Posts Tagged ‘chemoembolization’

Debbie gets best Christmas present – remission!

12 Dec 2008 by under News

debbie and santa 150x150 Debbie gets best Christmas present   remission!Fabulous news today from Debbie Brewer, our friend who was diagnosed with in November 2006. If you’ve been following this site, you know she just went to Germany to find out the results of her fifth round of chemoembolization. The news couldn’t have been better, as Dr. Vogl told her that her tumor has shrunk FIFTY THREE PERCENT, putting her in partial remission!

“Merry Christmas to me!!!” Debbie typed in an email to her friends and supporters.

This is a 10 percent reduction since her last check-up.

She began the chemoembolization treatments in May, and has had good reports at each visit, with her tumor (which she nicknamed Theo) shrinking after each round. Chemoembolization targets the tumor with localized chemotherapy, essentially concentrating the chemo where it is most needed.

The treatment is still in a trial stage for mesothelioma, and Debbie travels from her home in the UK each month to Frankfurt, Germany, where she is under the care of Dr. Thomas J. Vogl, Chairman, Department of Radiology, Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology – University Hospital, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, University of Frankfurt am Main.

Read all about it on Debbie’s blog, Mesothelioma & Me.


Mistletoe treatment believed to provide relief for cancer patients

11 Dec 2008 by under News, People, Research/Treatment

mistletoe 150x150 Mistletoe treatment believed to provide relief for cancer patientsAs part of her cancer treatments, or more accurately in response to her cancer treatments, our friend in the , Debbie Brewer, began a mistletoe treatment in May. Debbie was diagnosed with in November 2006, and is currently receiving chemoembolization treatment, for which she travels to Germany.

Mistletoe is in fairly widespread use in Europe as a complementary therapy in cancer care. It is given in conjunction with traditional cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, to strengthen the body’s immune system and build its natural defenses. It is believed mistletoe therapy can help cancer patients cope with the side-effects of chemotherapy and radiation.

Mistletoe is considered an anthroposophical medicine, which takes into account a total view of the human body and the human being, including physical constitution, the life force, the consciousness and the ego or free will. Mistletoe is harvested from different trees, with different types of mistletoe having different uses. According to the American Cancer Society, the type of mistletoe used in this therapy grows on species of trees native to England, Europe and western Asia. It is NOT the type of mistletoe commonly seen in the U.S. Mistletoe therapy is only available in clinical trials in the United States.

The extract, which comes from the plant’s leaves and twigs but not its berries, is generally given as an injection and after an initial professional application patients can do the treatment themselves at home. Debbie began her mistletoe treatment at The Park Attwood Clinic, which still oversees the process, although she administers her own injections now.

Debbie says she learned about the treatments from a couple who visited her web site, Mesothelioma & Me. She began the mistletoe therapy at the same time as her chemoembolization treatment, which uses targeted chemotherapy applied directly to her tumor and contained with the tumor. For about two years, she also has been struggling with alopecia, which had caused her to lose large patches of her hair.

“Since I started the mistletoe and the chemoembolization, I have noticed within the last two months my hair has grown back and is its natural color,” she wrote to me in an email. “The mistletoe boosts the immune system and also is very good at quelling the side effects of the chemo, although the side effects with chemoembolization are not as bad as the normal chemo.” She said mistletoe is offered on the German health care system, but it is not recognized by the UK system.

Debbie gives herself the mistletoe injections twice a week.

“I would have to say that a lot of the benefits I have had over the last five treatments is down to the mistletoe,” she says. “It works very well alongside the chemo treatment.”

She left today to travel to Germany for the sixth round of her chemoembolization treatments, and will learn the results of the fifth round, which she received November 6. So far, she has experienced tumor shrinkage after each round of chemoembolization.


More happy news for Debbie as tumor shrinks!

6 Nov 2008 by under News, People, Research/Treatment

debbie brewer 08 150x150 More happy news for Debbie as tumor shrinks!I was thrilled this morning to get an email from our good friend Debbie Brewer in the UK reporting her tumor (nicknamed Theo) is now 43 PERCENT smaller!

As most of you know, Debbie has been battling mesothelioma since November 2006. In May 2008, she began a process called chemoembolization, which specifically targets and attacks her tumor, and basically seals the chemotherapy in with the tumor.

Debbie travels to Germany every month or so for the treatment. She saw her doctor, , for her fifth treatment on Thursday, Nov. 6, where she found that the tumor had shrunk another 10 percent since the fourth treatment in September. This is a total reduction of 43 percent since she started the therapy!

