Want Great Spring Colors? Try Burning Down Your Garden…What You’re Really Learning By All Your Mistakes…Two Crazy Ideas Might Lead To Cancer Cures, And more…
Although it seems counterintuitive, all those fires that ravaged Southern California last fall will also contribute to this season’s glory.
Naomi Fraga, botanical field studies coordinator at Claremont’s Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden says, “After fires, you’ll see flowers that you don’t normally see when the chaparral has had full growth. Certain species are fire followers — they only germinate after fires — so there’s more diversity and a very spectacular bloom.”
Two studies presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, in San Diego, showed some very CounterThink findings. In the first study, researchers at the Edwin L. Steele Laboratory for Tumor Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital, here in the US, found that by adding the drug Avastin to existing treatments for rectal cancer patients, they were able to totally control the tumor’s growth, and improve the three-year, disease-free survival rate of by 91 percent. Which is good news for the nearly 40,000 people here in the US who will be diagnosed with rectal cancer this year alone.
The goal of the Mass General team led by CounterThinker Dr. Rakesh K. Jain, was to find ways to make standard chemotherapy more effective. To accomplish their goal, Dr. Jain pursued an earlier CounterThink hunch… that improving the blood supply to the tumor cells would result in a better mechanism for killing it.
Dr. Jain found that solid tumors all have a particular characteristic… the internal pressure of the tumor is greater then that of the surrounding tissue. This difference in pressure works like a tourniquet to choke out blood flow, impeding the effectiveness of any treatment. To make matters worse, chemotherapy and radiation further damage the already compromised blood vessels. The result is that less and less of the drug makes its way to the tumor, and the tumor continues to grow and spread.The drug has to penetrate the tumor cell in order to kill it.
The addition of the drug Avastin helped to increase the density of blood vessels in the tumor, and repaired tumor vessels damaged by chemotherapy or radiation.Dr. Jain said, “Avastin leads to vessel normalization, it repairs vessels. By repairing the vessels, it makes the tumor better-nourished so the drugs can get there and work better.
Killing tumors by feeding them to death… Now that’s CounterThink.
In the second study, conducted by Dr. Carlos M. Telleria, assistant professor of medicine at the University of South Dakota, Sanford School of Medicine, researchers found that the drug Mifepristone, also known as the abortion pill RU-486 might be the elusive â€œmagic bullet in the fight against ovarian cancer.
There are more than 20,000 women diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year in the United States, and more than 15,000 women die from the disease annually.One of the main problems in treating ovarian cancer is that the usual treatment with the chemotherapy drug Cisplatin doesn’t kill all the cancer cells. This allows the cells to reform into colonies and the cancer to continue to grow.
In the study, the researchers exposed ovarian cancer cells to cisplatin. Although cisplatin killed the majority of the cells, there were still cells that escaped and regrouped as cancer.But, when cells were treated with cisplatin and then exposed to the abortion pill, none of the cancer cells survived.
Now here’s the CounterThink point to take away from this story… the best answers to stubborn problems routinely come from someplace outside the norm. Often a tool used for a far different purpose will work to solve your problem as well.That’s why you need to consistently be exposed to information and experiences outside your normal field of interest, even outside of your comfort zone.
That’s also why membership in the CounterThink Tank is so critical for serious CounterThinkers. Our members come from all walks of life, and from every conceivable discipline. Networking with like minded people from such diverse backgrounds is priceless and the friendships that develop are more valuable than diamonds.If you’re not already a member, you should really consider joining. Like the saying goes: membership has its privileges, and that one great idea you’ve been searching for, just might be one of them.
To learn more about the work behind these two groundbreaking studies or for more information on membership in the counterthink tank–follow the links below.
For more information on Membership in the CounterThink Tank or to get on the waiting list, send me an email with “membership wait-list: in the subject line.
Wildflower story: Dr. Naomi Fraga
Dr. RH Jain- Harvard Med., Mass. General, Solid Tumor Research
Selected Publications: Jain RK, et al . Dissecting tumor pathophysiology using intravital microscopy. Nat Rev Cancer 2002; 2:266-276.Padera TP, et al . Lymphatic metastasis in the absence of functional intratumor lymphatics. Science 2002; 296:1883 1886.Izumi Y, et al . Herceptin acts as an anti-angiogenic cocktail. Nature 2002; 416: 279-280.Jain RK. Normalizing tumor vasculature with anti-angiogenic therapy: A new paradigm for combination therapy. Nat Med 2001; 7:987-989.Fukumura D, et al. Tumor induction of VEGF promoter activity in stromal cells. Cell 1998; 94:715-725.
Dr. Carlos Telleria: Mifepristone, Cisplatin, Ovarian Cancer