Tag Archives: cancer

Galectin Therapeutics: When Good News Needs to Be TrumpetedGalectin Therapeutics: When Good News Needs to Be Trumpeted

Seldom do I venture outside the subject matter of constitutionalism, ideology and/or politics, but when I do it is either something personal, remarkable or both. The unique and innovative research and development taking place at Galectin Therapeutics™ is just such a subject. Should the scientists of this corporation succeed in bringing their product to market, the lives of millions of people in the United States – and potentially tens, if not hundreds of millions of people around the world – could be saved.

This issue is important to me because I have a personal experience with the evils of cancer and the fibrotic diseases. In 2000, my best friend from high school (a brother from the moment we met until the day he died) was taken from me, from his family, by the ravages of these diseases. He was diagnosed and taken in less than 30 days. The emotional toll on all his survivors was all encompassing and intense. It is with this personal understanding of the issue that the discovery of what Galectin Therapeutics is doing captivated my attention.

What would you say if I told you that a company – a gifted group of scientists – has developed a therapy that will save the lives of well over 15 million Americans suffering from diseases that currently have no cure, and that today can’t be detected until it is too late?

What would you say if I told you that the Food & Drug Administration is so impressed with the data surrounding this new drug therapy that they have awarded “Fast Track” status to this drug, and that, according to Morgan Brennan of CNBC Business News, there has never – never – been a Fast Tracked drug that has failed to come to market?

And what would you say if I told you that not only will this drug be extremely affordable when it comes to market, but that you – you – could be a part of this history-making endeavor?

Well, it is all true…and none-to-soon for the many people who suffer from fibrosis of the liver, kidneys and lungs, and some forms of cancer, thanks to groundbreaking work being done by the scientists at Galectin Therapeutics.

The researchers and scientists associated with Galectin Therapeutics, led by Dr. Peter G. Traber, MD – president emeritus of Baylor College of Medicine and former senior vice president of clinical development & medical affairs and chief medical officer of GlaxoSmithKline – are bringing hope to millions of people in the United States who suffer from both fibrosis (kidney, liver and lung) and cancer. Their research into galectin proteins, which have been proven to play a pivotal role in the genesis of many diseases, including fibrotic disease and cancer, is unprecedented. In fact, the Food & Drug Administration has awarded Fast Tracked status to the development of their project – a class of galectin inhibiting carbohydrate polymers. These unique and revolutionary compounds bind to galectin proteins and disrupt their function, which has a beneficial effect on these diseases.

Fibrosis, by definition, is the development of ever-growing fibrous connective tissue in an organ when exposed to a chronic disease, such as kidney, liver or lung fibrosis. The longer the disease affects the organ, the more fibrous tissue is deposited and this, ultimately, results in the complete failure of the organ. Drug candidates exposed to Galectin Therapeuticstherapies have shown them to be incredibly effective, providing a promising and exciting new approach for the treatment of these fibrotic diseases; hope where once there was none…none.

Additionally, Shirley Wang, of the Wall Street Journal, reports:

“Some 1 in 10 children in the US, or more than 7 million, are thought to have the disease, according to recent studies.

“The condition, in which the normally rust-colored organ becomes bloated and discolored by yellowish fat cells, has become so common in non-drinkers that it has been dubbed nonalcoholic fatty liver disease…

“The condition’s rise is tied to the obesity epidemic – about 40% of obese children have it – but isn’t caused solely by being overweight. The disease appears to be growing among normal-weight children too, experts say. And even though obesity rates are starting to level off, the prevalence of fatty liver disease continues to rise…”

In a nutshell, what Dr. Traber and his colleagues at Galectin Therapeutics have done is groundbreaking if for only this specific reason. Currently, there are no approved medical treatments available for the millions of patients in the United States who have non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) with advanced fibrosis, or liver fibrosis – today commonly known as “fatty liver disease.” The only alternative to an eventual death for anyone afflicted by these diseases – including the millions of children affected – is organ transplantation. The same is true for kidney and lung fibrosis. With the availability of healthy organ tissue at a premium, many more afflicted with these diseases perish than survive. This is why the work being done by Dr. Traber and his team is so incredibly important to the management of these diseases; diseases that will strike hundreds of millions of people around the world in our lifetime.

Further, the Galectin Therapeutics team is making similar inroads into the treatment of cancer.

Based on studies in non-human models, Galectin Therapeutics is exploring how its galectin inhibitors perform in combination immunotherapy clinical trials, focusing on the treatment, initially, of advanced melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that there were over 68,000 new diagnoses and 8,100 deaths from melanoma in the United States in 2011. Metastatic melanoma has a poor prognosis with less than 5% of patients surviving five years from the point when the cancer has affected a person’s organs. Galectin Therapeutics galectin inhibitors represent and remarkable breakthrough for people suffering from this killer disease.

