Effective Immunotherapy Steps Closer With New T Cell Study


Effective Immunotherapy Steps Closer With New T Cell Study 

In a recent study, researchers report some progress in developing an immunotherapy for ovarian cancer. However, they also outline the considerable challenges that remain before the treatment can be made effective for this and other cancers that have solid tumors.

The researchers presented the findings at the annual meeting of the American Association of Cancer Research in Washington, D.C. Estimates from the American Cancer Society  suggest that, in the United States, around 22,440 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer and approximately 14,000 will die from the disease during 2017.

The cancer begins in cells of the ovaries – reproductive glands found only in women. Each woman normally has two ovaries, situated on each side of the uterus inside the pelvis. The ovaries produce eggs that travel to the uterus through the fallopian tubes.

Dr. Kristin Anderson, an immunotherapy researcher who presented the findings at the meeting, says that while ovarian cancer is not as common in the U.S. as other cancers with solid tumors, it has a low rate of survival and a high rate of relapse. The main reason is that the cancer does not cause obvious symptoms and is often advanced by the time it is diagnosed.

Immunotherapy is a relatively new area of medicine that is showing promising results in the treatment of cancer. The approach uses the patient’s own immune system to fight disease.

The new study concerns a method called adoptive T cell transfer. In this approach, immune cells called T cells are taken from the patient’s own blood and trained to target and destroy cancer cells. Then, after multiplying in the laboratory, the primed cells are returned to the patient’s body. Sometimes donor cells are used instead.

The team hopes to start a human clinical trial of adoptive T cell transfer for ovarian cancer in the next few years.


My Breast Cancer Story by Rebecca Guenther


In March of 2013 after a routine mammogram I received a diagnosis of breast cancer. After discovering that I was a carrier of the BRCA2 mutation I had a bilateral mastectomy in April, breast reconstruction and ovarian removal in May. Fortunately, the cancer was small, only in one breast, and hadn’t spread to the lymph nodes, so I didn’t have to undergo chemotherapy. The reconstruction was difficult and long, but I recuperated fairly quickly from the multiple surgeries (probably due to my high level of fitness as a runner). I celebrated my recovery by running the New York City Marathon on Nov. 3, 2013, between stages of breast reconstruction. I raised about $5,000 for the Dublin Breast Center at Mount Sinai Hospital.

Running the marathon was a way for me to say to breast cancer that I would fight it and not let it get me, and it gave me a sense of control over my body. It made me constantly reflect on my mortality and the lack of control over my body, even though I’ve done everything I could to be fit and healthy my entire adult life. I’ve been a runner since the late 1970s, when I was in my 20s, and have always eaten a healthy, low-fat diet. During the marathon, I felt strong and determined. When I ran up 5th Ave by Mount Sinai Hospital where I had been treated I was overcome by emotion.

A few days after the 2013 marathon I had the tissue extenders replaced with implants, which involved another recovery period. After that I continued to run, improving my times until in late September of 2015 my son, then age 34, suddenly died of a burst ulcer while he was living in Peru. The overwhelming grief and anxiety affected my running and stamina and I realized the strong connection between emotional and physical health. While experiencing chest pain (that ultimately was determined to be related to the grief), I found out that I had yet another hereditary condition—a high percentage of Lipoprotein-A, which is a particle in the blood that carries cholesterol, fats and proteins, causing a build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries and thus an increased risk for heart attack and stroke. It isn’t affected by diet and exercise– another thing that gave me less control over my body. Shortly before my son’s death, my then 29-year old daughter tested positive for the BRCA2 mutation, which is a source of anxiety for both of us.

We never know what the next big test in life will be, and many things are out of our control—but knowing that people are willing to make sacrifices to help combat cancer and other diseases can give us some comfort.

Weight Linked to Prostate Cancer Diagnosis


Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer among men over the age of 60 in the U.S.

According to David Levy, M.D., of Cleveland Clinic, “for the last couple of decades, one of the prevailing correlations has been weight and it seems over a number of different studies that have been done, higher weight correlates with more aggressive prostate cancer,” said Dr. Levy.

A study conducted by Cleveland Clinic looked at 69,873 men over the course of of 13 years. Researchers found that fatal prostate cancer risk was increased in men who had a normal BMI or who were overweight at age 20 and later became obese, compared with men who maintained a normal BMI.

However, lesser aggressive forms of prostate cancer did not show an association to BMI.

Dr. Levy said it’s difficult to point to any one specific factor of being diagnosed with prostate cancer, such as a person’s weight by itself, as a determining factor for prostate cancer risk. He says that exercise, diet and supplements all play a role as well.

