: A large clinical test shows that giving chemotherapy directly into the stomach, as well as into a vein, can improve survival of women with advanced ovarian cancer by about sixteen months. The results of the study, which pop up in this week's issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, prompted the National Cancer Institute to issue a statement supporting doctors to employ this plan of attack for appropriate patients. Why is this new treatment reigmine so important? Ovarian cancer is the fourth greatest reason of cancer demises in women, affecting more than 22,000 women and killing more than 16,000 in 2005. Although this disease is super treatable when saw ahead of time, virtually all cases are not noticed until they have dispersed beyond the ovaries. Because so many ovarian cancer patients are diagnosed at a later stage, it is crucial to find ways to better treatments for further progressed disease. What is already known about ovarian cancer? virtually all women with advanced ovarian cancer get chemotherapy after surgery to get rid of the tumor. That chemotherapy is usually given into a vein and moves through the bloodstream to reach tumor cells in the stomach. Doctors have also experimented with rendering the chemotherapy straight into the abdomen through a catheter, a system called intraperitoneal (IP) chemotherapy. Eight clinical trials of this approach have been done, and most showed a gain to IP chemotherapy. But this technique is not widely wore, according to the study's author, Deborah Armstrong, MD. "There has been a prejudice against IP therapy in ovarian cancer because it's an old idea, it requires skill and experience for the surgery and for the chemotherapy, and it's additional complicated than IV chemotherapy," said Armstrong, who is a medical oncologist and associate professor at the John Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center in Baltimore. How this study was done: Women with stage III ovarian cancer were randomly assigned to get either standard chemotherapy in a vein (210 women), or a combination of chemotherapy in a vein and IP chemotherapy (205 women). The women had already had surgery that successfully removed all or most of the tumor; none had tumors remaining that were larger than 1 cm in diameter. All the women were treated with the same drugs, cisplatin and paclitaxel. Six cycles of chemotherapy were planned for both groups. What was found? Women who had IP chemo operated long without their cancer coming back and lived longest overall. Women who had traditional chemotherapy in a vein survived about 4 years after treatment, while those who got chemotherapy in the stomach as well as a vein stomach an median of nearly 5 Ѕ years after treatment. That improvement is "one of the largest benefits ever observed for a new therapy in gynecologic oncology," based on data from Stephen A. Cannistra, MD, who composed an editorial published with the study. He is a professor at Harvard Medical School and managing director of the division of gynecologic medical oncology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Nonetheless, the IP treatment was very much more difficult on the patients. Women who had this treatment had many additional terrible or life-threatening side effects, including low white blood cell counts, infection, tiredness, and anguish. Many side effects were associated to the catheters that must be introduced into the stomach to deliver the chemotherapy. These problems were so serious that fewer than half of the women designated to undergo IP chemotherapy finished all six designed treatment cycles. That makes the survival advance that good deal supplementary noteworthy, Cannistra composed. Women who got IP therapy also reported significantly worse caliber of life during and just after treatment. By one year out, nonetheless, both groups described similar quality of life. Discover the best alternative cancer treatments! SEO Solutions and one way link publicity services provided by LinkAcquire.
From Overture, a keyword suggestion tool, you will see the millions of searches done to a certain keyword. When these keywords are typed on search boxes of search engines, indexed websites containing articles with those keywords will be displayed. And this is what leads traffic to websites with keyword-rich articles. Yes, the magic word is articles. Content is king. You can say that again. That is why writing articles is one of the most utilized Internet marketing media today. Internet surfers just can't get enough of information on various fields. Providing information through these articles is a surefire way to drive hot traffic to your web site. Why is this so? Here are the benefits that writing articles can give your Internet business. 