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The Legacy of Duncan Ross Jr.
By admin at 2004-12-05 04:06

     Welcome to cancer focus. I have created this site as an aid to those with cancer as I can thank my father for my career in cancer research. This article describes a time when my father's Myelodysplastic syndrome had been controlled and we had hope, and also a time when we should have had good advice on what to do next. That advice was not forthcoming as our doctors (other than Dr. List, listed below) did not understand the clinical significance of a change in his chromosomal picture from 5q- to a deadly monosomy 7. This type of genetic understanding of a each patient's case is becoming more and more important in individually treating a disease and therefore we have created this site to put cancer patients in touch with the MD/PhD's and PhD cancer researchers who find and are aware of potential drugs or stem cell therapies even before they begin clinical trials. I miss you Dad. Dunc.


The drug described in this article is FDA approved and now used to great effect in many types of cancers. 


Help for Blood Disorder

Help for Blood DisorderTAMPA, Fla. (Ivanhoe Broadcast News) -- In the 60s, the drug thalidomide was known for causing birth defects. Now, 40 years later, a form of this drug could be the answer to keeping some patients alive. Here's how thalidomide is helping patients beat a blood disorder.

Enjoying life is what Duncan Ross and his wife Monica want to do. But in 2001, Duncan was diagnosed with a blood disorder called myelodysplastic syndrome. The disease can lead to leukemiaterm.

To manage the symptoms of MDS, Duncan had to have blood transfusions every two weeks, but he refused to give up hope. He says, "You have to know what your options are, and the way you get that is through the miracle of the Internet."

By keeping up with journal articles online, Duncan found out about a new drug called Revlimid. It's a derivative of the drug, thalidomide.

Hematologist Alan List, M.D., says, "This is the biggest thing we have ever had for this disease."

Help for Blood DisorderDr. List, of Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla., heads the research on Revlimid. He says the drug targets the cause of the disease. "This actually changes the bone marrow itself and makes it work effectively -- like a normal bone marrow," he says.

Duncan started on the drug in September 2003. He had one blood transfusion then, but has not needed one since. "My life has been given back to me," he says. "It's a virtual miracle."

"In 20 years of dealing with patients with myelodysplasia, we have never had anything with this magnitude of benefit for individuals that can cause a remission, particularly with just a pill," Dr. List says.

Help for Blood DisorderWhile no one will say it's a cure, Duncan says he likes to think it's close.

Revlimid is also being studied in patients with melanoma and prostate cancer. It is not FDA approved and is only available for patients who are part of a clinical research trial.

This article was reported by, who offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day of the week..

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1 comment | 39311 reads

by gdpawel on Fri, 2010-10-29 03:17
Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) can be caused by treatment with chemotherapy (treatment-related MDS or secondary MDS). Treatment-related MDS is often more severe and difficult to treat than de novo MDS (unknown changes to the bone marrow).

MDS is characterized by an excess of blasts in the bone marrow 5-20%. The only difference between MDS and leukemia is that the term "leukemia" is only used when the number of blasts reaches 20% or more.

In MDS, the stem cells do not mature into healthy red blood cells, white blood cells or platelets. The immature blood cells, called blasts, do not function normally and either die in the bone marrow or soon after they enter the blood.

This leaves less room for healthy white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets to develop in the bone marrow. When there are fewer blood cells, infection, anemia, or easy bleeding may occur.

The cytogenetic assay from bone marrow measures the genetic instability induced by genotoxic agents (drugs damaging to DNA and capable of causing mutations or cancer).

Patients with cytogenetic findings, patients with del 20q had a tendency towards lower incidence of anemia and excess of marrow blasts, and more prolonged survival. And patients with isolated del 5q had a more prolonged survival than patients with del 20q.


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