Best of Breast: news for week ending 5 September 2014

The latest medical developments in the world of breast cancer and cancer, from Google Alerts, for the week ending 5 September 2014.

Last week’s Best of Breast (w/e 29 August 2014) covered the controversy over whether cancer is curable or not.  Now, I know there are many people who are in long-term remission, but remission is not a cure.  The current thinking is that cancer is a chronic disease, it may go into latent mode, but it may re-surface years later.

This week seems to be the week of the metastasis – scientists are discovering more ways in which cancer cells cannily inveigle themselves into other parts of the body.  It’s nothing new … there have been similar discoveries every week, every month, every year.  The problem seems to be putting this research into practice and finding ways of blocking the proteins or enzymes or rogue signalling-pathways that cause cancer to metastasise.


Invadopodia … how cancer cells metastasise.

1.  Stopping cancer from forming tentacles stops metastasis

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Best of Breast: news for week ending 6 June 2014

The weekly aggregation from Google Alerts, for articles on Breast Cancer and Cancer, for the week ending 6 June 2014.


Just some of the goodies at the American Society for Clinical Oncology conference 2014

It was a bit like Christmas morning unwrapping the presents that was the American Society for Clinical Oncology’s conference that was held 2 weeks’ ago.  It’s made for an extra-long Best of Breast (which is also a week late – sorry!).

There was fantastic new research into treatment-resistant breast cancer, HER-2 positive breast cancer and TNBC; however, what stands out is the first step to developing an immunotherapy approach to breast cancer by combining cryoablation and Ipilimumab (an immune stimulant that is already being used in melanomas).  Cryoablation breaks the tumour down and Ipilimumab allows the immune system to recognise the cancer cells.

The irony is that cryoablation is something I looked into shortly after my diagnosis, but I was told by my surgeon that it wouldn’t guarantee clean margins.  Well … what surgeons also don’t tell you is that clean margins will not guarantee the cancer won’t come back.  I’ve seen people who’ve had mastectomies who’ve had with recurrences (even with radiotherapy and chemotherapy to mop up) in the scar tissue.  So clean margins my foot.  There are no guarantees with surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy.  The medical establishment is conservative and playing a numbers game and it’s us patients who are being kept in the dark.

I think one of the drawbacks of doing Best of Breast is that I read about all these wonderful new developments and all I can think is:  why didn’t they come up with this 2 years’ ago, or why didn’t I do this 2 years ago?  Why are my clinicians stuck in the dark ages?  And I think of all my friends who’ve passed on, and I hope that a cure comes soon for all of us with cancer.

To cheer myself up, the lead article is about the blind mole rat.  I’d posted previously about the naked mole rat which is cancer-resistant, now there’s the blind mole rat (not related!) which has the same superhuman anti-cancer properties.  Scientists have decoded its genes and discovered the secret of how it never gets cancer.  The next step is to work out how to turn us all into blind mole rats … .


See how they run … (The furry-but-blind blind mole rat (Spalax) is a close cousin to the common house mouse.) Image credit: bbc

1.  Cancer-resistant blind mole rat gets genome sequence

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Best of Breast: news for week ending 7 March 2014

Updated March 2016 – For more information on GcMAF, please join the GcMAF and GcMAF Cancer forums on Facebook – they are closed groups, so you have to wait for your membership to be confirmed.  They contain up-to-date information on sources of GcMAF, and also feedback and contributions  by people who are using GcMAF.

A weekly round-up of the news on the breast cancer and cancer front, culled from Google Alerts, for the week ending 7 March 2014.

The week started off slowly, with the usual bog-standard research on gene expression and chemotherapy.  (I had a minor panic, thinking I was going to have to invent something sensational (preferably with rats or mice)!)

Then at the end of the week, not one, not two, but THREE juicy news items suddenly appeared, all vying for pole-position.

