Tag Archives: cancer

Co-founder of the Parachute Club dies of lung cancer


Parachute Club‘s Billy Bryans dies at 63 of lung cancer.

Marrow transplant may have cured AIDS, German doctors say


Provided by: The Canadian Press
Written by: Patrick Mcgroarty, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Nov. 12, 2008
BERLIN – An American man who suffered from AIDS appears to have been cured of the disease 20 months after receiving a targeted bone marrow transplant normally used to fight leukemia, his doctors said Wednesday.

While researchers – and the doctors themselves – caution that the case might be no more than a fluke, others say it may inspire a greater interest in gene therapy to fight the disease that claims two million lives each year. The virus has infected 33 million people worldwide.

Dr. Gero Huetter said his 42-year-old patient, an American living in Berlin who was not identified, had been infected with the AIDS virus for more than a decade. But 20 months after undergoing a transplant of genetically selected bone marrow, he no longer shows signs of carrying the virus.

“We waited every day for a bad reading,” Huetter said.

It has not come. Researchers at Berlin’s Charite hospital and medical school say tests on his bone marrow, blood and other organ tissues have all been clean.

However, Dr. Andrew Badley, director of the HIV and immunology research lab at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., said those tests have probably not been extensive enough.

“A lot more scrutiny from a lot of different biological samples would be required to say it’s not present,” Badley said.

This isn’t the first time marrow transplants have been attempted for treating AIDS or HIV infection. In 1999, an article in the journal Medical Hypotheses reviewed the results of 32 attempts reported between 1982 and 1996. In two cases, HIV was apparently eradicated, the review reported.

Huetter’s patient was under treatment at Charite for both AIDS and leukemia, which developed unrelated to HIV.

As Huetter – who is a hematologist, not an HIV specialist – prepared to treat the patient’s leukemia with a bone marrow transplant, he recalled that some people carry a genetic mutation that seems to make them resistant to HIV infection. If the mutation, called Delta 32, is inherited from both parents, it prevents HIV from attaching itself to cells by blocking CCR5, a receptor that acts as a kind of gateway.

“I read it in 1996, coincidentally,” Huetter told reporters at the medical school. “I remembered it and thought it might work.”

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Using RFID tags in Drivers Licenses to track your movements unencrypted


“The introduction of enhanced driver’s licenses, which appears to be a central focus of Bill 85, will lay the groundwork for a new and more extensive identity regime, the effects of which are not fully known,”

So what are they not telling Ontario citizens? PIPEDA and your privacy will not matter if Bill 85 is passed, in its current form. In the long-term, it will be easier to be monitored by the Government, Businesses and other organizations.

RFID tags

RFID tags

So what is Bill 85? Yes, you are probably unaware that the Ontario government is quickly pushing through legislation on behalf of the U.S government (okay, that’s a stretch, but it has already pass 2nd reading). No, this is NOT a joke. But, you can ignore the picture; I just wanted to make a point. There has been little fan-fare or information to the public, however soon ALL drivers licenses will have a new RFID tag embedded within your card (not your hand, yet…). This means personal information about who you are will allow border agents to “quickly get you into the U.S”. However what you do not know is that these RFID tags will be UNENCRYPTED. Still lost? Let me put it to you this way.

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is an automatic identification method, relying on storing and remotely retrieving data using devices called RFID tags or transponders. An RFID tag is an object that can be applied to or incorporated into a product, animal, or person for the purpose of identification and tracking using radio waves. Tags can be read from several meters away and beyond the line of sight of the reader.

Being that it is UNENCRYPTED “ANYONE” will be able to get information about you without you actually knowing by getting readily available scanners and devices to read RFID tags. The dangerous part of this legislation is that YOUR PRIVACY IS GOING TO BE VIOLATED by Dalton McGuintry and the Ontario Government. This has gotten little to no media press and has already passed second reading. Of course you could use tin foil or a shield to prevent people from scanning the card without you knowing, but the main issue is the UNENCRYPTED portion of this legislation. We can argue whether or not “Big Brother” should be able to monitor you, but UNENCRYPTED. In effect, there is NO OPT OUT part to this legislation. You must get the tag inserted into your Drivers license, if this bill passes. Might as well force us to get it inserted into our bodies? Sounds familiar? This is a win-fall for criminals and identity theft, however do you want everyone to be able to track your movements. Please contact your MPP and get this legislation stopped in its current form. It is TOO open ended and changes MUST be made.

By Andy MJ a.k.a The G.T.A Patriot

—– more information below —–

We need to draw attention on the development of ‘enhanced’ driver’s licences (EDLs) by many provinces in advance of new US border crossing requirements coming into effect June 1, 2009. Ontario in particular is proceeding with its EDL via Bill 85 – Photo Card Act, 2008, now before the legislature.

