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Forum: Clinical Trials, Research Studies, News, and Study Results —

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Posted on: Jan 19, 2010 05:36PM, edited Jan 19, 2010 05:39PM by Maryiz

Maryiz wrote:

This sounds very promising to me.  Anyone else?  Maryiz

Scott And White Healthcare Researcher Finds Success With New Anti-Cancer Drug

Main Category: Cancer / Oncology
Also Included In: Breast Cancer;  Immune System / Vaccines
Article Date: 23 Dec 2009 - 3:00 PST

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A study conducted at Scott and White Healthcare in Temple, Texas, found that a new drug stopped the growth of breast tumors in mice. This drug is unique in that it works both by stopping the cancer cells from growing and metastasizing to other organs, and by stimulating the immune system to destroy breast cancer cells and keeps them from coming back. This is the only drug that's able to work in both ways, while all other treatments work in one way or another. And, this research initiative not only involves physicians and biologists working together to bring treatments from the laboratory to the bedside, but a unique third component - agriculturalists. 

Researcher Alexzander Asea, Ph.D., the Effie and Wofford Cain Endowed Chair in Clinical Pathology, and division chief of investigative pathology at Scott & White Healthcare and the Texas A&M Health Science Center, said "we found that some of the mice were essentially cured." 

"All anti-cancer drugs broadly fall into two categories; either directly killing cancer cells (often healthy cells as well), or vaccines that help sick patients by boosting the immune system to better fight off cancer. This new drug works both ways, as a vaccine by taking away the cancer cell ability to grow, multiply and spread to distant organs, and by educating the immune system to recognize the breast cancer cells as 'foreign invaders' that need to be attacked and destroyed - and to continue that process over time," Dr. Asea said. 

Dr. Asea went on to say "breast cancer cells fly under the radar of the immune system, by turning off the machinery that normally puts recognition structures on the surface of cancer cells which the immune system uses to recognize and destroy them. To overcome this problem, this injectable drug turns on this machinery within the cancer cells allowing the immune system to recognize the cancer cells and kill them. The unique thing is that the revved-up immune cells will continue patrolling for any hidden cancer cells months and years after the last cancer cells have been killed," Dr. Asea said. 

"Collaborating with the agricultural community on this research also allows us to use a special delivery mechanism of the drug that doesn't cause the negative side effects you see with more traditional treatments like chemotherapeutic agents," explained Dr. Asea. 

Dr. Asea said only about one year of additional work is required before Phase I clinical trials can begin in women with metastatic breast cancer at Scott & White Hospital. "However, this stage requires a significant amount of funding. We're currently looking at various sources including federal, state and private sources to get this promising drug to the patients who need it." 

Katherine Voss
Scott & White Health

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Mar 29, 2010 02:20PM Maryiz wrote:

Thanks, Renee.  I think the more we learn of this potential treatment, perhaps the more funding.  This disease wears on all of us and we need something.  Thank  you from me.  Maryiz

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Mar 29, 2010 03:10PM hope4us wrote:

Thank you from me as well. Look forward to hear updates.

Dx 12/6/2008, IDC, 3cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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May 19, 2010 11:47AM ec1 wrote:

Please remember that you are donating money to American Cancer Society, or Susan G. Komen, the organization. You are not donating specifically to the researcher, but you are donating money to "the cause". If you really want to make sure your money goes directly to the researcher of your choice, you need to get their name and number and speak with someone in their department. Most research hospitals will have an account set-up for that specific researcher. I'm not saying "Walk for the Cure" is not a great way to fund research, but just remember they have salaries, and other bills to pay for them, before that money is sent out.

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May 30, 2010 06:41PM tkw50 wrote:

ec1, Thank you for your post, I could not have explained it better.  Sorry, it has taken me so long to get back to you all.  I have heard Dr. Asea speak several times now and I learn more every time.  Fundraising has proved very difficult, but we are determined to get NampEVA to the patients, who desperately need it.  Notice the new name.  The old one turned out to be too similiar to another drug.  We participated in a scenic fun run in Lampasas yesterday, in the Texas heat and high humidity.  Dr. Asea, his family, and research team joined us. Dr. Asea spoke earlier this month to the Lions Club in Gatesville Texas about NampEVA.  The power point presentation started with his earlier discoveries and how they lead to the discovery of NampEVA.  He shared PET scan results of mice where the drug was injected directly into the tumor and administered by IV.  The IV method took seventeen days longer, but with metastatic breast cancer, IV is the way to go. He showed where the spleen was removed from the mice, (where the most T cells are housed) and NampEVA had activated the cell memory to continue attacking hidden cancer cells, after the tumors were destroyed.  This is so amazing.  This gives hope for a vaccine to prevent breast cancer.  Lack of $ is keeping NampEVA from going to clinical trials at this time. The DOD(Dept of Defense) grant proposal was just rejected.  Dr. Asea's team is waiting to hear from another grant proposal from The State of Texas.  At least this one says they want to find a cure.  If you and others would like to make a donation, make the check payable to Scott and White Healthcare, designated for Dr. Asea and mail to Scott and White Office of Development, 2401 S 31st Street, Temple, Texas 76508.  Scott & White is a charitable, non-profit healthcare system and all contributions are tax-deductible.  If you have a fund raiser and need more information, email him asea@medicine.tamhsc.edu  If I can be of any assistance, do not hesitate to contact me tkw50@embarqmail.com  This is the cure that we have been hoping and praying for.  Help get this promising drug to clinical trials to prove it is the cure for breast cancer.