One of the most important moments for the scientists at Galectin Therapeutics – and for the millions who suffer from fibrotic diseases – came when the FDA approved the drug for “fast track” status. Fast Track status is defined by the FDA as:

“…a process designed to facilitate the development, and expedite the review of drugs to treat serious conditions and fill an unmet medical need… An unmet medical need is a condition whose treatment or diagnosis is not addressed adequately by available therapy.”

By awarding Galectin Therapeutics therapies Fast Track status the FDA recognizes – and admirably so – that this new therapy is the best hope for millions of people afflicted with fibrotic diseases. And for the millions of people worldwide who suffer from fibrotic diseases, and for their families and loved ones, the therapies being developed by the scientists at Galectin Therapeutics can only be seen as their only hope.

Find out more about the incredible work being done by Galectin Therapeutics by visiting their website at: www.GalectinTherapeutics.com.

Steve Jobs And The Speech I’ve Never Forgotten

Note:  This post was originally featured on AiPolitics.me on August 25th, 2011 in observation of Steve Jobs stepping down as CEO of Apple.  It is with great pain that we tell you Steve Jobs has died today (October 5, 2011).  He had been battling pancreatic cancer.  He was a pioneer, an innovator, and one this country’s greatest talents.  He will be missed.

In light of Steve Jobs’ recent resignation, I’d like to share a video that some of you may have already seen.  For those of you who haven’t, it’s really a treat.  It’s his 2005 Stanford Commencement Address.

For those of you who have seen it, whether just now or in the past, I’d like to share my thoughts on it.

To most observers in my life, I’ve been more optimistic than what they felt should be warranted.  Few people in my family had graduated high school, and not many expected that I would.  But I did.  When I joined the military, some people thought I was throwing away my life.  But I wasn’t.  When I started this website, people said that no one would listen to me.  But you have.

I have had naysayers in every venture I’ve taken on.  I have naysayers with this website that you’re reading right now.  I have had people cling to my feet like shackles and impede most every step I’ve tried to take, and yet I still march on.  When I saw this video for the first time, I was amazed to see someone articulate the way I had always felt.

Many people in life do not want to climb the metaphorical mountains that lie before us.  They claim that they are too tall.  They instead choose to follow a tunnel that someone else has dug, regardless of where it might lead.  Even worse, some others decide to live at the foot of that mountain and spend the rest of their lives in its shadow.  For those of us who climb the mountains, it can be a lonely and seemingly worthless enterprise.

When I first saw this commencement address, I saw someone who had climbed the same kinds of  mountains that I felt I was trying to climb.  And hearing Steve’s stories “proved” to me that it was not going to be a worthless enterprise.  That knowledge was invaluable to me, because it validated how I had always felt inside.  I’m not going to lie.  Knowing that the trek wasn’t “worthless” did nothing to make it seem less lonely, but seeing someone who had plied a similar path come out on the other side was a feeling of inspiration that I cannot describe.

I don’t often look at Steve Jobs as the myth that many people have come to see him as.  I tend to have a rather objective view of life.  But even with that objectivity in mind, I can tell you that Steve Jobs has left an indelible mark on our culture in more ways than many of us even realize.

A piece is floating around Twitter right now that discusses the over 300 patents with his name on them, but for me, Steve’s philosophy is what has always stuck with me the most.

Feel free to share your stories where you have over come an obstacle that no one thought you could.  You never know, it may inspire someone else.

– Ai

 

Note: Again, when referring to “this website”, the piece is referring to AiPolitics.me where it was originally posted.