“Dietary factors- meat and dairy – high fat diets from animal proteins, in other words, high omega-6 fatty acid diets from the hamburgers, the hot dogs, the fried chicken, the chicken wings, those sorts of things, play a significant role in the genetics of prostate cell behavior,” said Dr. Levy.

Source: KDRV.com, Fox News,  http://bit.ly/2mskp4g

New Gene Linked to Greater Risk of Brain & Ovarian Cancers

New Gene Linked to Greater Risk of

Brain & Ovarian Cancers 

Genetic changes and variants linked to the development of brain and ovarian cancers have been discovered in two new studies. This significant development offers researchers the chance to understand more about how these cancers develop and how they may one day be treated or even prevented.

The two studies scanned the genomes of tens of thousand of individuals with and without these forms of cancer and revealed 13 new gene mutations linked to increased risk of glioma — the most common form of brain cancer — and 12 new gene variants that increase the risk of developing ovarian cancer.
One of the genetic changes discovered increases risk of brain cancer by as much as a third, with the rest by at least 15%.
Prior to the new study, 23 gene variants were already known to be linked to an increased risk of ovarian cancer, said Kuchenbaecker. This study identified an additional 12. The findings might also one day help people with a family history become better informed about their risk of developing a brain tumor so they can be aware of any signs of the disease.
“We urgently need to find new ways to tackle hard-to-treat cancers like brain tumors. Finding new genetic changes linked to brain tumors could give us important new clues about how and why these cancers develop,” said Dr. Catherine Pickworth, Cancer Research UK’s science information officer.
“The next steps will [be] finding out if any of these clues help to develop effective treatments for people with brain tumors.”



Join us for the seventh annual Cheryl Diamond NYC 5K SCHLEP: Breast & Ovarian Cancer Run / Walk on Sunday, June 4th, 2017 at Battery Park, NYC.

The NYC 5K SCHLEP raises global awareness for BRCA genetic screening for breast & ovarian cancer, supports global research studies on breast and ovarian cancer cures, and BRCA mutation carriers, and benefits the BRCA Multidisciplinary Clinic at Israel’s Rabin Medical Center, the premier hospital in the Middle East.

To register your team, please visit http://www.afrmc.kintera.org/SCHLEP17 or call the American Friends of Rabin Medical Center office at 212-279-2522 or email afrmc@afrmc.org.


Source: cnn.com

FDA Approves New Drug For Advanced Breast Cancer


U.S. regulators have approved a new drug called Kisqali as an initial treatment for postmenopausal women with a type of advanced breast cancer . The U.S. Food and Drug Administration confirmed the approval on March 13. Novartis said it will offer patients several types of financial assistance and many won’t have to make co-payments.

Kisqali, developed by Novartis AG, is a pill that works to slow the spread of cancer by blocking two proteins that can stimulate growth and division of cancer cells for women who have metastatic breast cancer known as HR+/HER2-.

According to the American Cancer Society, about 40% of U.S. women diagnosed with breast cancer have this type.

“This is an important therapy for these patients” who have limited options, said Dr. Vas Narasimhan, chief medical officer and head of drug development at Novartis.

Kisqali, part of the drug class called kinase inhibitors, is taken daily for three weeks, followed by a one-week break. Meanwhile, patients also take either letrozole or another aromatase inhibitor, depending on the characteristics of their disease, for the entire four-week cycle.

A four-week supply of Kisqali, or 21 pills, will have a list price of $10,950 for the strongest dose — 600 milligrams. The 400-milligram dose will cost $8,760 and the 200-milligram dose $4,380, Novartis said.

A study of 668 women funded by Novartis found that Kisqali reduced the risk of death or the cancer worsening by 44 percent, compared to those receiving only letrozole.

Novartis said it’s conducting additional Kisqali studies in combination with other treatments, and in women who haven’t yet begun menopause. Results should be available late this year or early next year, the company said.


Join American Friends of Rabin Medical Center for the seventh annual Cheryl Diamond NYC 5K SCHLEP: Breast & Ovarian Cancer Run / Walk on Sunday, June 4, 2017 at Battery Park, NYC.

This vital event raises global awareness for BRCA genetic screening for breast & ovarian cancer, benefits global research studies on breast and ovarian cancer cures, and BRCA mutation carriers and benefits the BRCA Multidisciplinary Clinic at Israel’s Rabin Medical Center, the premier hospital in the Middle East.