In the end I went with the 10-minute breath test for detecting breast cancer as Number 1, because it is the answer to the squashing nightmare that is the mammogram [did you know that a mammogram applies a pressure of 20kg on the breasts?  If men had to have mammograms for their testicles, an alternative would have been found years ago!]  The incredible news is:  it’s not at the rat/mouse trial stage, it’s commercial [swoons].  I wonder how many women will have the guts to take the test though.  I have friends who would rather avoid any tests than find out they may potentially have cancer.

Item 2 is one of my favourite topics of interest, Vitamin D (and here’s my post – Vitamin D, are you getting too much?).  There is some debate on what is considered the optimal level of Vitamin D (too high and people died from diseases other than cancer), and I used to ere on the side of caution, but the GcMAF clinic ( uses up to 20,000 IU per day and once the upper limit of the reference range is reached, up to 5,000 IU.  I met a woman who had ovarian cancer and she told me that in the summer months, the shrinkage of her tumour was more than that in the winter months.  She ascribed this to the fact that there was more sunshine in the summer, and her body was able to produce the Vitamin D she needed.  Moral of the story: please supplement with Vitamin D if you have cancer.

The third item isn’t strictly about breast cancer, but it’s an amazing article about how brentuximab, a monoclonal antibody, got rid of all the tumours (70 of them) in a man with metastatic cancer – anaplastic large cell lymphoma.  The before-and-after photos are nothing short of a miracle … best of all, it’s within our reach, and offers hope to everyone with cancer.

Oh yeah … find out why you should become an astronaut if you have cancer … and another item shows that chemotherapy damages the methylation DNA of normal white blood cells, thus causing inflammation and fatigue.   To those who’ve had chemotherapy and suffered the side-effects, this study seems to be from the University of Obvious.  Now if only those brainy people who came up with the study can find a way of protecting normal cells from the side-effects of chemotherapy … .

BreathLink kit

1.  Ten-minute breath test that can detect breast cancer

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GcMAF at work — Bravo Probiotic — myths of the dangers of dairy products for cancer patients (a talk by Prof. Marco Ruggiero)

For more information on GcMAF, please join the GcMAF and GcMAF Cancer forums on Facebook – they are closed groups, so you have to wait for your membership to be confirmed.  They contain up-to-date information on sources of GcMAF, and also feedback and contributions  by people who are using GcMAF.

Please note:  The opinions expressed in this talk are academic considerations only and they are not intended to represent medical advice to anyone. If you need medical advice, please refer to your healthcare professional.

To listen to the talk:


The GcMAF clinic in Switzeland

What is GcMAF and what is its role in cancer?

GcMAF is like a hormone, a neurotransmitter, a messenger that our body uses to promote wound repair, immunity and improve immune surveillance.

The concept of being cancer-free does not exist.  We always have cancer cells in our body, even from the moment we are born.  This is different from having a cancer that has a mass and infiltrates in our body.  The reason we do not have cancer of this sort is due to a mechanism called immuno-surveillance – the immune system is able to recognise cancer cells and destroy them.  This is called the induction of apoptosis provoked by the immune system.  But sometimes the immune system is no longer able to recognise and destroy the cancer cells and the cancer cells form a mass that we define as a tumour.

GcMAF was discovered by Prof Yamamoto in 1994.  Professor Ruggiero collaborated with him in 2010.

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Best of Breast: news for week ending 10 January 2014

A summary of the latest medical developments in breast cancer, culled from Google Alerts, for the week ending Friday 10 January 2014.

I realise that some of the developments I’m posting have been published earlier in 2013 which means they’re not exactly new or germane to 2014; however, they have just recently been released by some news-sites in Google Alerts, so I have chosen to include them.


