Archive for the ‘general information’ Category

A Day To Remember

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008


The memorial is Monday July 14th at:
New Life Philadelphia Presbyterian Church
425 East Roosevelt Blvd (At D Street and Bingham Street, next to the park…looks like a synagogue)
Philadelphia, PA 19120
Phone: 215-324-4566

The memorial is scheduled to start at 9:30am

There will be light refreshments afterwards.

Got Help?

Friday, April 4th, 2008


Hey y’all, (I can say that ’cause I really am from the South!)

I know that a lot of people won’t be able to come to the meeting and that’s good, ’cause now we don’t have to feed y’all, but we still want to know what you’re available to help with. Just a few things that come right to mind….

I’ve set up an email account for people to send their offers of help with dinners, appointments, etc. It’s Please send an email there with your name, what you’d like to help with, and a phone # if you can be reached by phone. This account will be accessed by Andrea, myself, and anyone else who regularly helps with the family and scheduling.

*Leelee, the family’s wonder dog, needs love! In the form of regular baths and romps at the dog park…. is there a dog lover in the crowd? Anyone with a friend with a pet grooming business?

*Dinner needed by 5:00 on Thursday, April 17 & April 24 and Saturday, April 26. That would fill the calendar for April. If you’re available for May, we need dinners on Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturdays by 5:00, and the schedule is wide open so pick your date quick!

*Trader Joe’s is where pretty much all the groceries come from. It’s way less expensive for her to shop there for her family, and she feels like she’s feeding them a better quality of food. If you know Andrea (or if you don’t) family meals and what the kids eat is very important to her. Trader Joe’s gift cards will always get used, and if you shop there you can leave one for her there at the main desk. Just tell them it’s for Andrea Collins-Smith, and they’ll give them to her the next time she shops. If you want to, you can call them @ , purchase a gift card, and tell them to keep it at the main desk for her. No amount is too little, ’cause every little bit helps. Yum Yum!

*Babysitting Fund– We’ve got an awesome girl helping out 3 days a week at Andrea’s house. Her name is Erin Cloud, (she’s throwing the Fiesta for a Cause Benefit on Sunday, April 13th) and she’s with Andrea and the baby all day on Monday and Wednesday’s while Kelly works, and is helping out with light house keeping/babysitting if needed on Thursdays.

She’s learning which kids do which chores, how to make dinner for 8 people (while 5 of them talk to you non stop), change poopy diapers and take Clay on outings, so Andrea doesn’t have to do so much while she’s sick. If you’d like to donate once or on a regular basis to help with this, please email us ASAP.

So… please email us at and we’ll get right back to you!

Thanks again y’all,


Talk talk talk

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007


Yet again I have posted four new blogs at once.

I have listed two upcoming fund raiser events for our family. I truly hope you can make it out or help out in some way. We appreciate your continued love and support.

I also felt compelled to list the symptoms of IBC. Just in case you all missed it the first 4 times.

And finally I felt like sharing my chemo symptoms with you. Some are funny.

Okay so read on this will get you at least 20 minutes of light reading. Please feel free to comment. Don’t hold back I live for you to say hi.

Have a great weekend. And if you want to help…I need someone to watch Clay or my younger kids over the weekend since I am a mess. And I need someone to bring me food from Viet Nam. Shrimp rice vermicelli with extra pickled daikon. Lots of daikon. It makes my stomach feel soooo good. So if you are going to cruise through Chinatown and have some time I would love it. I can pay you for it too.

So do not be a stranger. I am sick yes. I don’t do anything outside the bedroom but if you have time say hi.

I love you all so so much.

Gold, baby

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007


I am posting this article about the use of gold particles and chemotherapy because I thought it was pretty interesting. All this nanotechnology is. The future of medicine. How exciting. So read it if you are so inclined. I will post something more juicy this week. Love to y’all.

Provided by: M. D. Anderson

Last Updated: 01 Mar 2006

Scientists have created a way for viruses and tiny bits of gold to assemble within the body to potentially seek out and destroy diseases, such as cancer, a new study reports.

