Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Perdue Wants To Give Its Chickens Better Lives

Some chickens at Perdue will soon be living a better life on the farm.

Perdue, the fourth-largest poultry producer in the country, announced this week that it would overhaul a portion of its chicken houses to give the animals more space and sunlight.

The company plans to install windows in sheds, increase the space in which chickens can roam and add perches and hay bales to boost their physical activity.

It's a move that signifies a shift in consumer demand -- the expectation that the food they buy is produced humanely -- is creating tangible results at the producer level. Chickens are typically stuffed by the thousands in sheds that don't get sunlight, and they are raised to grow rapidly and to large sizes, due to the controversial use of growth hormones and other methods.

For now, the company is adding windows to just 200 chicken sheds by the end of the year. Five hundred of Perdue's total of 4,500 houses already have windows. The company will determine later whether to retrofit all its chicken houses and some are cautioning against heaping praise on Perdue prematurely.

“This is an indication that the status quo is no longer defensible, and that the industry is starting to make moves, but it's doing so carefully and slowly,” said Gene Bauer, president and co-founder of the farm animal advocacy nonprofit Farm Sanctuary. “Sunlight is better than no sunlight, and hopefully there will be cleaner housing, but it likely will still be overcrowded. It will allow birds to suffer less, but they're still suffering.”

As a major player in the poultry industry, Perdue must also hold itself accountable for its commitments, animal activist groups say. Concrete deadlines about when goals are achieved, in addition to third-party audits of farm conditions, would significantly help improve consumers' trust in the company.

“This policy is not perfect, and there's a long way to go,” said Josh Balk, senior food policy director at the Humane Society of the United States, which is working with Perdue to establish progress timelines. “In the coming months, Perdue should demonstrate that they're serious about this policy. Consumers should know how long this is going to take.”

Growing public pressure around animal welfare pushed Perdue to review the way it's been doing business. The company says it will release yearly reports on the changes and work with its farmers to ensure that better practices are put in place.

“It's important to be transparent as we move through this,” said Bruce Stewart-Brown, who oversees food safety and quality at Perdue. “People are more interested in the aspect of raising animals, and we want to be open and talk about it. We're anxious to move in this direction.”

In an effort to be more humane, Perdue will also begin stunning the chickens so that the animals are unconscious before slaughter. The company spoke with various organizations that have been critical of its animal welfare policies as it prepared this week's announcement, and some groups were optimistic that the move could trigger other poultry producers to adopt similar practices.

While this marks a significant pivot in the poultry supply chain, the past year has already seen numerous retailers commit to promoting better conditions for chickens. Major fast-food chains including McDonald's, Starbucks and Panera, as well as supermarkets like Trader Joe's and Costco, are transitioning to selling only cage-free eggs in response to consumer demand.

“Consumers now care more than ever before about the treatment of farm animals,” Balk said. “It's going to be difficult for competitors to say they can't do this.

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Overweight Dads: A Risk Factor For Their Daughters' Breast Cancer?

… to an increased risk of breast cancer.
“This study provides evidence that …  caused the body to develop breast cancer.  
Overweight men who father children … daughter's chance of breast cancer. Photo courtesy of Pixabay, public … overweight is associated with increased breast cancer risk in daughters in a …

David LeDuc Appointed Executive Director of Nation's Foremost Lung Cancer Foundation

… philanthropies devoted exclusively to eradicating lung cancer through research, early detection, education … Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation
The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF … patient-driven) devoted exclusively to eradicating Lung Cancer through research, early detection, education …

New prostate cancer treatment to be evaluated

… to destroy prostate tissue. HIFU is designed to kill prostate cancer cells while … prostate, it remains to be seen what the ideal patient and tumor … specifically approved it for treating prostate cancer.
The authors examined studies conducted …

See and sort: Developing novel techniques to visualize uncultured microbial cell activity

Researchers used a recently refined technique to identify both individual active cells, and single clusters of active bacteria and archaea within microbial communities. Scientists are interested in learning how the planet's microbial dark matter can be harnessed for energy and environmental challenges.

WV Firm Blames Almost 300 Companies In Each Asbestos Lawsuit

WV Firm Blames Almost 300 Companies In Each Asbestos Lawsuit

BRIEF-Mckesson and Change Healthcare to form new healthcare IT co

… * McKesson and Change Healthcare to form new healthcare
information technology company
* Says … and Change Healthcare into separate company
* McKesson and Change Healthcare will own … by change healthcare stockholders
* Agreement provides that co, change healthcare will take …

Monday, June 27, 2016

Revolutionary Way To Be Healthy #21: Keep Your Body Clean, Inside And Out


Your body is smart. But it does not necessarily know what to do with the chemical compounds manufacturers have been adding to their products (or making the basis of their products) over the past several decades. And whether that newfangled chemical stuff is entering your body through your food, personal-care products, or household goods, the net result can be nasty.

Your body is a creative problem solver, though. So it might stash some of those chemicals in your fat cells. It might try to exude them through your skin. Or it might try to flush them out in your body's waste streams (think sweat, urine, poo).

But all of that requires some doing on the part of your body. And a lot of things can go wrong along the way.

Like what, you ask? Well, some of those chemical compounds can irritate and inflame your body's tissues (causing anything from skin rashes to gut leakage). They can also contribute to your body's toxic load or "body burden," which in turn puts an extra strain on your organs and immune system.

Some chemicals, known as neurotoxins (including many found in artificial sweeteners, colors and flavors, and preservatives), can mess with your brain and nervous system, causing severe headaches and fatigue, as well as mood and behavior problems.

Some compounds, known as endocrine disrupting chemicals (or EDCs for short), can mimic or confuse your body's hormones, interfering with normal sexual development and reproductive function, and increasing the risks for certain types of abnormal growths (such as fibroids) and cancers.

A subclass of EDCs, affectionately known as "obesogens‚" can alter both appetite and metabolism, causing weight gain. Obesogens were recently named an "emerging threat to public health" in a research review published by the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

You might be thinking: But surely there's no way that our government would allow anything but 100 percent safe and carefully tested chemicals in our food and body-care products! Isn't that what the USDA and FDA are for?

Here's the nicest way I can put this: In principle, yes. In practice, alas, not so much.

The problem is that the majority of chemicals used in conventional body-care products have never been tested for long-term safety. And even those studies that have been done on chemicals used in brand-name food and household cleaning and furniture products typically screen for evidence of immediate toxicity, not necessarily for the effects of repeated, long-term, or combined exposures.

In truth, even if our regulatory agencies tried harder, it would be almost impossible for them to study how all the various intermingling chemical compounds present in countless foods, cosmetics, and personal-care, cleaning, and household products might interact in the complex and constantly changing petri dish of the human body. We are talking about thousands of chemicals here, and an almost endless number of different exposure scenarios.

