Nail fungus treatment kills multiple myeloma cells

No kidding.

A longtime myeloma list friend/blog reader, thanks!, sent me the link to a new “Blood” study ( on an antifungal substance called ciclopirox olamine, or CPX, which has been found to decrease cell growth and viability of malignant leukemia, myeloma, and solid tumor cell lines as well as primary AML patient samples at low micromolar concentrations that appear pharmacologically achievable. Furthermore, oral CPX decreased tumor weight and volume in 3 mouse models of leukemia by up to 65% compared to control without evidence of weight loss or gross organ toxicity. (hmmm, I am not entirely sure that I like the sound of “gross organ toxicity”…)

But get this: oral CPX has the ability to target leukemia stem cells. It targets STEM cells. Yes, the bloody evil STEM CELLS! I had to read that part at least twice before it sank in. Well…well…and…WELL!

I don’t know much about this substance, except what I read in the abstract (for instance that it is also an iron chelator)…but a quick bit of online poking led me to a couple of interesting studies, such as Unfortunately, I had to stop doing more research on this topic and, in fact, don’t have the time right now (=I have a complicated legal translation to do, sigh and double-sigh!) to connect the dots that I feel are lying just beyond my reach…(of course, I could be entirely wrong about the existence of any dots…aaah, if only I had more time…)

Well, as soon as possible, I will ask Sherlock if she would kindly get me the full study…in the meantime, based on what the study abstract tells us, CPX sounds like a very promising substance, to say the least…! I mean, holy cats, let’s say that you have toenail fungus AND myeloma…well, with CPX you might be able to treat both conditions…what an amazing thought…!

And now, before diving back into the peculiar and rather maddening world of Italian-English legalese, I would like to wish my Mom a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Auguri, mamma, ti voglio tanto beneee! Un bacione!

A crazy contraption and Rome from memory…

My darling cousin (grazieee!) sent me the link to a nutty but entertaining video…these people clearly do NOT have pets–my furry little ray of sunshine, Peekaboo, would have taken care of all those balls and weird knick knacks in no time.

I kept expecting something useful to happen…such as coffee machines turning on, pancakes being flipped, but no, as you will see…hum, well, I won’t spoil it for you by revealing too much. Watch this video, which gets crazier and crazier:

Again, thanks to my cousin, here is an extraordinary video about an autistic artist, Stephen Wiltshire, drawing Rome from memory in just three days. Lovely (real) aerial views of Italy’s capital, too: Enjoy!

P.S. Yesterday, after returning from our relaxing weekend in the mountains, I spent too much time in front of the monitor and developed a whopping headache. Uffa. So I am staying away from the computer today…and postponing my bits and pieces of serious research…pazienza

Magic tricks, a lion cub and Nigella sativa…

I must say, I am not a huge fan of magic tricks, but my cousin (thanks!) sent me the link to one that really fooled me…until I saw how it was done, that is. Thought I would share it:

And my niece (thanks, sweetie) sent me the link to an amazing awwww story. Before you click on this link, though, a word of advice–keep some Kleenex handy: I know, I know, it looks really fake, but it’s not (check Snopes if you don’t believe me:

Finally, those interested in Nigella sativa (see my Page on “Black Cumin”) should check out this June 2009 study on thymoquinone and pancreatic cancer cells: Wow.

Okay, that’s it. Stefano and I are spending the weekend in the mountains…near Florence…and will be back on Sunday evening. So have a super weekend…and…see you on Monday or thereabouts…! 😆

Soaked on Skomer

img_0648It’s hard to know where to begin telling you about our in-many-ways-wonderful-but-in-others-dreadful weekend trip to Wales. Let’s see…how about from the drenching downpour that dumped seemingly endless buckets of water on our boat to Skomer Island on Saturday morning? Or from the climb up the steep island cliff, a climb made even more taxing by the blinding sheets of rain and the heavy water-sogged jeans clinging to our legs and dripping water inside our by-then-useless gore-tex boots?


Hmmm, let’s begin with early Saturday morning in Martin’s Haven…where we waited in line for the Skomer boat to pick us up. It was a very short line…the huge crowds that I had read about and expected were nowhere to be seen…I counted no more than a dozen cheerful and friendly Brits. We later understood that most day trippers had been discouraged, rightly so!, by the dismal weather reports. Looking around, I img_0612noticed that everyone else, even those staying just for one night (like us), had huge clunky bags compared to our small light knapsacks…how odd, I thought…


It was only when the above-described deluge began that I realized how dumb we had been. Our fellow travelers had at least two or three changes of WARM easy-to-dry clothes, whereas we had only one miserable little change of clothes (=heavy cotton, which takes forever to dry), and, duuuh, no extra shoes except flip flops…During the crossing, almost everything–our towels, extra socks, underwear/knickers and pyjamas–got soaked…everything except our sleeping bags, which I had had the unusual foresight to stuff inside a big plastic bag.


As if being wet wasn’t bad enough, on Saturday evening the temperature on the island dropped to the point where Stefano and I also got a bit chilled….so while the others went off in their warm dry clothes to watch the Manx Sheerwaters fly about at midnight, we had to give up by 10:30 PM and go to bed, shivering and cursing our stupidity…but I would likimg_0447e to note that, in spite of my weakened immune system, I didn’t get even the slightest of sniffles. I was and am fine. Just fine. Thanks to curcumin? Probably. My poor Stefano instead developed a cough and is currently on antibiotics (he is not a regular curcumin-taker…).