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Jun 2, 2010 10:31AM Maryiz wrote:

Does anyone know why Dr. Asea has been turned down for funding by the department of defense, as well as Komen?  I really don't understand this.  Thanks for any information.  Maryiz

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Jun 2, 2010 11:02AM tkw50 wrote:

Dr. Asea's research made it to the last three before being eliminated.  A researcher that had completed clinical trials and a pharmaceutical company on board to manufacture and distribute his chemotherapy drug received the award.  My question: why did he need the money?  No one can answer that question.  A few advocates for bc thought SGK wanted its name on the next new chemo drug to hit the market.  That is not fact, only speculation.  We were absolutley devastated.  Something that really concerns me is the bc foundations that award such small percentages of its donations towards research for a cure.  I am currently in the processing of researching the numbers.  For example, ACS's own web-site www.cancer.org check it out.  I can't even find a category for research for a CURE.  If you do, then please let me know. Think about the thousands of people participating in Relay for Life all over the country; they think the money goes for finding a cure.  I'm not saying that ACS doesn't have some good programs, they do, but the focus is NOT on finding a cure.  At least that is NOT where they are spending its funds. I even blogged www.relayforlife.org/relay/node/7406 because I was so upset.

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Jun 5, 2010 08:20AM Maryiz wrote:

tkw50, I agree with you, we have gone from cure to awareness.  I don't understand the concept of settling for anything less than a cure.  We are fighting for cures for diabetes, autism, sickle cell anemia and other diseases. I do believe that BCRF is dedicated to finding a cure and dedicates most of their monies to research.  I, personally, have become disillusioned with SGK.  In my state, most of the monies went to early detection, not research.  Does that mean we discard all those women with IBC and TNBC, which tend to be sneaky and aggressive?  I think we have to get mad.  It seems to spur action.   Thanks for all of your posts.  Maryiz

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Jun 5, 2010 12:21PM crazy4carrots wrote:

I think the ACS allocates 50% of its donation dollars to research, while the other 50% is used to promote awareness, fund patient care programs (such as lodges for out-of-town patients and their families), and other programs.  I'm Cdn and I believe the ACS operates much the same way as the Cdn Cancer Society.

If you want your dollars to go primarily to research, then check the charity's mandate.  Sometimes you can tell by the charity's name; the Breast Cancer Research Foundation is a good example.  If you are having trouble finding out a charity's mandate/mission, then it's a charity you should stay away from!

All reputable charitable organizations that have a website should also publish their Annual Report, which will show you how the dollars have been spent.

I'm very sorry to see that Dr. Asea's research grant application was turned down.  But, it IS the life of a scientist.  He will keep submitting his proposal and I'm sure he will receive funding from soe forward-thinking agencies or foundations.

Certain politicians and all diapers should be changed often -- and for the same reason. Dx 1/10/2008, ILC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Jun 5, 2010 01:50PM thenewme wrote:

Hi Tkw50, I understand that you're frustrated about Dr. Asea's research funding situation, but it's important not to distort the facts.  We all want a cure, but it's just not that simple.

You're upset about not finding a CURE-specific category on ACS.  However, take a look at the mission statement for the American Cancer Society.  It actually doesn't say anything about a CURE:  American Cancer Society

"The American Cancer Society is the nationwide, community-based, voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy, and service."

The ACS does a lot of really great things, and I'm thankful for their efforts. It seems misdirected to be angry with an organization for not doing something outside the scope of their mission statement.  

As for Susan G Komen, I have to say that I'm extremely grateful for their efforts too. I don't agree with everthing they do or every decision they make as an organization, but they have done so many great things for so many of us. One important contribution is their collaboration with the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation:

Susan G. Komen and TNBCF

"Last year, Komen awarded its first Promise Grants -- five-year awards of up to $7.5 million -- to teams comprised of researchers from different disciplines, and, in some cases, different institutions, working on projects with likely patient benefit within the next decade. Projects needed to focus on an important breast cancer question, but funding was not directed at specific areas or subtypes. Through an initial contribution of $500,000, the TNBCF established the Komen Triple Negative Promise Grant, and created a mechanism for a Promise Grant restricted to triple negative research. "

Finally, as to Dr. Asea's  work, again -it may indeed have potential, but apparently the evidence as of yet has not been compelling enough to "win" the funding.  Conspiracy theories aside, the people awarding the grants do their best to fund the projects with the highest potential for whatever criteria the specific grants are for.  So maybe Dr. Asea's work hasn't demonstrated as much potential, or maybe his team hasn't made a good enough "case" for it.  

