Category: Myeloma


Press Release from Mayo Clinic

Mayo researchers isolate compound that obstructs cell growth in multiple myeloma and other cancers fueled by certain proteins
Extract of coconut shrinks tumors by killing cancer cells

Friday, May 09, 2008

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — A natural compound extracted from the milk of coconuts has proven effective in curbing the uncontrolled growth of certain cancer tumors, according to researchers at Mayo Clinic.

A recently published study by Drs. A. Keith Stewart and Rodger E. Tiedemann of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center indicates that a substance called kinetin riboside, prevents new cell growth in tumors controlled by cyclin D proteins. (Cyclin D proteins are members of the cyclin family of proteins related to cell division.) Kinetin riboside is found in minute quantities in coconut milk and other natural plants and is related to the hormones that govern root growth in plants.

The results of the study were published in the May 1, 2008, issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation. The journal is published by the American Society for Clinical Investigation, founded in 1908 to recognize important advances in medical research. “Cyclin D is like the gas pedal for cell progression,” Stewart said. “In cancer cells, too much cyclin is produced and overwhelms the cell, causing it to grow too quickly. Kinetin riboside appears to switch that process off.”

Three closely related proteins called cyclin D1, D2 and D3 are found in all proliferating cell types and collectively control the progression of cells through their cell cycle. Since D-cyclin proteins are essential to cell division, they are implicated in certain types of cancer.

After screening more than 4,000 drugs and natural compounds for their ability to control cyclin, the study narrowed the possibilities to about 30. Eventually, Stewart and Tiedemann focused on only one—kinetin riboside—as a way to control the cyclin D proteins.

Kinetin riboside works by rapidly binding itself to the cyclin gene and switching off the normal progression of cell division. Laboratory tests on mice demonstrated some cancer cells died as a result of the process, causing tumors to shrink in size. Healthy body cells remained unaffected.

The Mayo study focused on cells found in multiple myeloma tumors, but Cyclin D1 and D2 is important in the progression of many other cancers, including breast, prostate, colon, parathyroid adenoma, certain lymphomas and melanoma.

“Kinetin riboside not only stops myeloma cells from growing, it kills large numbers of the tumor cells as well,” Tiedemann says. “Its effectiveness in controlling cyclin holds the promise of a therapy for a number of different cancers.”

The researchers are now focusing on developing modified versions of the compound that offer the same benefits but possess specific characteristics that make it more desirable for the development of clinical drugs.

More than 60,000 Americans have been diagnosed with multiple myeloma. An estimated 15,000 new cases are reported each year and it accounts for a disproportionate 2 percent of all cancer deaths. The research was partially funded by the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.


Mayo Clinic Cancer Center is one of only 39 U.S. medical centers that have been named as a National Cancer Institute (NCI) Comprehensive Cancer Center. To receive this designation, an institution must meet rigorous standards demonstrating scientific excellence and the ability to integrate diverse research approaches to address the problem of cancer. Mayo Clinic Cancer Center is the only national, multi-site center with the NCI’s Comprehensive Cancer Center designation. In Arizona, Mayo’s clinical and research experts work together to address the complex needs of cancer patients, with a dedication to understanding the biology of cancer; discovering new ways to predict, prevent, diagnose and treat cancer; and transforming the quality of life for cancer patients today and in the future.


To obtain the latest news releases from Mayo Clinic, go to is available as a resource for your health stories.

This is why

Last weekend was our local “Relay for Life” event, which I attended. My nephew, who is almost seven years old, went along with me. He walked with me for the survivors’ lap, which starts the relay. As the survivors pass by, the team members and other spectators usually give a big round of applause. My nephew said he was embarrassed by this and asked why everyone was clapping. I asked him if he knows what cancer is, and he said he did. I explained that everyone he saw walking was a cancer survivor and that people were applauding because we had all been successful in fighting our cancers. He asked, “can it kill you?” I said that it can, and his response was, “I don’t want it to kill you… because I love you.”

This is why we have chemo, take dex and all the other stuff we have do to stay here.

Chronic Graft vs. Host Disease Web cast

I just got this via email.

The National Bone Marrow Transplant Link is working with Dr. Steven Pavletic and his staff at the National Institutes of Health to develop a web cast on Coping with Chronic Graft vs. Host Disease.  The 30-minute presentation will provide an overview of cGVHD, recommendations for care of the cGVHD patient, and personal reflections from current cGVHD patients and their caregivers. The web cast will be launched on our web site, late this summer. We are grateful to the National Marrow Donor Program for supporting this product

Kidney cancer may be linked to multiple myeloma

I just noticed this on Reuters and wanted to post it before I forgot about it.  I’ll comment later on and will be looking for the original article published in the medical journal.
Mon Apr 21, 2008 6:29pm EDT

By Megan Rauscher

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – For the first time, researchers have evidence of an association between renal cell carcinoma and multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer, one that “cannot be explained by random incidence alone,” they say.

“I think general oncologists as well as myeloma and renal cancer physicians should be aware of this association,” Dr. Mohamad A. Hussein of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer and Research Institute in Tampa, Florida, noted in comments to Reuters Health.

Renal cell carcinoma begins in the kidney cells and although it may progress slowly, it is very resistance to chemotherapy. Multiple myeloma, which may also progress slowly, is likewise resistant to treatment. It begins in the blood’s plasma cells, a type of white blood cell that is part of the immune system. Over time, myeloma cells build up in bone marrow and then in the solid parts of bone.

In a review of data from patients referred to the Cleveland Clinic between 1990 and 2005, Hussein and colleagues identified 1,100 patients with multiple myeloma, 2,704 with renal cell carcinoma, and 8 with both types of cancer.

