Archive for July, 2007

Gold, baby

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

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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

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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.
Milestones
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.
Highlights
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.
Philippines
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.
Japan
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. www.epieusbiotech.com

Is there such a thing as coincidence?

Sunday, July 29th, 2007

asa.jpgIn case you didn’t know the twins have been away all summer in Virginia with my dear friend Naomi. This is not a new thing. Na has taken my kids in before on many occasions. I thought that it would be a good idea for them to have a longer visit right now given the situation. My illness – as well as the fact that it takes more to keep them busy then I can give right now. But I miss them so so much. They are not good on the phone so its hard to make the calls translate to anything significant. Naomi has been keeping me up to date on all their activities. She had an opportunity to send them to a nearby camp where they will get to build fires, carve stuff, and do outdoorsy dangerous stuff. Perfect. So Naomi sent me the email below to share about something that happened there. I left it as is. Read it if you want. I thought it was kind of awesome. I like seeing the interconnectedness of our little world. Naomi is a sensitive lady. My illness has hit her harder than some. I don’t know exactly what to say to make her feel better. So I will just say I love you Naomi…don’t cry anymore.

 
   


we brought the twins out to the living 
earth school camp today.
introduced them to the people running the camp, 
got them lock blade carving knives, 
got thier stuff into the tents, etc.
then kate (the woman who runs the camp)
 says, wow, we've got two ASA's
 this year.  i think, that's strange,
but how cool. little later while
 all the kids are out playing
 in the field, kate and i catch up
 w/eachother  and she tells me that
 the other Asa in the
 camp's mom crossed over from
 breast cancer a couple of years ago.
then i go to say goodbye to the 
kids and Asa and Asa are sitting next
 to each other talking.
and really, what the f**************ck 
is going on with the divine, I'm
 already too much of a hippie to 
have trippy things like this
 happening.  could you ask the 
big guy to take it easy with me, 
kinda explain my
 situation or somethin' to him?
much love,
just thought I'd share that
sha nay nay

Feel the love

Sunday, July 29th, 2007

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Thank you to Amanda ( who organized), Katie( who showed her boobies 2X), Lindsay from Chic Petique( who looks great!) and the M room people for the second fundraiser. It also went very well with awesome bands and a supportive crowd. I did not know everyone who came out but it was nice to see a few familiar faces. The love and support we continue to receive is really beautiful.

Several other fundraisers are in the works that I think could be really fun. Kelly and I will continue to come out and sell shirts at these events. And its a great to see everyone when I am feeling good. I can’t say too much more because nothing is finalized but I think you all will be happy to come out and join us. We are so thankful for you all. I am blessed to have such loving fiends.

And thank you sooooooooooo much to everyone that has been generous in supporting my friend Shayna’s breast cancer 3 day walk. You are all so great. It is a wonderful thing to donate for this cause. All proceeds go to the Susan Komen foundation for breast cancer research. Give til it hurts,Shayna will be!

Mercy

Sunday, July 29th, 2007

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I am facing my 4th chemo treatment this week. I am scared.The side effects have been getting more difficult. But I trust God. I pray for His will. I pray for strength. I have faith in Him. I will also get my acupuncture. I have seen that benefit me immensely. I am sure this time will be no different.

My doctor told me that she wanted to give me an additional medication for bone strengthening. After researching this medicine( Zometa) and its side effects and finding out there was a class action suit against the manufacturer for problems associated with the medicine, I have decided against taking it. The problems included osteonecrosis of the jaw…the flesh rotting away from the jaw. No thanks!I contacted my IBC “sister” Alaina in Ohio and she also declined to take this med because of its brutal side effects. I am so thankful for the internet. It is hard to be an advocate for yourself. But if you don’t then you are screwed. Here is a link to short USA today article about it. I used a lot sources. Its a scary drug. http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2005-03-13-jawbone-deaths_x.htm

My results from my petscan and catscan came back. There is improvement in all areas. The cancer appears as a brightly lit area prior to treatment. Now those areas are more dim. Which is a good sign. I also want to pass on some extra info that has given me some hope. I know that I have stage 4 cancer and I can be sort of pessimistic about it. But my friend Alaina also has/had stage 4 IBC as well. Now her cancer is stable and even the cancer in her bones is healed. HEALED. She has been stable for more than 7 months. She also is a Christian and prays for God the physician to heal her cancer. I ask that you all pray that God will be merciful and do the same for me.

I also have my second opinion scheduled for this Thursday at University of Pennsylvania Hospital. I am looking forward to meeting Dr. De Michelle. She is an expert on my cancer. I have some questions that I hope she can answer for me. I do not want to give up on the idea that they can stabilize me for many years to come. I joke about dying…but really I want to stick around for a long time. It could happen.

I will keep you all up to date on everything with my care. Feel free to comment/ email /text me/or call me. If it takes me a minute to get back to you its because I a selfish b***h….just kidding its because it will be a busy week with appointments almost every day.

I love you all. Stay strong, live wrong

Update

Thursday, July 26th, 2007

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I am not sure but a few people have emailed to say that they are having a problem posting comments. I will get Jon to look into that.

[Jon here…I messed that up when I was adding the photo stuff…now it’s fixed…so comment away!]

Speaking of Jon…his pictures are so profound. I do not always like the pics of me (vanity) but I always am impressed with what he captured. Give a look if you get a chance.