As a breast cancer patient trying to stay up to date on the latest research, I have to say that Dr. Asea's work doesn't really stand out to me as particularly unique or promising.  There are lots and lots of other research proojects involving mice and immune-boosting drugs, etc.   Where is his research published?  Is his work peer reviewed anywhere?  What specific results has he had?  Has he gotten any feedback from the organizations he's been turned down for funding by?  

I'd love to hear that his work pans out and turns out to be The Cure.  Maybe it will, but it seems to me that he needs some professional grant proposal help.  After all, the fact is that he really has to "sell" his solution.  Once he can do that, he'll be flooded with money and investors. I know a lot of people, myself included, are very generous with donations and support to worthy causes.  So far, I hate to say, I'm just not convinced by this particular cause. I'd love to be convinced - so please do share more!  

Dx 11/2008, IDC, 5cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 0/9 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Jun 5, 2010 04:42PM ihatesnowihatesnow wrote:

here is a group of dedicated scientists trying to find a cure for all disease ..if you have a computer you can help

http://boinc.bakerlab.org/rosetta/          http://planetgreen.discovery.com/tech-transport/3-ways-your-computer-can-cure-diseases.html

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Jun 5, 2010 09:36PM , edited Jul 8, 2010 09:56PM by yellowrose

This Post was deleted by yellowrose.
You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived though this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' Eleanor Roosevelt
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Jun 6, 2010 02:20PM thenewme wrote:

Hi Yellowrose,

Do you happen to know where we can read up on Dr. Asea's published research?   I wonder why he doesn't seem to realize that his research IS being hindered by his refusal to seek all possible sources of funding?  I bet an IP/copyright/patent lawyer could help with the appropriate contracts to protect his rights, if that's what he's concerned about. 

It seems to me that he's relying more on emotional appeal for funding, rather than science/evidence-based appeal.  Of course researchers have to compete for the same pot of funds.  In most cases, those who produce the most credible, documented, and legitimate case for their research will receive the highest levels of funding from all sources of funds (corporate, government, private, angel investor, etc).

Dx 11/2008, IDC, 5cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 0/9 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Jun 27, 2010 11:12AM Maryiz wrote:

Yellowrose, thank you for sharing your personal interaction with Dr. Asea.  It is difficult to foresee which therapies will emerge as far superior to others with our limited medical knowledge.  I know Dr. Asea was at Harvard at one time and has phenomenal credentials.  I really do hope his treatment produces a cure.  Thank you again.  Maryiz

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Jun 27, 2010 07:35PM BcMomOf3 wrote:

Does Dr. Asea actually treat patients?

I live and fight for my children Dx 4/15/2009, 2cm, Stage IV, 4/10 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Jun 22, 2011 11:30AM TexasKaren wrote:

I understand a little better about the funding problems with research: esp. if they are done under the auspices of universities who want to keep intellectual proprietary rights.  Dr. Asea and Texas A&M University are NOT WILLING to sign away all rights to his drug to some pharmaceutical company at this time.  They want to continue to apply for funding and raising funds by donations rather than 'throw it to the pharmaceutical giants'.  I don't blame them.  Also, TNBC only represents 15% of breast cancer cases; many of the NCI and ACS, etc. studies and funding are for more significant cancers, looking to effect cures for many more people.    Dr. Asae's research is important, and does deserve backing.  I have contributed to his cause.

Texas Karen: Live every day like it's your last. Not for yourself, but for others, with love, joy, hope and courage in all you do. Dx 12/17/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 8/14 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Jul 4, 2011 09:04PM sweetbean wrote:

TexasKaren is exactly right about intellectual property.  Research foundations tend to fund academic researchers at universities.  While academic researchers are very interested in taking risks and asking new questions, they do so without a clear picture of how to get a drug to market.  In addition, any discovery made becomes the property of the university, which means the onus in on the university's Tech Transfer Dept to market the findings adequately to pharmaceutical company.  They do this while the researchers simultaneously publish the results of the research, which then make the findings public domain.  Without exclusivity, pharma companies are a lot less interested in moving the research forward. ( This scenario becomes even more dire with a rare disease - pharma companies at least know with breast cancer there is a lot of money to be made.  Imagine a cancer that only a few people have.) With no pharma company interested, the research sits on a shelf and the researcher goes back to square zero, applying for grants so that he/she can keep their lab open and funded.  

 The other side of the coin is the pharma companies, who understand EXACTLY how to get a drug to market but are notoriously risk averse - they want to be certain new research will yield profits.  New discoveries are too risky, so they tend to spend their time and money researching and tweaking the same drugs in different amount, combinations, etc.  It takes a lot for them to move forward with something new.

 This is why so little is accomplished in terms of finding cures, despite literally billions being spent on disease research.  It's not a conspiracy.  It's incompetence and an inability to fix the inherent problems in the research model.   

This guy should hold onto his rights and I hope he gets this research funded.  It sounds important.  It you want to see an organization that funds research well, check out the Myelin Repair Foundation - it is an MS organization, but they do it right.  I believe they have made more progress in the past five years on MS, then the MS Society has made in their entire existance. 

Dx 11/18/2010, ILC, 5cm, Grade 2, 2/15 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+

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