Well, we soon found out that the weather can change rapidly on Skomer. In a matter of minutes, terrific offshore winds could blow in terrific offshore rainstorms, which usually lasted long enough for us to get soaked to the bone…again. No matter…this taught us a few useful lessons for our next trip to Skomer:


1.    come better equipped, with waterproof pants and warmer clothes, even in July.

2.    keep an eye on the more weather-savvy Brits. Whenever they stop snapping photographs and speed off toward the island farmhouse, make haste to follow them. At one point, you see, Stefano and I were so busy taking photos of adorable puffins that we didn’t notice that everyone else had disappeared…then, all of a sudden, whoosh splat splat!!!, our still-damp pants got thoroughly soaked again.

3.    don’t lose sight of the horizon. At the first sign of a dark cloud, sprint for shelter.


Luckily, it didn’t rain all the time. The sun came out here and there. As soon as it did, we would rush downstairs to put on our waterlogged socks and boots and head toward the Wick, where the main island puffin population lives. We didn’t see any chicks but heard that a woman photographer got a photo of a puffling (baby puffin) being fed by a parent. Drat.


img_0717Ah, that reminds me of an amusing occurrence. Whenever we ran into other photographers, a couple of whom, judging by their expensive equipment and demeanour, were certainly professionals, we would exchange pleasantries, such as “hello…sooo, what did you get?” I would answer, elatedly “I got a shot of a puffin carrying some fish in its beak! How about you?” Invariably, the response would be something like “oh, that’s lovely…hum, well, I got a shot of a puffin standing on its head and sipping a frozen margarita through a straw while reading a local newspaper and smoking a cigar…” Yep, I was always put to shame. After a couple of times, I stopped asking…


Aside from the amazingly unpredictable weather, my most vivid memory of Skomer is of puffins at our feet…yes indeedie, they came so close that we could have reached down to pat their cute little heads (we didn’t, of course!, but the temptation was enormous…).


Puffins at our feet, tilting their heads to look up at us (=two tall peculiar featherless and wingless creatures), inquisitively and with no trace of fear or distrust. Quite a different experience compared to the one we had on the Farne Islands last year…undoubtedly because, even with the day trippers, there was only a handful of people on Skomer (again, probably due to the poor weather conditions).


And, once the few hardy day trippers had left on the 2:30 PM boat, on a couple of occasions Stefano and I found ourselves alone at the Wick…just the two of us, surrounded by puffins strutting about, img_0545diving off the cliffs, landing clumsily on land with their beaks filled with sand eels, whizzing past us like flying bullets, tenderly “kissing” their partners, tugging away at weeds, picking up small stones with their beaks…and delighting us beyond measure…

Vegetarians, carnivores and multiple myeloma

A myeloma list friend (thanks!) sent me the link to an interesting BBC article (see: on the possible connection between meat-eating and some forms of cancer, such as stomach cancer. But, my oh my, read this: In the case of multiple myeloma, a relatively rare cancer of the bone marrow, vegetarians were 75% less likely to develop the disease than meat-eaters. The reduction was less notable for fish-eaters with these cancers. The reasons, researchers said, were unclear, but potential mechanisms could include viruses and mutation-causing compounds in meat – or alternatively that vegetables confer special protection. By the way, this was based on a study involving 61,566 British men and women…

Well, well…well. I don’t really know what to think about all this…except now I guess I won’t be packing a hamburger or a steak in my suitcase…!

Curcumin and melphalan together against multiple myeloma

I have at least a gazillion of things to do today…get stuff ready and pack, mainly. But I can’t help posting quickly about a study that Google Alerts plopped into my mailbox earlier this morning: The full study is in Chinese, so I won’t bother asking my dear Sherlock to get it for me…but the gist is: Curcumin combined with melphalan results in synergistic effects and reverses multiple drug resistance of MOLP-2/R cells effectively. (This MOLP thingie, by the way, is bad news: a multidrug-resistant myeloma cell line.)

Yet another example of how curcumin can increase the effectiveness of some chemo drugs. Okay, I have to go now. See y’all on Monday or Tuesday! Ciao! 

Preparing for puffins

Busy days. And early Friday morning Stefano and I are leaving for Skomer Island, located off the Pembrokeshire coast in Wales. The island is a sanctuary for all sorts of seabirds, including my beloved puffins. We will be spending one night there, right on the island, I mean…though I doubt we will get any sleep…birds can be very noisy, plus there is a lot going on after dark, for instance the Manx shearwaters are out and about (see: …oh, what an experience…I can’t wait! Stefano is very excited, too. He checks the Skomer Island blog every day:


Even though we haven’t even begun packing, I actually feel quite organized. I have a list of all the things that we must take with us, from hair clips, blister medication, bandaids and hats to hand sanitizer, flashlights, antibiotics, extra memory cards and umbrellas. And curcumin, of course!


The local UK forecast doesn’t look too great right at the moment (I am still hopeful, though…), but we are well equipped with our Gore-tex boots and everything-proof jackets, so a bit or even a lot of rain will certainly not dampen our spirits and enthusiasm. Hah!


We will be back in Florence on Monday morning. Yes, this is going to be a quick trip. But well worth it, I hope! Puffin darlings, here we come!


Have a great weekend, everyone!


P.S. Hmmm, Stefano just sent me this interesting bit of news on acetaminophen, see: