When it comes to making things grow, Andrea Suhor has plenty of patience.
But, with her health? Not so much.
She's fighting a rare neuro-endocrine cancer that hasn't responded to traditional therapy.
After surgery to eliminate as much of her tumor as possible, Andrea's ready to begin an experimental treatment pioneered by LSU surgeon Doctor Eugene Woltering.
The treatment targets her cancer by stopping new blood vessels that support tumor growth.
Tiny pieces of Andrea's tumor were tested with dozens of anti-angiogenics, drugs that stop growth of new blood vessels.
A graph tells them what didn't work and what did.
Even if it's not a drug, an experimental syrup made from black raspberry powder suppressed blood vessel growth in up to 60 percent of patients.
And that's the goal: Stop tumor growth long-term, without toxic side-effects, by blocking the growth of new blood vessels.
Controlling cancer, so patients like Andrea can have a long, healthy life and plenty of time to stop and smell the roses.
More information on next page.
BACKGROUND: According to the National Cancer Institute, about 1.5 million Americans will be diagnosed with some form of cancer this year. Treatment options depend on the type of cancer, but they often include surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation.
NEUROENDOCRINE CANCERS: The neuroendocrine system is made up of cells with similar properties that are found throughout the body. These neuroendocrine cells function as part of the nervous system and the endocrine system. They can secrete hormones and proteins that act on both systems. Cancers that arise in the neuroendocrine system are found throughout the body including the lungs, stomach and intestines. Cancerous neuroendocrine cells often flood the body with inappropriate hormones or neurotransmitters. Other neuroendocrine tumors include those of the pituitary gland. Neuroendocrine cancer is a rare but serious disease.
(SOURCE: Stanford University)
BLOCKING BLOOD VESSEL GROWTH: A cancerous tumor requires oxygen and nutrients in order to grow. To do this, a tumor induces the formation of new blood vessels from vessels present in the surrounding healthy tissues. Once formed, these vessels facilitate the growth of the primary tumor and also encourage the spreading of cancer cells to distant organs. The formation of tumor blood vessels is a process known as angiogenesis. Drugs that inhibit tumor angiogenesis are currently being developed and used in patients with cancer. Eugene Woltering, M.D., professor of surgery at LSU Health Sciences Center, is taking tiny pieces of a patient's tumor and testing them with dozens of these drugs. The goal is to stop the growth of new blood vessels. "If we can prevent that from happening, the tumor stays exactly the same size as it is today forever and ever," Dr. Woltering told Ivanhoe. LSU is one of several medical centers exploring this new approach to cancer. They hope this discovery could one day lead to cancer being treated more like a chronic disease.
(SOURCES: NCCR Oncology and LSU Health Sciences Center)
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Leslie Capo, Media Relations
LSU Health Sciences Center
(Information provided by Ivanhoe)