cancer

health

Radiomics Could Help ID Lung Cancer Prognosis After Screening

A model incorporating volume doubling time (VDT) and select radiomic features was able to predict tumor behavior for screen-detected lung cancers, an analysis of low-dose CT (LDCT) scans from the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) showed.

Using a VDT of 234 days and radiomic features of compactness and average concurrence, very high-risk patients had a 5-year overall survival (OS) of 21.4%, compared with 82.4% for the low-risk group (P<0.0001), reported Jaileene Pérez-Morales, PhD, of Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida.

The model also “identified a vulnerable group of early-stage lung cancer patients who had a high risk of experiencing poor survival outcomes,” she said during her presentation at the virtual North America Conference on Lung Cancer.

For this group, the decision tree was able to discriminate between high-risk tumors with a 5-year OS of 39.9%, and more indolent tumors with a 5-year OS of 80.8% (P<0.0001).

“Use of volume doubling time was a hallmark of the NELSON study,” noted discussant Betty Tong, MD, MHS, of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina.

“In the study protocol, a volume doubling time of less than 400 days was considered to be positive,” she said. “In contrast to the current study, the NELSON authors determined that the volume doubling time in later rounds of screening was more variable, and that decreasing the volume time less than 400 days was not recommended in later screening rounds.”

For their study, Pérez-Morales and colleagues used LDCT scans from NLST involving 88 patients with malignancy at first follow-up to generate radiomic features that could help classify risk. Participants in the trial underwent three LDCT scans — at baseline and years 1 and 2. A decision-tree analysis was developed to stratify patients into four risk groups (low, intermediate, high, and very high), which showed differences in both progression-free survival (PFS) and OS.

“We also noticed that more aggressive VDTs occurred in the later screening follow-up than the first follow-up,” said Pérez-Morales. “These high-risk patients may require aggressive follow-up and/or adjuvant therapy to mitigate their poor outcomes.”

As VDT requires temporal imaging, the researchers also looked at whether radiomics features could identify high-risk tumors from an initial LDCT scan, and found that two peritumoral features (non-uniformity in Gray level size zone [GLSZM] and average 3D run length) were both predictive of VDT.

“The authors are no strangers to the use of radiomics in lung cancer screening,” Tong noted, pointing to a recently published paper from the group that examined radiomic features of non-small cell lung nodules in the NLST dataset. Again, they created a risk classification system for patients and showed significant differences in PFS and OS between low-, intermediate-, and high-risk groups.

“Even more interesting was the radio-genomic analysis that was performed using a separate dataset of resected tumors and their associated scans — there were differential levels of gene expression associated with select radiomic features,” said Tong.

“One can imagine a possible future state where volume doubling time, radiomics, and even radio-genomics

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health

Jeff Bridges has been diagnosed with cancer

The actor, who was diagnosed with lymphoma, shared that his prognosis is good.

Actor Jeff Bridges announced on Monday that he has been diagnosed with cancer.

In an announcement on social media, the “Big Lebowski” actor didn’t mince words about the seriousness of his diagnosis.

With a nod to one of his signature characters, Bridges began his statement by writing, “As the Dude would say.. New S**T has come to light.”

PHOTO: (FILES) In this file photo taken on January 28, 2017 US actor Jeff Bridges arrives on the red carpet for the 2017 Producers Guild Awards at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on January 28, 2017 US actor Jeff Bridges arrives on the red carpet for the 2017 Producers Guild Awards at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California. – US actor Jeff Bridges announced on Twitter on October 19, 2020 that he has been diagnosed with Lymphoma.

“I have been diagnosed with Lymphoma,” he continued. “Although it is a serious disease, I feel fortunate that I have a great team of doctors and the prognosis is good.”

Bridges confirmed that he started treatment and he will “keep you posted on my recovery.”

The Academy Award-winning actor, 70, extended his sincerest gratitude to all those that have rallied around him, writing that he’s “profoundly grateful for the love and support from my family and friends.” He ended his statement by encouraging people to vote on Nov. 3.

“We are all in this together,” he stated.

Lymphoma is cancer of the body’s lymphatic system, which helps fight germs according to the Mayo Clinic. The organization added that treatment for the disease varies, but may involve chemotherapy, immunotherapy medications, radiation therapy, a bone marrow transplant or some combination thereof.

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health

Rush Limbaugh says lung cancer has shown progression ‘in the wrong direction’

Conservative talk radio show host Rush Limbaugh says he’s had a setback in his fight against advanced lung cancer.

Limbaugh, 69, said recent scans show “some progression of cancer.” It’s “not dramatic, but it is the wrong direction,” he told listeners Monday, according to a transcript posted on his website.

