Monthly Archives: January 2015

A new myeloma-killer, beer and the brain, and the immune system…

beer_toastI don’t know where to begin…I read so many interesting articles today! Well, I’ll pick three of them, randomly, as follows…

  • A group of Neapolitan researchers have created a new synthetic molecule that they’ve called DTP3, which kills myeloma cells effectively, without killing healthy cells at the same time. It’s as strong as bortezomib (!) “but more than 100-fold higher cancer cell specificity in vitro,” according to the abstract. Here’s the link to the full study, which is available for free online (I confess, I’ve only read the abstract at this point, though): So here it seems that we have something that kills MM cells without killing the good stuff as well…if that’s not cause for celebration, I don’t know what is!!! And I’m excited also because this is an entirely “made in Italy” discovery. :-) The study was published, as you can see, in October of 2014, but today I read an article about it (in Italian) providing a bit more information. Here’s the link:  The items of interest mentioned in the Italian article are as follows: 1. the concentrations of DTP3 needed to kill myeloma cells are very low (always a good thing, no?). 2. DTP3 blocks the activity of the myeloma cell helper known as GADD45beta, a protein that is over-expressed in myeloma cells but practically absent in healthy cells. 3. Phase I clinical trials are set to begin in the United Kingdom this year. I’ll be following DTP3, for sure…
  • I also read a Scientific American article on a new study showing that our immune system is much more affected by our environment and life habits than by our inherited DNA: The study’s findings regarding cytomegalovirus and Epstein Barr are quite intriguing, by the way. It has always been in the back of my mind, in fact, that EBV had something to do with the development of my own MGUS, then SMM, and that is why the “evil virus” topic has always been of interest to me…Anyway, this is another highly recommended read. Oh, and it’s not too difficult to understand, either, which is always a big bonus!
  • In 2008 I wrote a post on xanthohumol, a compound found in the hop plant ( = BEER!!!). In a nutshell, a study showed that xanthohumol has anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative and antiangiogenic properties. Mainly, though, it KILLED myeloma and leukemia cells. Here’s a refresher: Well, today I read a Science Daily article on a new study showing that this compound may also slow the development of brain disorders, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease: Very interesting. Too bad I don’t care much for beer…!!! Uff!!!

Celebrating my Italy

Thanks to a good friend, I was able to watch a wonderful video about Italy, produced by the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, which I hope will obliterate at least some of the amazingly dumb and ignorant stereotypes about Italians that have always driven me absolutely bonkers. It’s a short video that anyone with an interest in anything Italian should watch. Enjoy! :-)

An expert defines multiple myeloma

In this short (less than five minutes) video, Dr. Robert Orlowski, from the MD Anderson Cancer Research Center in Texas, provides us with a simple explanation of what multiple myeloma is. It’s always good to go over the basics…again, so here is the link:

A note of interest: about halfway through, he mentions that 1 out of 5 people are “asymptomatic” at the time of diagnosis…That, I didn’t know.

A note of dislike: this video, sponsored by the Patient Empowerment Network, was made thanks to grants from three big drug companies: Onyx, Novartis, and Millennium (this is openly stated at the beginning of the video, if you watch carefully).

No getting around it. That’s where the big money is. And that’s WHY more money and resources aren’t poured into promising, non-toxic research…so sad, so maddening…

Well, for once let’s try to forget about the big drug companies and concentrate instead on the video…

Turmeric compound boosts regeneration of brain stem cells

I’ve been working on a rather complicated post (don’t ask…) but decided to take a break today, after what happened in Paris yesterday…No words can express my horror..all I can say is: “Je Suis Charlie.”

It’s hard to focus on anything else…but earlier today I came across an intriguing Science Daily article on a study showing that another compound of turmeric — not curcumin, but something called ar-turmerone — “promotes stem cell regeneration and differentiation in the brain.” And so I decided to post the link:

In addition to imbibing vast quantities of curcumin every day, I also use turmeric, the spice, in my cooking. Often. And now I’m VERY glad I do!

Buon Anno!

HNY 2015Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful evening, just like the one I had, with friends, family and/or…whomever…great food, games, fun, chocolate, good music, and lots of hugs and kisses. I spent New Year’s Eve at home with my Stefano and five close friends, two of whom had moved in with us before Xmas (together with their three cats who are living in a cat-friendly, cozy room downstairs…We are keeping our cats separated from theirs, since this is only a temporary situation, plus Prezzemolo might infect their cats with his chronic cold issue, which would be terrible!), just for a few weeks while they get ready to move overseas…

Stefano, who is an amazing cook, really outdid himself. He prepared a meal fit for a king…course after course after course of absolutely wonderful food. One of the courses had to include a pot full of lentils…According to (Italian) tradition, in fact, you have to eat lentils on New Year’s Eve: lentils are supposed to bring you money in the new year. Every single Italian I know has lentils in this period. And in any case, I love lentils…and besides, they contain IRON!

We laughed, discussed politics (luckily, we all pretty much agreed on everything!), New York City, art, food (of course!), etc….played games and…kept eating until we could eat no more. After HOURS of stuffing our faces, unable to stop because everything was so delicious, I began to feel a bit like an overstuffed turkey. Mamma mia! And I haven’t even mentioned dessert!!! I’d made a couple of gluten-free sweets (mainly for my two gluten-free friends), which turned out incredibly well…and another friend had made a delicious gluten-free apple cake with pecans, coconut milk and cinnamon, plus Xmas gluten-free cookies. We have enough leftovers to feed an army of people…

Anyway, we had such a glorious time that we nearly missed the midnight countdown. Now that would have been funny… 😀

The photo above was taken by Stefano of a beautiful stray cat in Rome (that was our Domus Aurea trip). He gave me permission to publish it on my blog, so…enjoy! Let’s hope that 2015 brings happiness and, most of all, GOOD HEALTH to all of us. Take care, everyone! :-)