December test results

I had blood tests (and the Bence Jones 24-hour urine test) last week.

This afternoon I got my results. Here goes, in a nutshell:

  • My M-spike has gone down (it has actually been going down a wee bit for the past two tests, so this is the third “wee bit down”).
  • Total IgG is also down (for the second time, when compared to my last few tests).
  • My hemoglobin is in the normal range, even though my red blood cells are slightly low, but just slightly.
  • Everything else looks pretty much the same. Almost everything, certainly anything of importance, is a wee bit better compared to my most recent tests. For example, my monoclonal component hasn’t been this low since 2012. And my freelite chains have also gone down quite a bit.
  • No Bence Jones. Yaaaay!

You are probably curious to know what I’ve been taking. Not much, actually. I mean, in addition to using Nigella sativa in my food, I’ve been taking my usual 8 grams of C3 Complex curcumin a day, divided into two doses (4 grams at lunchtime, 4 at dinnertime). And, since last summer, I have been testing a Ganoderma lucidum supplement: 960 mg, twice a day (again, lunch and dinner, together with the curcumin). Well, the Ganoderma seems to have done something, for sure.

Or could it simply be the “kitten” effect (see photo of Pandora, left; Pixie, right)? Meow!!! 

Who knows? 😉

Anyway, whatever the cause, these results confirm that I’m stable…And to think that more than 12 years have passed since my SMM diagnosis…

Well, well, well! Stefano and I certainly have some celebrating to do this evening. 🙂

Ciao, everyone, and may the holiday season bring GOOD NEWS to you, too!!!

New study: a curcumin-carfilzomib combination is deadly to U266 myeloma cells

Well, well, well…

A few minutes ago a recently-published Italian study caught my eye. A group of researchers from the University of Messina (Sicily) has discovered that the combined effects of curcumin and carfilzomib (CFZ) are absolutely deadly to multiple myeloma U266 cells.  😎  

Here’s the link to the abstract: goo.gl/EBTwcc 

As we can read, the researchers conclude the following: “These findings evidence that curcumin can ameliorate CFZ efficacy, and lead us to hypothesize that this effect might be useful to optimize CFZ therapy in MM patients.

Indeed!

At any rate, I thought this study might be of huge interest to anyone who is taking carfilzomib right now…and so I wrote this quick post! But now I have to get back to my kittens (the vet is coming to visit them day after tomorrow…I so hope she will give us some GOOD NEWS…!!!).

Dendritic cells, miR-29b, and multiple myeloma

Life is very complicated these days. This morning, after consulting with the vet, I discovered that our giardia-ridden kittens will have to undergo a second cycle of treatment, which will begin next week. This means that they will have to spend another month holed up in their luxurious quarantine, poor dears! I am spending almost all of my free time with them…playing with them, feeding them, holding them, cleaning  up, sterilizing, and being SUPER CAREFUL whenever I handle anything at all in the quarantine room.

Mind you, it may sound like it, but I’m not complaining. Not at all!!! I mean, just look at that face!  🙂 

Well, okay, I admit, I HAVE had a few frustrating moments in which I’ve asked myself, and/or Stefano, HOW and WHY did we get into this mess??? Agh!

But the truth is that we almost certainly saved the lives of our kittens, and probably the lives of their siblings, too (immediately after we received the giardia diagnosis, I got in touch with the woman who gave us the kittens…She had no idea…). So that is something to remember…

And besides, these two kitties are so incredibly adorable and funny and affectionate…They act like normal, playful, curious, crazy kittens that zoom all over the place and then crash and sleep until they have enough strength to go back into the crazy kitten mode…I mean, you can’t tell that there’s anything wrong with them…except for the huge quantity of smelly pooparoni (though it’s MUCH better than it was a couple of weeks ago, let me tell ya)! Yuck!