The host said Monday that he has been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.

On Feb. 3, he first disclosed that he was sick. The following day, President Donald Trump awarded Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, during the State of the Union address.

Limbaugh said that he had been reluctant to speak too much about his illness on-air, in part because “I’m not the only one that’s going through hardships, challenging times.”

“I want to stress here that I know countless numbers of you are experiencing the same thing. If it isn’t lung cancer, it’s some kind of cancer. If it isn’t you, it’s somebody really close to you. If it isn’t an illness, it’s something,” he said Monday.

Limbaugh said that prior to the recent scans that showed some progression, “the scans had shown that we had rendered the cancer dormant.”

“So we have to tweak the treatment plan, which we did, and the chemotherapy drugs in hopes of keeping additional progression at bay for as long as possible,” Limbaugh said. “The idea now is to keep it where it is or maybe have it reduce again. We’ve shown that that is possible.”

This story originally appeared on NBCNews.com.

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health

Rush Limbaugh gives cancer update: ‘Days where I do not think I’m under a death sentence are over’

Conservative talk radio legend Rush Limbaugh told listeners Monday that he can no longer deny he’s “under a death sentence” due to the progression of his stage 4 lung cancer.

Mr. Limbaugh, who first announced his diagnosis in February, said during his show that scans taken earlier this month showed “some progression of cancer” after it had initially been rendered “dormant.”

“It is cancer, it eventually outsmarts pretty much everything you throw at it,” Mr. Limbaugh said.

“From the moment you get the diagnosis, there’s a part of you every day, OK, that’s it, life’s over, you just don’t know when,” he said. “So, during the period of time after the diagnosis, you do what you can to prolong life, do what you can to prolong a happy life. You measure a happy life against whatever medication it takes.

“It’s tough to realize that the days where I do not think I’m under a death sentence are over,” he continued. “Now, we all are, is the point. We all know that we’re going to die at some point, but when you have a terminal disease diagnosis that has a time frame to it, then that puts a different psychological and even physical awareness to it.”

Mr. Limbaugh, who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom during President Trump’s State of the Union address in February, went on to say the progression of the cancer was “not dramatic” but still in the “wrong direction.” He said he’s now under a treatment plan aimed at keeping the progression at bay for as long as possible.

“I feel very blessed to be here speaking with you today,” he said. “Some days are harder than others. I do get fatigued now. I do get very, very tired now. I’m not gonna mislead you about that. But I am extremely grateful to be able to come here to the studio and to maintain as much normalcy as possible — and it’s still true,” he said. “You know, I wake up every day and thank God that I did. I go to bed every night praying I’m gonna wake up.”

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health

Mandy Gonzalez Beat Breast Cancer While Performing in ‘Hamilton.’ Now She Wants You to Get Tested.

From Woman’s Day

It was fall of 2019, and Mandy Gonzalez appeared to be unstoppable. The actress and singer was starring in Hamilton on Broadway and had just landed a gig as the soloist for the Philadelphia Pops during the upcoming holiday season. Plenty of people grow up loving to sing, but Gonzalez, who has a work ethic that’s even more impressive than her incredible voice, was living out her childhood dreams.

When Gonzalez went to her annual gynecologist visit, her doctor asked her if she wanted a mammogram, since she had just turned 40. There was no history of breast cancer in her family, but many women on her husband’s side had experiences with breast cancer, so she opted to do the mammogram. “It was my first mammogram so I didn’t know, but all the sudden I was in the doctor’s office for a while,” Gonzalez tells Woman’s Day. “They were like, ‘OK, we need to get a 3D mammogram now,’ and I was like OK, and then it was, ‘Now we need to get an ultrasound,’ and I was like OK. And I remember going, ‘Don’t look at the ultrasound, Mandy, because you’re not a doctor; you don’t know what it is.’ But I’m super curious. I remember looking and seeing a circle, and I just knew something was wrong. From that moment I think I just started crying.”

After a series of tests, Gonzalez was told she had stage one breast cancer — a cancer that approximately one in eight women will encounter in their lives. “I never expected them to find anything,” Gonzalez says. “But when they did, my life changed. I really think that there was life before my breast cancer diagnosis and now there’s life after my breast cancer diagnosis. It definitely changes you.”

Things moved very quickly after the diagnosis, Gonzalez says. She met with various doctors and found one to do the surgery to remove the cancerous cells as well as an oncologist to monitor her cancer treatments moving forward. But even a cancer diagnosis, which has the power to stop most people in their tracks, couldn’t make Gonzalez slow down. “I play Angelica in Hamilton eight times a week on Broadway,” she says. “And not only that, I’m doing concerts, and a lot of different projects. So it was like, how do I do this and continue to work? How can I figure that out?”