1. It's absolutely free. Too good to be true? Not. Okay, you have to pay for your Internet Service Provider. That's it. All you need is your thoughts, your computer, and your hands. If you have those, nothing will stop you from typing words that will make you complete that article for your website. On which aspect of that process did you really shell out any cent? Maybe later when your electric bills come. 2. Your website will be noticed in a short period of time. Submit that article of yours to article directories that get the most web traffic and in no time your web site will be crawled. That is if you don't forget including your resource box or byline. 3. Obtain back links automatically. When you submit your articles to directories, surely, other websites will make use of your article too. With the copyright terms of your articles, the URL of your website will still be in tact and will subsequently direct more traffic to your website. 4. Improve your reputation through higradearticlesubmitter software easily. As an Internet marketer, if you plainly display your products on your website, you will not gain much conversion rate. Conversion is when your traffic converts to sales. You have to show that you are knowledgeable on your field. And what better way to show that than by writing articles that will allow you some bragging rights, right? Just make your creative juices flow and jot down or key in those ideas quickly to jumpstart your article
A hysterectomy is not often a procedure that needs to be performed urgently, except in the case of cancer. Therefore, a woman considering the procedure should take time to investigate all her options, including other possible treatments. There are now new treatments for conditions that previously would have required a hysterectomy. Women advised to have a hysterectomy for a non-cancerous condition before being offered more conservative treatments may find it beneficial to seek a second opinion. Deciding whether to have a hysterectomy can be a difficult and emotional process. By becoming informed about the procedure, women can confidently discuss available options, concerns and wishes with their doctor, and make a decision that is right for them. If you, too, have been questioning the necessity of a surgery for fibroids, prolapse, incontinence or any "cele" repairs, you will be reassured to know you have every right in doing so. The decision to undergo surgery of any kind is often difficult, so it is often useful to explore other alternatives before moving forward. Women, especially around the time of menopause, are too often advised to have major gynecological surgery for minor conditions that can be significantly improved with natural alternatives Every 10 minutes, 12 hysterectomies are performed in the United States. That is over 600,000 per year, of which only 10% are due to cancer. This surgery most often does not correct the diagnosed problem and instead results in new afflictions. And, argues Dr. Stanley West, author of The Hysterectomy Hoax, nine out of ten hysterectomies are unnecessary. We need to ask? How have these surgeries impacted the quality of life for women?" Nowhere in the gynecological literature did the study address the number of women for whom sex had become painful or impossible. Nowhere were there studies to track the number of marriages that failed or were severely compromised as a result of these post-surgical complications or alcoholism or drug addiction resulting from debilitating chronic pain. Women who have been hysterectomized experience a myriad of negative side effects, including chronic pain and fatigue, depression, and pain during sex. These are only a fraction of the long list of unwanted symptoms reported by women after surgery. So, if you decide, or have already decided, that surgery is not an option, you are probably asking yourself, "Now what?" I have asked myself this same question. But, I will tell you, there is no quick fix. As women we must understand our bodies to care for them in a positive way. The more I review this subject the stronger I feel about informing women before they make this important decision. Prevention is the key and hormone balance is the answer. For the most part those who are encouraged to have their uterus's removed are likely suffering from estrogen excess which is explained well by Dr. John Lee. Balancing hormones involves working on a few fronts using simple strategies. 1. Evaluate your hormones using a saliva test - determine what is happening in your body - ask your self the question - are you estrogen dominant? Use a saliva test to find the answer. 2. Optimize your diet by lowering your insulin levels. Over 2/3 of North Americans are overweight. This extra weight increases insulin levels causing estrogen dominance to increase. EAT 40/30/30 3. If the saliva test shows the need, use a natural progesterone cream in the process of rebalancing your hormonal system 4. Exercise to reduce excess estrogen and to eliminate toxins 5. Drink more water 6. Supplement with wisdom using our hormone balancing program of fiber, indoles, efa, multi - fruit & veggi essence, calcium
