Weekend Wonderings

Written January 19th, 2014 by Ken

chimp_skullWelcome to this week’s edition of Weekend Wonderings. Researchers at The James were awarded a sizeable grant, and the Buckeye football team added to its coaching staff. Other than that, not much going on. Grab whatever beverage you need and let’s proceed.

The James/Wexner, Cleveland Clinic

After receiving a 5-year grant renewal to study thyroid cancer in September 2013,  the James was awarded an additional 5-year, $11.3 million grant by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to study and treat thyroid cancer. This project will be led by Matthew D Ringel, MD.

“Thyroid cancer incidence rates are rising faster than all cancers in the United States, making it the fifth most common malignancy in women and 11th most common in men,” says Ringel.

According to the National Cancer Institute, more than 60,000 people are diagnosed with thyroid cancer annually in the United States and nearly 535,000 are currently living with the disease.

Additionally, here is a short (3:59) video with Dr. Michael Caligiuri explaining the new home of The James and an overview of new treatment processes. These are exciting times at The James, and we should be proud that it is an integral part of the Ohio State community. Read More

Weekend Wonderings

Written September 29th, 2013 by Ken

 

 thinking chimp

Welcome to the latest edition of Weekend Wonderings. Take a minute, grab whatever you drink on a Sunday afternoon and let’s carry on.

The James/Wexner

As mentioned last week,  I’m a big believer/supporter of genetic/molecular diagnosis and treatments of cancer. In concert with Charles’ fine article, here is the latest with OSU medical research regarding lung cancer. This is significant, because lung cancer is a brutal disease. To start, lung cancer is the 2nd most prevalent cancer. Interestingly, there are more cases of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but with a 70% mortality rate, lung cancer patients aren’t as prevalent. Sadly enough.
DoubleHelix

Researchers at the (OSUCCC – James) have discovered that levels of the gene microRNA-31 (miR-31) predict the spread of the most common form of lung cancer to nearby lymph nodes.

They found that high levels of miR-31 in primary tumor cells predicted lymph node metastasis and poor survival in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Low expression levels were associated with the absence of metastases and excellent survival.

“Our findings suggest that microRNA expression in the primary lung tumor can estimate whether the tumor has spread to the lymph nodes and can help direct patients to the most appropriate treatment,” says principal investigator Tim Lautenschlaeger, MD, a researcher in Radiation Oncology and the OSUCCC – James Experimental Therapeutics Program.

This process gives researchers and treatment providers a much clearer picture of the disease, which determines treatment protocols. Once the treatment protocol is determined, the patient has a better chance of recovery, or at least holding the course.

Read More

Weekend Wonderings

Written September 22nd, 2013 by Ken

chimp_skull

Welcome to another edition of Weekend Wonderings. Take a minute, grab whatever you drink on a Sunday afternoon and let’s carry on.

Go ahead, I’ll wait.

The James/Wexner

First, by the end of the month, the James will open a Phase 2 clinical trial to test two drugs for the treatment of triple negative breast cancer – a very aggressive type of cancer with high rates of recurrence.

Triple negative breast cancer, which accounts for 15 to 20 percent of breast cancers, is so hard to treat because it doesn’t have any of the receptors (substances found inside cells that give rise to cancer) that existing drugs are able to fight…

Let’s hope that these trials come up with a solution, because if treatment drugs can’t “find” anything to latch onto, the treatment just becomes that more difficult.

dnaNext, is an article written by Sameek Roychowdhury. MD, PhD about the use of genomics in clinical trials.

 Gene sequencing technology called next-generation sequencing will enable oncologists to determine which of 200-plus significant genes are altered in a patient’s cancer and to use this information to guide therapy. Ohio State is among the leaders in the country in promoting and championing this precision oncology strategy.

I’m a believer in the use of genomics as both a diagnostic and a treatment approach . There are many “families” of cancer, such as breast, prostate, lung, etc., and several subsets within each family. This is not a one-size-fits-all disease. I’m very familiar with the subsets where there is no definitive cause; which leads to the disease likely being incurable. This genomics approach may get us over that hurdle. Read More

Monday Musings

Written August 26th, 2013 by Ken
chimp_skull

Alas, poor Yorick..

Welcome to Monday Musings, glad that you decided to stop in. Grab your beverage of choice and let’s get to this. If it’s early enough in the day, coffee will suffice. If the sun is over the yardarm, I’ll trust you can handle it from there.

This week’s photo pays homage to Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” references from last week. We’re often multi-dimensional here, even if it’s by accident.

The James/Wexner

I have a couple of items regarding the James/Wexner this week. The first one is an update on the new facility construction, with a good interview with Dr. David Schuller. The feature was prepared by Channel 4. Th folks doing the segment are justifiably proud of the investment in Ohio State, the medical community and the Columbus area. We all should be.

The next items is a heads up about an upcoming fundraiser in the Columbus area, “Steps for Sarcoma”, a 5K/1 mile event. This is the 4th year for the event, and through the 1st three years, $66,000 has been raised for research, $37,000 last year alone.

Proceeds from this event will benefit the Orthopaedic Sarcoma Research at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.  Sarcomas represent a family of rare cancers that originate in the connective tissues, which includes fat, muscle, bone, cartilage, nerve, fibrous tissue, and blood vessels.

As you can see, sarcoma is one of the nastier cancers around. And, as you can see by the fundraising momentum, the Columbus community has been stepping up and Paying It Forward. Well done, folks, thank you.

Commentary

Things were kind of ‘doldrum-ish’ while we bided our time until game week. So, I’m sure influenced by some good basketball news from the women’s and men’s OSU programs, and some offbeat Twitter notification (see, I warned you guys about social media, but nooo), our staff at tBBC, or some of us, got into a lively and spirited email exchange about LeBron James; his time with the Cavs, the circumstances around his departure, the Miami Heat, etc., etc. Read More