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13 09, 2015

Thalidomide: Worth the risk?

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Dr. Tricot and I didn't restrict our conversation to the "transplant again or not" debate. We also spent a good deal of time discussing how to handle my worrisome peripheral neuropathy (PN). As I shared last month: Peripheral neuropathy smacks me hard!   Thalidomide maintenance has sped up the progression of my PN exponentially. Fortunately,

6 10, 2014

60 Minutes broadcast investigates high cost of blood cancer drugs

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I have expressed concern about the high cost of chemotherapy meds for me and my fellow multiple myeloma patients a number of times.  So last night's 60 Minutes report about it really hit home. Here is an excerpt of the transcript that hits closest to home, featuring M.D. Anderson oncologist, Dr. Hagop Kantarjian discussing Gleevec,

5 09, 2013

Exciting curcumin research revisited

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An impressive website,, just published an article about turmeric's  (curcumin) ability to destroy myeloma cells when combined with thalidomide.  I first wrote about this project back in July: Could synthesizing and combining anti-myeloma drugs make them more effective? staff writer, Ethan Huff, looks at things from a different angle.  Very interesting!  Allow

7 07, 2013

Could synthesizing and combining anti-myeloma drugs make them more effective?

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This is complicated stuff.  But apparently a group of scientists have successfully synthesized thalidomide and curcumin.  Taking things a step farther, researchers Kai Liu, Datong Zhang, Jeremy Chojnacki, Yuhong Du, Haian Fu, Steven Grant and Shijun Zhang have also been able to combine thalidomide and curcumin together, forming a compound that is exceptionally lethal to

17 04, 2013

What took so long? Pomalidomide time-line raises questions–I have answers (Part Three)

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I stuck with the original heading for the third installment of my three part investigative expose'.  But today's post could have been titled, "Different shades of grey."   Pomalidomide's development was shaped by a convoluted system that does a poor job balancing patient need with investor returns. But I'm getting ahead of myself.  Yesterday I promised

16 04, 2013

What took so long? Pomalidomide time-line raises questions–I have answers (Part Two)

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Before I get started, did you happen to see the MMRF's Kathy Giusti interviewed in the trendy tech magazine, Fast Company?  Interesting approach.  Simply click-on the headline link below to access the interview: Using Data To Treat Cancer And Drive Innovation How a pair of savvy renegades are forcing collaboration in cancer R&D--and saving lives.

9 04, 2012

The crazy world of “myeloma research speak”

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Most of you probably know that I have been working on several new books about multiple myeloma.  My third book, New Myeloma Therapies from a Patient's Perspective, will be published and available by the end of this month.  Researching this book reminded me about how difficult it can be to understand "myeloma research speak."  It

15 12, 2011

Data presented at the IMF’s Journalist Workshop takes me on an emotional roller-coaster ride

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Yesterday I set the stage for today’s report about research data which was featured at the International Myeloma Foundation’s Journalist Workshop Monday night. My original intention was to share a lot of specific data and facts--nothing but the facts. I plan to do just that--except for the “nothing but the facts” part.  Because I think

6 09, 2011

Hate Taking Steroids? Maybe New VDT Anti-Multiple Myeloma Therapy Is Right For You!

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Do you hate taking dexamethasone or prednisone?  This new therapy combination of Velcade, pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (D), and thalidomide (T), may provide an an alternative option.  Here is an abstract from a Phase 2 trial featuring the VDT combination: Abstract Novel agents have provided a new foundation for multiple myeloma therapies. When combined with other

12 04, 2011

FDA Revlimid/Thalomid Investigation Update

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The Myeloma Beacon just broke the story about how the FDA is investigating Revlimid and Thalomid, based on research data showing a possible secondary cancer risk following long term, post transplant use. Here is an independent look at the pending investigation by Internal Medical News.  I have highlighted key points I feel are important: FDA Keeping an

31 03, 2011

Excellent Article About Geraldine Ferraro’s Legacy And Ongoing Battle To Help Control Cost Of Cancer Meds…

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Read this detailed recap/tribute to Geraldine Ferraro by Ann Law for Ferraro leaves cancer research, health reform legacyMarch 28th, 2011A symbol of progress for women in US politics, former Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro died Saturday at the age of 75. Her death, caused by complications from blood cancer multiple myeloma, not only reminds the nation

9 03, 2011

Thalomid Or Velcade Both Work At Least 50% Of The Time In Patients Facing First Relapse

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According to a new Czech study, posted earlier this month on Pub, it doesn't matter whether you pick thalidomide (Thalomid) or bortezomib (Velcade) for treatment following first relapse.  Apparently both work about one half of the time.Similar efficacy of thalidomide- and bortezomib-based regimens for first relapse of multiple myeloma.Krejci M, Gregora E, Straub J,

3 03, 2011

A Bit Of Positive News During An Otherwise Slow Myeloma-Related News Cycle

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Multiple myeloma news runs in cycles and streaks.  The calendar revolves around the two largest U.S. hematology and oncology conferences:  The American Society of Clinical Oncologists (ASCO) meetings in June, and the American Society of Hematology (ASH) meetings in December.That is where researchers and drug companies present their most important study results.  Starting as early as

24 02, 2011

What Happens After My Stem Cell Transplant? To Use Maintenance Or Not Use Maintenance – That Is The Question!

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Yesterday I shared how--after almost four years--I have decided to go ahead with a stem cell transplant.The decision wasn't as difficult as I made it seem.  Its time.  But I wanted to detail how and why I made my decision to help some of you who may find yourself in a similar situation in the

26 01, 2011

Insightful Newspaper Article About Pomalidomide/Biaxin/Dex Clinical Study In New York City

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Here is an interesting article I found in the Cornell Daily Sun this morning.  Interesting because it is combines basics with a very insightful look at a promising clinical trial featuring pomalidomide:Weill Develops Alternative Cancer TreatmentJanuary 26, 2011 By Maria Minsker For patients suffering from cancer, learning their body is resistant to traditional therapy can

12 11, 2010

Reader Shares His Multiple Myeloma Story

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Late last month I received this e-mail comment from fellow patient Jack Searight, in response to my four part series of articles following my visit with multiple myeloma specialist Dr. James Berenson in Los Angeles.   Jack apparently had trouble getting Blogger to accept his comment.  From my experience, Jack's difficulties are not unusual.  I think

8 11, 2010

Hope For Multiple Myeloma Patients When Revlimid & Velcade Stop Working

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I have received a number of calls and e-mails recently from patients who's multiple myeloma has become active again while using Revlimid, Velcade, or both.  Here is a short, hopeful response I found addressing this on the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) Website:Treatment Options for Relapsed or Refractory Patients Failing Revlimid and Velcade: Q&A with