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Monthly Archives: December 2014

30 12, 2014

Who knew? HIV and diabetes drugs cause myeloma cells to self destruct

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Sometimes medicines created to fix one thing end up working for something else, too.  I'm fascinated by the prospects that existing drugs--most likely used in unexpected combinations--may work against multiple myeloma, help us live longer.   Here's an example. Apparently the HIV drug, ritonavir, and diabetes drug, metformin, are toxic to myeloma cells.  Will the accidental

28 12, 2014

Managing chemotherapy side effects (Part Six)

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I have been running into some new, pesky pomalidomide driven side effects.  I get dizzy from time to time, especially late in my 21 day POM cycle.  I've also developed a notable sensitivity to caffeine.  And I'm losing my hair at an accelerated rate. Note I wrote, "at an accelerated rate."  At my age--after pounding

26 12, 2014

Patient Snapshot: David from Florida (Part Two)


Time to learn more about our new friend, David.  Undergoing a tandem auto and allo stem cell transplant is no picnic!  That's an understatement! David explains what a difficult decision it would be in part two of his story: I considered undergoing an allogeneic stem cell transplant (allo) for my Multple Myeloma as soon as

25 12, 2014

Remember less fortunate myeloma patients today

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Pattie and I are planning a quiet Christmas day at home.  We'll take Finnegan for a long walk along the beach, catch a movie and I'll cook us a turkey dinner with all the fixings.  As soon as it gets dark, we'll take a drive and scope out the best Christmas lights. Unimaginative?  Boring?  Maybe

24 12, 2014

Emotional side of multiple myeloma

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I met with several members of the hard working Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) team at ASH.  I agreed to blog monthly on their site.  I was asked to share my emotional reaction to ASH in San Francisco to get things started.  Here's an excerpt from my first post, Hop on my hopeful multiple myeloma

22 12, 2014

Tom Brokaw myeloma free

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Great news about progress of Tom Brokaw's multiple myeloma therapy: Tom Brokaw: The cancer is in remission." Below is a note from Tom Brokaw to NBC News staff: To my NBC FAMILY, A year ago my future was more uncertain than I cared to acknowledge but now I face the New Year with very encouraging

21 12, 2014

Despite genetic inroads, myeloma still unpredictable

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A reader response to yesterday's post got me thinking about examples of how unpredictable multiple myeloma can be. I think myeloma patients are often lulled into a false sense of complacency.  For most, multiple myeloma is a slow moving cancer, easily managed for years; sometimes decades.  For others, its more aggressive. Cytogenetic testing may give

19 12, 2014

Patient Snapshot: David from Florida

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My former myeloma specialist, Dr. Melissa Alsina, is running an unusual clinical trial for newly diagnosed patients, featuring an auto stem cell transplant, followed by an allo (donor) transplant.  Tandem auto/allo transplants are considered experimental and risky, especially for new patients.  However, Dr. Alsina and her colleagues hope to have developed a way to help

18 12, 2014

Dr. Hari discusses ASH, Total Therapy and allo transplants

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I often label myeloma related broadcasts as "must listen."  Last night's Cure Talks Myeloma Panel discussion with myeloma specialist,  Dr.Parameswaran  Hari, was a "must listen squared!  I didn't mean to dominate the discussion, but following a brief review of ASH related data, Dr. Hari spent over a half hour answering my questions about Total Therapy

16 12, 2014

ASH questions answered on-air Wednesday

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Don't miss this month's Cure Talks broadcast Wednesday afternoon, featuring young, up-and-coming myeloma specialist, Dr. Paramaswaran Hari. My good friend and companion at this year's ASH, Gary Petersen, wrote an enthusiastic blog post last week promoting tomorrow's on-air discussion with Dr. Hari, and sharing his thoughts about the untapped potential of the new CrowdCare Foundation

14 12, 2014

A new twist using T cells to fight multiple myeloma

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Here's exciting news about a completely different type of immunotherapy: individually modified T Cells. According to Dr. June, this T-cell therapy works against multiple myeloma, too: Therapeutic Efficacy of Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cells Carl H. June, MD Abramson Cancer Center, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA; Translational Research Program, Abramson Family

12 12, 2014

14 hour days still leave time for fun!

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I attended ASH, courtesy of my new friends at Myeloma Crowd Foundation.  I spent a lot of time with the fun,--sometimes crazy and never dull--Gary Peterson.  Gary and I volunteered to join a new Patient Advisory Board, designed to help Myeloma Crowd identify the best of the best myeloma clinical trials, and then to work