Category Archives: Research

New Drug Approved for CINV Treatment


We recently did a blogpost on Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV), a  common — and often costly — problem among patients with cancer.

Chemotherapy drugs are very powerful and they cause damage to many growing cells, including some healthy cells.

This damage causes the side effects of chemotherapy, which can include Nausea and Vomiting; Diarrhoea; Constipation, and many more.

Cinvanti (aprepitant) injectable emulsion – was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat chemotherapy-induced nausea/vomiting (CINV).

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Patients with Cachexia need Nutritional Support


Anorexia is a common symptom in patients with cancer, which can lead to poor tolerance of treatment and can contribute to cachexia in extreme cases. … Currently, there are no instruments that measure common concerns specifically associated with anorexia and cachexia in children with cancer.

By some estimates, nearly one-third of cancer deaths can be attributed to a wasting syndrome called cachexia that can be devastating for patients and their families.

Characterised by a dramatic loss of skeletal muscle mass and often accompanied by substantial weight loss, cachexia (pronounced kuh-KEK-see-uh) is a form of metabolic mutiny in which the body overzealously breaks down skeletal muscle and adipose tissue, which stores fat. Patients suffering from cachexia are often so frail and weak that walking can be a Herculean task.

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CINV Affects Patients Economically & Emotionally


Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) is a common — and often costly — problem among patients with cancer.

Chemotherapy is the use of specific drugs, administered by a paediatric oncologist, to destroy cancer cells by preventing the cancer cells from growing and dividing to make more new cells. Cancer cells generally grow and divide much faster than healthy cells; chemotherapy destroys them more quickly than it destroys most healthy cells.

Chemotherapy drugs are very powerful and they cause damage to many growing cells, including some healthy cells. This damage causes the side effects of chemotherapy, which can include Nausea and Vomiting; Diarrhoea; Constipation; Heartburn or Stomach Ache; Sore Mouth or Throat/Mouth Sores; Change in Taste – Foods Have Less Taste or a Bitter Metallic Taste; Hair Loss; Skin Redness; Dry, Itching Skin; Moist Skin; Rashes; Sun Sensitivity; Swelling, Redness, or Pain at The Needle Site Where Chemotherapy Drugs are Given; Bladder Irritation and Infection; Change in Urine Colour & Strong Urine Odour; Nerve Damage; Stress Fractures; Fever; Flu-Like Symptoms; Infection; Anaemia/Fatigue; Blood Clotting Problems (Bleeding); Swelling/Fluid Retention; and Allergic Reaction.

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Immunotherapy May Help Stop Cancer Recurrence


Cancer can never really be “cured” – one just goes into “remission” because the cancer can come back at any time, and when it does it is generally a far worse strain.

Cancer Survivors live their lives knowing that they have this “time-bomb” inside of them that may go off again at any time, and that there is absolutely nothing that they can do about it – one just lives with the constant fear of recurrence.

New research by Mayo Clinic’s Tim Kottke and his team, which was recently published in the journal Cancer Immunology Research, may hold some hope though.

The new research was a collaborative effort among scientists at the Institute of Cancer Research in London, the Leeds Institute of Cancer and Pathology, and the University of Surrey in Guildford — all of which are in the United Kingdom — and researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.

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Liquid Biopsy New Hope for Precision Therapies for Retinoblastoma Tumours


Retinoblastoma is a type of eye cancer that develops in the light-sensitive lining of the eye, called the retina.

Retinoblastoma can occur at any age but mainly occurs in children younger than 5 years of age and most often in those younger than 2.

In many developing countries where tumours can progress until they literally burst out of eyes, retinoblastoma remains an often fatal diagnosis, whereas in other countries the survival rate has risen to 98%.

Retinoblastoma was one of the first cancers to have its genetic origins identified in the late 1980s — a finding that helped launch the current era of personalised treatments that have transformed treatment of breast, lung, and prostate cancer.

To date though, children who develop these rare tumours have not benefited from that wave of precision diagnostics and therapies. This is mainly due to the fact that doctors have not been able to biopsy the tumours for genetic information that could guide treatment, without removing the very eyes the clinicians are trying so hard to save.

You can read about our own Little Fighter, Helen’s story HERE

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What will CAR T-Cell Therapy for Paediatric ALL Treatment Mean to Africa?


Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-Cell Therapy is a form of cancer immunotherapy which seeks to sharpen and strengthen the immune system’s inherent cancer-fighting powers.