Luckily, Gonzalez had the support of her family and her doctor on her side. “[My doctor] said to me, ‘You can do it,’ and I really needed to hear that,” she says. “That Christmas was my first year singing as a soloist for the Philly Pops, so not only was I doing Hamilton on Broadway, but I was going to Philly every week to go perform with the symphony. And to be a soloist with the Philly Pops, I mean you wait your entire life for that to happen as a singer. So I

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health

Olivia Newton-John talks new foundation and shares advice to women fighting breast cancer

Olivia Newton-John continually uses her platform to advocate for cancer research and now she is taking it a step further with the launch of her new foundation.

The four-time Grammy Award-winning singer and actress, who is currently battling breast cancer for the third time, launched the Olivia Newton-John Foundation this month to fund research for treatments and therapies to cure cancer.

The star was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992 and again in 2013. She revealed in 2018 that the disease returned and metastasized to her spine.

In a recent interview with “Good Morning America,” the actress, 72, revealed she is “feeling really good” and spoke about what led her to launch this new charity.

“I feel really positive and very excited about bringing this foundation and a lot of knowledge to people, and funding research to find out lots of answers — to find kinder treatments for cancer,” she shared.

“The inspiration has been a long one because I’ve been on this cancer journey for 28 years,” she added. “I’m a thriver of three times going through this process.”

MORE: Olivia Newton-John gives optimistic update on breast cancer diagnosis

Having gone through surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, she said she now is interested in funding treatments that aren’t as taxing to the body. “I’ve always thought, ‘Gosh, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could create kinder therapies that help boost the body’s immune system instead of knocking us down?'” she said.

PHOTO: Olivia Newton-John is photographed at her California home. (ONJ Foundation)
PHOTO: Olivia Newton-John is photographed at her California home. (ONJ Foundation)

Newton-John is an outspoken advocate for plant medicine and says that’s largely due to the influence of her husband, John Easterling. She affectionately calls him “Amazon John” because he spent several years in the Amazon rain forest learning about this type of medicine.

“I’m very lucky that I have him in my corner, and teaching me about the plants and the herbs,” she said. “He grows cannabis for me and I take tinctures that have helped me greatly.”

Ongoing efforts are being made to research what role cannabis may play in the future. “While some like Newton-John find relief of cancer-related pain and nausea from cannabis, it has not clinically proven to be the best choice,” according to health expert Dr. Imran Ali, a contributor to the ABC News Medical Unit.

Newton-John says she believes there is a significant lack of progress in research for these treatments.

“There are lots of ideas on how we can help people with cancer and treat cancer, but there’s been no real science behind the studies,” she explained. “So the idea is to raise money to fund the research on the other kinds of things that are kinder, including a lot of plant medicine.”

Newton-John is dedicating the foundation to all forms of cancer treatments — not just breast cancer research — because she dreams of one day “realizing a world beyond cancer.”

“That’s everything that drives me forward,” she said. “To think that we could help people to

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health

Ultimovacs Announces Updated Positive Results from Phase I Trial Evaluating Universal Cancer Vaccine, UV1, in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Ultimovacs ASA (“Ultimovacs”, ticker ULTIMO), today announced five-year overall survival data from the Phase I trial evaluating UV1 as maintenance therapy in patients with non-small cell lung cancer. The results confirm achievement of the primary endpoints of safety and tolerability and indicate encouraging initial signals of long-term survival benefit.

“Ultimovacs has established a growing body of clinical data demonstrating a strong safety and tolerability profile for UV1 and a range of preliminary efficacy signals in several cancer indications, all of which supports the further development of our proprietary cancer vaccine candidate,” stated Carlos de Sousa, Chief Executive Officer at Ultimovacs. “The long-term follow-up results announced today demonstrate that treatment with UV1 is safe both at the time of administration and throughout the follow-up period of at least 5 years. Non-small cell lung cancer highly expresses telomerase and remains an indication in great need of new treatment options for patients.”

In the study, a total of 18 non-small cell lung cancer patients whose disease had not progressed after receiving at least 2nd line treatment with chemotherapy were enrolled to receive UV1 monotherapy as maintenance treatment. Outcomes of the study included the safety and tolerability of UV1 as well as initial signs of clinical response. As per the cut-off date of June 2020, every patient in the trial reached at least 60-months of follow-up post treatment with UV1. At the five-years landmark, the Overall Survival (OS) rate was 33% and median Progression Free Survival (mPFS) was 10.7 months. Throughout the follow-up period, none of the patients experienced unexpected safety issues related to UV1. Further, none of the patients alive after 5 years have received other immunotherapy after the vaccination with UV1.