The M. D. Anderson study shows that miniscule particles of gold – a metal that is not rejected by the body – can create a microscopic “vehicle” of sorts, called a nanoshuttle, that attaches to viruses that can find and possibly attack diseased cells.

The viruses possess this tracking ability because they have been specially engineered to display a protein that matches a protein receptor “zip code” on the diseased tissue of interest, according to the study published in a recent issue of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences(PNAS).

Nano devices could be used in various diseases

This homing technique was pioneered by the study co-leaders Renata Pasqualini, Ph.D., and Wadih Arap, M.D., both professors in M. D. Anderson’s Department of Medicine and Cancer Biology.

Their previous work revealed that the human vascular system contains unique molecular addresses, depending on the site of an organ or tissue, and that blood vessels also acquire abnormal signatures on diseased organs. They were the first to attach such unique vascular “zip codes” to viruses, so that they could engineer the viruses to go to these target addresses.

While many researchers have tried to use synthetic materials or polymers to create tiny devices that can be used in medical therapy, they have not been able to find a way to get these devices to specific organs or tissues that need to be treated, Pasqualini says.

The M. D. Anderson research team, however, discovered that “gold is a perfect metal” to use because it is biologically compatible, and the other key component to produce targetable nanoparticles are the specially engineered viruses.

Research drives scientists to future studies

According to the team, nano devices might be able to treat a number of different diseases in similar ways:

Cancer– Nanoshuttles may be able to locate specific tumors by using an array of imaging techniques. The tumors could then be treated by either heating the gold particles with laser light and/or using the nanoparticles to selectively deliver a drug to destroy the cancer.

Heart disease– Nanoshuttles could locate damaged areas on arteries that have been caused by heart disease, and then deliver stem cells to the site that can build new blood vessel tissue.

Although the nanoshuttle has not been tested in animals, the study is the first to show how, in a laboratory, gold and viruses can combine and build a matrix that can support stem cells, which could regenerate diseased tissue.

“This is our vision of the future, and, of course, it all needs to be further studied and translated into real clinical applications,” Arap says. “But we can now think in those terms because of this pioneering work that merges the fields of vascular targeting and nanotechnology.”

Blog this

Monday, July 30th, 2007

There are four new posts

In Nanotechnonlogy… I posted an interesting article looking at the future of cancer treatment. Its an easy read and it may surprise how close they are to finding a cure.

In “Coincidence” I just included an email from my friend Naomi about well coincidence and Asa

In Feel the love I am thanking y’all for the support and fund raisers.

And in Mercy I am looking at my week, talking chemo,results from scans,and the dangers of Zometa.

Happy reading. Love Andrea

Nanotechnology and the f***ing cure for cancer

Monday, July 30th, 2007

This is an article that may surprise you .It explains the use and results of nanotechnology in curing cancer. This includes metastatic disease.  Please take the time to read it. It is exciting. This is not theory anymore. They are in the human stage of research which is exciting.

Home About Us Contact Us Link1Targeted Delivery System (TDS)
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Rexin-Gâ„¢ Fact Sheet.
If you think there is no hope in cancer you may be surprised by this article.

