Researchers Look For Key To Cures In ‘Exceptional Responders’
Some people respond incredibly well to certain cancer drugs, and the mystery of why has scientists looking at how they can replicate the response in others. ProPublica, in the meantime, examines "toxic residue" from MRI screenings.
The Washington Post:
Exceptional Responders’ To Cancer Attract Scrutiny From Researchers
In 2010, [Grace] Silva was diagnosed with anaplastic thyroid cancer, an aggressive and rapidly fatal disease with no effective treatment. Despite surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, the cancer spread to her lungs. As a last resort, she enrolled in a small clinical trial the following year. ... Silva got a drug called everolimus, approved for advanced kidney cancer and some types of breast and pancreatic cancer. The other patients died, but Silva’s tumors virtually vanished, to the astonishment of her doctors. Such inexplicable reversals have always existed in medicine, but until recently, outliers such as Silva remained little more than hopeful anecdotes. That could be changing. (Dennis, 6/13)
Left In The Brain: Potentially Toxic Residue From MRIs
With a family history of breast cancer, Marcie Jacobs decided in June 2001 that an MRI screening was her best preventive option. As is common with MRIs, Jacobs was injected beforehand with a contrast agent, a drug that helps sharpen the resulting images. But after a few of these treatments, she began noticing some strange cognitive effects. Jacobs began missing meetings. Over the next several years she had additional MRIs. The math skills that were crucial to her job as finance manager started deteriorating, she said. Jacobs eventually wound up on disability. She stopped worrying about cancer – and started worrying about imaging drugs. (Gerth, 6/11)