The high-tech system Ontario and other provinces are planning could result in a “privacy nightmare.” He adds that the new cards “are a waste of money and establish a de facto national ID card in Canada,” which tramples on citizens’ civil liberties. In June, The Ontario government introduced the Photo Card Act.

http://www.idforum.ischool.utoronto.ca/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RFID

http://www.todaystrucking.com/news.cfm?intDocID=20562

The deadly asbestos trade


Asbestos is a mineral with long, thin fibrous crystals. The word asbestos (῾ἀσβεστος) is derived from a Greek adjective meaning inextinguishable. The Greeks termed asbestos the miracle mineral because of its soft and pliant properties, as well as its ability to withstand heat.

Asbestos is known to have toxicity. The inhalation of toxic asbestos fibers can cause serious illnesses, including malignant mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis (also called pneumoconiosis). Since the mid 1980s, many uses of asbestos have been banned in many countries.

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Canada’s deadly trade in asbestos

by Mark Bourrie

Canada is starting work this summer on a billion dollar project to renovate its parliamentary buildings and cleanse them of asbestos, which has been found to cause cancer.

The project will take six years to complete but, in the meantime, Canadian government agents are still pushing exports of the fibre. Canada even has gone so far as to argue a challenge at the World Trade Organization that a proposed French ban on asbestos imports would be an illegal trade practice.

Despite recent warnings that asbestos was the cause of 500,000 cancer victims in western Europe alone, Canadian asbestos producers continue to promote and sell their fibre worldwide – especially to developing nations.

Asbestos is used as a binder in cement, as insulation, and in anti-fire walls. It is also a potent carcinogen with a long, well-documented legacy of death.

The danger comes when small asbestos fibres are released and inhaled by labourers. The fibres cause cancerous growths in the lungs, lung lining and abdomen but can take 20 years or more to manifest.

In 1997, Canada exported 430,000 tonnes of asbestos – more than 96% of production – most of it to the developing world. Canada is the world’s second-largest exporter of asbestos after Russia.

Union activists, who have visited India and other developing countries say, however, that the public relations efforts of the government and the asbestos industry are simply window-dressing to hide the fact that most people who work with the natural mineral fibre risk cancer.

Critics of Canada’s asbestos exports say the country is exporting death to protect the profits of a handful of companies and the jobs of 1,600 miners.

“What’s the difference between land mines and asbestos?” asks Dr. Barry Castleman, author of a respected book on the danger of asbestos. “A key difference, of course, is that Canada doesn’t export land mines.”

At the heart of the issue is Canada’s own precarious political situation. All of the asbestos mines in Canada are in Quebec, a predominantly French-speaking province with a separatist government.

Federal and provincial politicians are pushing asbestos exports to prove that they are successful at developing overseas markets, and are protective of Quebec workers. Critics of asbestos exports say the industry would probably be allowed to die if it was centred in any other part of the country.

“Personally, I believe this is all about Quebec politics,” says Canadian Auto Workers Health and Safety director Cathy Walker. “The Canadian and Quebec governments are competing with one another to show just how prepared they all are to protect Quebec jobs.”

The real costs will be borne by the developing world, she says.

Walker just returned from India, where she saw unprotected workers slashing open bags of asbestos fibres. In places where the asbestos was being mixed into cement, clouds of the carcinogenic fibres swirled around workers.

In Britain, the Cancer Research Campaign said in January that its study into the European asbestos-linked cancer epidemic should sound alarm bells everywhere, “particularly in the developing world where uncontrolled asbestos is still very common,” said CRC director Gordon McVie.

Seven of Canada’s top 10 markets are Third World countries. Still, the Canadian government, the asbestos industry and lobby groups are trying to put a good face on the asbestos industry.

Recently, diplomats stationed here were flown to asbestos- producing regions on an all-expense-paid first-class junket.

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Sheela Basrur, the cool voice of reason during 2003 SARS crisis, dead at 51


PREMIER DALTON MCGUINTY ON THE PASSING OF DR. SHEELA BASRUR

“I was deeply saddened when I heard today of the passing of Dr. Sheela Basrur. She was a remarkable woman and her passion for public service is what made her such an extraordinary Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario. “

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Dr. Sheela Basrur, a public health figure whose skilful leadership and communications expertise helped guide Canada through Toronto’s SARS crisis in 2003, died Monday after a 17-month battle with a rare form of cancer.

Basrur, 51, had stepped down as Ontario’s chief medical officer of health in December 2006 when she learned she was suffering from leiomyosarcoma, a diagnosis for which the prognosis was poor.

Many of her friends, colleagues and admirers fought back tears as they paid tribute to a diminutive woman with a big brain, a big heart and a quick smile.

“It was obviously at one level expected and inevitable, given what she was dealing with. But it’s too soon, too young and a huge loss, not just to public health but far much more in the country,” Dr. David Butler-Jones, Canada’s chief public health officer, said from Halifax.

Born in 1956, Basrur was raised in a professional family.

Her father is a radiation oncologist at the Kitchener, Ont., hospital where Basrur died. Her mother is a professor at the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph.

Divorced, she had one child – a daughter, Simone Koves, who is now 17.