I got my petscan and catscan on Wednesday. It took about 3 hours. It went really well this time. The technician Anita remembered me and we had a few nice chats.It is a very freaky thing to be given so much radioactive material. I felt like I would start glowing in the dark. Seriously, like two huge things full of it get pumped into you. I fell asleep in the machine once it started. Anita said most people can not do that. For those of you who have not read the old blogs… I love closed in spaces like that. I hid in the closet ALOT as a child. So I actually find those tests really comforting. The only thing I like more is my dentist. Well all dentistry is pretty fabulous. If I could get dentistry during the MRI/catscan that would perfect. I know I am weird. What can I say.As far as results go I am praying for good news. I really want to hear that the chemo is working well. It seems to me that it is. I will know next week.

This was my good week but not really. I have had a lot going on and still experience a bunch of different symptoms. I wish I was more energetic. I am so tired. I want to feel better than this. I feel really good after acupuncture. But it does not always last as long as I need it to. Also there is a lot going on with my treatment that I am not ready to talk about. I will do that when it is the right time. There are a lot of new and effective treatments out there for both IBC and metastatic disease. Some are trials. I am praying for clarity and wisdom. Please pray for me about this too.

My bald head will be covered in henna on Monday afternoon. Kristine is going with me. I am excited. I was too chicken to get my head tattooed. But the henna will last several weeks and look avant garde. Which is good. Maybe then I will want to go out without my head covered.

I have been asked back on the Dr. Dan Gottlieb show “Voices in the Family” on WHYY. I will be in the studio for an hour. I know the date but I am hesitant to disclose it because I do not want my father or his wife calling in since I do not speak with them but they may read this blog. So feel free to call or email me and ask for the date if you want to tune in.

Another plug for Shayna’s cancer walk. She is still badly in need of donations and support. I would also really appreciate your getting behind this since all proceeds go to cancer research. http://www.the3day.org/philadelphia07/shayna

And a reminder that there is another fundraiser at the M room this Saturday night. Amanda and Vinnie put this together for us and even if you can make it out for a little while we’d love it. Kelly will be there for a while. I will try to be there too. I know some of you were out of town so if you can come out that would be sweet. Our eagle t’s will be there for sale too.

I have less than a week til chemo. I am planning on going to church Sunday and visiting with as many loved ones as possible between now and then. I hope you are all well. I think of you all the time. Call or email me if you want to get a hold of me or need anything. I love you. Andrea

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Acupuncture Gallery

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

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mini photo experiment – click on image and then when in gallery click to the right or to the left to navigate

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Photos – Acupuncture, Kristine, etc…

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

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New Photos Here

Out of control

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

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I am a control freak. I have spent the last 17 years trying to manage and orchestrate everything. The juggling act of being a mom. I had to control all that goes with a busy life. Doctor’s appointments, what to eat, when the children should sleep, where they and I would go to school. It’s a lot to think about and remember. I always felt certain that if I failed to maintain control over all these things all those plates I was juggling would come falling down all around me.

But the good control was often overshadowed by my desire to control people. I wanted or expected everyone around me to think and act a certain way. And when they inevitably failed I was often angry. I expected people to be as selfless as me. Or as kind or forgiving or whatever. When they did not let me control them I often grew resentful. How dare they disappoint me. Looking back its a miracle I have ANY friends at all.

I did not necessarily come to this realization on my own. No, my dear husband was the catalyst for this discovery. Not that I accepted it as truth the first dozen times he mentioned it. I am not that self aware. Or honest. When Kelly pointed these things out to me I often felt justified in expecting people to do as I wanted them to. But in reality I do not have that right to expect anything. I have wasted a lot of energy being hurt and resentful because I did not get what I wanted. I have ended a lot of relationships and never looked back. Many I do not regret. Some I do. Regardless, I am aware now more than ever that I have expended a lot of energy trying to control those around me.

And then there is my cancer. Something I have no control over. Not the illness. Nor how the chemo makes me feel. Not how friends and family have reacted to it. Not even what happens if I die. No control from the grave. No control over how long I live. Or anything. I am miserable. I do not get to orchestrate any of it. And on top of that Alys, Kelly, Rob, and a few of you have started to take over some of the things I did to feel in control of my life and my home. Now you take kid’s to the doctors, or food shop, or cook dinner, or decide where the children will spend there time, or get them into schools. I am defeated. I am losing my powers. I feel like Superman when Lex Luther put the kryptonite necklace on him. I am a mere human. How disappointing.

The plates are still spinning above my head and I am not even the one doing all the juggling.I try to micro manage from the bedroom. It does not usually work. Everyone does the smile and nod. Then they take care of it their own way. How dare they! My will be done goddammit. I am not really so much angry as amazed. Amazed that I have spent so much time trying to do everything perfect and wanting everyone else to as well. Amazed that everyone can get through the day without me telling them what color underwear to wear. Or what and when to eat, sleep, or breath. I am a mere human with faults. And so are all of you.

I am a control freak. But I am not God. Nor should I want to be. I am trying really hard to be thankful that my wonderful husband and friends have stepped up to the challenge of helping me juggle. And because you all are constantly surprising me with your love, support, and generosity I am glad that you behave like yourselves and not how I expect you to. I never could have expected all the good things that are happening either. The other day I heard Jay Bakker say something like, “How can God ever mold people into his image when you are so busy trying to mold them into yours?” And it really hit me hard. I have spent too much time trying to play God and be in control. And if being sick has taught me anything its that I am not.