: Dr Christiane Northrup has some interesting insights into the emotional and energetic issues associated with ovarian cancer. Whilst it is impossible to generalize emotional and energetic responses, she highlights the issue of rage in ovarian cancers. She describes the ovaries as being 'female balls' which means they relate to an active participation in the world in a way that expresses our unique creative potential, as women, on an individual basis. She says: "...we as women must be open to the uniqueness of our creations and their own energies and impulses, without trying to force them into predetermined forms. Our ability to yield to our creativity, to acknowledge that we cannot control it with our intellects, is the key to understanding ovarian power." (p187, Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom) She relates the issue of rage as deriving from being in an abusive relationship - not necessarily physically abusive, though of course this could be the case. And it may not necessarily be a personal or intimate relationship. It could be with work, societal, or even spiritual. But it embodies a way of relating and dealing with something or someone, where the woman involved feels controlled by the situation and does not believe in her ability to change it, or herself. It is a denial of her innate power and self-sovereignty. A denial of a woman's innate dignity, creativity, spirituality, and complexity. Interestingly, Dr Northrup notes that ovarian cancer is linked to a diet high in fat and dairy food. Dairy products in Oriental medicine, are associated with the liver meridian. Meridians are energy conduits, and though they have a specific anatomy, they are not equated necessarily with the organs of the same name, as understood in conventional western medicine. The emotion associated with a liver meridian that is out of balance, is rage and anger. Oriental medicine believes that diseases start in our energetic body first, and then progress to the physical body. And certainly not all women who have a high fat and high dairy diet develop ovarian cancer. Dr Northrup suggests that women take care of their ovaries and uterus by reclaiming and expressing whatever this deep creative energy is for them. She suggests taking the time to do this daily. A recent scientific study has also found that drinking two cups or more of tea a day can reduce the risk of ovarian cancer by 46%. This study was done in Sweden over a 15 year period. Sweden is a country where there is a higher risk of ovarian cancer, as are other countries with a high dairy consumption (Denmark and Switzerland). References: nutraingredients-usa/news/ng. asp? id=64537 Dr Christiane Northrup, Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom (Piatkus, 1995)
Ovarian cancer is a silent killer and is one of the deadliest threats to women’s health. The American Cancer Society says that about 20,180 American women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year alone. Every woman faces a risk of 1:57 risk of getting ovarian cancer in her lifetime. The symptoms of ovarian cancer are not perceptible until the cancer becomes widespread and critical, which explains why thousands of women die of this dreaded disease every year. Although ovarian cancer is treatable, in most instances, it is detected late causing complications and death to ovarian cancer patients. Since to date there is no sure and effective way to diagnose or detect ovarian cancer in its early stage, specialists, research groups and cancer advocacy groups and the government organizations are doing every ovarian cancer research work they can to finally shed light into the gray areas of this deadly disease. Some organizations provide grants for those willing and interested to conduct an ovarian cancer research. Among the most prominent organizations that promote awareness on ovarian cancer is the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance. It was formed in 1997 by seven ovarian cancer advocacy groups who joined forces to strengthen efforts to promote ovarian cancer education. Ovarian cancer research teams probe into several areas of ovarian cancer including its symptoms (both in the early and the latter stage), stages, risk factors, prevention, risk reduction, and treatment, with the aim of increasing awareness on this cancer. Knowledge on the said areas can be a woman’s greatest protection against this cancer. However apart from the fact that there are many information gaps that still need to be filled, ovarian cancer researches are conducted in response to this cancer’s high mortality rate. In the United States, ovarian cancer is the fifth among the gynecologic cancers that place women at the brink of death. Over 50% of all women diagnosed with the disease are about to die within a period of five years, researches show. It is with this fact that ovarian cancer research groups are