It's worth noting that many of the chemicals that are widely used here in the United States are banned in the European Union. That's because European manufacturers are required to observe what's known as the Precautionary Principle, which dictates that chemicals must be presumed potentially dangerous until proven safe.

Here in the United States, we operate on the opposite assumption, regarding most chemicals as safe until they are proven dangerous. The problem with this strategy, of course, is that it turns U.S. consumers into guinea pigs -- unwitting subjects in a long-term "study" with a variety of negative implications for human health.

The net result: Most of us have our bodies bathed, inside and out, with potentially dangerous industrial chemicals on a daily basis. Some of those chemicals are routinely found not just in the blood and tissue samples of virtually all U.S. adults, but also in the umbilical cords of newborn babies.

Eager to clear some potentially dangerous chemicals out of your own body? Here are some ways to start:

  • Make whole foods the center of your diet. Choosing single-ingredient whole foods and drinking simple, homemade, unsweetened beverages (like water, tea, and coffee) spares you from ingesting a great many chemical-laced ingredients and additives. Eating fresh or frozen whole foods also lets you avoid a lot of chemical preservatives (you'll still want to wash or peel most produce, though, as it may have been sprayed or waxed or otherwise come into contact with chemical residues during storage and transport).

  • Choose foods grown and raised in healthy environments. You want your food as free as possible from chemical pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, and heavy metals. Certified organic and biodynamic foods are a good start, but you can also choose foods from growers whose methods you know and trust, or consider growing some of your own. Be aware that both wild and farmed fish, seafood, and meat products will typically contain traces of any chemicals or other pollutants present in those animals' food and living environments, so choose your meat and seafood sources carefully.

  • Use cleaner personal-care and household products. Whatever goes on your skin, hair, lips, and nails -- along with pretty much everything else you touch, wear, or breathe -- ends up on the inside of your body. So take a close look at the products you are using on yourself and in your home. Weed out conventional, chemical-laden products in favor of certified organic, simply formulated, plant-based, or homemade options. Avoid dry-cleaned, flame-retardant, and other chemically treated fabrics: The chemicals used in those processes, along with nonstick coatings and plastic food-storage ingredients, are among the most commonly found in human blood and urine samples.

  • Read ingredient labels carefully. Many products marketed as "natural" -- or that use the word "organic" somewhere on the label -- still may contain a host of troublesome ingredients, like parabens, phthalates, artificial fragrances, dyes, pigments, and petroleum byproducts that are anything but wholesome.

  • Study up. The list of problematic chemicals is constantly evolving. For the best current guidance, check out the Environmental Working Group's handy guides to cleaning up your food, personal-care products, and household goods. Don't trust a "seal of approval" unless you know what it means.

  • Do a seasonal detox. Following a simple, whole-food detoxification program a few times a year can go a long way in helping your body dump what it doesn't want and repair the damage done by toxic compounds. Commit to keeping your body's elimination channels working smoothly on a daily basis by eating plenty of fiber-rich, colorful produce and drinking plenty of clean water.

  • Final suggestion: Don't panic. Once you've done what you can to reduce your chemical exposure, stop obsessing about it. Yes, our world is full of toxins. But stress and anxiety produce toxic chemical byproducts of their own. And the only one who can keep those out of your system is you.


"Beauty Beware" -- The not-so-pretty truth about toxins in most personal-care products, and how to avoid them.

"8 Hidden Toxins: What's Lurking in Your Cleaning Products?" -- How to spot the potentially dangerous chemicals in your cleaning arsenal.

"How to Detox Your Life, Save Money, and Change the World" -- Stacy Malkan's 10-point guide to lightening your toxic load.

"Fast Track Liver Detox" -- A healthy way to help your body ditch toxic gunk, drop unwanted weight, and feel better than you have in years.

Pilar Gerasimo is a nationally recognized healthy-living expert, author of A Manifesto for Thriving in a Mixed-Up World, and the creative force behind the 101 Revolutionary Ways to Be Healthy. She is currently working on a book about the art of being healthy in an unhealthy world. Learn more about Pilar's work and connect with her via social media at PilarGerasimo.com.

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Minor mergers are major drivers of star formation

Around half of the star formation in the local Universe arises from minor mergers between galaxies, according to data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. The patch of sky called Stripe 82 is observed repeatedly to produce high-quality images of spiral galaxies. Disruptions to the shapes of these galaxies, caused by interactions with their smallest neighbors, pointed to increased star formation.

Burning Our Tongues To Find The Best Of The Big-Name Hot Sauces

"You may want to get a glass of water," I warn my colleagues. It's 10 a.m., and I've dumped a bag of old white bread on the counter to use as the vehicle for testing 10 vinegary hot sauces, each waiting in a bowl marked with just a number. This is an old-fashioned blind taste test of the most beloved hot sauce brands out there, from salty, smoky Louisiana Hot Sauce to garlicky Huy Fong Sriracha.

The contenders: Tabasco, Louisiana Hot Sauce, Texas Pete, Valentina (both regular and extra hot), Cholula, Frank's RedHot, Crystal, Huy Fong Sriracha and Huy Fong sambal oelek.

We taste each, one by one, with a bit of dry bread, water and a lot of courage. We laugh (when one nameless video editor keeps trying to guess each sauce). We cry (a spoonful of Tabasco is intense). And then we narrowed those 10 to our top three favorites. But before we divulge the trifecta of hot sauce perfection, here are the best one-liners from the tasting.

On Texas Pete: "This is actually weak sauce."

On Tabasco: "I feel like it destroyed all my senses."

On Sriracha: "Can we say it's great for salads?"

So many a painful dip later, we have found our favorite cult hot sauces. Drumroll, please . . .

3. Valentina (and extra hot!): Tangy and bright, this thick sauce from Guadalajara, Mexico, won over our team with its viscous, versatile texture. "So good," said everyone.

2. Louisiana Hot Sauce: The original slogan for this New Iberia, Louisiana, sauce is "not too hot, not too mild." And may we add "very delicious?" We love the salty, smoky finish of this long-fermented, cayenne-based sauce.

1. Frank's RedHot: Some serious Frank's fans in the office could ID the sauce just by the color and vinegary consistency alone. However, looks didn't win it for this Cleveland original. It's complex in flavor compared to the others, thanks to a slightly herbal, celery-like taste. "It tastes like America," one editor said.