Okay, enough…It will only be another month, then they’ll be cured, and we’ll be able to let them out into the rest of the house…and meet their older siblings (yikes…a bit nervous about that). If we’re lucky, they’ll be well enough by Xmas. That would be a lovely present indeed!

But that’s not the reason I’m writing this post, even though, hehe!!!, it might seem that way. Nope, this evening I wanted to write (then I got derailed, sorry!) about a new myeloma study that I bumped into just this morning…a very interesting, and mostly Italian!, study on myeloma and dendritic cells (DCs, for short), which is fully available online and has been accepted for publication in “Leukemia.” Here’s the link: goo.gl/wFMjS1 I’ve written a few posts on dendritic cells and myeloma, btw, so you can use my “Search Box” to have a look through my blog, if you want.

The abstract begins with a good explanation of DCs: “Dendritic cells (DCs) play a key role in regulating tumor immunity, tumor cell growth and drug resistance.” The authors believe that MM cells may recruit and reprogram DCs in order to survive. They found a member of the microRNA family (a family of teeny tiny RNA molecules that regulate gene expression), called  miR-29b, which is is not downregulated in normal DCs but, drum roll!, is downregulated in most types of cancer, including myeloma.

Now, even though we may not understand (or care!) what exactly this little, hairpin-shaped miR-29b does, etc., the main thing is that it  is able to counteract “pro-inflammatory pathways, including STAT3 and NF-kB, and cytokine/chemokine signaling networks which correlated with patients’ adverse prognosis and development of bone disease.”

Translation: more miR-29b, less myeloma cell proliferation.

So, miR-29b is GOOD. From our perspective, of course, not from that of a myeloma cell. 😉

Now, it’s getting late over here in Italy, and I don’t have much time left. Stefano is on his way home (oh, oops, he just walked in the door…I have to go help him with dinner…He’s the chef tonight…). So I have to leave you with this study and all its complexities.

But do have e a look at page 23. There you will find that ASPIRIN and CURCUMIN “revealed a promising therapeutic activity in both MGUS and sMM patients.”

AHA!, so researchers ARE paying attention. This one sentence made my day…my week, even! 🙂

Oh, and guess what? Curcumin upregulates the expression of miR-29b. Tadaaaaaa!

I will have to keep my eye on these authors who are also looking into the role of this little molecule in the progression from MGUS to MM.

Good stuff, good stuff!!! Take care, everyone!!! Ciao!

The Daily Mail article on Dieneke, curcumin, myeloma…

I should have posted this link (see below) days ago, but ever since we lost our eldest cat, Puzzola, practically all my free time has been devoted to taking care of, and doing research for, Piccolo (the big black and white cat in my header photo), who, at age 14, has unfortunately been diagnosed with spondyloarthrosis, a very painful, degenerative condition of the spine…

But this will be fodder for another post, since I have a question for those of you who have pets…

Today my focus is instead on Dieneke, my longtime blog reader whose oncologists recently published her case study (see my May 30 2017 post). As a result of that, she was interviewed by a reporter from the Daily Mail (UK), and the article was published on July 24.

I was and am extremely pleased about this for two reasons:

  1. curcumin has really worked for Dieneke…and it always makes me so happy to think about all the blog readers who have benefited from taking this extract (or other things, too, for that matter…think of blog reader TAB, for example…).
  2. her recent “stardom” has enabled her to to reach out and help others…And that is wonderful!

Here is the link to the Daily Mail article (with photos), which, by the way, has been picked up by a slew of other news sources online and has thus gone VIRAL, how about that, eh…: goo.gl/wMzJ7e. Fantastic.

I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I did.

And again, THANK YOU, Dieneke: you are an inspiration to so many, including yours truly! 🙂

My blog…mentioned in a BBC radio programme!

