Tuesday, February 26, 2019

MGH does it again!

MGH ovarian cancer researchers are hoping to start a clinical trial later this year using losartan, a well known anti-hypertensive, to examine how it can enhance the anti-tumor effects of chemotherapy.

Researchers studying pancreatic cancer, have found that losartan reduces the extracellular matrix around tumor cells. This is significant because the matrix increases the density around tumor cells preventing drugs from penetrating the tumor.

To find out more about this research, follow this link to MGH

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Breakthrough in Drug Resistant Treatments

The Clearity Foundation, a site dedicated to ovarian cancer research, has reported on a new finding for treating drug resistance in women with BRCA mutations.

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have discovered several parallel genes that cause resistance to PARP inhibitors for these women.

PARP inhibitors have been shown to be effective initially but then lose their effectiveness. By targeting these parallel genes, researchers have found a way to make these tumor cells respond to PARP inhibitors again. To read more about this, follow this link.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Part 2: Can Death-Related Anxiety and Depression be Overcome?

Last week's post talked about a study done by NYU and Johns Hopkins researchers about the therapeutic benefits of the synthetic drug, psilocybin - the active ingredient in "magic mushrooms".

Today, I will be posting the link to Fresh Air where host Terry Gross interviews the writer Michael Pollan. Many may remember him as the author of The Omnivore's Dilemma.

No surprise in this, but what brought tears to my eyes during this interview, was the story about the woman who had advanced ovarian cancer and how taking psilocybin impacted her.

The interview was one of Gross' top 10 listened to of 2018 and for good reason. During the interview, Pollan recounts his own experiences during the guided treatment, covering instructions he receives before the event, and his fears and his experiences during and after the event. He also talks about the interviews he conducts with people who underwent the experience.

Pollan's book is How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression and Transcendence.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Dana Farber: Ovarian Cancer and Immunotherapy

Many thanks to Anne for sending me this link to the Dana Farber. Many of us in the NE know Ursula Matulonis, M.D., Director of Gyn/Onc at DF.

In this article, Dr. Matulonis discusses the state of immunotherapy today, the benefits of combination therapy, immune checkpoint inhibitors and immunotherapy clinical trials.

To read more about this, follow this link.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Part 1: Can Death-Related Anxiety and Depression Be Overcome?

I first heard about this study in 2018 and was immediately curious about it and my interest was renewed recently when I heard Terry Gross, the host of Fresh Air, interview Michael Pollan about his experiences of this in his new book. Today however, I am going to write about the original study and post the link to the article from NPR and in my  next post, I will refer to Terry's interview with Michael Pollan.

Headed by a group from NYU and Johns Hopkins, researchers wanted to study the effects of synthetic psilocybin, the hallucinogenic compound found in "magic mushrooms" on patients with advanced cancer.

Specifically, they wanted to see what if any effect, taking the drug would have on their feelings of anxiety, depression and "existential angst".

The results were published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology in May, 2018. Of the 80 participants who were followed up six months afterwards, two-thirds reported that their anxiety and depression pretty much disappeared after one dose of psilocybin.

The subjects were given the drug under supervision of two Johns Hopkins staffers or "guides" as they were referred to. The subjects were briefed the day before on what to do if they encountered anything scary ("Just open up and walk right in"). The experience lasted approximately six hours and during the entire time, guides were present.

Many of the subjects talked about feeling "interconnected", "whole", and felt the experience was "sacred".

To read more about the study, follow this link.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Complimentary Afternoon of Pampering 2/25/19

A shout-out to Dawn for alerting me to this wonderful opportunity!  Ovations for the Cure has joined with Silk Therapeutics to host a wonderful afternoon for women who are currently receiving chemotherapy or radiation.

It's an afternoon of "complimentary pampering and relaxation by (a) team of oncology-trained estheticians and massage therapists" that includes massage, liquid silk (sounds great!), facials, yoga and more!

Sounds wonderful, right? It's Feb. 25th from 10:30-1:30 at 196 Boston Ave., Medford, MA.

To RSVP, contact them at 781-874-0903.