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The cancer drugs in your bathroom cabinet

cancer. Having successfully overcome breast cancer herself, she is currently battling several tumours … for breast, colorectal, gastro-oesophageal or prostate cancer. “We are trying to see … electron micrograph image of two prostate cancer cells in the final stage …

Cuomo and Billy Joel Ride for Breast Cancer Awareness

… aimed at increasing awareness for breast cancer screenings, and to promote a … Ms. Lee, a survivor of breast cancer, headed to the news conference … .”
Then Ms. Lee spoke, calling breast cancer “a very special kind of … battle with breast cancer. She was given a diagnosis of breast cancer in March …

Sen. Andy Hill announces his lung cancer has returned

… is battling a recurrence of lung cancer.
The 53-year-old senator from Redmond …

Even with good healthcare, social factors affect death risk

… Sweden, a country with universal healthcare, disadvantaged people with diabetes are … to use and access to healthcare," said lead author Dr … cholesterol levels.
"Perhaps the healthcare system should treat low-socioeconomic patients …

How liquid aspirin could help fight brain cancer: Special version of the drug found to be ten times more effective at killing cancer cells than chemotherapy 

… the lives of thousands of brain cancer patients
A drink containing liquid … the lives of thousands of brain cancer patients, according to breakthrough research … any existing chemotherapy at killing brain cancer cells.
And the team is … than 20 per cent of brain cancer patients survive more than five …

Secondhand Asbestos Exposure Risks for Families of Some Workers in Puerto Rico

… properties found in asbestos, it was used … risk of lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis. The ATSDR also reports that asbestos-related disease … , secondary or take-home asbestos exposure.
“Workers in a … Environmental and their asbestos, indoor air quality, …

ZIOPHARM Completes Enrollment in Second Patient Cohort and Initiates Enrollment in Third Cohort in Phase 1 Study of Gene Therapy Candidate Ad-RTS-hIL-12 in Brain Cancer

… 1 study of Ad-RTS-hIL-12 in brain cancer at future scientific meetings. All …

Putting Breast Cancer on a Diet

… prescribed as a treatment for breast cancer?
Scientists are recruiting thousands of … , the principal investigator of the Breast Cancer Weight Loss study, who is … an association between weight and breast cancer mortality, they weren't designed … . (Women with another type of breast cancer, known as HER2-positive, will not …

BRIEF-Merck receives CHMP positive opinion for Keytruda in advanced non-small cell lung cancer

… of advanced non-small cell
lung cancer (nsclc)
* Small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)
Source text …

BRIEF-Northwest Healthcare Properties acquires strategic interest in Generation Healthcare REIT

June 27 Northwest Healthcare Properties Reit* Northwest Healthcare Properties REIT announces acquisition … rights to ASX-listed
Generation Healthcare REIT
* Northwest Healthcare Properties REIT says has acquired 100
pct of Generation Healthcare Management …

ZIOPHARM Completes Enrollment in Second Patient Cohort and Initiates Enrollment in Third Cohort in Phase 1 Study of Gene Therapy Candidate Ad-RTS-hIL-12 in Brain Cancer

… 1 study of Ad-RTS-hIL-12 in brain cancer at future scientific meetings. All …

The Dalai Lama And Lady Gaga Joined Forces To Talk About This Essential Human Value

We bet you've never seen a meeting of the minds quite like this one.

The Dalai Lama, Lady Gaga, and the billionaire business tycoon Philip Anschutz shared a stage on Sunday during a panel presentation for The United States Conference of Mayors in Indianapolis.

If it sounds like an unlikely trio, the subject chosen for this meeting was just as remarkable. The three big personalities spent their time together talking about the power of kindness and how to make the world a more compassionate place. 

During the wide-ranging conversation, which was often more philosophical than practical, all three leaders emphasized the idea that kindness is a basic human value.

The Dalai Lama told the assembly of leaders from more than 200 of the nation's mayors that it is important for American cities to spreading kindness.

"America, in material development, is a leading nation, particularly in innovation [and technology]," the Tibetan Buddhist leader said during a keynote speech before the panel. "Now [the] time [has] come, America should be leading nation of promotion of human compassion, human love in order to achieve compassionate world."

He added that mayors have an important part to play in this effort. 

"Mayors, you have direct contact or influence to the people in the city. The federal government is sometimes a little bit far," he said. "So the mayor is a direct link with people." 

During the panel, which was moderated by journalist Ann Curry, the trio talked about the factors that divide Americans -- things like sexual orientation, health, and economic class. 

"None of this can matter anymore," Gaga said. "We are unified in our humanity and the only thing that we all know, we all appreciate in one another, is kindness. So this has to come before all things."

The entrepreneur Philip Anschutz, who started The Foundation For A Better Life, which produces billboards and television ads that promote "positive values," said that although there is much that separates people, he believes values like fairness, humility, perseverance, love and patience are universal. 

"The thing that we learned from the first ten or 15 years of [the foundation] is really the umbrella value here is kindness. If you have an individual that has kindness it correlates very strongly to having these other values that I touched on."

Watch the full panel presentation below. 

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Antibodies to dengue may alter course of Zika virus infection

Scientists find cross-reactivity that may influence plans for Zika and dengue vaccine studies.

Worker died after cutting through electric cable while removing asbestos from school ceiling, inquest jury told

… an electrical cable while removing asbestos from the ceiling of a … readiness for the removal of asbestos from the building. “It's … result in respiratory problems and death. Removal is only undertaken by …

Global Prostate Cancer Therapeutics Industry

… in Patient Compliance..............II-14 Limited Tumor Specificity and Toxicity II-14 Multiple … II-52 Recurrent Prostate Cancer..............II-53 Recurrent Prostate Cancer Subsequent to Surgery II-53 Recurrent Prostate Cancer Subsequent …

Recipes For a Spectacular Fourth of July Barbecue


Top two photos by Richard Dallett.

I've been on book tour since early May. It's been exhausting, but exhilarating. Atlanta. Austin. Boston. Denver. New York. Miami. Phoenix. Philadelphia. Portland. Salt Lake City. And so on. My first thought most mornings is, "Where am I?"

But on the morning of July 4, I know exactly where I'll be -- in my own bed. Because Independence Day is a command performance in the Raichlen family. (Seriously, no excuses.) Every year, we host a barbecue at our Martha's Vineyard home, then ferry from Chappaquiddick to Edgartown for a late afternoon parade on Main Street -- the kind that makes your eyes tear up and your heart pound with patriotism -- followed by fireworks over the harbor after sunset. If it sounds idyllic, it is.

Here's the menu I envision.

Chappaquiddick Smoked Oysters: Shell middens on Martha's Vineyard and Chappaquiddick evidence the appetite ancient island dwellers had for oysters. And no wonder: oysters from nearby Katama Bay are plump, briny, and sweet, needing nothing more than a kiss of wood smoke to bring out the best in them. Buy whatever oyster species is local or freshest. (Hopefully, you've made friends with your fishmonger.)