Even though my blog reader D. had told me some time ago that my blog might be mentioned in the BBC radio station that had interviewed her for the programme they were doing on turmeric, I was happy about that, of course, but I hadn’t really gotten too carried away…until today, when I found and actually listened to the programme, which is available online, right here: goo.gl/Gmda8N

BBC food programmeDieneke’s case study is mentioned toward the end of the programme, so please be patient. It’s a very interesting programme, anyway. With a nice turmeric-based recipe or two, which never hurts!

I have to admit that I got a bit teary as I listened to Dieneke (no point in trying to protect her privacy anymore, since her name is mentioned during the programme!) and her oncologist discuss her case…Teary in a good way, of course!

And at this point I would like to thank blog reader Jan who posted a lovely comment on my April 20th post…the comment that inspired me to have a look for the programme in the first place (but I didn’t think I’d find it):

“On Sunday 28th May 2017 ( repeated on Monday 29th) I listened to a programme on BBC radio 4 FM called ‘The Food Programme ‘. It was talking about health benefits of turmeric and in particular curcumin. The contributor to Margaret’s blog called ‘D’ was interviewed about her use of curcumin and how her MM has stabilised now for five years. Her oncologist was also interviewed and the study was mentioned. It all sounded very positive about curcumin. ‘D’ also said that she had discovered curcumin on Margaret’s blog. The programme presenter called Sheila Dillon also has MM and as I recall had a SCT a few years ago.
I’ve had MM for seven years and have been following Margaret’s blog since then. Have tried numerous alternative treatments but due to extreme pain had five months of Velcade etc last year. Pain now coming back so thinking of doing curcumin. Hadn’t done it before for various reasons.
Margaret this is so exciting! Your curcumin protocol and your blog has been talked about on the BBC!
Thanks so much for all your great work. You’ve kept me going over these seven years.

And ‘ D ‘ thanks to you too for your major contribution .

Best wishes to all,

Jan.”

And finally, thank you, Sheila Dillon and BBC Radio 4, for this very interesting programme! 🙂

“Long-term follow-up of curcumin treated MGUS/SMM patients – an updated single centre experience”

In an email I received yesterday, Dr. Terry Golombick notified me that her team’s most recent article has been  published in the Journal of Hematology and Medical Oncology. It is available for free online…just click here: goo.gl/cEP93h

keep calm and turmeric onAhhhh. Wonderful…absolutely wonderful.

Wonderful, because finally…FINALLY (!!!)…we have a long-term look at a GROUP of MGUS and SMM patients taking curcumin. These are those who participated in the Australian MGUS/SMM study and who “continued to take curcumin over a number of years, of their own volition, even though the studies in which they were participating are complete.”

So this is a “long-term follow-up of 13 MGUS/SMM patients who have been taking curcumin (at a dose of 4 -8 grams daily) for a period of 3-9 years.”

Only one patient, who had cardiac amyloidosis (!), went on to full-blown myeloma and is currently undergoing conventional treatments. The rest of the patients are doing quite well, some better than others…anyway, you can read all the details in the report…

I really hope that this report will encourage more and more centers to start giving curcumin to their MGUS and SMM patients and, why not?, to their MM patients as well. At this point, I could go into a tirade about the short-sightedness of conventional medicine, but, at least for now, I’d rather look at the positive side, which is the publication of some CASE STUDIES, like the one concerning my blog reader D., and this Australian one.

I would like to end this post by stating that we all owe a large debt of gratitude to dedicated researchers like Dr. Golombick who have overcome all sorts of obstacles (I’m sure of that!!!) to help patients like us have the best quality of life possible, for as long as possible…

To all the Golombicks of the world: thank you, thank YOU, THANK YOU!!!  🙂 keep calm and watch and wait

By the way, let me remind you that Dr. Golombick and her team have set up a useful website for all of us who have a type of blood cancer. I’ve talked about it here on the blog, but just in case you missed that post, here is the link: https://www.watchandwaitbloodcancers.com/

KEEP CALM AND…

WATCH AND WAIT!!!!!! 

