Weekend Wonderings: Mid-February Edition

Written February 16th, 2014 by Ken

Giordano Bruno

Welcome to this week’s edition of Weekend Wonderings. The basketball teams are within a month of ending their regular seasons. I hope that you all had a very nice weekend with the love of your life to celebrate Valentine’s Day. And St. Woody Day, as well.

I spilled quite a bit of ink with this WW, and it is a bit different. So, grab whatever beverage that you need, and possibly a back-up and let’s proceed.

More on this imposing figure later.

The James/Wexner

“All politics is local”, said former Congressman Top O’Neill.  The same can be said for health care. Way back in the Fall of 2012, before I came on board here at tBBC, I’d asked Mali to do me a personal favor and run this article, concerning bone marrow donation. I remain grateful, since the article explained the issues that my cousin was dealing with at the time. We’re still searching, but a marrow match has yet to be found. Meanwhile, the wolves have been kept at bay via a stem cell implant. A significant “band-aid” to be sure, but certainly not the needed answer.

During this time, one of their sons (a Penn State student-athlete at the time) asked fellow PSU’ers to be tested as possible donors, and the response was, and continues to be outstanding.  Moving to the present, this video is an interview with Kim and Jim, and tells of the current status of my cousin’s bone marrow search, the participation of students as bone marrow donors and the work yet to be done.  You can do your part by merely swabbing the inside of your cheek. These samples are analyzed by the National Marrow Donor Program, and when genetic matches are found, the process begins.

Samples continue to be submitted, donors-recipients matched and people are helped. Obviously, this is an ongoing effort. As tenacious a disease that cancer is, we have to be even more so to beat it. I’d like to thank Channel 4 (WCMH) in Columbus for their features on this topic.

FDA approves Imbruvica to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia: Read More

Weekend Wonderings

Written February 9th, 2014 by Ken

thinking chimpWelcome to this week’s edition of Weekend Wonderings. The men’s basketball team seems to be finding its way, the women’s team is still in the wilderness and the football team had a very successful Letter of Intent Signing Day. Grab whatever beverage that you prefer, or need, and let’s proceed.

The James/Wexner

  • A new study identifies the molecular pathway that enables cancer cells to grow in areas of a tumor where oxygen levels are low, a condition called hypoxia.

    The findings by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James), might offer a new strategy for inhibiting tumor growth by developing agents that reverse this hypoxia-related pathway.

    The study focuses on how cancer cells use the amino acid glutamine, the most common amino acid found free in the bloodstream. Under normal oxygen levels, healthy cells use glutamine largely to produce energy, with a small amount diverted to make fatty acids and lipids.

  •  World Health Organization declares air pollution a carcinogenWell no surprise for me with this one. A pollutant is a pollutant. All the more reason to ‘go green’.


So, we had a big day on Wednesday, eh? Twenty-three new members of the Buckeye Family. Honestly, I didn’t follow the entire process too closely, but did pay attention at the end. Your milage and sorting may vary, but here’s how I interpreted the signees “positions”. Read More

Weekend Wonderings: Super Sunday Edition

Written February 2nd, 2014 by Ken

th_chimpWelcome to this week’s edition of Weekend Wonderings. The basketball teams are swimming upstream, if not circling the drain right now, and the current is strong. Grab whatever beverage that you need and let’s proceed.

The James/Wexner, Cleveland Clinic

First up today; we know that stress can be a killer. Researchers at The James have come up with evidence that practicing yoga can reduce fatigue and inflammation in breast cancer survivors.

At the six-month point of the study – three months after the formal yoga practice had ended – results showed that on average, fatigue was 57 percent lower in women who had practiced yoga compared to the non-yoga group, and their inflammation was reduced by up to 20 percent.

Though many studies have suggested that yoga has numerous benefits, this is the largest known randomized controlled trial that includes biological measures, says study lead author Jan Kiecolt-Glaser, PhD. Researchers recruited 200 women for the study.

This is a good outcome. Breast cancer treatment protocols can be intense and hard on the patient. And, as you know, inflammation leads to a myriad of other health issues. Chalk one up for Eastern health practices.

Here’s a brief video (1:30 or so) of Dr. Goldberg giving an example of personalized cancer treatment at The James’ new facility


Well now, it seems that The Ohio State University has a new President, Dr. Michael Drake, current/former chancellor of the University of California, Irvine. I’ll have to familiarize myself with Dr. Drake, but this is a positive for me:

“Prior to Chancellor Drake’s arrival at UC Irvine, he served for five years as vice president for health affairs for the University of California system, overseeing academic program policy for the system’s 15 health science schools, located on seven campuses. He is a member of both the Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences..”

Dr. Drake has a pretty solid background in medicine, arts & sciences. I approve.  Oh, and the quote and link are from Mr. Schottenstein, Chairman of OSU’s Board of Trustees, because that’s how I roll. I would like to extend a warm welcome and congratulations to Dr. Drake.

Women’s Basketball: McGuff’s crew had a huge win against Illinois and now visit Wisconsin, in Madison, this afternoon. At this point in the season you can see how being a team in transition is creating the inconsistencies in their play. They are fun to watch, because although there are days they can’t make a shot, they always give their full effort. Let’s enjoy the ride.

Men’s basketball: I don’t know what to say at this point. I’ll let you fill in the narrative.

Sunday’s Song

If you’re thinking of taking up yoga, maybe Three Dog Night’s Road to Shambala will get you pointed in the right direction.