Smoked Deviled Eggs: Long an American picnic staple, deviled eggs are even better when the eggs (already hard-cooked) are peeled and briefly smoked before halving. Fifteen to 20 minutes of hot-smoking or 1 hour of cold-smoking is usually enough to impart flavor; longer, and the whites tend to get rubbery. Alternatively, you can arrange the peeled eggs--halved, this time--in a ceramic baking dish. Cover the dish with plastic wrap, leaving one small corner open. Insert the tube from a handheld smoking device. Light the smoker according to the manufacturer's directions, then add smoke to the baking dish. Remove the hose and seal the plastic wrap. Let the eggs steep in the smoke for 4 minutes. Repeat if desired. Continue with the recipe as usual.

Bourbon and Brown Sugar Smoked Pork Loin with Nashville Sweet Barbecue Sauce: Flavor is added at every opportunity: the loin is butterflied, and the inside seasoned with a homemade rub, mustard, brown sugar, and bourbon. More rub goes on the outside, then several strips of bacon are tied around the roast with butcher's string. (You could also do a bacon weave if you're feeling ambitious.) The package is then indirect grilled with hickory smoke until the meat is tender and the bacon's golden-brown. A bourbon and brown sugar glaze, applied toward the end of cooking, ups the food porn factor.

For two more Independence Day recipes, including a grilled dessert and a smoked potato salad, visit BarbecueBible.com.

SIGN UP for Steven Raichlen's UP IN SMOKE newsletter to learn more about barbecue!



Steven Raichlen is the author of the Barbecue! Bible cookbook series and the host of Project Smoke on public television. His web site is BarbecueBible.com.

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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Alert over asbestos dumped in bushland

Asbestos dumped near Great Lake.
PEOPLE … others at risk and called for disposal of the hazardous material to … president Simon Cocker said asbestos disease such as mesothelioma and asbestosis generally took …

If You Want to See the Future of Healthcare, Watch the Cable Industry What Happened to Newspapers

If You Want to See the Future of Healthcare, Watch the Cable Industry What Happened to Newspapers

Bon Jovi Surprises Fan Fighting Stage Four Lung Cancer

… Jersey woman battling stage four lung cancer.
Carol Cesario has spent the …

Man Swims In 1,500-Gallon Pool Filled With Coca-Cola And Mentos

How's this for an American dream?

Some visionaries recently filled a 1,500-gallon pool filled with Coca-Cola, 200 pounds of ice and a bucket of Mentos, creating a larger-than-life cocktail that will haunt your dentist's dreams.

In a four-minute video uploaded to YouTube Friday, video blogger Taras Maksimuk, who posts under the name TechRax, shows off the toxic-looking pool, noting: "This is something that you wouldn't even see in the movies."

As if the sugary mixture's ripples weren't enough of a sight, they pour in the ice and Mentos candy -- achieving a mild fizz -- followed by a brave human test dummy named Ryan.

With a dramatic leap, Ryan splashes into the murky water and pops open a 24-ounce bottle of Coke like it's Champagne. He only hesitates when he's asked to go completely under. (We don't wonder why.)

Though his style of entry was impressive, it's worth noting how long he soaked for.

"Ryan stayed in the pool for roughly 20 minutes and didn't notice any significant changes to his skin or hair other than feeling really sticky," Maksimuk told The Huffington Post via email Sunday. "But he said his skin felt very smooth in the pool."

The backyard where the scene was filmed suffered a different fate, however.

"The cola was all dumped out in the grass and then thoroughly washed with water, however, a horrible smell still reeks in the backyard a week after disposal," Maksimuk said. 

Of course, its seems no video by TechRax is complete without the destruction of some kind of technology.

So, as if to spark a nuclear war in the video's comment section, TechRax's crew intentionally crashes a DJI Phantom 4 drone into the pool. The camera watches as the four-figure toy sputters in the liquid and dies.

"That is what my youtube channel revolves around; technology destruction," Maksimuk defended. "It is something that is a part of every one of my videos."

And the sensationalism appears to work (just check out his iPhone destruction videos). This one has been seen more than 8 million times in two days.

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Billy Joel to join Gov. Andrew Cuomo on motorcycle ride for breast cancer

… ride to raise awareness about breast cancer before signing legislation that expands … girlfriend, Food Network star and breast cancer survivor Sandra Lee, and the … the best possible treatment for breast cancer, but far too many women … be auctioned off by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the governor's …

Substance user's social connections: Family, friends, and the foresaken

It's no secret that social environments can play a role in the development as well as recovery from substance-abuse problems. A new study, designed to uncover how individual relationships respond to substance use and social influences, has found that the links between substance use and social connections are bidirectional and strong.

Woman's breast cancer was caused by her decision NOT to have children

… found she had stage three breast cancer at 42, she was relieved … mum a year later to breast cancer.
Read More
“The grief hit … breast cancer. She had a successful mastectomy and needed chemotherapy.
Susan survived breast cancer

Soon You'll Be Able To Drink Wine And Beer At Some Barnes & Noble Stores

Here's a reason to raise your glass -- some Barnes & Noble stores will soon be serving meals and alcohol.

The major book retailer on Thursday announced plans to open four new "concept stores," which will include restaurants with waitstaff and breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, in an effort to boost its struggling sales.

The restaurants will also serve drinks, but that's not to say bookworms will soon meet tequila worms. The planned drinks menu is said to feature only beer and wine.

The first location will open this October in Eastchester, New York, about 30 miles north of New York City. It will also offer a bocce court, a fire pit and outdoor seating, The Journal News reports.

Similar stores will appear at the Galleria in Edina, Minnesota; at Palladio in Folsom, California; and at One Loudoun in Ashburn, Virginia.

"We wanted to create a better bookstore," Jaime Carey, Barnes & Noble's president of development and the restaurant group, told Fortune. “We think they're going to drive traffic to the store and [be] keeping them in the store longer.”

Carey noted that many Barnes & Noble locations already have cafes that feature Starbucks sweets, sandwiches and beverages.

"We said, let's have a much better food experience frankly," Carey said.

The retailer appears to be taking a page out of Starbucks' own playbook. The coffee chain in 2014 began offering "Starbucks Evenings" at select stores, featuring wine, beer and hors d'oeuvres.

Barnes & Noble's news came just a day after the retailer reported a drop in sales in its fourth quarter report. Though the company's stock price took a tumble the same day its fiscal earnings were reported, it rebounded following the announcement of the concept stores and two executive appointments. 

The company, which touts itself as the nation's largest retail bookseller, operates 640 stores in 50 states.

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If You Want to See the Future of Healthcare, Watch the Cable Industry & What Happened to Newspapers

If You Want to See the Future of Healthcare, Watch the Cable Industry & What Happened to Newspapers

A Healthy Lifestyle May Actually Prevent Cancer

… American Cancer Society, the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research … incidence of ovarian or prostate cancer; and lung cancer varied depending on the … Physical Activity Cancer Prevention Guidelines and Cancer Outcomes: A Systematic Review. Cancer Epidemiology …

Yes, You Can Train Yourself To Be More Creative. Here's How.

People often think that creativity is something you're born with or you're not. "My sister is the creative one in the family; she goes to art school," you might hear an accountant say. Advertising agencies even label their departments as such: project managers deal directly with clients, while "creatives" are given the space to write and direct campaigns.

It turns out that narrative is flawed. A new book, Building Your Creativity: Tools For Having Ideas And Bringing Them To Be, argues that creativity is hardly a fixed trait. Rather, like any other skill, creativity is something you can train yourself to cultivate with the right kind of practice. In fact, it's more of a science than an art.

I talked to one of the book's authors, Esteban Gast, to find out what that kind of training looks like. Gast teaches a course on creativity at an unexpected place: the University of Illinois' College of Engineering. "Creativity and engineering have been separated culturally, but at their core, they're both systematic disciplines," he says. "People are shocked to find that there are multiple studies that show creativity can be enhanced. You can teach yourself to be creative just as you can teach yourself any skill, be that piano or long division."

According to Gast, this process requires more than just "believing in yourself" -- a common refrain in many of the creativity self-help guides out there. His team's approach involves tangible techniques and specific action plans, which his book brings to life for readers through a series of hands-on exercises.

Gast is quick to point out that, like piano and long division, building creativity requires patience and hours of practice. So reading all the way to the end of this blog post won't make you instantly more creative. But it will give you seven things you can start doing now, whether you're an accountant or an art student, to bring more creativity into your life.

Push past your first ideas. Experts define the act of creativity as coming up with an original idea, something nobody else has thought of before. Our brains, however, are wired to focus on concepts we already know. "If someone tells me to design a car, my mind will first go to something that already exists, like Tesla," Gast explains. But this pattern can be broken with what his book calls provocations: simple, unexpected prompts or word associations that force our brains to connect seemingly unrelated concepts. "If that same person who told me to design a car then threw out the word 'nature," Gast adds, "I might instead think of something entirely new. Tires that can plant seeds, for example."

Don't self-edit (especially at the beginning). One of the biggest obstacles to coming up with creative ideas is our tendency to edit them along the way. Any creative act, whether brainstorming or writing or solving a problem, will be more effective if you give yourself the freedom to go in all sorts of directions and then evaluate your ideas afterwards. Gast calls this the "diverge and converge" method: first let your ideas flow freely, then look at them more critically.

Give yourself time, and then even more time. Researchers say time is one of the most important indicators of creativity. "People are usually really excited during the beginning of a brainstorming session," Gast says. "Then there's almost always a dip in energy after the initial burst of ideas. And then you're likely to be reinvigorated again. But most people give up before reaching that third phase." Being patient enough to sit within the discomfort of feeling like you've run out of ideas -- knowing that it's simply a matter of time before your brain starts making breakthroughs again -- will help you reach new creative edges.

Take a break. Our best ideas often happen during what scientists call the creative pause. "Our students echo what most people say: they come up with great ideas in the shower, driving their car, or on a walk," Gast says. That seemingly idle time gives your subconscious the space and freedom to make connections. Working on something creative, taking a break to do an easy task while those thoughts marinate, and then deliberately coming back to whatever you were working on is an extremely effective strategy.

Personalize your space. What can you do to be inspired by your surroundings? Gast suggests setting up your personal space in a way that is conducive to your most creative self, whether that means natural light, candles, your favorite art pieces, or ensuring you always have access to notebooks and pens. "Research even shows that the way schools are designed can impact creativity," Gast says. "Your work, mental state, happiness and creativity are a reflection of your environment more than you realize."

Go outside. Studies have shown that spending time in nature can have a number of positive psychological effects, from stress reduction to improvement in memory. This extends to creativity. Immersing yourself in the natural environment, away from digital devices and the other distractions of a bustling 21st-century life, can give your mind the space it requires to be open and imaginative. Take a hike without your iPhone, go on a day trip to the ocean or lake, or simply sit under a tree with nothing but a journal.

Make it a habit. Like mastering any skill, becoming more creative takes practice. It's important to engage in regular habits that both directly and indirectly allow you to cultivate creativity. Activities that help prime the brain for creative thinking, such as meditation, yoga, reading fiction and surrounding yourself with people who inspire you, are just as important as creativity exercises themselves, be them prototyping or problem-solving. "Infuse creativity into every part of your life," Gast says. "If you do your best to build a lifestyle that encourages creativity, your creative ideas will be unlimited."

"Building Your Creativity" is available on Amazon or the publisher's website for bulk orders.

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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Fundraising calendar shines light on young women with breast cancer

… fundraising calendar for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
The women, in full … an opportunity to empower young breast cancer survivors through a once-in-a-lifetime bodypaint … that is associated with breast cancer and a breast cancer diagnosis," she said …

Update of law on toxic chemicals, years in the making, a victory

… to a ban on asbestos, a known lethal … Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization in 2004 after her husband, Alan, died of mesothelioma … of exposure
“We are still faced with these toxic exposures … San Francisco Firefighters Cancer Prevention Foundation.
“There …

KIT researchers develop 3D prostate model based on cryogels

… developing a three-dimensional model for prostate cancer research based on cryogels. The … ;Prostate Cell News", a major international platform and database for prostate cancer research.
In the western world, prostate cancer is the most common malign tumor

Progesterone Plays A Bigger Role In Breast Cancer Than We Thought

… key when it comes to breast cancer prevention. The posters, ribbons, rallies … cause more than two-thirds of breast cancers contain both estrogen and progesterone … and estrogen receptor expression in breast cancer samples.”
Source: Singhal H, Greene …

10 Cool And Creamy Summer Sweets

When your sweet tooth strikes in the summertime, nothing satisfies more than a cool and creamy dessert. From Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches to Banana Pudding Parfaits, these sweet treats will cool you off and make you happy.

1. Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches


Ice cream sandwiches: kids love them, adults love them, and they're so much fun to eat! These are made with Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers and premium quality ice cream. GET THE RECIPE

2. Strawberry Frozen Yogurt


This refreshing frozen yogurt tastes intensely of fresh strawberries, almost like a cross between strawberry frozen yogurt and strawberry sorbet. GET THE RECIPE

3. Chocolate Peanut Butter Icebox Cake


You don't even need an oven to make this easy dessert. Simply layer store-bought chocolate wafers with peanut butter-flavored whipped cream in a loaf pan, and then chill overnight. In the fridge, the cookies soften and meld with the cream, creating a dessert that resembles a fancy layered mousse cake. GET THE RECIPE

4. Peach Mango Smoothies


These tropical smoothies are made with frozen peaches and mangoes -- which are already washed, peeled and sliced -- so you can be sipping these smoothies, dreaming of white sand and palm trees, in under five minutes. Can't beat that! GET THE RECIPE

5. Lemon Berry Parfaits


Fresh berries are delicious on their own but if you're looking for a way to dress them up, elegant parfaits are the way to go. Here, I've layered them with a luscious lemon cream -- essentially a lemon curd lightened with whipped cream -- to brighten their natural sweetness. GET THE RECIPE

6. Banana Pudding Parfaits


Banana Pudding is an old-fashioned dessert traditionally made with layers of Nilla wafers, vanilla pudding and sliced bananas. This version bucks tradition a bit, but still tastes nostalgic and delicious. GET THE RECIPE

7. Best Summer Berry Trifle


This dazzling, delicious trifle can be made in under 30 minutes -- just be sure to plan ahead as it needs to sit in the fridge at least 8 hours before serving. GET THE RECIPE

8. Caramelized Banana Ice Cream


The beauty of banana ice cream is that it's naturally low in fat; the thick texture puréed bananas makes it incredibly rich and creamy without the addition of eggs or heavy cream. GET THE RECIPE

9. Ricotta Cheesecake


Made with cream cheese, ricotta cheese and a ground almond crust, the cake is a hybrid between an American-style cheesecake and an Italian-style cheesecake. It's a dream to make: unlike most cheesecakes, you don't have to worry about the top cracking or fuss with a water bath because it all gets covered with fruit anyway. GET THE RECIPE

10. Tart n' Tangy Frozen Yogurt


Made with only three ingredients, this fro-yo tastes just like the one at your favorite frozen yogurt shop, only better. GET THE RECIPE

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Former Hospital President: Skyrocketing healthcare costs are

… of the healthcare system is enough to
make anyone sick.
Healthcare is … . However, when it comes to healthcare
pricing, consumers are abandoned and …
would merely show that each healthcare provider charges extraordinarily
wide-ranging different …

Would You Be Better Off Spending More Time Alone?

By: Lodro Rinzler

A meditation teacher unpacks an ancient Buddhist text that reveals the answer. It might surprise you.

Maybe you're like me and you live in a packed city, in a cramped apartment, with a partner and/or roommates, and spend your morning commute cramped amongst people to get to a job where you are constantly surrounded by other beings. And maybe you're like me in that in the middle of your day you hear a nagging inner voice that says, "You know what? I bet I'd be better off if I had some quiet solo time once in a while."

There is a beautiful Buddhist text dating back to the 14th century known as the 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva. Bodhi can be translated from Sanskrit as "open" or "awake" while sattva can be translated as "being," so it is an open-hearted being. A meditation master known as Ngulchu Thogme composed these verses so that we could live a full life with open hearts in order to be helpful to those around us. Many of these practices revolve around applying virtue to even the toughest of our everyday situations. He has one that specifically encourages us to take time to ourselves in order to have the mental and emotional fuel to show up fully for others:

Giving up negative places, mental afflictions gradually decrease.

With no distractions, virtuous activities naturally increase.

When mind becomes clear, certainty in the Dharma is born.

To rely on solitude is the practice of a Bodhisattva

Related: A Self-Discovery Exercise to Help You Be Your Best Self

When you hear the term "negative place" what comes to mind? It could be a loud, raucous environment where it's hard to concentrate on even the simplest of tasks. Or maybe it's the sort of place that brings out the worst in you--a crowded party with unlimited alcohol and the company of three or more of your exes, a hectic workplace environment, or a bar that you frequent when you feel lonely or ashamed. Whatever your version of a negative place may be, Ngulchu Thogme says that it is important to our spiritual path to give those up. You can discern what this sort of negative place means to you and, as soon as you do, resolve to stop spending so much of your time there.

"Why?" you may ask. "Sure, I'm not my best self when I'm there but that bar has cheap drinks and good music." Well, according to our friend Ngulchu, giving up negative places is how we calm the mind. Without being provoked by a lot of mental afflictions (read: exes, work stress, alcohol-fueled pity parties) you have the time and space to connect with yourself. The more you take the time to connect to yourself the more at home you are with who you genuinely are. And when you're actually at home with who you are you're more likely to engage in virtuous behavior.

Continue reading to learn how to cultivate more solitude.

You May Also Like:

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Friday, June 24, 2016

Obscure Summer Vegetables You Should Be Eating

We all have a roster of fruits and veggies that we know and love (or tolerate), but occasionally we're thrown for a loop: what is this oddly colored root? Is that a tomatillo or a type of berry? Farmer's markets, CSA boxes and friends' gardens can all be the source of surprising bounty in summer months.

But for every fruit or veggie that you don't encounter, there is a burst of nutrition left unused. As we move deep into summer, don't let all that potential go to waste - try one of these obscure options for unusual flavor and complete nutrition.

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The One Factor In The Brexit Vote No One Is Talking About

The U.K.'s historic vote to leave the European Union, many people believe, was driven by opinions on immigration

And it likely was influenced by the way people are psychologically wired. Analysts on Friday repeatedly cited voters' emotions as the driver of Brexit. Many people may have voted with fear or anger as their primary motivator, even though it had been well known that leaving could have widespread consequences, including economic turmoil and adverse effects on public health

"We are leaving the EU and entering a dark and uncertain period,"Gary Younge, editor-at-large for The Guardian, wrote after the "leave" vote won Thursday's referendum. "Offered a choice between fear of the unknown or fear of the foreigner, fear inevitably won. Britain lost."

Why do we fall for fear or anger-based arguments?

Brexit supporters argued for strict controls on immigration, and said Britain's membership in the EU led to loose borders. The EU's free-movement policy allows European nationals to live and work in any EU state without a work permit. 

The anti-immigration outcry was heightened by the surge of migrants and refugees, including many from the war-torn Middle East. More than 1 million refugees have poured into Europe, primarily in the past year. 

The vote shows deep worry about immigrants and what they mean for job security, safety and economic growth -- fears that many consider xenophobic.

It's not hard to see the fear in Brexit supporters' tweets:

Political language that incites fear by spotlighting terrorism risks, for example, can sway conservative voters, researchers say. Fearful voters are prone to choosing an outcome based on new information, often abandoning their previous loyalties or affiliations.

Many Brexit voters may have felt neutral or even uninformed about the EU, the alliance they voted to leave. The day after the referendum, many UK residents were Googling, "What is the EU?"