A promising new treatment for deadly sepsis

I have to thank my niece for leading me to this NPR article, which turned out to be a very interesting read: https://goo.gl/qMRjtM sepsis

Incidentally, this article reminded me of a related something or other that I’d read a while ago, and so I had a quick look at PubMed where I found are a number of studies, mainly conducted on rats, suggesting that curcumin might be an effective treatment for sepsis infections. But of course there are no HUMAN clinical trials to this regard…

As for my own, limited, anecdotal experience, I have treated skin infections and weird rashes on my arms (about which I have written here on the blog) with turmeric and/or curcumin, with rather unexpected (amazing!) results. I have, thank goodness, never had a sepsis sort of infection, but if I ever do, I will certainly use curcumin for it.

Anyway, my point today is that it’s good to have open-minded doctors who think outside the box…Good stuff!

P.S.  If you want to read the “Danger Symptoms” (above), just click on the photo.

Cancer cells may prefer fats to sugar

I just read a fascinating new study about cancer cells slurping up lipids rather than glucose, as has been thought for a long time. I’m in a bit of a hurry now, but I thought I’d go ahead and publish the link: goo.gl/7x0eDs

By the way, please have a look at the comment that Charlotte left on my previous post, the one about the negative curcumin review. Dr. Michal Heger, University of Amsterdam, wrote a strong rebuttal to the review (Charlotte provides the link), and, interestingly, he had one of the same objections that I had, namely, that the review authors hadn’t looked at (or worse, had ignored) PubMed curcumin clinical trial results, where they would have found evidence negating their theory…

There you go. Thank you, Dr. Heger!

“The Essential Medicinal Chemistry of Curcumin”

No, I haven’t finished reading what I have called the negative review on curcumin, but I already have some preliminary comments, which I thought I’d go ahead and publish today. Here’s the link to the abstract, by the way: goo.gl/Ymh5DD

First impression: this review seems to prove that if you have a thesis, any kind of thesis on any kind of subject, you can look around and always find something to support it. If I wanted to prove that tinsel grows on trees, I’m sure I’d be able to find something online to prove that. Okay, okay, you’re probably right: my example is a bit too wacky. But I’m sure you see what I mean…

Seriously now: what if I told you only good things about curcumin and never touched on the potentially negative stuff? Not that there are many, as it happens, but, for example, what would you think of me if I didn’t warn you about the dangers of having gall bladder issues while taking curcumin? What if I didn’t tell you that you might experience some diarrhea, at least in the beginning?

Well, duh, I would never do that…

I mean, I’m not just some random person writing about curcumin. I actually take curcumin, every day, and at what is considered to be a high dose. I want to keep my smoldering myeloma stable for as long as possible. Oh, by the way, I should mention that I’ve been taking it for the past 11 years (January 2017 marked the start of my 11th curcumin-taking year), which I say is cause for celebration…  😎

Anyway, getting back to the point, I think it goes without saying that I don’t want to be taking anything that might harm me or cause my myeloma markers to worsen. How dumb would that be?

And I wouldn’t want anyone else to be taking something harmful, either. Duh.

And that is precisely why I will always read and comment and post about any negative information about curcumin. And so we get to the review that I mentioned in my January 12th post.

Ah, this review isn’t simple at all…lots of technical jargon…unraveling it could take a while. But, as I mentioned before, here are a few of my first impressions…comments…Ready? Let’s dive right in:

The researchers state the following, both in the abstract and in the body of their review: “The likely false activity of curcumin in vitro and in vivo has resulted in >120 clinical trials of curcuminoids against several diseases. No double-blinded, placebo controlled clinical trial of curcumin has been successful.”

Seriously?

My reactions can be boiled down to the following, for now at least:

  • What do those researchers consider to be a “successful” trial?
  • Do they realize that curcumin isn’t a drug and therefore does not and cannot behave like a drug?
  • Did they check every single double-blinded etc. clinical trial?