exerting their best effort to uncover hidden truths about ovarian cancer. Most ovarian cancer researches reveal that women with ovarian cancer show the following symptoms: persistent and baffling gastrointestinal discomfort, nausea, digestive disturbances, bloating or swelling of the abdomen, pain in the abdominal and pelvic area, fatigue, frequent urinating, and abnormal bleeding during the postmenopausal stage. A recent ovarian cancer research conducted by University of California shows that more than one-third of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer have shown the symptoms at least four months before they have been diagnosed with the cancer; hence, there’s a good chance that ovarian cancer can be diagnosed earlier. Researchers explained that the reason why the cancer is detected only when it’s already in its advanced state is that doctors do not perform tests that could possibly diagnose the cancer immediately. Doctors would usually have the patients undergo abdominal imaging and some gastrointestinal procedures, which they say re not that effective in diagnosing this disease. Other ovarian cancer research works are concerned about improving treatment of ovarian cancer and preventing this disease. Many clinical studies are conducted to carefully analyze a drug’s potential in preventing high-risk women from developing ovarian cancer and in treating those in the early and latter stages of the cancer.
Comediennes such as Gilda Radner and Madeline Kahn, Oscar-winning actresses like Loretta Young and Sandy Dennis, singers Laura Nyro and Dinah Shore, actor Pierce Brosnan’s wife Cassandra Harris, actress Jessica Tandy, former Connecticut governor Ella Grasso, and Martin Luther King’s wife Coretta Scott King all died of ovarian cancer. It’s not just celebrities, politicians or movie stars, who are stricken with ovarian cancer. One in every 55 U. S. women is at risk for ovarian cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates about 22,000 new cases of ovarian cancer will be diagnosed. More than 16,000 women will die because the symptoms are often subtle, and her doctor did not recognize the symptoms soon enough. It is the leading cause of death from gynecologic malignancies, and the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths among women. Silent and undetected, this cancer often spreads beyond the ovary or ovaries into the abdominal cavity, or by the final stage, into other body organs such as the liver or lungs. Family doctors often fail to properly diagnose “The Silent Killer” until it is too late. Last August, University of California Davis researchers reported 40 percent of women told their doctors about their symptoms for as long as a year before they were correctly diagnosed. A British survey discovered 75 percent of family doctors believed symptoms are only present during the advanced stages of the cancer. By the time women are diagnosed for ovarian cancer, 40 to 50 percent of the patients are in the advanced stage, where there is little hope for survival. Less than one-half the women diagnosed with ovarian cancer will live five years. About 10 to 14 percent live beyond five years after their diagnosis. Their choices have been limited, mainly reserved to variations of chemotherapy drugs or a new way to delivery the drug. The general public is often unaware of the side effects ovarian cancer patients suffer during chemotherapy. In mid March, the U. S. Food and Drug Administration criticized the safety profile of Eli Lilly’s Gemzar for ovarian cancer patients, saying the 2.8 months increased survival seen in studies of patients taking the drug wasn’t enough to offset the treatment’s increased toxicity which included anemia, neutropenia (a blood disorder) and thrombocytopenia (reduced platelets in the blood). Presently used first-line treatments for ovarian cancer patients include Cisplatin, with associated side effects such as nerve, kidney and/or ear damage, Carboplatin (side effects: nerve damage in the arms and/or legs, joint pain, and/or thrombocytopenia), Paclitaxel (neurotoxicity), or Melphalan, with side effects which include irreversible bone marrow failure, bone marrow suppression). A woman stricken with ovarian cancer faces first surgery, then chemotherapy. Recent widespread press heralding a new development in treating ovarian cancer, intra-abdominal or intraperitoneal chemotherapy, is just that: more chemotherapy. The “belly bath,” as it has been nicknamed by some television reporters, it has been highly praised because the treatment can extend life by about 16 months more than “regular” chemotherapy. The results were first published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine in December 2005. Most news reports failed to mention that only 40 percent of the women treated with the belly bath were able to complete all six cycles. Why? The therapy relies upon infusions of Paclitaxel and Cisplatin (see side