Those who are angry are less likely to be invested in the political status quo and the options available to them. Studies show angry voters tend to be partisan and unreceptive to points that conflict with their own, according to the American Psychological Association.

Emotions can rule in the voting booth

Psychologists are increasingly finding that emotions can play a major role in elections. 

"Thinking and feeling go hand in hand. In any decision-making -- including political decisions -- how people feel about the information they're being given is important," Tereza Capelos, an expert in political psychology at Surrey University, told the BBC last year. "Emotions help people make decisions."

Perhaps that's why the Brexit decision was shocking. Those arguing for Britain to remain in the EU presented sensible reasons (public health, scientific research, the environment, the economy). But many people rejected those rational views and went with emotion. And for many, the result was devastating:

Europe isn't the only place where fears and frustrations run amuck and influence voting. It's happening in the U.S. as well, with Donald Trump riding his proposed ban on all Muslims from entering the U.S. to the Republican presidential nomination.

Of course, human nature is a complex construct. There are a lot of other psychological factors that can inform a person's vote, from attack ads to a candidate's physical appearance. But they all influence how an individual feels. That means emotions have a very large impact on important choices, like the Brexit referendum.

Fear and anger can have a lot of agency -- but they don't always make the best decisions. (You listening, America?)

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Brooklyn's bed: Parents of 4-year-old brain cancer survivor search for a safe place to sleep

Until recently, the 4-year-old brain cancer survivor was sleeping on a …

How Make-Up Makes Men Admire but Other Women Jealous

Men think women with make-up on are more 'prestigious', while women think women who wear make-up are more 'dominant,' a psychology study has found.

New Intermountain Healthcare clinic will be just what doctor ordered

… Drive and Kearns Boulevard. Intermountain Healthcare officials said the clinic, slated … City. Simpson said that Intermountain Healthcare follows a process when considering … Conner, practice administrator for Intermountain Healthcare, said many of the changes …

Surviving the Journey: Owatonna man surpasses milestone despite cancer diagnosis

… , degenerative disc disease, diabetes and prostate cancer simultaneously - some of which he … prostate gland, and according to the American Cancer Society, most men without prostate cancer … and less aggressive form of prostate cancer and the high-grade and more …

Lazarus: Cutting healthcare costs shouldn't be this painful

… disparities show how uncompetitive the healthcare market is,” said Mireille Jacobson … say growing competition for routine healthcare such as lab work or … a much greater share of healthcare costs.
“The problem is no …

Obese dads may increase their daughters' risk of breast cancer, say scientists

… obesity is believed to influence breast cancer in humans, however up till …

Chemo May Prolong Lives of Some Brain Cancer Patients

… ,000 adults were diagnosed with brain cancer in 2015, according to the … are many different forms of brain cancer, and grade 2 gliomas are … 10 percent of all adult brain cancers, Buckner's team noted …

Researchers identify new potential target for pancreatic cancer treatment

… the previously known cancer-promoting gene called Myc to help tumors thrive.
… treating the comparable human tumors.
These human tumors in mice, called patient-derived … be upregulated in prostate and bladder cancers and critical for cancer cell proliferation …

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Senate Democrats Bring Food To Support House Colleagues Conducting Sit-In On Gun Laws

As House Democrats conducted a sit-in all day Wednesday to demand legislative action on gun violence, many of their Senate colleagues headed over to the other side of the Capitol to lend their support.

And as the day wore on, they made sure the tired representatives didn't go hungry.


Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) delivered pizza from a nearby restaurant.

A group of senators collaborated on a spread of snacks featuring specialties from their respective states.

And as day turned into night, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) brought donuts and coffee from Dunkin Donuts, her home state's most famous chain.

The sit-in, which began Wednesday morning, could last well into the night. Democrats have pledged to remain on the House floor until House Republican leaders agree to allow votes on gun legislation. Some Democratic congressional staffers reportedly went to Target to purchase sleeping bags in case their bosses have to spend the night. 

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Kansas dad gets tattoo to match son's brain cancer surgery scar

… son was left with following brain cancer surgery is winning kudos on …

Revealed: New insights on causes of sudden cardiac death in the young

Genetic testing has shed new light on the deaths of nearly 500 young Australians and New Zealanders who died from sudden cardiac death in a three-year period, suggests a new report.

Brighton bombing rescuers might have asbestos-related diseases

… scene died from an asbestos-related disease last December.
Mr Barry said … may have been exposed to asbestos fibres to offer medical advice … have potentially been exposed to asbestos fibres within the hotel debris …

Rory McIlroy Pulls Out Of Olympics Over Zika Fears

By Adrian Warner

LONDON (Reuters) - Northern Ireland's four-times major winner Rory McIlroy has decided to pull out of the historic golf tournament at the Rio Olympic Games in August because of health fears over the Zika virus.

"After speaking with those closest to me, I've come to realize that my health and my family's health comes before anything else," the world number four said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Even though the risk of infection from the Zika virus is considered low, it is a risk nonetheless and a risk I am unwilling to take."

The International Golf Federation (IGF) said it was disappointed with McIlroy's decision.

The 27-year-old was due to represent Ireland, rather than Britain, at the Games and his withdrawal is the latest blow to golf, which is returning to the Olympics for the first time since 1904.

A number of big names, including Fiji's Vijay Singh and Charl Schwartzel of South Africa, have also withdrawn because of the virus.

Controversy over the Aug. 5-21 Games has grown as more becomes known about Zika. The mosquito-borne virus can cause crippling birth defects and, in adults, has been linked to the neurological disorder Guillain-Barre.

Last week, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said that the Games did not need to be moved or postponed because there is "a very low risk" that holding the event in Brazil will cause further spread of the virus.

An expert WHO panel on Zika concluded that staging the event during the Brazilian winter means the mosquito population will be smaller and intensified mosquito-control measures in place around venues "should further reduce the risk of transmission".


Medical experts had a mixed response to McIlroy's decision.

Derek Gatherer, a virus expert at Britain's Lancaster University, said if the golfer was “contemplating becoming a father within a year or so, then it was a perfectly reasonable precaution to stay away from regions of active Zika transmission”.

But Jonathan Ball, a professor of molecular virology at the University of Nottingham, said: “Obviously I don't know the reasons for this decision, but it does strike me as being extreme.

"The chances of being infected by the Zika virus is low, especially if you protect yourself from mosquito bites by covering up and using a good insect repellent.”

But there are clearly worries in the golf world. Earlier this month, world number one Jason Day expressed doubts for the first time over whether he would compete and the virus was a hot topic of conversation among golfers at last week's U.S. Open.

Masters champion Danny Willett, whose wife Nicole gave birth to their first child at the end of March, said he was excited about the Olympic Games but would not to go if his family's health was at risk.