“At the time of the study initiation, there were no checkpoint inhibitors available for treatment of this patient population. For patients that received a second-line of chemotherapy the expected 5-year survival rate was less than 5 percent,” stated Jens Bjørheim, Chief Medical Officer at Ultimovacs. “While our Phase I study is non-randomized and conducted in a small population, it is promising to see that UV1 was safe and well-tolerated and that using UV1 as a maintenance therapy could potentially provide benefit to patients in need of novel approaches.”

Ultimovacs presented 48-months of follow-up data at the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer’s (SITC) 34th Annual Meeting in November of last year.

About UV1

UV1 is a peptide-based vaccine inducing a specific T cell response against the universal cancer antigen telomerase. UV1 is being developed as a therapeutic cancer vaccine which may serve as a platform for use in combination with other immunotherapy which requires an ongoing T cell response for their mode of action. To date, UV1 has been tested in four phase I clinical trials in a total of 82 patients and maintained a positive safety and tolerability profile as well as encouraging signals of efficacy.

About UV1 Clinical Programs

As a universal cancer vaccine, UV1’s unique mechanism of action has the potential to

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health

Spectrum Pharma FDA Decision, Biogen And Abbott Earnings, Cancer Conference

Biopharma stocks, which started the week on a firm footing, lost momentum mid-way through amid market-wide sell-off triggered by waning stimulus hopes.

The week was a quiet one from the perspective of news flow. Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) was in the news for both right and wrong reasons. The company’s Phase 3 trial of its coronavirus vaccine was paused due to a trial participant contracting an unexplained illness. On a positive note, the company reported solid quarterly results and lifted its guidance.

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE), meanwhile, stayed above political pressure and provided a realistic timeframe for filing for emergency use authorization for its vaccine candidate.

Avenue Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: ATXI) shares fell from $11 to just under $4 after FDA rejected its opioid pain drug on safety concerns.

Clinical trial disappointments led to Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ: VRTX) and Cyclerion Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: CYCN) shelving alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency and sickle cell disease studies, respectively.

The week witnessed Nasdaq debuts by six biopharma companies, which collectively raised about $650 million in gross proceeds.

Here are the key catalysts for the unfolding week.

Conferences

American College of Chest Physicians’ CHEST Annual Meeting 2020, being held virtually: Oct. 18-21

The Prostate Cancer Foundation’s 27th Annual Scientific Retreat: Oct. 20-23

IDWeek 2020: Oct. 20-25

American Society of Nephrology, or ASN, Kidney Week 2020 Annual Meeting: Oct. 22-25 (early programs scheduled for Oct. 19-21)

32nd European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer-the National Cancer Institute- the American Association for Cancer Research, or EORTC-NCI-AACR, Symposium: Oct. 24-25

PDUFA Dates

Zosano Pharma Corp’s (NASDAQ: ZSAN) NDA for its migraine drug Qtrypta has a PDUFA action date of Oct. 20. With the company disclosing in late September that it has received a discipline review letter, which raised two concerns about the clinical pharmacology section of the NDA, a decision by the d-day seems unlikely.

The FDA is set to rule on Spectrum Pharmaceuticals, Inc.’s (NASDAQ: SPPI) BLA for SPI-2012 to treat chemotherapy-induced neutropenia. The PDUFA date is Oct. 24.

Clinical Readouts

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) is scheduled to present at the ID Week 2020 full results of the pediatric Phase 2 proof-of-concept study of 20vPNC and detailed results from a Phase 2 proof-of-concept study of its potential first-in-class pentavalent meningococcal vaccine candidate.

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ALNY) will present at the ASN meeting results from the ILLUMINATE-B pediatric Phase 3 study of lumasiran in treating primary hyperoxaluria type 1.

Omeros Corporation (NASDAQ: OMER) is due to present final results of its pivotal trial of narsoplimab in the treatment of hematopoietic stem cell transplant-associated thrombotic microangiopathy. The presentation, in the form of a webcast, is scheduled for Oct. 22.

Mustang Bio Inc (NASDAQ: MBIO), founded by Fortress Biotech (NASDAQ: FBIO), is scheduled to present at the Prostate Cancer Foundation’s annual scientific retreat initial Phase 1 data on CAR-T cell therapy MB-105 in patients with PSCA-positive metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. The presentation is fixed for Oct. 23.