effects in the previous paragraph). According to Dr. Robert Edwards, research director of the Magee-Women’s Gynecologic Cancer in Pittsburgh, “Many women don’t feel well enough to work for the duration of the intra-abdominal (therapy).” Some patients, such as Cindy Pakalnis of Marshall (Pennsylvania) have called the treatments “grueling.” The unsolved problem of chemotherapy is the reduction in the “quality of life.” While some life extension has been proven, the patient’s life deteriorates. Many patients struggle with balancing the loss in quality of life with the rigors of the therapy. Researchers are actively pursuing new directions that may some day provide new hope for the ovarian cancer patient. A University of Minnesota research study has suggested the use of thalidomide, which would be used in conjunction with chemotherapy, as a prospective means of increasing the likelihood of remission. Minnesota cancer researcher Dr. Levi Downs explained, “It prevents the tumor from making new blood vessels. Without new blood vessels, the tumor can’t sufficiently feed new cells, so the cancer can’t grow.” His randomized trial was small with only 65 patients (only 28 took thalidomide), and more testing will certainly be required. New Hope for Ovarian Cancer Patients? One promising technology that has been developed over the past decade is OvaRex® MAb. It was developed by ViRexx Medical Corp., an Edmonton-based company, which trades on the American Stock Exchange (ticker symbol: REX) and on the Toronto Stock Exchange (ticker symbol: VIR). Now licensed to Unither Pharmaceuticals, a wholly owned subsidiary of United Therapeutics (NASDAQ: UTHR), OvaRex® MAb is currently undergoing two identical Phase III trials at about 64 research centers across the United States. One trial has completed enrollment, according to a mid December news release issued by ViRexx Medical Corp. We spoke with ViRexx Medical Corp’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Tyrrell who was the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Alberta and the Director of the Glaxo Heritage Research Institute. “OvaRex® MAb is our lead candidate for the treatment of ovarian cancer, and is an intravenous infusion of a monoclonal antibody,” he said. Monoclonal antibodies are a new breed of biotech drugs that are extremely specific; that is, each antibody binds to only one particular antigen. In the case of OvaRex® MAb, it is a monoclonal antibody that binds specifically to the CA-125 antigen. Dr. Tyrrell added, “The treatment doesn’t take long, and is given every 4 weeks for the first 3 injections, and then once every 3 months until the patient relapses”. Dr. Tyrrell talked about the current Phase III studies, “The trials are ongoing. All of the patients have successfully completed their surgery and front-line chemotherapy and are now in what we call the ‘watchful waiting’ period. It is in this phase that we treat the patients with OvaRex® MAb with the hopes of increasing the time to disease relapse.” He explained the recurrence rate is very high in the stage III / IV late forms of ovarian cancer, with a time to relapse of about 10.4 months. Patients who have turned to OvaRex hope to delay that relapse. Tyrrell noted, “In the original study, the average time to relapse was delayed by about 14 months. If we can achieve that difference or better in the current Phase III trials, it would be a major advance for the treatment of ovarian cancer.” He expects an analysis of the current OvaRex® MAb studies to be completed by the second or third quarter of 2007. What makes OvaRex® MAb different from other immunotherapeutic treatments is, instead of attacking the body’s cancerous cells directly, the monoclonal antibody targets the cancerous antigen in circulation. Some believe it helps retrain the body’s immune system to fight the ovarian cancer cells. The mechanism that reportedly has made OvaRex® MAb effective is how it alerts the body to recognize and fight the CA-125. ViRexx has addressed the “tolerance problem” a body suffers when it has become inflicted with a malignant tumor. The hypothesis behind the tolerance issue is that the body fails to recognize the CA-125 antigen as harmful. Introducing a foreign antibody, in this case the mouse antibody against CA125, the body’s defense systems are awakened to the ovarian cancer cells. This begins a chain reaction alerting the immune system to battle the invading antibody CA125 complex. The body’s defense systems are reprogrammed to attack the CA-125 antigen and seek to destroy it. Along with that destruction comes the attempt of the immune response to eliminate the cancerous cells from the body. As with many pioneering scientific breakthroughs, serendipity is what lies behind the OvaRex® MAb story. As one technology was being developed, another – the murine monoclonal antibody treatment for ovarian cancer – came about by accident. We talked to its