When Dry–Cleaning Attacks

The pre–Labor Day holiday run up was a good week for stating the obvious in the Washington Post.
An area high school student, who shall remain nameless, concluded that outsourcing her science project to the parents was passé, so she decided to see if it would be possible to recruit an actual scientist to do the work.
The enterprising young lady emailed “three or four chemistry professors” to see if they would be interested in analyzing how much of the chemical used to dry–clean clothes remained in the clothing after it was returned to the customer.
Most of her targets ignored her — possibly because they believe in ‘global warming’ and their cleaning involves going down to the river to beat cargo shorts on the rocks — but one recipient at Georgetown University agreed.
Sure enough, after extensive cleaning and testing, the brainiacs at Georgetown discovered that dry–cleaned sweater wool retained a perchloroethylene (PERC) level “as high as 126 parts per million.”
As my lovely wife, Janet, said, “Why wouldn’t it and so what?”
For that matter, sometimes my pants return from the dry–cleaners with crumbs in a pocket and I don’t make a federal case of it. (Although after reading about this science project I doubt I’ll be eating them again.)
I’d rather have that new dry–cleaned smell on my pants than the gravy stain that was there when I dropped them off.
To add a bit of context, the feds allow wine makers a sulfite level of 350 parts per million and people are intentionally drinking vino; to say nothing of asparagus makers who cool the crop in water containing 125 parts per million of chlorine — 41 times the amount you’ll find in your neighborhood pool.
But don’t get me wrong — I’m not criticizing our girl scientist. Her idea was simple and achievable — once she recruited a major university to do the heavy lifting. It reminds me of a project my engineer roommate was assigned in college. The professor told them to improve the design of an existing product, but to keep it simple. So students were redesigning Saturn rockets, gas spectrometers and racecars. Lester, on the other hand, showed how drilling four holes in dorm soap dishes would keep the Irish Spring from turning into mush. He received an ‘A.’
The problem I have is with the coverage of the project, which proves once again you don’t have to be hysterical to report on the environment, but it helps. The Post reporter writes as if she just discovered salmonella in her sprouts.
The story moves from the analysis of PERC remaining in small squares of cloth to discussing potential devastating health effects, particularly CANCER!!!, with the usual chemical alarmists.
One heavy–breathing example: “it was difficult to say how much risk consumers might face from wearing, say, dry–cleaned wool pants for a year or breathing air from a closet full of dry–cleaned clothes.”
I can see it now — edgy high school rebels who are pushing the limits will no longer be found under the bleachers stealing a few puffs. Instead, they’ll congregate inside a walk–in closet sniffing dad’s Brooks Brothers while the au pair wonders why Brittany seems so jittery.
A worry–wart at the University of Pennsylvania thought someone “who delivers dry cleaning for a living could face higher exposures than workers in a plant.” Dry cleaning delivery? Hmmm. Oh, yes, now I remember! He’s the man who arrives each morning after the milkman drops off the 2 percent and just before the Webvan driver gets here with the rest of the groceries.
Besides the threat to imaginary occupations, there is also danger for consumers. The team used a computer model to calculate that four newly–cleaned wool sweaters, placed beside a golden retriever inside a hot SUV with the windows rolled up, might produce the dreaded 126 parts per million of PERC that exceeds OSHA limits.
But the good news is the dog’s deathbed was extremely soft.
The problem I have with that ‘evidence’ is that I don’t pile clean sweaters inside my car like a North Korean nuclear waste dump. My cleaners may be cheap, but the clothes come to me in a fume–trapping bag.
Besides the symptoms of PERC overexposure are fairly obvious. If you feel confused, dizzy, drowsy, irritated and have a headache your discomfort is not being caused by your husband’s insatiable demands for sex or a bad batch of sour mash.
You’ve simply been spending too much time in the closet with the door closed admiring your wardrobe.

September Is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month: What Every Woman Needs to Know

WYNNEWOOD, Pa., Sept. 2, 2011 — As a leading cause of death among women, ovarian cancer is known as a “silent killer.”  Rarely detected early, when it is more easily treated, ovarian cancer strikes over 20,000 women each year. It is estimated that over 15,000 women in America die each year from the disease.

In the Philadelphia area, the Lorraine J. D’Emilio Foundation was started in 2011 in memory and honor of Lorraine J. D’Emilio. The foundation focuses on helping and supporting women with gynecologic cancers through education and support, while fostering a sense a volunteerism in the community. (For information or to make a donation, visit the foundation’s website at: http://www.ljdfoundation.org.)

As a cancer specialist, surgeon, and spokesperson for the foundation, Dr. David O. Holtz emphasizes that early detection is a key to successful treatment. Because ovarian cancer symptoms are so subtle and easily confused with symptoms of harmless conditions, the disease often goes undiagnosed until its later stages.

Dr. Holtz can reveal what every woman should know about early detection and treatment of ovarian cancer. Invite him to answer:

  • What are the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer?
  • Which tests are typically ordered for diagnosis?
  • How can women improve their chances of early diagnosis?
  • What factors contribute to ovarian cancer?
  • How can women reduce their risk of developing this disease?

CREDENTIALS: David O. Holtz, M.D. is board certified in gynecologic oncology and obstetrics and gynecology. He is on staff at Lankenau Hospital and Paoli Hospital. Dr. Holtz specializes in treating uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, peritoneal cancer, and vaginal cancer. He received his B.A. from Princeton University and his M.D. from Jefferson Medical College.