I cannot answer the first two questions yet (as I said, I haven’t gone through the entire review), but I can answer the third one. Surprisingly, the review authors chose to discuss only FOUR curcumin clinical trials. But it isn’t just that: they essentially admit that it would be pointless for them to examine the results of ALL the curcumin trials…for the purposes of their review, that is. And so they chose four “archetypical” curcumin trials that support their thesis…their thesis, that is, that curcumin is useless, therapeutically speaking.

I found that astounding.

I mean, how would you react if I declared the following, for example:

  • Premise: I have 135 neighbors (135 = same number of curcumin trials).
  • Thesis: all my neighbors have dogs.
  • Proof: I leaned out of my study window one day and saw 4 of my neighbors (4 = same number of clinical trials checked in the review) walking their dogs.
  • Conclusion: all my neighbors have dogs.

Of course, you’d say that’s ridiculous. And you would be right.

You can’t just consider the specific trials that support your theory.

This means that if you are making sweeping statements about curcumin, it is indeed NOT “beyond the scope” of your work to look at ALL the trials that have results. But that is what  seems to have occurred here.

Note: the review authors tell us that they chose these trials because the data is available on the clinicaltrials.gov website. Um, I’d like to point out that there are curcumin clinical trial results in PubMed, too…

Let’s look at their first choice, which I thought was quite interesting for a variety of reasons, as we will see:

The goal of a recent University of Rochester study testing curcumin on breast cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy was to reduce radiation-caused dermatitis. Its results, the review authors say, are “inconclusive.”

I looked up the results on the clinical trial website (as far as I know, and as far as the review authors know, the results have not been published anywhere else yet), and yes, true, there was not much difference between the Mean Radiation Dermatitis Severity Scores of the two groups: 2.02 in the curcumin group, 1.99 in the placebo group.

However, I didn’t stop there.

I found a previous University of Rochester clinical trial, in which curcumin was tested on a group of breast cancer patients. Same group of researchers, same center (University of Rochester), same everything, including dosage, except that in this trial, there were only 30 women, compared to 686 women in the second trial.

The results of the smaller clinical trial led the University of Rochester researchers to state the following:

In conclusion, oral curcumin, 6.0 g daily during radiotherapy, reduced the severity of radiation dermatitis in breast cancer patients.” And, quoting from the full study: “Overall, although curcumin did not completely prevent radiation dermatitis in this trial, the reduction in moist desquamation is clinically significant and suggests improved quality of life during RT.”

You can read the abstract and download the full study (for free) here: goo.gl/SRVLI2

Now, in order to understand why there were such different results between the two trials, we will just have to wait for the full study to be published…Pointless to speculate about results without having access to all the information, right?

Note: the review authors chose not to mention the earlier, smaller trial, even though it had results (in fact, very good results), and even though it was carried out at the same center…and, let me add, even though the full study was published online…and for free, as we have seen.

Well, I suppose it’s clear at this point that I didn’t just look at the clinical trials website. I also checked out PubMed where I found a number of curcumin clinical trials whose results are “successful,” at least in my opinion. And that includes the Australian curcumin trials, which concern us, in particular…

But it’s time for lunch now, and then I have stuff to do, so I have to leave it at that, for today. Ciao!!! 🙂

Curcumin kills malignant mesothelioma cell lines

Well no, it’s not myeloma, but mesothelioma (but its acronym is MM, too), which is a terrible cancer with poor survival rates, high resistance to conventional therapies, etc.

Previous studies have showed that curcumin might help in the treatment of mesothelioma, but the one I read about today has just come out, and it’s from the University of Rome, Italy (I always have a soft spot for Italian studies…): goo.gl/AkwLBg Interesting…Poor mice, though…!!!

From this link, you can read more about it, if you want. And if you want to have a look at the abstract, click on this link: goo.gl/ytXK0c

I’m going to finish reading the anti-curcumin review this afternoon…Wish me luck!  🙄