Possible new treatment
A promising clinical trial could provide hope for advanced lung cancer patients.
Dr. Rajagopal Ramesh, now an Oklahoma TSET Cancer Research Scholar at the Peggy and Charles Stephenson Cancer Center, was a lead investigator of a Phase 1 clinical trial at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
He worked with cancer patients who had not responded to other treatments.
The research focused on reintroducing Tumor Suppressor Gene TUSC2, into lung cancer cells, according to a news release. Humans already produce such genes, which inhibit cells from growing, but in lung cancer patients one or more of the genes are mutated or lost. Without those suppressors, cells divide uncontrollably and spur cancer growth.
“The idea was if we reintroduce this TUSC2 gene into lung cancer cells, then the gene would express the protein in the cancer cells and make the cells either stop dividing and growing or make them die,” Ramesh said in the release.
Nanoparticles were used to guide the gene into lung cancer cells. Thirty-one patients received the genes intravenously for months.
“The treatment was well tolerated by patients,” the release states. “Some fatigue and dizziness were the only side effects reported. It also stabilized cancer growth in one in six of the patients enrolled in the trial and who showed clinical response.”
Reintroducing the genes is cheaper than many cancer treatments, but more research is required before the technique sees wider use.
“Realistically speaking,” Ramesh said, “we are saying that this is something which might work, and this is something that doesn't hurt, and this is something that doesn't really cost the patient much.”
Findings were published in a recent issue of the PLoS ONE, an online medical journal.
For more information, go to www.plosone.org.
Make road trips easier on kids
It's an unavoidable truth of summer travel: Your children only have to go to the bathroom when you're miles away from the nearest rest stop.
That's where Kalencom's Potette Plus comes in. Foldable, portable and inexpensive (about $16 suggested retail or $10.95 on Amazon.com), the Potette Plus is a travel toilet designed specifically for kids.
The device features a contoured seat, lockable legs and leakproof liners that can be disposed of like diapers, according to a news release. It also can be used to help toilet train small children. The whole thing folds down into a drawstring carrying bag that can fit in a diaper bag.
Kalencom offers other products to help children survive road trips. Among them are Seat Belt Snoozers, which attach by Velcro to the shoulder strap on seat belts. Snoozers, which are shaped like the letter L, pillow children's heads so they can sleep. They can be used with all children who have graduated beyond car seats.
Look for them at www.kalencom.com or on Amazon.
Filmmaker shares insights
Guy Magar is a television and movie director, writer and producer, who has been working in the business for more than 30 years. His credits include “Battlestar Galactica,” “The A-Team” and “La Femme Nikita.”
His life changed when his wife, Jacqui, was diagnosed with a form of leukemia. Magar offers five lessons he learned from caring for her.
Be the trusted advocate. Cancer treatment isn't quick. It's a long slog through chemicals and radiation, leaving the sufferer plagued by fear, illness and fatigue. “It is important to make sure that you — the caregiver — understand the treatment that the doctor has initiated, no matter how complex, and that all questions have been answered,” he said in a news release. Patients must feel protected and loved.
Become the cocoon around your loved one. Each day during his wife's treatment, Magar hugged her and held her tight, letting her know that he was there with and for her. “I always made sure,” he wrote, “she felt totally surrounded, completely cocooned by my love, my strength and my positive attitude. ... As a caregiver, you must be the unmovable rock of strength and security. A granite-strong cocoon!”
Don't just be present; be a partner. There are a million small tasks you can do to stay involved with your loved one's treatment. Ask questions of nurses. Make sure the bedding is clean. Don't just sit there; do something.
Keep them active and involved. It's easy to focus on misery. It's better to stay involved in the world outside the hospital walls. “Sometimes it's just being there to open the shades and point out how beautiful the sunrise is that morning,” he wrote. “Sometimes it's sharing an important front-page story in the news or breaking out a favorite game ... to encourage their competitive spirit to win. Sometimes it's playing a CD of oldies but goodies and getting up to do some crazy dance steps.”
Arrange for small doses of family and friends. It's important that ill loved ones have access to their friends and relatives, but having five people burst into the room at once can be overwhelming. Schedule one-on-one visits of 10 minutes to an hour. Some time away can help caregivers, too, even if it's just for the length of a cup of coffee or a telephone conversation.
For more about Magar and his new book, “Kiss Me Quick Before I Shoot: A Filmmaker's Journey into the Lights of Hollywood and True Love,” go online to www.kissmequickbeforeishoot.com.