Run / Walk / Donate TODAY! Register here: www.afrmc.kintera.org/SCHLEP17


Source: The Associated Press


The Benefits of Genetic Testing in the Jewish Community


The Benefits of Genetic Testing in the Jewish Community 

An inherited mutation of the BRCA genes increases an individual’s chance of getting cancer at some point in their lives. Women carrying these mutations have a 45% to 65% chance of getting breast cancer in their lifetime and a 15% to 45% chance of getting ovarian cancer. While it is rare, men who carry these mutations also have a risk of breast cancer or prostate cancer.

The Ashkenazi Jewish population is known to contain a particularly high number of mutation-carriers; about 1 in 40 carry BRCA mutations, compared to 1 in 800 in the general population.

Family history of breast or ovarian cancer is known as a crucial marker for cancer as the BRCA gene can be inherited from either parent. Individuals with a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancers can be tested to see if they carry these mutations. Criteria for testing include assessment of how many relations developed cancer before certain ages, and how closely related they are.

Research by the Women’s Cancer Department at University College London found that in their study of 1168 participants, more than half (56%) the people carrying a gene mutation identified through the population testing would not have been identified through family history based screening.

Conclusions from their research found that if 71% of the 114,400 eligible women were tested, there would be 276 fewer cases of ovarian cancer and 508 fewer breast cancers in this group.


Join American Friends of Rabin Medical Center for the seventh annual Cheryl Diamond NYC 5K SCHLEP: Breast & Ovarian Cancer Run / Walk on Sunday, June 4, 2017 at Battery Park, NYC.

This vital event raises global awareness for BRCA genetic screening for breast & ovarian cancer, benefits global research studies on breast and ovarian cancer cures, and BRCA mutation carriers and benefits the BRCA Multidisciplinary Clinic at Israel’s Rabin Medical Center, the premier hospital in the Middle East.

Run / Walk TODAY! Register here: www.afrmc.kintera.org/SCHLEP17


Source: TimesofIsrael.com

Breast Cancer and Exercising

fitfact-exerciseandbreastcancerExercising Keeps Breast Cancer Survivors Happier and Healthier Longer

According to a recent Reuters article, regular exercise keeps breast cancer survivors alive longer. While understanding that daily exercise directly correlates with health may not be new to some of our readers, it is important that we remind ourselves of the impact it can have.

According to Reuters, several lifestyle changes can drastically improve life after a breast cancer diagnosis, however regular exercise is substantially a better habit to establish, researchers say.

Women with breast cancer, whether newly diagnosed or at any time in their “survivorship” phase, must exercise regularly to avoid common weight gain, said Dr. Ellen Warner from the Odette Cancer Center at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center in Toronto, who coauthored the research review.

In the research, they found that regular physical activity reduces the risk of dying from breast cancer by a staggering 40% in comparison to women who did not exercise. Gaining weight during or after breast cancer treatment is risky – it increases the chance of recurrence and decreases survival rates, the review concludes. Unfortunately, studies show that less than 13% of women with breast cancer are active for the recommended 150 minutes per week of physical activity.

So, what types of exercises should breast cancer survivors stray from? 

Some doctors and women are worried that strength training –  lifting weights in particular – can trigger the onset of lymphedema.

Other possibly risky exercises for breast cancer survivors include:

  • Swimming laps using strokes with arm movements. Swimming laps with the arms resting on a kickboard or other floating device may be better for some women.
  • Using resistance bands. When pulling on a resistance band, you don’t know how much resistance is being generated; it may be too strenuous for your arm.
  • Body weight exercises such as pull-ups and push-ups. It’s difficult to know how much weight you are moving; the movements may put too much stress on the shoulders and arms.
  • Some yoga poses such as downward dog and inversions. These poses may put too much weight on the arms.
  • P90X. Some of the exercises in this program may cause too much stress on the arms and shoulders if done as recommended. Many women modify the movements to make them less stressful on the arms.
  • Elliptical/cross-training machines, tennis, and cross-country skiing. If you’re starting a new exercise program after breast cancer surgery, you may want to avoid working the arm on the side where you had surgery by doing additional exercise.


Here are the steps to take to make sure you exercise safely:

  • Get the OK from your primary care physician and surgeon.
  • Take any precautions that are necessary.
  • Do your warm-ups.
  • Make slow and steady progress. Expect to improve gradually.
  • Focus on form.
  • Stop if you feel pain.
  • Rest as needed.
  • Tell your instructor you’re a survivor.
Based on the article: http://www.nbcnews.com/health/cancer/exercise-keeps-breast-cancer-survivors-alive-longer-n724196 and http://www.breastcancer.org/tips/exercise/safe