Weekend Wonderings

Written January 26th, 2014 by Ken

teacherWelcome to this week’s edition of Weekend Wonderings. The basketball teams are swimming upstream right now, and the current is strong. We see the destination, we need to just keep stroking.  Grab whatever beverage that you need and let’s proceed.

The James/Wexner, Cleveland Clinic

This is “virus” week on Weekend Wonderings. Let’s start with a brief refresher. From Berkeley Wellness article on August 2012:

“One in every six cases of cancer worldwide can be attributed to viruses and other infectious agents, a new study from the International Agency for Research on Cancer has confirmed.”

Which leads us to findings that the HPV virus can damage genes:

“Our sequencing data showed in vivid detail that HPV can damage host-cell genes and chromosomes at sites of viral insertion,” says co-senior author David Symer, MD, PhD, assistant professor of molecular virology, immunology and medical genetics at the OSUCCC – James.

“HPV can act like a tornado hitting the genome, disrupting and rearranging nearby host-cell genes,” Symer explains. “This can lead to overexpression of cancer-causing genes in some cases, or it can disrupt protective tumor-suppressor genes in others. Both kinds of damage likely promote the development of cancer.”

Read More

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 January 12th, 2014 by Ken

th_chimpWelcome to this week’s edition of Weekend Wonderings. The Buckeye football season ended not with a bang, but with a whimper. The basketball teams are beginning to engage in conference play to keep our attention.

Hopefully none of you suffered too much from the recent polar vortex induced weather. And if you did, you’re thawed out by now.  Grab whatever beverage you’d like and let’s proceed.

The James/Wexner, Cleveland Clinic

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society  just announced the award of  $12.5 million in grants to 21 studies in 6 areas. Please click the link to get the details. Among the awardees:

  • Robert Baiocchi, M.D., Ph.D., The Ohio State University Research Foundation. Targeting PRMT5 expression in DLBCL and MCL

In response to requests for proposals (RFPs) from researchers in these six critical areas, LLS has awarded these grants under its Translational Research Program (TRP), an initiative designed to help accelerate the movement of promising discoveries from the lab to the clinic. Each grant is for a three-year duration with a total value of $600,000.

Good luck Dr. Baiocchi.

Here’s a two-fer for you. Sign up for a fitness boot camp conducted by John Simon/Anthony Schlegel and make a contribution to the Urban and Shelly Meyer Fund. It’s never too soon to start on your New Year’s resolutions while contributing to a significant cause.

Read More

Weekend Wonderings: Happy New Year!

Written January 5th, 2014 by Ken
thinking golfer

Wondering when I’ll see a golf course

Welcome to the New Year’s edition of Weekend Wonderings. I hope that everyone brought in the New Year in a safe and enjoyable manner. And, didn’t overindulge. Too much.

Mali, Eric and Joe spent last week going up and down the hallway here at tBBC World Headquarters reminding us to empty out our Inboxes to get ready for the new year.  Let me dust things off to see what I can find..

Here we go; something from The James, something from Cleveland Clinic and a miscellaneous brain-dump in the Commentary. We wrap it up with some help from Bob Seger.

The James/Wexner, Cleveland Clinic

Here is some research news from The James.

A new study led by researchers at the (OSUCCC – James) helps confirm that a molecule targeted by the experimental drug DoubleHelixibrutinib is critical for the development of chronic lymphocytic leukemia, the most common form of adult leukemia.
In clinical trials, ibrutinib has often shown exceptional activity in people with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). The agent targets a molecule called Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK). It permanently incapacitates the molecule, and this stops the transmission of an important signal that promotes cell growth and proliferation.
But ibrutinib also inhibits other molecules in CLL cells. Like BTK, these molecules are proteins called kinases, and they might be important for CLL-cell survival, the researchers say.”

This is a pretty big deal. Now the research is targeting specific, and related molecules in cancer treatment. This type of success will lead to “peeling the onion” with further research, and provide some guidance to development and use of this type of treatment.

Read More

Weekend Wonderings: Holidays Edition

Written December 22nd, 2013 by Ken

 thinkerWelcome to this week’s edition of Weekend Wonderings. Due to holiday and travel plans, there will not be a WW next week; you may want to bookmark this page and re-read this next Sunday.  Grab your hot cocoa/hot toddie and let’s proceed.

Before we get too far along, I want to wish you and your families best wishes for the Holdays.

The James/Wexner, Cleveland Clinic

Of course, we have a couple items this week.

  •  We are already aware of likely benefits of men eating cooked tomatoes (sauces, etc) for the benefits of lycopene in lowering their risk of prostrate cancer. The earlier studies (linked, above) are now backed up by research in regards to tomato consumption in women and the effect of reduction of breast cancer.

“Based on these data, we believe regular consumption of at least the daily recommended servings of lycopene-containing fruits and vegetables would promote breast cancer prevention in a population at risk for breast cancer”

DoubleHelixThe lycopene appears to trigger the production of the hormone adiponectin which is the “risk-reducer”. Now, a couple caveats; first, this beneficial effect is more pronounced in women with lower body mass index. There are a lot of health benefits to having the recommended BMI, the efficacy of nutrients and hormones in disease reduction/prevention is one of them. So, eat your tomatoes and watch your BMI-driving calories this holiday season. There really isn’t any single thing that is the Magic Bullet with cancer prevention/cure, but a lot of little things can add up for you.

Speaking of food, here is a cooking video (34:00), courtesy of The James, on healthy meal preparation for the holidays. We’re here to help. You’re welcome.

Read More