Whadya know … someone beat me to it! Pity it’s only science-fiction …

I’m conscious that Best of Breast is beginning to resemble a sci-fic novel with a formulaic plot and one-dimensional characters:

  • there’s always the mwah-ha-ha VILLAIN (one, if not more) like a MUTANT gene (with unpronounceable acronym) that causes cancer,
  • the HERO (new drug or improvement in treatments or group of scientists that promise to curb cancer),
  • the WAR – sadly, it’s still classed as a “war against cancer” with victors and losers,
  • the VICTIMS (the long-suffering and heroic cancer patients who are waiting patiently for a cure that doesn’t involve the death rays of radiotherapy and chemotherapy),
  • the WEAPONS (immunotherapies, vaccines, targeted treatments, magic bullet cures, death rays, chemical warfare)
  • DEATH (like in Terry Pratchett novels) who lurks too close for comfort.  (Also has bit part as RECURRENCE),
  • the REVELATION/MOUSE CONSPIRACY (new drug only works on mice/rats, or is in a trial and will take years before it’s available for commercial use).
  • All that’s missing is a really good save-the-world ending – some ALIEN species or OBI-WAN character descending down on earth with the Cure for Cancer … .

So Roll-On 2014, and please bring me the cure for cancer!

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Best of Breast: news for week ending 15 November 2013

A summary of the latest medical developments in breast cancer from Google Alerts, for the week ending 15 November 2013.

1.  Breast cancer breakthrough: Queensland scientists identify molecule linked to disease’s spread


MiR-139-5P sounds like a Space Station.  If they renamed it “Rogue Breast Cancer Molecule” I think it could sell more T-shirts.

  •  Scientists in Queensland have identified a pivotal molecule, the miR-139-5P, that shows whether a woman’s breast cancer will spread and how quickly.
  • miR-139-5P acts a cellular brake to inhibit breast cancer cells from proliferating
  • The discovery will help provide a clearer prognosis for breast cancer patients and could lead to treatments that are more personalised, i.e. treatments for aggressive cancers vs less aggressive cancers.

For more information:

RNA Journal, “miR-139-5p is a regulator of metastatic pathways in breast cancer”

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Best of Breast: news for week ending 4 October 2013

A round-up of the latest medical developments in breast cancer from Google Alerts, for the week ending 4 October 2013.

[Google Alerts doesn’t always have the most up-to-date research developments, and is heavy on the first-person stories, Angelina Jolie, fund-raising and charity events, so if I’ve missed something out, my apologies. You are always welcome to post any new developments that I’ve missed out in the comments box and I’ll include them in the compilation, with grateful thanks and an acknowledgement.]

photo credit:

photo credit:

1.  Teenage girls who eat peanut butter twice a week ‘reduce their risk of breast cancer by 39%’

  • Nine to 15-year-olds who eat peanut butter twice a week are much less likely to develop benign breast disease by the age of 30
  • Some benign breast diseases increase risk of breast cancer later in life
  • The findings also suggest beans, lentils, soybeans and corn also help prevent benign breast disease

Why peanut butter, I asked myself? I’d been told to avoid peanuts because of the alleged levels of aflatoxin, a natural toxin produced by certain strains of a mold.  Aflatoxin is a potent carcinogen, known to cause liver cancer in laboratory animals. The jury is still out regarding the danger of long-term exposure of low levels of aflatoxins.  In countries where peanuts are a staple food, it may contribute to liver cancer.  According to Dr Andrew Weil, commercial peanut butter (in the US) is generally safe:

I suppose peanut butter is ubiquitous so it was easy to run the study on a staple food, rather than, say almond butter or cashew butter.  Peanuts are not really nuts, they are a legume.  if you have to eat a nut butter, go for almond butter which has a better fatty acid profile.  And if you have to eat peanut butter, make sure it doesn’t contain any hydrogenated vegetable oil and is low in sugar.

[Note:  aflatoxin imay also occur in maize, rice, figs and other dried foods, spices and crude vegetable oils, and cocoa beans – it’s a minefield!]

2.  Walking an hour a day can cut risk of breast cancer: Brisk stroll can reduce chance in over-50s by 14%

  • Women who do more vigorous activities get almost double protection
  • Scientists claim this is the first study to examine walking benefits
  • It is thought to cut down the body fat that nurtures cancer hormones

3.  New breast cancer imaging technique could cut down on false positives

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