In 4 of the 8 patients, renal cell carcinoma was diagnosed 3 to 46 months after the multiple myeloma diagnosis. In the remaining 4, renal cell carcinoma was diagnosed 1 to 108 months before the multiple myeloma. Seven of the 8 patients were first diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma on the right side.

“The probability of this association was much higher than that expected in the general population,” the researchers note in the medical journal BJU International. “No clear treatment-related, environmental, genetic or immune-mediated common factors can fully explain this association.”

The investigators point out that interleukin-6 supports the growth and expansion of both types of cancer. Interleukin-6 is a “cytokine” that normally enhances the body’s immune response to disease and infection.

“I think the take-home message,” Hussein said, “is that after active therapy for myeloma, if the kidney lesion does not clear — especially if it is affecting the right kidney — renal cell cancer should be considered.”

In this study, when myeloma was the first malignancy diagnosed, “the renal cell carcinoma was at a very early stage and therefore surgical exploration is critical.”

SOURCE: BJU International, March 2008. unveils “Ask the Expert”, featuring Multiple Myeloma physician and scientist, James R. Berenson, M.D. unveils “Ask the Expert”, featuring Multiple Myeloma physician and scientist, James R. Berenson, M.D.
Ask the Expert is a free online web-forum where Myeloma and Bone Cancer specialist, Dr. James R. Berenson offers medical answers to questions surrounding quality of life and longevity issues for patients living with this rare form of cancer.
Los Angeles, CA – and the Institute for Myeloma and Bone Cancer Research are proud to announce the creation of “Ask the Expert”, a free online web-forum featuring Multiple Myeloma expert, Dr. James R. Berenson. is the creation of myeloma-advocate, Beth Morgan.  The website serves to foster community in the form of an online forum where patients and caregivers could learn more about Multiple Myeloma, a plasma cell cancer that resides in the bone marrow.  Thousands of people visit every day.  Many visitors are Myeloma and Bone Cancer patients, caregivers and other medical professionals who actively participate in online discussions about treatment options and personal experiences.  “Ask the Expert” is the latest addition to the website and is available at no charge by registering on the site.  Visit for more information.
James R. Berenson, MD has 25 years experience in treating Multiple Myeloma and Bone Cancer patients.  Dr. Berenson is CEO and Medical Director for The Institute for Myeloma and Bone Cancer Research and CEO and President of Oncotherapeutics, an oncology-specific clinical trials management service.  Dr. Berenson is an active clinician who treats patients daily in his Los Angeles offices and acts as a specialist consult to patient’s primary oncologist or primary care physician throughout the world. For more information, visit
The Institute for Myeloma and Bone Cancer Research, based in Los Angeles, California, is an independent cancer research institute with a primary focus on hematologic cancers.  Established in 2004, the IMBCR is a 501 c (3) non-profit organization.  Over the last four years, the IMBCR has created novel breakthrough therapies that have substantially increased the longevity and quality of life of myeloma patients. The latest initiative at the institute is “The Cure Myeloma Project”, a multi-year research project that targets myeloma cells while keeping the non-cancerous cells intact.  For more information or to make a donation, visit
Media contact:
Beth Morgan, or,
Cheryl A. Cross, MPH, Institute for Myeloma and Bone Cancer Research 866-900-1035

Shingles almost gone

The shingles on my head - getting better

This is what my head looks like now.  The rash is gone.  There’s discoloration there, and the skin is extremely sensitive.  Sometimes it itches, too. I have another appointment to see the eye doctor on Tuesday, and I think it will be the last one for this.

If you’re wondering, the thing sticking out of my ear is from my iPod. This has been the first time I’ve tried to use it since before I had shingles. The virus caused pain even in my ear, which made it hurt to listen to music or even the telephone on that side. I still have headaches on the left side of my head, but they’re not as bad and not as constant as they were even a week ago.

You can see that my hair is growing. I hope to look half way normal by spring.

The picture was taken with PhotoBooth on the Mac, which, for reasons unknown to me, produces a mirror image.  So, when I talk of having shingles on the left side, it’s true.

More about shingles

And I thought famvir made me sick

On Friday I started taking famvir for an outbreak of shingles.  I knew from previous times that famvir gave me a pretty bad headache, but I thought I’d do it anyway and maybe this time it wouldn’t happen.  I withstood it for almost 4 full days, but then called the doctor to get something else. It was a wicked headache and I thought anything else had to be better.  I got the rx for acyclovir Tuesday and took my first dose with dinner. Pretty soon I was experiencing nausea.  Those of you who know me, know that this is a serious situation. I fought off the nausea for four hours and then finally had an episode of vomiting and diarrhea.  It was over fast, and probably not worth the four hours I spent trying to avoid it. We do what we do though, and it’s hard to overcome a phobia you’ve had all your life. This could have very well been a coincidence, but I attributed it to the acyclovir (nausea, vomiting and diarrhea are reported possible side effects).  I called my doctor the next day, and a nurse asked me if I could tolerate the famvir headache for just 3 more days.  So, I’m back on famvir now.  Just a couple of days to go.  Afterwards, I will probably take one a day to help prevent a recurrence of shingles.

The eye doctor told me that he saw no internal goings-on in my eye.  Only the exterior was affected, including the eyelid (outside and inside).  I have an antibiotic ointment to apply twice daily and a return appointment next week.

I should expect to have a complete recovery anywhere from a few weeks to 6 weeks.

More about shingles

I just learned that shingles’ name comes from the Latin cingulum, which means girdle or belt. There’s a lot of useful information about shingles at the FDA web site.