inventor, Dr. Antoine Noujaim, about the biotech drug’s roots. “It came out of the imaging technology,” the Professor Emeritus of the University of Alberta explained. In the early 1980s, biotech companies, such as Immunomedics and Cytomedics were researching tumors and using antibodies to image the tumors so they could be evaluated in a cancer patient’s body. “I worked with Dr. Mike Longenecker and we established a company called Biomira (Toronto: BRA) in 1984,” Dr. Noujaim recalled. “We had a number of targets and then needed to make specific antibodies.” Part of his effort was to target certain cancers, such as prostate, breast and ovarian cancer. “We developed antibodies against a mucin, which is really a glycopeptide,” explained Dr. Noujaim. “It’s a peptide that has a lot of sugars on it present in the ascitis fluid from ovarian cancer patients.” That is how Dr. Noujaim and his team developed the very early antibody which is now used for OvaRex® MAb. “We sent some of these antibodies to Professor Richard Baum in Germany for imaging of ovarian cancer patients,” Noujaim remembered. “Dr. Baum phoned back, after some time, and told me, ‘The patients I was imaging here had advanced ovarian cancer and some of them seem to have done quite well after we gave them a couple of shots (of the B43.13 antibody, the clinical name for OvaRex® MAb) to image the tumor.’ I thought he was joking with me.” This is serendipity at work as Dr. Noujaim explained to us. “Richard was imaging patients that were in the last stages of the disease,” he pointed out. Monoclonal antibodies can be used as diagnostic agents in oncology, when they are radiolabeled with a marker that can be imaged by external detectors. “These patients had maybe four or five months to live. All of a sudden, a year later and they’re still around.” Baum urged Noujaim to investigate this further. Dr. Noujaim recalls him saying, “Something is happening here. I’ve seen hundreds of patients, but nothing like this.” From this encouragement, Noujaim began formulating the potential mechanism of how this monoclonal antibody would work. His sharp mind chased the puzzling questions raised by Dr. Baum’s observations. At this point of his recollections, Noujaim got excited, “Through sheer serendipity, we were using murine antibodies, not humanized antibodies. We were using foreign antibodies, a small amount of foreign antibodies.” How in the world did Noujaim know to use murine (mouse) antibodies? “Because that was the easiest way to do the imaging at the time,” he replied. “Before you make a chimeric (something derived from two different animal species) antibody, you start with a murine one. If that one works, you humanize the antibody.” From this research, Noujaim founded a company called AltaRex, which was taken public in 1995. “We raised about $30 million and expanded the program.” The serious effort to develop the antibodies began in 1996. Having conducted trials in Canada and Europe, it was a “massive undertaking” Noujaim told us. “We had over 500 patients injected with the murine monoclonal antibody.” He extrapolated beyond OvaRex® MAb, saying, “We’ve proven completely the mechanism of action on this, how it works. It is so unique it may apply to all of the other antibodies we have.” Noujaim believes it can apply to breast, ovarian, prostate and pancreatic cancer. Indeed, BrevaRex® MAb for breast cancer and multiple myeloma patients has completed Phase 1 trials, and ProstaRex® MAb for prostate cancer patients is at the pre-clinical stage. “Our studies to date may show that vaccines may slow the growth of the tumor with a very good safety profile,” concluded Dr. Noujaim. Then he added something which bears investigating further, “There is the very original (ovarian cancer) patient who was injected in 1987. She’s in Germany, and according to Dr. Baum she was still alive a year ago.” That’s nearly nine years later! “It’s a matter of great pride for me that some people who received OvaRex® MAb are alive today,” he said. While the company has licensed, under a royalty agreement, the OvaRex® MAb technology to United Therapeutics, through that company’s subsidiary, Unither Pharmaceuticals, ViRexx has retained rights to most member nations of the European Union and certain other countries. Key ones include France, the United Kingdom and the Benelux countries. ViRexx has also established strategic relationships with Dompй Farmaceutici, Medison Pharma, Ltd. and Genesis Pharma S. A. for certain European and Middle-East Countries.