About Rexin-Gâ„¢
Scientists at Epeius Biotechnologies have developed the technologies that can deliver a new class of powerful biological therapy directly to tumors that have spread throughout the body (metastatic cancer). The lead product, Rexin-Gâ„¢ , is a gene delivery vehicle, a tumor-targeted nanoparticle that is designed to deliver a tumor-killing designer gene precisely where it is needed. Rexin-Gâ„¢ has been shown clinically to be highly active against a broad spectrum of chemo-resistant tumor types, causing tumor shrinkage in patients suffering from metastatic cancer, without eliciting harmful systemic side effects.
Rexin-Gâ„¢ received orphan drug designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Rexin-Gâ„¢ received accelerated approval in the Philippines for use in all solid tumors
Rexin-Gâ„¢ is currently in clinical trials internationally, including the U.S., for advanced pancreatic and other metastatic cancer
How Rexin-Gâ„¢ Works
Each nanoparticle of Rexin-G™ is only 100 nanometers wide; yet despite its small size, it is a highly complex structure. Each component—the envelope, matrix, capsid, enzymes, and genetic material has its purpose, and in concert they enable each nanoparticle to deliver a lethal payload. The payload is a tumor-killing designer gene, which selectively kills cancer cells and their associated blood supply, while sparing normal cells and healthy tissues.
The delivery of the lethal payload by the nanoparticles is “pathotropic,” meaning it is specifically targeted to diseased tissues. Rather than targeting the cancer cells themselves, Rexin-G™ efficiently targets a common histopathological property of all invasive tumors. Pathotropic targeting allows Rexin-G™ to seek out and destroy tumors regardless of their location in the body, thereby reducing tumor burden, prolonging survival, and enhancing the patient’s quality-of-life.
The only targeted cancer gene delivery system that can be effectively administered intravenously
Designed to seek out and destroy both primary and metastatic tumors
Highly active as a single agent in a broad spectrum of chemo-resistant cancers
About Metastatic Cancer
Cancer is a progressive illness, originating from primary tumors located in specific tissues or organs. Tumor cells detach from the primary tumor and are carried to other sites in the body through the bloodstream to neighboring tissues, creating a secondary or metastatic tumor. Metastatic tumors often present in essential organs, making treatment difficult. Common treatment options for metastatic tumors include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery or combinations of these treatment options, which often have limited success while causing severe side effects that significantly diminish the quality of life for the patient.

Clinical Experience with Rexin-Gâ„¢
Early clinical and preclinical data suggest that Rexin-Gâ„¢ is safe and effective when used as a single agent therapeutic for the treatment of chemo-resistant tumors.
United States
Rexin-Gâ„¢ is currently in Phase I trials at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota for locally advanced and metastatic pancreatic cancer that is refractory to traditional chemotherapy.
A single-use clinical trial evaluating Rexin-Gâ„¢ for the treatment of metastatic cancer that is refractory to standard chemotherapy has been initiated at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, Pittsburgh Hillman Cancer Center, Pittsburgh, PA., The Sarcoma Oncology Clinic, Santa Monica, CA. and the Epeius Clinical Research Unit, San Marino, CA.
Rexin-Gâ„¢ has been granted accelerated approval for the treatment of all solid tumors. Rexin-Gâ„¢ has also been approved for the Expanded Access Program by the Bureau of Food and Drugs in the Philippines. Under these programs in the Philippines, Rexin-Gâ„¢ is approved for use as a first-line and adjuvant therapy for pancreatic and breast cancer and a second-line therapy for all other solid tumors that are refractory to standard chemotherapy.
Dr. Takaki Imamura has initiated an independent study of Rexin-Gâ„¢ in a variety of metastatic cancers. He completed his first round of trials in December 2006.

The walk of life

Saturday, July 21st, 2007


A note from Shayna

Some of you may know that i am training to walk The 3day. This is a 60 mile walk for breast cancer. I am walking in Andrea’s honor and also in celebration that my mother has been cancer free for two years. ( yahoo! ) Breast cancer is a scary disease, its terrifying really, to me. Andrea is a tough chick- but for me it wakes me up at night. To be in the race I have to raise at least 2200 dollars and I am about 1/4 of the way there! If you can donate even 5 dollars please do- its such a good cause. You can give the money to Andrea, Kelly or me or go to my website- My faith is in God and also that research it coming along and making improvements and that one day we will look back on this mess and just shutter at the thought. So, I have started walking alot- I walk several miles most days. During some of the longest walks, my legs feel like they are going to fall of- but when I can get past that, the walks are a time for meditation for me. I try to concentrate positive feelings towards her, towards Andrea and her healing. It sounds wishful, and it might be. but I feel closer to her and closer to God THe walking has been good for me too- Yesterday, I was walking a 7 mile and I saw a really big turtle near Cooper River. He was like the size of a dinner plate! His foot was stuck in a hole and he needed a hand- Actually i used a stick because he was a little menacing as turtles go- I took his picture, named him Mr. Turtle, and was on my way. But the rather blatant analogy was not lost on me. We all need each other. Andrea needs us now. Someday sooner or later we will need someone else. We are not kingdoms unto ourselves. We are completely interconnected, utterly helpless alone- someone once said that we are an accumulation of the gifts others have given us. I think that is the truest thing I have ever heard. with love, Shayna