The list of Rio absentees also includes Australian world number eight Adam Scott and South Africa's world number 14 Louis Oosthuizen, who both opted out over scheduling conflicts.


The connection between Zika and microcephaly first came to light last year in Brazil, which has now confirmed more than 1,400 cases of microcephaly that it considers to be related to Zika infections in mothers.

Britain's Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford has decided to have his sperm frozen before the Games.

His partner Susie Verrill, who will not travel to Rio with their young son, said the couple had taken the precaution because they wanted to have more children.

McIlroy, who is engaged to American Erica Stoll, took a long time to decide who he would represent in Rio and threatened to skip the Olympics as he agonized over his choice between Britain and Ireland before opting for the latter in 2014.

"I trust the Irish people will understand my decision (not to go," McIlroy added. "I will continue to endeavor to make my fans and fans of golf proud with my play on the course and my actions off it."

Irish golf team captain Paul McGinley said McIlroy would have been a 100 percent certain pick for the Games but fully understood the reasoning behind the player's withdrawal.

"It's not for me to influence his decision, it's a health decision he has discussed with his family and wife to be," McGinley told Irish national broadcaster RTE.

"Shane (Lowry) and GMac (Graeme McDowell) are the next two in at the moment."

In a statement the IGF said: "(We) are disappointed with Rory's decision but recognize that some players will have to weigh personally a unique set of circumstances as they contemplate their participation in golf's historic return to the Olympic Games in Rio, with the Zika virus foremost among them."

(Additional reporting by Kate Kelland and Martyn Herman,; Editing by John O'Brien and Ken Ferris)

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Woman rides 1,500 miles for lung cancer research

… to Breathe, a partnership for lung cancer survival, is hosting their annual … , Gracie, an 11-year survivor of lung cancer, rode her motorcycle to the … doing it again this year.  Lung cancer has a 5-year survival rate … drugs for the treatment of lung cancer
Breast cancer survival rates are …

Breast cancer cell growth halted by osteoporosis drug, study shows

… points toward personalised treatment for breast cancer
The scientists analysed breast tissue … used to treat osteoporosis and breast cancer which has spread to the … reducing the risk of developing breast cancer, giving these women another option … approach could be at reducing breast cancer risk in women, or how …

NASA scientists discover unexpected mineral on Mars

Scientists have discovered an unexpected mineral in a rock sample at Gale Crater on Mars, a finding that may alter our understanding of how the planet evolved.

Dad tattoos scar on head to honor son battling brain cancer

… of an 8-year-old boy battling brain cancer had a scar tattooed on …

Tumor Ablation Market Size & Forecast By Technology (Radiofrequency, Microwave, Cryoablation), By Treatment (Surgical, Laparoscopic, Percutaneous) By Application (Liver Cancer, Breast Cancer, Lung Cancer, Prostrate Cancer), And Trend Analysis From 2015 To

… , about 210,828 cases of lung cancer, 2.9 million cases of … 35.0% share. Liver and lung cancer ablation require surgical procedures, and … concomitantly propel surgical ablation growth.
Lung cancer forms the most lucrative market …

Immunotherapy Trial for Mesothelioma Shows Early Promise

The immunotherapy drug avelumab showed promising results in a recent phase I clinical trial for malignant mesothelioma, raising hopes as a future second-line therapy.

The clinical trial included 53 patients with pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma. It was part of the JAVELIN development program for avelumab, a series of clinical studies testing the drug on about 2,200 patients with more than 15 types of cancer. Merck and Pfizer are co-developing and marketing avelumab.

Medical oncologist and mesothelioma specialist Dr. Raffit Hassan of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) presented the clinical trial results earlier this month at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting in Chicago.

He expressed considerable optimism about the outcome.

The drug reduced tumor size in nearly 10 percent of patients. Median progression-free survival - the length of time a patient lives with the disease before it begins to worsen - was 17.1 weeks. The majority of trial participants tolerated the drug well.

“These data add to the growing body of evidence for avelumab, indicating efficacy and a favorable safety profile in multiple cancers, which supports ongoing development,” said Chris Boshoff, vice president and head of early development, translational and immuno oncology at Pfizer Oncology. “We are making meaningful advances for a broad range of patients with cancer.”

A Need for Second-Line Mesothelioma Treatments

All patients involved in the study were diagnosed with unresectable mesothelioma and experienced disease progression after standard chemotherapy.

There are currently no FDA-approved second-line treatments for mesothelioma available to this patient group, although several are in the developmental stage. Avelumab is one of them.

Avelumab works by attacking PD-L1, a protein found on the surface of most cancer cells that prevents a person's immune system from rejecting the cancer. Avelumab essentially unmasks the cancer cells and allows the immune system to kill them.

“This database is the largest study to date of patients with mesothelioma treated with an anti-PD-L1 antibody,” Hassan said during the presentation. “Ongoing follow up will further characterize durability of the clinical benefit.”

PD-L1 has become a popular target for several immunotherapy drugs tested on various cancers. Many in the medical community believe immunotherapy is the key to future advancements in treatment.

Avelumab is expected to move to phase II testing for mesothelioma by 2017, which will further explore the safety and effectiveness of the drug on a larger patient group. The drug has shown considerable effectiveness for non-small cell lung cancer in a current phase III trial. Researchers are now testing the drug with other diseases, including cancers of the head and neck, kidneys, ovaries, stomach and bladder.

Other Mesothelioma Trials at NCI

Although the avelumab study for mesothelioma is currently closed, Hassan is lead investigator for several other mesothelioma clinical trials at the National Cancer Institute that are currently recruiting patients.

Anetumab ravtansine, also known as BAY 94-9343, is another immunotherapy drug being explored in a phase II trial for mesothelioma. This drug targets mesothelin, a protein that researchers have connected to tumor progression and resistance to chemotherapy.

Several types of cancer cells produce too much mesothelin, including mesothelioma, pancreatic cancer and ovarian cancer. The protein is a common target for immunotherapy drugs used to treat these cancers.

As part of a randomized trial, researchers will measure anetumab ravtansine against the chemotherapy drug vinorelbine.

Hassan presented trial data for BAY 94-9343 at the ASCO annual meeting earlier this month. In an earlier phase I study of mesothelioma patients who received the drug as a second-line therapy, BAY 94-9343 shrank tumors in 50 percent of patients and had tolerable side effects.

The search for a reliable second-line treatment is critical for patients because the benefits of standard chemotherapy often do not last long in the fight against mesothelioma.

The post Immunotherapy Trial for Mesothelioma Shows Early Promise appeared first on Mesothelioma Center - Vital Services for Cancer Patients & Families.