Sunday, December 21, 2008

Direct attack on tumour works

Spontaneous remissions are not uncommon with some cancers so the recovery below proves nothing. It is however an interesting straw in the wind. There have been some controlled trials that have indicated substantial benefit from the procedure

A woman given just months to live after developing cancer two years ago is looking forward to a 'miracle' Christmas with her family. Debbie Brewer was diagnosed in November 2006 with mesothelioma, a lung cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, but has beaten the odds thank to pioneering treatment in Germany.

The 49-year-old was awarded a six-figure compensation payment by the Ministry of Defence after she said the illness was caused by hugging her father, Phillip Northmore, when he worked as an asbestos lagger at Devonport Dockyard in Plymouth in the 1960s.

She was told by doctors that she had between six and nine months to live but refused chemotherapy and instead travelled to The University Clinic in Frankfurt. A doctor had told her of an experimental treatment being carried out by Professor Thomas Vogl and Mrs Brewer used her compensation to pay for six sessions at the clinic. Now specialists have told her the tumour has shrunk by more than half, is in remission and will not come back. Mrs Brewer, who has three children - Siobhan, 22, Richard, 19, and Kieran, 11 - said it is a 'miracle'.

Now Mrs Brewer, from Plymouth, has started a campaign to have the treatment, which costs 3,500 pounds a session, brought to the UK for trials. She said: 'I want to give people hope. 'I was told for mesothelioma there is little out there but the results in Germany are fantastic - it's about a 60 per cent success rate. 'I didn't think I would see my youngest go to senior school, now I'm going to be enjoying Christmas with them.'

The treatment is known as chemoembolisation and is more commonly used to fight liver cancer. It introduces chemotherapy drugs directly to the tumour area through a catheter into the lung. Mrs Brewer said: 'They are able to directly attack the tumour through an artery so it targets just the tumour and not the nervous system as well.' She started the treatment in May and had her last of six chemoembolisation sessions this week. Mrs Brewer now hopes she has beaten the cancer for good and said if it does start to come back 'there is help available'.


Fatties to use elevators in fire evacuation

THE rising number of fat Australians has forced engineers to revise the policy of not using lifts during building evacuations because of fire. Fire Protection Association spokesman Peter Johnson said the rising number of obese Australians was slowing down fire drill times. There is a danger of larger people falling in stairwells and slowing the progress of other evacuees.

"For more than 30 years we have been told that we should not use lifts when a fire alarm sounds," Johnson said. "Now we have to change people's attitudes so they think of both lifts and stairs as being suitable for evacuation." Lifts are traditionally not used in evacuations due to the risk of breakdowns and exposure to heat and smoke.

Johnson said tests had shown using both stairs and lifts had reduced evacuation times by up to 40 per cent. Well-designed lift wells could also provide good access for firefighters. A study found workers on higher levels were more likely to consider using lifts during emergencies.

Johnson said fire escape standards should also include wider stairwells. More than half of Australians are either overweight or obese according to the latest Bureau of Statistics figures.


1 comment:

John A said...

"... use elevators in fire evacuation"

Gosh, now I won't have to step over/on those who leave their wheelchairs on the twelfth floor and crawl down the stairs, blocking them in the process?