virus kills cancer cells

Thursday, July 12th, 2007

Breast cancer gene

This is a lovely breast cancer cell Kelly thinks it looks like a rose

Common virus kills cancer cells
Sunday, July 08, 2007 – 04:58 PM
By: 680News staff
Washington – A common virus that is harmless to people can destroy cancerous cells in the body and might be developed into a new cancer therapy, US researchers said.
The virus, called adeno-associated virus type 2, or AAV-2, infects an estimated 80 percent of the population.
“Our results suggest that adeno-associated virus type 2, which infects the majority of the population but has no known ill effects, kills multiple types of cancer cells yet has no effect on healthy cells,” said Craig Meyers, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the Penn State College of Medicine in Pennsylvania.
“We believe that AAV-2 recognizes that the cancer cells are abnormal and destroys them. This suggests that AAV-2 has great potential to be developed as an anti-cancer agent,” Meyers said in a statement.
He said at a meeting of the American Society for Virology that studies have shown women infected with AAV-2 who are also infected with a cancer-causing wart virus called HPV develop cervical cancer less frequently than uninfected women do.
AAV-2 is a small virus that cannot replicate itself without the help of another virus.
But with the help of a second virus it kills cells.
For their study, Meyers and colleagues first infected a batch of human cells with HPV, some strains of which cause cervical cancer. They then infected these cells and normal cells with AAV-2.
After six days, all the HPV-infected cells died.
The same thing happened with cervical, breast, prostate and squamous cell tumor cells.
All are cancers of the epithelial cells, which include skin cells and other cells that line the insides and outsides of organs.
“One of the most compelling findings is that AAV-2 appears to have no pathologic effects on healthy cells,” Meyers said.
“So many cancer therapies are as poisonous to healthy cells as they are to cancer cells. A therapy that is able to distinguish between healthy and cancer cells could be less difficult to endure for those with cancer.”
AAV-2 is being studied intensively as a gene therapy vector — a virus modified to carry disease-correcting genes into the body.
Gene therapy researchers favor it because it does not seem to cause disease or immune system reactions on its own.

Andrea Here: I found this of interest. thought you might take a minute to look it over. Interesting given I mentioned not long ago that I really thought future generations would be shocked by the brutality of chemotherapy. Gene research is the future for cancer. Maybe when my friends are old it will be a thing of the past and everyone can live even longer. This is big news even if it takes 30 or 40 years to put into practice. I may not be around to see its benefit but many of you will. As well as my children and their children. That’s exciting.

This is the beginning…

Monday, May 21st, 2007

This site was created in order enrich, enlighten and entangle the community that surrounds Andrea Collins Smith as she is faced with inflammatory breast cancer. Hopefully, it will serve as a hub where friends, family and supporters can walk alongside Andrea, Kelly and the kids; offer support and encouragement – basically, stay connected.

As various needs and opportunities present themselves we will post information here. This space will act as a real-time documentary of Andrea’s story and process. In time we will add photography, video, and audio to accompany any blogging Andrea and her family wishes to do…it’s a process.

Here is the conclusion to an email Andrea sent out last week:

“Thank you all so much for all your support. I feel so incredibly fortunate to have such wonderful loving friends. I feel a bit anxious. Emotionally though most of the time I feel at peace about the whole thing. God is good. I love you all so much. Don’t worry about me. And don’t be afraid. Its going to be okay. Love Andrea”

I hope that this virtual space, in some small way, will mirror the encouragement, enthusiasm and strength that Andrea exudes…