Category Archives: Articles

Stealing Pain Medication from Cancer Patients the Lowest of the Low


Johnathan William Click, the lead pharmacy technician for Birmingham’s ContinuumRx, has been accused of stealing opioid medication from IV bags intended for cancer patients experiencing excruciating pain. Prosecutors have accused Click of siphoning morphine and hydromorphone from the vials and replacing the drugs with saline or sterile water.

For nearly two months, a patient at New Beacon Hospice in Birmingham, Alabama, would push the button on her intravenous pump, hoping for a dose of medication to ease the excruciating pain caused by her liver cancer, but never got the relief she was seeking.

A nurse made a series of worried calls to ContinuumRx, the pharmacy that supplied IV bags to the hospice. “Something was not right,” the nurse told the pharmacy. “Keep pushing the button”, the pharmacy instructed, before swapping out the patient’s bag at least twice.

Prosecutors say Johnathon William Click, the leader pharmacy technician for ContiuumRx, spent nearly two years stealing opioid drugs that were supposed to go into IV bags for patients in palliative care. He is accused of siphoning morphine and hydromorphone from the pharmacy’s vials and replacing the liquid he took with saline or sterile water.

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Should Junk Food Adverts be Banned?


For the first time in history, there are more obese individuals in the world than underweight people. Both are symptoms of malnutrition, part of a global food system geared towards profits.

Activists are calling for a radical shift in the entire food system, including a total ban on junk food advertising. Is it possible and will it make a difference?

Consuming junk-food, especially sugary carbonated drinks, is “effectively poisoning your body”, according to Andrew Bennie, a food sovereignty activist and researcher, based at the University of the Witwatersrand. “So why are people allowed to advertise the consumption of poison, really?” he asks.

Last year, the United Nations called on all governments to outlaw the advertising of junk food to children saying that these “commercial messages have the potential to shape children’s long term consumer and financial behaviour, and they are growing in number and reach”.

In South Africa, the Advertising Code of Practice was amended in 2008 to limit the marketing of unhealthy foods to children under the age of 12, but this has not yet happened – a National Department of Health-led policy to increase this to all school-going age children has been stalled for several years.

See our previous articles; Link between Blood Sugar & Brain Cancer Found and Does Cancer Have a Sweet Tooth? for more information about sugar and cancer…

 

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Garth Taylor 🤼‍♂️Fighting for Children with Cancer🤼‍♂️ TONIGHT!!! 🥊Please Support!!🥊


While most people know Garth Taylor for his chart-topping radio hits, few know he is an avid fitness fanatic and that kickboxing is his second passion.

Garth won the SA Amateur Kickboxing Championships in the lightweight category in 2014.

In an effort to raise funds for the Little Fighters Cancer Trust (LFCT) during Childhood Cancer Awareness month, Garth returns to the ring at the White Collar Boxing 19 event at Scarlet Ribbon, in Modderfontein TONIGHT, September 15.

I lost my sister to cancer. Having watched what she went through as an adult fighting this disease, I can only imagine how much worse it is for children to be fighting this battle,” comments Garth. “I figured, how bad could it be? Me stepping into the ring and getting punched around for kids who are fighting for their lives every single day.

I hope that the general public and companies will pledge towards this campaign and that we can raise funds and help make a difference. Cancer is a bully, and I will be fighting with everything I have for this cause,” he adds.

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Less than 0.1% of S.A. GDP Earmarked for NCD’s


According to the 20th edition of the South African Health Review published by the Health Systems Trust (HST) on Wednesday, South Africa is experiencing an increase in the prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which imposes a heavy burden on healthcare services, which are already under tremendous strain from HIV and Tuberculosis.

NCDs include diseases like cancers, chronic respiratory disease and diabetes are the leading cause of mortality and disability globally. 80% of NCD deaths reportedly occur in low- and middle-income countries (including South Africa), affecting disproportionately more individuals younger than 60 years than in high-income countries.

According to the report, stronger prevention and community-based programmes, including those involving Community Healthcare Workers (CHWs) are required, to “avert the growing burden of NCDs.

 

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✨Wishlist Wednesday✨ Support Garth Taylor’s 🤼‍♂️Fundraising Fight🤼‍♂️ for LFCT


Garth Taylor will once again be churning out hits of a different kind this September (International Childhood Cancer Awareness Month) in order to raise funds for the vital work done by the Little Fighters Cancer Trust.

Garth has supported LFCT over the years, and last year took part in the “White Collar Boxing 14” event at Scarlett Ribbon in Greenstone Park to raise funds for the Little Fighters Cancer Trust.

Last year Garth said, “After having my sister, Joanne, taken away from me by cancer, I have even more of a soft spot toward people who are fighting cancer. Having watched what she went through as an adult fighting this disease, I can only imagine how much worse it is for children who are suffering from cancer, to fight this battle. So, I figured, how bad can it be? Me, stepping into the ring and getting punched around for kids who are fighting for their lives every single day. I might as well see what I can do, if not through my singing, then by getting into the ring and doing something more exciting, so that people and companies pledge money and hopefully we can raise enough funds to help these little kids. I see cancer as a big bully hurting these children, and that is what I will be fighting.”

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Donated Tumour Yields Answers for DIPG


Jennifer Kranz was diagnosed with an especially aggressive form of a deadly childhood brain tumour, Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), on her 6th birthday in 2013, and died less than four months after being diagnosed.

