VIGILANCE FOR BRAIN CANCER

Brain cancer is a very serious form of cancer. Recently, Sen. John McCain revealed he has been diagnosed with a primary glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) – the most aggressive type of brain tumor. GBMs originate in the brain; it does not spread there from another part of the body. The cause is not known. This tumor has no relation to melanoma, the skin cancer for which McCain was treated in the past.

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QUESTIONS TO ASK ABOUT CHEMOTHERAPY

Chemotherapy is a standard treatment for cancer. It kills healthy cells along with cancer cells, inflicting damage on the body and seriously compromising the immune system. Chemotherapy also kills most rapidly dividing healthy and cancer cells, but not all the cells are fast growing. Cancer stem cells (CSCs), a small population of cancer cells that are slow growing and thus resistant to treatment, do not die. Chemotherapy makes these cells even more numerous as the ratio of highly malignant cells….

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RESTORING DIGNITY AND ’DOS

For many women facing cancer, the most devastating aspect is learning they may lose their hair due to chemotherapy.  “Most women tell me that as soon as they hear the oncologist say, ‘You’re going to lose your hair,’ that’s the last thing they remember hearing,” said Eric Johnson, co-owner, with his wife, Jeletta, of Hair Institute in Lexington. “They can deal with the sickness; they can deal with the treatments; but it’s the hair loss that gets them the most.

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and this will regenerate hair follicles and improve hair growth. One study showed SM04554 was safe for use with very few side effects. A second study’s results look promising: Follicle counts increased even after treatment had ceased after 90 days. A third, larger-scale study performed with more than 300 male subjects found hair count and density increased.


An autoimmune disease called alopecia areata causes complete hair loss, including the eyebrows and eyelashes. In a study conducted at Stanford, Yale and Columbia universities, 66 alopecia areata patients received the rheumatoid arthritis pill Xeljanz. More than half the subjects saw hair regrowth. A third recovered more than 50 percent of their hair loss. In another study, nine of 12 patients with alopecia areata recovered more than 50 percent of hair growth using a similar drug, Jakarfi, which is approved for cancer treatment. Medical researchers are evenly split about whether a topical ointment from either of these drugs may be useful for male pattern baldness.


The carrot on a stick many men are waiting for is multiplication via cloning. It is said to be five years away. The idea is to take hair unaffected by DHT from the back of the head and miniaturize and clone it to make hundreds or thousands of similar hairs. Although there has been success with this procedure in experiments, it remains too costly and impractical for the market.

Some men look in the mirror and regard a receding hairline with distress, wondering if there is a cure for baldness. Currently, the only truly effective medically proven way to arrest hair loss is to lower dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels. DHT is a form of testosterone that regulates beard growth and hair loss. Higher levels of DHT produce fuller beards at the cost of male pattern baldness. Lower levels of DHT ensure a full head of hair at the cost of the inability to grow a beard. Two treatments clinically proven to be successful for male pattern baldness are finasteride and minoxidil.


Finasteride, the generic name for Proscar and Propecia, works by inhibiting the enzyme that converts testosterone into DHT. A 1-mg dose of finasteride taken daily can lower DHT levels by as much as 60 percent. This decrease has proven to stop the progression of hair loss in 86 percent of men taking the drug during clinical trials, and 65 percent of trial participants experienced a substantial increase in hair growth. However, finasteride doesn’t work for everyone. Its biggest downside is its side effects, which include impotence, swelling of hands or feet, dizziness, headache, runny nose and skin rash.


Minoxidil (Ionitne) was the first drug approved by the FDA for the treatment of male pattern baldness. Originally used to treat high blood pressure, minoxidil caused hair growth in unexpected places, such as the cheeks and forehead. Topically applying minoxidil to

BATTLING BALDNESS

ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela is a staff writer for Health & Wellness magazine.

more articles by Angela s. hoover

balding areas has been clinically proven to slow the progression of hair loss and regrow some hair. But most experts see it as a marginally effective drug because it does not affect the hormonal process of hair loss. Its positive effects are often temporary.


U.S. scientists exploring how certain cancer tumors form stumbled upon cells that make hair turn gray. The protein KROX20, commonly associated with nerve development, is also progenitor or precursor cells that become the hair shaft. These cells then produce another protein called stem cell factor that is essential for hair pigmentation. The results were published in the journal Genes & Development.


A new drug, SM04554, is in the beginning phases of testing. Instead of blocking DHT as finasteride does, SM04554 enables the Wnt pathway, which is known to cause hair growth. In addition to generating new hair follicles, the Wnt pathway is also believed to initiate and maintain the active phase of hair growth. The natural process of the Wnt pathway can be blocked by a protein called DKK1. Researchers theorize SM04554 can inhibit DKK1 from stopping the Wnt pathway,