Monthly Archives: December 2014

Teen Inventor Sets His Sights on New Tests for Cancer

*credit verbatim via National Geographic*

Teen Inventor Sets His Sights on New Tests for Cancer, Pollution:
Emerging Explorer Jack Andraka doesn’t plan to stop with his prize-winning test for pancreatic cancer

Jack Andraka’s invention was amazing: a new tool for detecting pancreatic, lung, and ovarian cancer. And what’s even more surprising is that he invented it at the age of 15.

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*credit verbatim via National Geographic*

Patients Bid to Stop NHS Axing 25 Cancer Drugs

*credit verbatim via http://www.dailymail.co.uk*

Review Could Halt Prescriptions for Thousands of Patients

Campaigners are calling for a halt to rationing plans that could see the NHS axe up to 25 life-prolonging cancer drugs because they are too expensive.

The Cancer Drugs Fund is starting a re-evaluation process today that could halt the prescription of treatments that have helped thousands of patients.

They include six breast cancer drugs, one for prostate cancer, six for bowel cancer and the pancreatic cancer drug Abraxane.

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*credit verbatim via http://www.dailymail.co.uk*

Genes that cause pancreatic cancer identified by new tool

*credit verbatim via Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute*

Genes that cause pancreatic cancer identified by new tool

A technique that can identify causes of cancer invisible to genetic sequencing has uncovered large sets of previously unknown pancreatic cancer genes. It is hoped that this study will boost research into a disease that is still poorly understood and for which five-year survival rates have stood at around 5 per cent for the past four decades.

The technique works by introducing sections of DNA called piggyBac transposons into the mouse genome. Transposons jump around within the genome, reinserting themselves at random and causing a different mutation in each cell of the mouse. This triggers cancer development, and tracking the transposon’s fingerprints in the tumours allows discovery of the affected cancer-causing genes. The PiggyBac tool was engineered for the first time to allow cancer induction in individual tissues within the mouse, and the method can now be used to study any type of cancer.

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*credit verbatim via Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute*

Research Shows This One Plant Can Kill Cancer Cells and Treat Diabetes

*credit verbatim via http://www.collective-evolution.com*

Research Shows This One Plant Can Kill Cancer Cells & Treat Diabetes

Bitter melon is a fruit that grows abundantly in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. Traditionally it has been used to treat diabetes and other more mild diseases or illnesses.

More recently, bitter melon juice was shown to kill pancreatic cancer cells in vitro and in mice in a study done by the University of Colorado. Considering the results were seen in both in vitro and in vivo tests, the effectiveness of bitter melon juice in treating pancreatic cancer, and potentially other cancers, at a clinical level are promising.

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*credit verbatim via http://www.collective-evolution.com*

Record-Breaking $2 Mil Raised at Holiday Rock and Roll Bash to Beat Pan Can

*credit verbatim via The Lustgarten Foundation*

A Record-Breaking $2 Million Raised at Holiday Rock & Roll Bash
in Support of The Lustgarten Foundation’s Fight to
Beat Pancreatic Cancer

BETHPAGE, NY, December 4, 2014 – On Wednesday evening, December 3, Cablevision Systems Corporation, The Madison Square Garden Company, and AMC Networks hosted the fourteenth annual Holiday Rock & Roll Bash to benefit The Lustgarten Foundation, the nation’s largest nonprofit funder of pancreatic cancer research. Held at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York City, the event raised $2,060,000, breaking its previous all-time fundraising record. Due to the support of Cablevision, 100 percent of every dollar raised goes directly to pancreatic cancer research.

The Holiday Rock & Roll Bash is The Lustgarten Foundation’s premier annual event, raising nearly $19 million in the fight against pancreatic cancer since it was created in 2001. More than 1,100 guests attended this year’s Bash. The evening’s entertainment included live rock-and-roll music, along with special appearances by the world-famous Radio City Rockettes and a very jolly Santa Claus.

