a patient's T cells (a type of immune system cell) are changed in the laboratory so they will attack cancer cells. T cells are taken from a patient’s blood. Then the gene for a special receptor that binds to a certain protein on the patient’s cancer cells is added in the laboratory. The special receptor is called a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR). Large numbers of the CAR T cells are grown in the laboratory and given to the patient by infusion. CAR T-cell therapy is being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. Also called chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy. ▶ 

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▶ My MCL DX came in April 2006 (age 57 and I will be 70 in June), blastoid type, with a following almost 16 months of various chemo regimens starting with R-CHOP, then others. Had an unrelated German donor SCT in Aug. 2007 and two years of full remission. But a single-tumor relapse in Oct. 2009 was treated successfully with targeted radiation (Tomotherapy) and I have been in full remission since that time. Only maintenance therapy now is periodic IVIGs.

▶ Going on a 12-year survival mark, I guess I have reached the long-term category? The bulk of my treatment was at City of Hope, Duarte, CA (east of Los Angeles). Regarding disability, my oncologist initially recommended that route in the early stages of my treatment, but I was not ready.

▶ So, I did not go onto disability, combined with early SSI until late 2009, at the time of the relapse. I was fortunate because my employer (a private hospital system in Southern California) handled the combo disability/SSI arrangements for early retirement. I am quite sure that a DX in my forties, rather than late fifties, would have complicated, if not prevented this decision.


NUZZEL “NEXT” story archive for 15Feb18 Alzheimer’s Cure in sight? 

Health concerns for the 55+ population may be topped by two primary fears: 1) cancer and 2) Alzheimer’s.  This issue of WEEKENDER ▶ archives the second topic with the following data SOURCED ▶

“More than four million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s, and as many as twenty million have close relatives or friends with the disease.” Revolutionizing the way we perceive and live with Alzheimer’s, Joanne Koenig Coste offers a practical approach to the emotional well-being of both patients and caregivers that emphasizes relating to patients in their own reality. Her accessible and comprehensive method, which she calls habilitation, works to enhance communication between care partners and patients and has proven successful with thousands of people living with dementia. Learning to Speak Alzheimer’s also offers hundreds of practical tips, including how to:

· cope with the diagnosis and adjust to the disease’s progression
· help the patient talk about the illness
· face the issue of driving
· make meals and bath times as pleasant as possible
· adjust room design for the patient’s comfort
· deal with wandering, paranoia, and aggression

▶ SOURCED from: Sai Janani Ganesan, Postdoctoral Scholar at UCSF, on Quora If you regularly read the news—either the politics or the science and technology section, you have read at least a couple of articles in the last year on Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or more broadly, dementia. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disease and is the leading cause of dementia—a syndrome or a condition that manifests as a group of symptoms that affect cognitive and behavioral skills due to death of neurons, arising from a multitude of largely unknown causes (with the exception of genetic abnormalities). There aren’t any medications available today that either slow or stop neuronal damage, the drugs available in the market are involved in only marginally improving symptoms and are highly patient dependent. With a total number of affected individuals predicted to increase to 13 million in the US and over 100 million worldwide by 2050, and skyrocketing costs for dementia care (currently at $259 billion (2017) and expected to grow to $1 trillion by 2050), it is safe to call dementia one of the biggest public health problems of our times. “An experimental treatment completely reversed Alzheimer's disease in mice by reducing the levels of a single enzyme in the animals' brains. The results further bolster the theory that amyloid plaques are at the root of this mysterious brain disease, and that addressing these plaques could lead to an eventual cure for Alzheimer's. “The study, published February 14 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, found that slowly reducing levels of the enzyme BACE1 in mice as they aged either prevented or reversed the formation of amyloid plaques in the brain, a hallmark sign of Alzheimer's disease.” MORE: Blocking enzyme 'dramatically reverses' Alzheimer's in mice
Amyloid plaques, formed when bits of protein clump together in the brain, are found in high amounts in Alzheimer's patients. BACE1 is a protein that naturally forms in the brain and helps produce beta-amyloid peptide, a protein also involved with brain plaque formation.

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Although I am more than 12 years into the post-cancer (mantle cell lymphoma) diagnosis (DX) and confirmed, sustained remission (since 2010), I have not always been faithful about periodic and routine updates at this site (Blog For A Cure), but making an archive link of the above story prompts this update.