Curcumin-cancer conference in Calenzano

Yesterday I presented my experience with curcumin and my blog in front of a crowd of (mainly) doctors and oncologists. You know how you are a nervous wreck and have scary nightmares the day/night before you have a university exam or a job interview? Then you will understand what happened to me on Friday night. I tossed and turned and barely slept a wink. One of my nightmares was all about how I was delayed (through no fault of my own) and totally missed the conference, arriving there the day AFTER. Typical, huh?

Ironically, my nightmare almost came true. We arrived late, a half hour late. I am never ever (never!) late for anything, so this was very trying for me. What happened was that Sherlock, Stefano and I got totally lost in the maze of roads outside of Florence. It should have taken us about 20 minutes to get there. It took an hour plus. Stefano’s GPS system couldn’t locate the castle of Calenzano, so it kept sending us back and forth, hither and thither. And when we paused to ask the locals where the castle of Calenzano was, we got all sorts of conflicting directions. One woman told us to turn left and go back toward Florence, a couple of guys told us to take a right, then the second left, then…you get the picture. A mess!  However, we finally made it to the castle (lovely Medieval castle, by the way, see photos) where we ran into a group of equally frazzled doctors. They were late, too! As a result, the conference began late, so this all ended up being amusing.

The conference was enthralling. The speakers presented their research in a very clear and concise manner. First-rate. Their slides were brilliant visual aids. Even my cousin, who reads my blog but otherwise has little knowledge of transcription factors and whatnot, reported that the speeches were easy to follow. Thanks to Sherlock, I taped the entire event and hope that at least some of it of it ends up being comprehensible. The audio in the auditorium (which was full, I would like to add) wasn’t the best, even though that sounds a bit…odd (audio-auditorium…). 

Mine was the last speech. Since up till then all the talk had been about prostate cancer, transcription factors, genomes, chemoprevention and whatnot, I decided on the spur of the moment to start with something silly. So my speech began, more or less, “Today I am going to present my case. First, I would like to clarify that I do not have prostate cancer (laughter around the room) but multiple myeloma…” After describing multiple myeloma and my medical background in a few words, I then went on to talk about how I discovered curcumin and why I created my blog. According to Stefano, my aunt and cousin (who were there, too), I got the loudest and longest applause. I was so relieved that I had gotten through my speech without fumbling or falling over the microphone cord, though, that I didn’t even hear the clapping!

After the discussion session, I was approached by a few members of the audience and then by reporters from two Florentine newspapers. The articles were published today. Unfortunately, I am identified as having an "incurable pathology," and the words "multiple myeloma" are not even mentioned.

I met a couple of German researchers, one works in Genoa at the National Institute for Cancer Research, the other in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry of the University of Munich. They are studying curcumin and its effect on prostate and breast cancers, and are preparing a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial to test curcumin on 100 or more cancer patients. Of course, I told them that if they needed a myeloma patient, I’d be on the next train to Genoa! This isn’t going to happen tomorrow, of course. Anyway, very interesting.

Well, I will probably have more to say on this matter once I have read Dr. Benelli’s book on NF-kappaB and listened to the taped conference. For now, this is it.


  1. Margaret was simply great! Believe me 🙂 and people were very interested in her experience. Nice nice conference: I’ve personally learned a lot of new things.


  2. Well done Margaret,
    I wish I had been there to hear you! I still follow your blog every day.
    Take care. Mary

  3. Bravo Margaret, you deserve a medal, to stand up in front of all those people must have been very daunting. You are crusading for all of us.

    Best of health always


  4. Margaret I am so proud of you I could burst! To go before such a den of lions and present your story was the bravest thing I can imagine. But I never doubted that you could win them over, because we all know the diligence and sincerity that you put into what you publish for us. That you received the loudest applause is a great, and well earned compliment.
    Did you get any ideas from them as to how you can increase the effectiveness of curcumin for MM victims?
    I hope you will publish the text of your remarks at the blog so we can read it and see how you won their hearts.

  5. Actually, the lions in the den were very nice and quite tame, really. No need for me to be brave at all! 🙂
    As for increasing the effectiveness of curcumin, no, I have nothing new to report. Indeed, the idea of taking it with a fat wasn’t even mentioned. If I had had more time, I might have introduced the subject. But, having started so late, we ran out of time.
    Ah, bioperine was mentioned as a way to increase curcumin’s bioavailability, but that’s it (I will check the conference tape once I figure out how this mp3 contraption works!, to see if there is anything else. I doubt it, though).
    Thanks for all your (way too) kind comments!
    🙂 Margaret

  6. Bravoooo!!!!

    Didn’t I tell you so, Margaret? And I was also right qualifying the audience as “high level” or something like that, wasn’t I? 🙂

    Anyway, as all the others said, I am too very, very proud of you and didn’t have a slightest doubt in your capacity. Being your blog reader that’s normal.



  7. Recently discovered your blog- Have read so much of what you have written-and have learned much. Thanks so much. My husband will soon be 81 and is stable for now with Light Chain Myeloma. The Velcade and Dexamethosone treatments were hard on him but after a violent bout of vomiting,etc.It was stopped. We are Christians, and give the Lord Praise for the ever present help in time of need!
    Please forgive me for sharing so much. You must be easy to talk to in person,also.(smile)
    Surely would be interested in reading the contents of your address to the group on the 9th.
    Jo Pirtle,

  8. Well done, Margaret! I believe that your curcumin efforts have and will continue to benefit survivors everywhere. Keep up the good work. I will write a post to the listserv to bring all to read your blog right now. Thanks. David

  9. Congratulations, Margaret! Wish I could have been there (of course, if it was in Italian, it wouldn’t have done me a bit of good ;-)). Thanks for the work you are doing for so many of us out there – making knowledge more available and paving the way to new discoveries. Lisa in Nicosia

  10. Oops. I”m not congrats. I’m just LIsa SAYING congrats.

    Sigh. when will I learn to read before I hit send?


  11. “Some people are born to Greatness
    Some achieve Greatness
    Others have Greatness thrust upon them.”

    It is coming your way, Margaret,and no-one deserves it more,
    (nor wishes for it less, I’m sure)

  12. It is experiences like this, that teaches us the importance of being in the moment. To trust in the fact, each of us are here for a reason, to contribute to the betterment of the whole.

    When we are able to feel comfortable in our own skin and articulate the sincerity of our message, the acknowledgment from our peers quite deafening. The sole motivator that empowers us further in our studies.

    What a wonderful example you set! Kudos!!

  13. So proud to know you!!! You’ve gone a long way to stirring up some cognative dissonance in the medical industry. Hopefully it will torment many chemo pushers for some time to come! Thanks for being our voice- Always- Mary

  14. Hi Margaret,
    What an honor to be invited to speak at such a conference! This must be right up there as one of the most memorable experiences of a lifetime! A scary experience but no doubt memorable! Journal material! : ) I have no doubt that you received the greatest applause…I’m sure you were not only thoroughly prepared but you spoke from the heart. I too would love to have been there but I was cheering you on from afar! Congratulations! We appreciate all you do! Donna

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