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*credit verbatim via The Lustgarten Foundation*

Jon’s story

Purple Hope is about your personal experiences involving pancreatic cancer.  Please welcome Jon OlsonJon hails from Nova Scotia and would like to share his story – in his own words –  with you all:

Pancreatic Cancer, like every cancer, is a horrible and vicious disease. Anyone who has had family members fight valiantly against this predator, or fought themselves, knows that it is something that can take on many different faces and descriptions.

To me, pancreatic cancer is a thief.

Marylyn Key Olson, my grandmother who we all called Grammie, was an amazing and fantastic woman. She was born on February 15th, 1925. Like all of my relatives, I didn’t get to see my grandparents that often since they lived in the United States while I grew up in Nova Scotia, Canada. That being said, there were many visits that left lasting impressions on me growing up. We would always get excited knowing that she was making the drive from Portage, Indiana to Chicago and then hop on a plane to Halifax, Nova Scotia. When we were younger, it would only be a matter of minutes after leaving the airport that we would ask ‘Did you bring us any surprises’. Of course, our parents would always scold us but Grammie would always laugh and say that she did but would make us wait the entire 50 minute drive back home before she would even think about giving them to us.

She always supported us grandkids in whatever we were doing at the time. In my years at elementary school, I played whip-pitch softball in the summers. Grammie came to a few of my games whenever she was visiting but there was one game in particular that always stood out. I was playing catcher and I could hear her cheering behind the backstop every pitch. I don’t even know if she liked softball or baseball, but she always came regardless to support me.

As sweet as she was, I found out during one visit that she wasn’t one to be trifled with either. I was in Grade 7 and it was after school. I was heading out to hang out with a friend and I told Grammie that I would be back around 5pm. It turned out that my definition and her definition of ‘around’ were vastly different. I arrived back home around 5:40pm and as soon as I stepped into the basement, she was waiting. She chewed me out and made it known that ‘around 5’ meant ‘at 5’. My parents still weren’t home from work and aside from being scared of her, I was also scared that she would tell them and I would receive a second verbal barrage.

Like all great grandmothers, she never told.

The last time I saw Grammie was in the summer of 2003. She was up visiting us with my Aunt Linda and Uncle Doug. It was an emotional visit as she had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer not too long before hand. She had made the trip up to say her goodbyes to me and my siblings.

When they were leaving, I gave Grammie a big hug and said, “I love you, Grammie.” They were the last words I ever said to her.

What really hit me at that time was watching my dad, Uncle Doug, Aunt Linda, and Grammie backing out of the driveway. Dad had to stop the car twice because he was crying along with everyone else in the car. Now that I’m a father myself, I could not imagine what it must’ve felt like to pull away from the house knowing that my parents would never see my children again.

My oldest brother, Aaron, got married in 2004 but Grammie was too sick to attend.

After a courageous battle, Grammie passed away on Wednesday, June 16th, 2004.

My niece Astrid was born in November of 2011. I married my wife on September 22nd, 2012 and our daughter Emilia was born December 6th, 2013.

Grammie never got the chance to meet those new additions to our family.

Arthur Hilmer Olson, my grandfather, was born May 17th, 1927. He served during the Second World War in the United States Navy on the U.S.S. Bache. Afterwards, he founded and was the owner of the Olson Funeral Home in Portage, Indiana. In 1968 he became the first mayor of Portage, a feat that my Uncle Doug would later achieve in 2000.

I never got the chance to meet him.

He passed away on October 3rd, 1981, two years before I was born.

Pancreatic cancer robbed my family.

It robbed me from meeting the man who helped shape my father into the man he became. It robbed my grandfather of the opportunity to meet the rest of his grandchildren, as only my brother Aaron and cousin David were born when he was alive. It robbed Grammie of her husband and robbed my father of both of his parents.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t miss Grammie and wish that I had been able to meet my grandfather.

Let’s keep raising the awareness of this vicious disease and sharing our experiences so that hopefully someday soon no more families will be robbed at its expense.

Jon's Grammie and Grandpa

Jon’s Grammie and Grandpa

~ Jon Olsen