A private funeral will be held, according to family spokesperson Sujit Choudry. A public memorial to mark Basrur’s life and professional contribution will follow.

But some of that recognition started to flow before her death. In April, at a ceremony Basrur was well enough to attend, the provincial government announced it would name Ontario’s new arms-length public health agency the Sheela Basrur Centre.

People for whom she worked and who worked for and with her described a woman able to quickly grasp the big picture, a leader who easily marshalled and motivated troops, and a person whose keen sense of humour was ever at the ready.

“She was one of those people who can take the information and understand the implications of it and be able to convey that to people in a way that they understand,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, a friend who also served as an associate medical officer of health in Toronto during Basrur’s tenure as medical officer of health for the city.

“To me, her greatest skill was being a passionate and very good communicator with people.”

Henry, who now works at the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, often marvelled at Basrur’s easy turns of phrase.

“I used to ask her if she practised those – ‘We’re fighting the fire while we’re building the bucket,”‘ Henry chuckled, quoting a famous Basrur description of what it was like trying to contain SARS with antiquated disease surveillance tools. “She’d just come up with these things.”

After Basrur emerged as a rising star of public health during the 2003 SARS crisis, Ontario Health Minister George Smitherman lured her from Toronto Public Health to serve as Ontario’s chief medical officer of health.

“The day that Sheela Basrur said she was going to come to the province of Ontario and help to champion the renewal of public health, the bounce was the kind that only a very, very small group of leaders is able to accomplish,” Smitherman said in an interview.

That move, in 2004, sent a message to public health professionals throughout the province that things were looking up for their long-neglected field, Smitherman said. “That’s the Sheela Basrur effect.”

The two worked closely together as Ontario moved to enact the Smoke Free Ontario Act, which banned smoking in enclosed work places and public spaces across the province.

“Her determination and always a sense of joyfulness even when the sledding was really very difficult – that’s what I’ll remember the most. That woman was determined and forceful and powerful, in such a tiny little package,” he said.

Getting people to do what was necessary was another of Basrur’s highly honed skills. Saying no to Sheela Basrur just wasn’t something people in public health wanted to do.

“You can’t. It was impossible,” said Dr. Donald Low, who along with Basrur became a household name during the SARS crisis.

After taking on the job with the province, Basrur called Low, head of microbiology at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital, to a meeting to talk about the problems plaguing the provincial public health laboratory network, which was perennially short of staff and unable to attract a medical director.

“I was telling her what the problems were and by the time I left the office I took the job,” Low said. “You really couldn’t say no.”

Liz Janzen, who worked under Basrur as a director of healthy living at Toronto Public Health, knows that feeling.

“She would kind of look at you with those big eyes and you’d go ‘OK, all right, yes, I think I can do that,”‘ an emotional Janzen said.

Basrur championed health promotion, Janzen said, going to bat for parts of public health that typically get little attention.

“So although she had her hands full with DineSafe (a restaurant inspection program) and TB outbreaks and communicable disease outbreaks, she also was a very strong proponent of health promotion in general and in particular working with children and women and vulnerable populations in the community,” Janzen said.

“She was very much there.”

But it was her role in the SARS crisis which showed the world the steel in Sheela Basrur’s spine.

Calm and composed in a time of chaos, she earned the respect of all those who worked with her or watched her on TV.

“Her unique ability to distill complex medical issues at a time of distress brought much needed reassurance to the Canadian and international communities,” Federal Health Minister Tony Clement – who was the provincial health minister at the time – said in a statement.

Dr. Jim Young was Ontario’s head of emergency preparedness when SARS hit. Working with people during a crisis really shows you what they are made of, said Young, who has worked through many in his career.

“You get to assess people as they really are. And they didn’t come any better than Sheela.”

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A cancer-resistant mouse?


University of Kentucky researchers have created a cancer-resistant mouse by introducing a tumor-suppressor gene called ‘Par-4′ into an egg. The ‘Par-4′ gene, discovered in 1993, kills cancer cells, but not normal cells. It was originally found in the prostate, but this gene also can lead to the death of a broad range of cancer cells. In their new experiments, the scientists discovered that the ‘Par-4′ gene was transmitted to new generations of mice. The next step will to use this gene in humans through bone marrow transplantation, but there is still work to be done before that. Anyway, this sounds like good news for people affected with cancers.

This research project was led by Vivek Rangnekar, professor of radiation medicine at the University of Kentucky. You can see a picture of him on the left. He worked on this project with other researchers from the universities of Kentucky and Nebraska.

So what makes mice possessing this gene so interesting? “Rangnekar’s study is unique in that mice born with this gene are not developing tumors. The mice grow normally and have no defects. In fact, the mice possessing Par-4 actually live a few months longer than the control animals, indicating that they have no toxic side effects.”

The fact that there are no toxic side effects is a potential good news from all the people affected by a cancer. “The implications for humans could be that through bone marrow transplantation, the Par-4 molecule could potentially be used to fight cancer cells in patients without the toxic and damaging side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.”

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