Jennifer’s parents heard about the work of Stanford paediatric neuro-oncologist Michelle Monje, MD, PhD, who studies donated DIPG tumour tissue to understand how its biology might be targeted with new treatments during Jennifer’s illness, and during their final appointment at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, the Kranzes asked if they could donate their daughter’s tumour for this research after her death.

They said ‘Yes, here is the paperwork,’ and we signed it,” Libby said. Then she realized the donation form asked only for consent to study the tumour on Jennifer’s brainstem, making no mention of the metastases that had spread to the frontal lobe of her brain and down her spine.

But we want to donate all of it,” Libby, Jennifer’s mom told Sonia Partap, MD, Jennifer’s oncologist. The Stanford team made the arrangements, and Libby also asked Monje to try to figure out how Jennifer’s tumour had spread so fast.

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HIV & Cancer Fields Collaborate For a Cure


Revolutions in cancer treatment are being tested in HIV in the hopes it will bring the world closer to a cure.

The first-ever anti-HIV drug, AZT, was initially developed to fight cancer but was abandoned in preliminary testing. This breakthrough drug saved lives and offered hope to people with AIDS. Over two decades later, the fields of oncology and HIV are collaborating again in the search for a functional cure for AIDS.

Why HIV cure and cancer?” asked Nobel Laureate Professor Françoise Barré-Sinoussi at a meeting in Paris last month. Renowned for co-discovering the HI virus in 1983, she said that the two had more in common that one would expect.

At a forum held shortly before the 9th International AIDS Society (IAS) Conference on HIV Science in late July Barré-Sinoussi said a collaboration between the two fields held promise towards finding a more sustainable solution to the current option for people living with HIV: daily treatment for life.

Well we know, first of all, some people on long-term treatment develop cancer,” she explained. Secondly, she said that over the past five years there is “more and more data” showing similarities between tumour cells and those latently infected with HIV.

When a person’s antiretroviral treatment (ART) is working to suppress the amount of virus in the blood to below detectable levels (an undetectable viral load) a number of HIV-infected cells persist. These cells, latently infected cells, stop infecting other cells with HIV but they reactivate when a person stops taking ART. A group of latently infected cells is called an HIV reservoir – and it is this that scientists are trying to locate and destroy in the hopes of finding a cure.

 

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U.S. Senate Passes Bill to Improve Cancer Drugs for Children


Up until now, drug companies have been free to decide whether to pursue treatments for paediatric cancers as part of their work on adult cancers or not, and this has led to a minimal amount of new drugs specifically for paediatric cancers being developed.

An estimated 2,000 children die of cancer annually, and the overall incidence of childhood cancer has been slowly increasing since 1975 – there has been a 13% rise in Childhood Cancer in the past 20 years alone.

Despite significant advances against certain pediatric cancers, including Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, there are still some types of cancer for which there are few or no effective treatments.

The truth is that new drug development in pediatric cancer is extremely slow, often lagging way behind adult treatments, and few compounds are designed specifically for children.

The sad truth is that Childhood cancers make up less than 1% of all cancers diagnosed each year, and that is is not much of a market for drug makers, who rack up an estimated $1.4 billion in out-of-pocket costs while bringing a novel drug to market.

They won’t have much choice going forward!!

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Understanding the Impact of Childhood Cancer Rates across Sub-Saharan Africa


Collated Childhood cancer statistics in sub Saharan Africa have been published for the first time as a monograph in the peer reviewed journal ecancermedicalscience, allowing researchers and policymakers a critical new insight into the impact of paediatric cancer across this region.

On the African continent, only South Africa operates a childhood cancer registry on the national level.

This new study brings together data from 16 of the smaller localised registers, which, as members of the African Cancer Registry Network (AFCRN), have been evaluated as achieving adequate coverage of their target population. The study has allowed for the collection of this scattered knowledge for the first time and presents it in an accessible format.

The cancers are classified according to the third revision of the International Classification of Childhood Cancer (ICCC-3) and recorded rates in Africa are compared with those in childhood populations in the UK, France, and the USA.

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Postcards from the World – Jessie’s Story


Mel Stocks knew something was wrong with 14-month-old Jessie a week after she was born but says “no one would listen”

Mel said that as she already had an older daughter she knew the difference between a well and poorly baby – Jessie was very lethargic and continually had flu-like symptoms; she had no appetite, was very prone to nasty colds and chest infections, and wasn’t as alert as her sister had been.

Jessie was prescribed antibiotics more times than her mom can remember but they never made any real difference.  Mom Mel says it was as though she had no immune system and couldn’t fight anything off.

From the age of 9 months, Jessie’s appetite began to diminish and she suffered with diarrhoea, as well as having night sweats where she would wake up dripping wet.

Mel noticed lumps under Jessie’s rib cage and went to a GP who ignored her concerns. A fortnight later, on a second visit, another doctor examined young Jessie and immediately sent her to hospital. She was diagnosed with an iron deficiency and severe anaemia at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, but within weeks Jessie developed spots on her ankles.

After a staggering 50 visits to various doctors, little Jessie Stocks was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) as well as a Philadelphia Chromosome Gene, which is rare in children and made the leukaemia difficult to treat when she was just 14 months old.

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