Two Percent of All Female Newborns in the United States Are at Risk of Getting Ovarian Cancer As many as 30,000 U. S. women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year. In 2006, between 15,000 and 16,000 women are likely to die from this silent killer. Ovarian cancer is the 5th leading cause of death among women, and it is responsible for about five percent of all cancer deaths. Chances are your doctor may have misdiagnosed you. That is often the case. A recent British study found 60 percent of all U. K. general practitioners had misdiagnosed their patients. Three-quarters of British doctors surveyed incorrectly assumed that symptoms only occurred in the late stages of ovarian cancer. Based upon that information, it should be no surprise that Britain has one of the lowest survival rates for ovarian cancer in the Western World – of 6,800 cases diagnosed each year, more than 4,600 die. A similar discovery was made by University of California researchers, who announced last year, “Four in 10 women with ovarian cancer have symptoms that they tell their doctors about at least four months — and as long as one year — before they are diagnosed.” According to their study of nearly 2,000 women with ovarian cancer, the researchers discovered physicians: • First ordered abdominal imaging or performed gastrointestinal procedures instead of the more appropriate pelvic imaging and/or CA-125 (a blood test that can detect ovarian cancer). • Only 25 percent of patients, who reported ovarian cancer symptoms four or more months before diagnosis, were given pelvic imaging or had CA-125 blood tests. Patients with early symptoms are frequently misdiagnosed. Abdominal imaging or diagnostic gastrointestinal studies are less likely to detect ovarian cancer. According to the American Cancer Society’s website, “The most common symptom is back pain, followed by fatigue, bloating, constipation, abdominal pain and urinary urgency. These symptoms tend to occur very frequently and become more severe with time. Most women with ovarian cancer have at least two of these symptoms.” By the time a woman reaches the fourth stage of ovarian cancer, her first-line treatment is often Carboplatin, Paclitaxel and Cisplatin as the specific chemotherapy for ovarian cancer. In the first stage, cancer is contained inside one or both ovaries. By stage two, the cancer has spread into the fallopian tubes or other pelvic tissues, such as the bladder or rectum. When the cancer has spread outside the pelvis area into the abdominal cavity, especially when tumor growths are larger than two centimeters on the lining of the abdomen, then ovarian cancer has reached stage three. The fourth and final stage of ovarian cancer is reached when the cancer has spread into other body organs, such as the liver or lungs. If detected early, survival rates can be as high as 90 percent. Detected in the advanced stage, the survival rate falls to between 30 and 40 percent. Various imaging tests such as computed tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, and ultrasound studies can confirm whether a pelvic mass is present. A laparoscopy can help a doctor look at the ovaries and other pelvic tissue to in order to plan out a surgical procedure, or to determine the stage of the ovarian cancer. A biopsy, or tissue sampling, would confirm if there is cancer in your pelvic region, and would help determine how advanced it is. An elevated CA-125 blood test typically suggests the cancer has progressed to the advanced stage. About 50 percent of ovarian cancer patients are already at an advanced stage by the time a correct diagnosis is made. Only 10 to 14 percent of women with advanced cancer are likely to survive more than five years. Evaluation of Therapies While research shows drinking black (or green) tea or taking the herbal supplement gingko biloba may be useful, as a preventative measure, or to reduce risk, a woman has few choices when her cancer has moved to the advanced stage. In the first stage, a woman faces surgical removal of the tumor, and possibly one or both ovaries, to increase her chances of survival. Beyond that, her choice is chemotherapy. One major problem with chemotherapy is the side effects. The more advanced the cancer, the weaker one may be, reducing the survival rate potential. Survival rates have not changed very much over the past fifteen years. Chemotherapy can increase survival time by as much as 50 percent. But, quality of life suffers. The side effects and increased toxicity, accompanying chemotherapy, reduce how one spends the prolonged survival time. Some of Paclitaxel’s minor side effects, as reported by Medline Plus, may include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, change in taste, thinned or brittle hair, pain in the joints of the arms or legs, changes in the color of nails, and/or tingling in the hands or toes. More serious side effects may include mouth blistering or fatigue. Some alarming side effects could include unusual bleeding or bruising, dizziness, shortness of breath, severe exhaustion, chest pain, or difficulty swallowing. The most common side effect of Paclitaxel is a decrease of blood cells. Carboplatin has its own list of side effects. It can reduce platelet production, which can interfere with your blood’s ability to clot. You may become anemic, feeling tired or breathless. Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and a general feeling of weakness are common with this chemotherapeutic agent. The latest breed of drugs, such as Eli Lilly’s Gemzar, are hardly getting praise. On March 10th, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it was skeptical of the benefits Eli Lilly’s Gemzar, which was being used with Carboplatin to treat ovarian cancer patients. The FDA felt the 2.8 months increased survival time, provided by the Gemzar/Carboplatin combination failed to offset the treatment’s increased toxicity. In January, the New England Journal of Medicine reported on a remarkable new delivery system of chemotherapy, called the “intra-abdominal, or intraperitoneal, chemotherapy. Those who received the “belly bath” as it is now being called by the media can survive 16 months longer than those receiving intravenous chemotherapy. The major drawback is that 60 percent of the women in the study were unable to complete all six cycles of this chemotherapy. Those who did survived longer, but only two in every five women were able to advance to the end phase of the therapy. One novel approach, now in Phase III trials at more than 60 research centers across the United States, is OvaRex ® MAb, a murine monoclonal antibody, a type of biotech drug derived from mouse cells. It is being tested by highly regarded United Therapeutics, based in Silver Springs, Maryland. Their lead drug Remodulin, an injection which treats pulmonary arterial hypertension, is currently being marketed inside and outside the United States. More than $32 million has been spent researching, and on the development of, OvaRex and may have it available on the market by 2008. OvaRex was developed in Canada by a company called ViRexx Medical Corp, and first tested in that country. According to Dr. Lorne Tyrrell, Chief Executive of ViRexx, “The whole study has been set up with the FDA. This is a study where the drug has been given fast track approval and orphan drug status.” Dr. Tyrrell is also on leave (until OvaRex become commercially available) as a Professor of Medical Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Alberta, and Director of the National Centre of Excellence for Viral Hepatitis Research. OvaRex was tested in Canada, prior to the current Phase III trials in the U. S. “There have been a number of patients that have received OvaRex,” said Dr. Tyrrell, “We’ve had really no adverse effects from these patients.” Dr. Tyrrell explained the procedure, “After being injected intravenously, OvaRex binds to an antigen circulating in the blood.” An antibody’s general purpose is to neutralize an antigen. After an OvaRex injection, the murine monoclonal antibody binds to the CA-125 antigen. In a way the body is tricked. But, the body is tricked in order to help “save” itself from the harmful antigen. When the OvaRex antibody is bound to the CA-125 antigen, the new combination is identified as a harmful unit. Before then, the antigen wanders through the body, without alerting the body’s defense systems, the dendritic cells, to attack and destroy the harmful antigen. Because the body is trained to identify and zero in on a foreign protein, in this case a mouse protein, it alerts the dendritic cells. Until then, the dendritic cells “tolerate” the cancerous cells. The tolerance is what permits the cancer to spread throughout the body. OvaRex seeks to break that tolerance. The murine monoclonal antibody is designed to target and bind exclusively to free floating CA-125 antigen. The dendritic cells refuse to tolerate the foreign protein. When the antibody binds with the free-floating antigen, the dendritic cells recognize the complex (antibody plus antigen) as being foreign and engulf the new unit. The dendritic cells break down the key proteins of this unit, presenting all parts on the cells surface. At the point, the body’s killer T-Cells are alerted to fight the internal threat to the body. Once activated, the T-Cells will replicate and create more killer T-Cells. Any tumor cells expressing the CA-125 antigen is targeted for destruction. The army of T-Cells move to attack the ovarian cancer tumor. The principle behind OvaRex is to re-program the immune system to harness the body’s defenses to prevent the growth and spread of the ovarian cancer. Will it cure ovarian cancer? “In most cases, it will be a delay,” explained Dr. Tyrrell. “However, I think that, and everyone hopes that, often in some of these tumors, you’re making incremental progress through careful clinical trials and adding new therapy. Each thing we do that improves the outcome when you start to look at the long term benefits of these, we hope that one day we will be able to cure this disease. We think this is a step. This has the potential to be an important step at helping to stimulate immune response to achieve a better outcome. Hopefully, one day we can improve that to where it is a cure.”