View more earnings on IBB

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dentist

Porter dentist offers free oral cancer screenings for firefighters

As a thank you to local first responders, Porter Family Dentistry is offering free oral cancer screenings to firefighters in Montgomery County for the next several weeks.

The screenings will be held on Fridays when the office is usually closed so that firefighters don’t have to wait.

In 2016, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health published a multi-year study of cancer rates in firefighters, and the findings showed that firefighters had a higher number of cancer diagnoses and cancer-related deaths than the general U.S. population. Among the cancers found in the sample of nearly 30,000 firefighters, those most often found were digestive, oral, respiratory, and urinary cancers.

In recent months, firefighters across the country have been traveling to areas, like California, that their help is needed. Dr. Mustafa Yamani of Porter Family Dentistry went to school in California and has fond memories of the nature and beauty of the state.

“It’s such a beautiful place, it’s really sad reading all of the stuff in the news that’s going on there,” Yamani said. “From all around the country they (the firefighters) come together and they provide this service. It’s just amazing what they’re doing and I really appreciate that. I just want to do something for them.”


The generous act of the firefighters inspired him to give back, and since oral cancer screenings are a service his office already offers he decided to give them to firefighters for free.

While this is the first year that the dental office has offered free screenings, Yamani and his wife Sabrina, who is the office manager, plan on making it an annual thing. The trials of 2020 also helped them decide to give back.

“Things seem to be going from bad to worse, to even worse, and it just doesn’t seem to be stopping for our first responders,” Sabrina said. “They’re just being hit with things one after the other.”

Sabrina started by reaching out to fire departments in the east past of Montgomery County to let them know about the opportunity and the response was immediate and positive. Already, the dental office has screenings set up with local firefighters.

Because firefighters are at a higher risk of developing cancer, many departments take an aggressive approach to screenings and check-ups. Early detection is vital. Such is the approach of the East Montgomery County Fire Department where firefighters undergo a National Fire Protection Agency physicals annually.

“It’s huge to us,” Eran Denzler, captain and PIO with the department, said of being able to get the oral screenings for free. “It’s a great show of appreciation for what we do and the risks that we take. Every day we go and put our lives on the line for the community, and for them to give back and worry about our safety is something we’re not used to but it’s much appreciated.”

The department averages around one to two structure fires a week,

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medicine

High school lacrosse player Gavin Schaffer battling cancer

Gavin Schaffer is a junior at Denver South High School fighting Stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma while using lacrosse as an outlet to heal.

DENVER — With high school lacrosse on hold, club teams have filled the void.   

For one player from Denver South, it’s been a life changing experience.   

“Its kind of just getting away from everything and not really focusing on anything in particular,” says Gavin Schaffer, a junior at South. 

Lacrosse is called the medicine game. Native Americans believe it can lift spirits and heal members of the community. There’s no question the sport helped Schaffer.

“Everyone always has this stereotype that cancer patients can’t really do anything. Like they just sit at home and do nothing,” said Schaffer, days away from starting his sixth chemotherapy treatment. “I just really feel (playing lacrosse is) a way to get out of that and be normal. With all your friends and stuff and not have to worry about what you’re going to have to go through in the next week or two.”

Six months ago, Schaffer was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The same disease his sister Lilian battled and beat earlier this year.   

Chemotherapy didn’t keep the 16-year-old from playing lacrosse. After five treatments, he hasn’t missed a single practice or game for his club team, South Elite Amateur Lacrosse.

“I remember at the beginning he didn’t look as well as he does now, but he was still out there fighting and putting in the work just like everybody else”, said Thomas Culhanne, a senior defenseman. 

“There’s no way I could stay at home and do nothing,” said an emotional Schaffer fighting back tears. “Because I just, I just…you know.”

“Chemotherapy takes everything out of you.  And I have absolutely no idea how he does it,” said Evan Westervelt, a junior defenseman. “It’s incredible. Especially the way he performs at such a high level.” 

Schaffer is on track to be in remission by the end of the year. And that’s a good thing, because he has big plans for 2021 as spokesman for the Headstrong Foundation. It’s a non-profit which raises money to improve the lives of those affected by cancer.

“I just feel that if sharing my story will help people donate and help that Headstrong Foundation to help kids who are going through a lot worse than me. Then I feel like it can also cure cancer and give money to research and give these kids homes to help the get treatment to make them get better,” said Schaffer.

Hope is the medicine that lacrosse gave Gavin Schaefer on his journey to good health. He began his final Chemotherapy treatment on Wednesday and was on the field that night helping South beat Kent Denver 11-6.   

They’re now two wins away from a championship.  

For more information on the Headstrong Foundation, including how to donate, click here. 

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