CAR T-Cell Therapy was approved in August 2017 ~ the first time that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved CAR T-cell therapy for a form of cancer ~ for the treatment of paediatric and young adult patients with B-cell ALL that has relapsed or hasn’t responded to previous treatments.

Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) is a type of leukaemia in which a group of white blood cells, called lymphocytes, are affected. Leukaemia is the most common form of cancer in children, and about 80% of children with leukaemia have Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia.

CAR T-Cell Therapy involves treating patients with modified versions of their own immune system T cells ­– white blood cells that help protect the body from disease.

Lewis Silverman, MD, Clinical Director of the Hematologic Malignancy Center at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, said:

It’s a very exciting development in our ability to treat childhood ALL. It offers hope to those that we haven’t been able to treat with conventional therapy. This is a hugely exciting time in childhood leukaemia research”

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Hope for Cancer Research in Africa


 

Mubarak Labaran Liman

Mubarak Labaran Liman has overcome the death of his father and a scarcity of resources to develop a thriving career in his native Nigeria, studying the role of African ethno-medicine in the management, prevention, and control of cancer and diabetes.

Liman is one of five recipients of the 2017 AACR African Cancer Researchers Travel Awards (ACRTA). These travel awards provide financial assistance to meritorious early-career African cancer researchers who wish to attend and present their research at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting in the United States.

Intended to enhance the education and training of African researchers engaged in all fields of cancer research, the ACRTA are also designed to encourage cross-cultural collaborations and learning.

Receiving this award is an honour for me and for my whole family,” says Liman, who presented his work on the potential of African sweet detar, a plant used in West African cooking, to prevent colon cancer.

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Children with Inflammatory Bowel Disease @ Higher Risk for Cancer


A new study from Sweden, Childhood Onset Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Risk of Cancer: a Swedish Nationwide Cohort Study 1964-2014, has found that children with inflammatory bowel disease have a higher risk of cancer – especially gastrointestinal cancers – both in childhood and in later life, compared with individuals without the disease.

The international team of researchers, including members of the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, reported the findings in the BMJ, a weekly peer-reviewed medical journal, on 20 September 2017.

The lack of data for childhood onset inflammatory bowel disease is especially worrisome given the increasing incidence and prevalence of Paediatric Crohn’s disease (mainly colitis).

The study notes that the raised risk of cancer for children with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) carries on into adulthood and has not reduced following the introduction of new ways to manage the disease, such as with biological agents.

While researchers found a higher relative risk of cancer, the absolute risks are low. Compared with healthy individuals, there was one extra case of cancer for every 556 people with IBD followed for 1 year.

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Health Benefits of the Lowly Dandelion


There’s something magical about making a wish while blowing dandelion petals through the air. Just one glance at a dandelion brings back childhood memories. And while some consider them pesky weeds, dandelion offers a treasure trove of healing benefits.

Dandelion greens are used in so many health applications today. Whether steamed, sautéed, used in soup, or boiled with water and brown sugar for tea, the greens of these weeds are considered an herbal medicine.

The extract (from dandelion root) is purported to work by inducing apoptosis in the cancer cells. To put this another way, this process forces the cancer cells to commit suicide without damaging the healthy cells in any way.

Dandelion Root is frequently used by herbalists to treat liver, kidney, and gallbladder problems. Dandelion Root has been used in China for certain kinds of cancers for centuries. Dandelion is a source of a variety of nutrients and the leaves and root contain Vitamins (A,C, K and B-vitamins) as well as minerals (including magnesium, zinc, potassium, iron, calcium and choline).

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Powerful Resource to Advance Treatment of Childhood Solid Tumours Unveiled at St. Jude


In an effort to improve outcomes for patients with some of the deadliest Childhood Cancers, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital scientists have created the world’s largest collection of Childhood solid tumour samples, drug-sensitivity data and related information and have made the resource available at no charge to the global scientific community.

St. Jude and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute collaborated to create the resource, known as the Childhood Solid Tumour Network (CSTN), which was launched in 2013.

Survival rates for children with recurrent solid tumours have not improved significantly in more than 20 years and remain below 30 %,” said corresponding author Michael Dyer, Ph.D., Chair of the St. Jude Department of Developmental Neurobiology and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. “This research will change that by promoting scientific collaboration to leverage the efforts of researchers worldwide to advance understanding and ultimately treatment of Childhood solid tumours.”

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