You can follow Debbie’s story on her blog, Mesothelioma and Me.

Bless you Debbie! We are so excited for your great progress!!


German meso treatment proving effective

29 Sep 2008 by under News, People, Research/Treatment

Our friend Debbie Brewer, who lives in the , reported another good result with her mesothelioma treatment after a visit to Professor Vogl’s team last week in Germany. After three procedures during which she is undergoing chemoembolization, Debbie has seen a 33 percent decrease in the size of her tumor!

The procedure, which is still in a trial stage, targets the tumor with localized chemotherapy. Debbie must travel to Frankfurt, Germany, for the procedure, under the direction of Dr. Thomas J. Vogl, Chairman, Department of Radiology, Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology – University Hospital, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, University of Frankfurt am Main.

Debbie reports that her tumor (Theo, as she calls him) shrunk 18 percent with the first two procedures, and 15 percent after the third treatment. She also says Dr. Vogl is exploring the idea of bringing a mobile unit to the UK that would give people there access to the new therapy. Check out her blog for the latest updates!


Debbie talks about meso treatment on BBC

8 Sep 2008 by under News, People

In June, we reported the wonderful news that our friend in the UK Debbie Brewer’s mesothelioma tumor had shrunk by 10 percent following an initial round of a special treatment called chemoembolization, which she is undergoing in Germany.

She had her first round of chemoembolization therapy in May, and a second in June. Since the June treatment, her tumor is now 18 percent smaller! Debbie returns to Germany for another round of treatment this month, and is hopeful that the tumor has continued to shrink.

In July, the BBC featured Debbie in an interview, talking about chemoembolization. She hopes to spread the word about this treatment so that more people might explore it’s possibilities for mesothelioma. Click here to view the BBC video.

Debbie shares her mesothelioma story on her blog, www.mesothelioma-and-me.com. She was diagnosed with in November 2006. It is suspected that she contracted as a result of being exposed to asbestos dust on her father’s work clothes as a child. He was a lagger and would often scrape asbestos from pipes during his day’s job.

According to the web site www.radiologyinfo.org, chemoembolization is a combination of chemotherapy and a procedure called embolization, to treat cancer. Debbie is being treated by Dr. Thomas J. Vogl, Chairman, Department of Radiology, Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology – University Hospital, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, University of Frankfurt am Main.

In this procedure, Dr. Vogl catheterizes the tumor and administers localized chemotherapy directly into the arteries feeding the tumor. Once the chemo has been administered, other agents can be administered to block off the blood supply to the tumor.

We look forward to another stellar report following Debbie’s visit to Germany this month!


Debbie’s mesothelioma tumor shrinks!

23 Jun 2008 by under News

debbie and dr vogl 150x150 Debbies mesothelioma tumor shrinks!In April I shared a web site, Mesothelioma and Me, by UK resident Debbie Brewer, who was recently diagnosed with mesothelioma. The site is Debbie’s personal journal about her experiences as she battles mesothelioma, as well as shares stories about her family and daily life.

Some of you who are following Debbie on her journal have already heard the good news – on June 20, she learned that her tumor (which she wittily nicknamed Theo) has shrunk by 10 percent after the first of three scheduled chemoembolization treatments. She had her first treatment May 20, and the second June 20, when she learned Theo had gotten smaller.

According to www.radiologyinfo.org, chemoembolization is a combination of and a procedure called embolization to treat cancer, most often of the liver. According to the web site, catheter embolization is the deliberate introduction of foreign (“embolic”) material such as gelatin sponge or metal coils to stop bleeding or cut off blood flowing to a tumor or arteriovenous malformation.

Debbie traveled to Frankfurt, Germany, to have the procedure, which is still a trial, done by Dr. Thomas J. Vogl, Chairman, Department of Radiology, Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology – University Hospital, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, University of Frankfurt am Main.

In this procedure, Dr. Vogl catheterizes the tumor and administers localized chemotherapy directly into the arteries feeding the tumor. Once the chemotherapy has been administered, other agents can be administered to block off the blood supply to the tumor.

Debbie’s description of the procedure is a little more colorful:

“A small incision will be made to expose the artery that feeds the tumour which is in the femour. A catheter is inserted and pushed up into the area affected. Embolization is a glue like substance which is put in to seal off the tumour and the chemo is then added and the whole area sealed off. The chemo is left to do its job. It is something like having a room with 2 doors, sealing off the back door and throwing in an explosive and sealing up the front door.”

One of the strangest things? The clinic where Debbie visits Dr. Vogl for these treatments is located on a street of the same name as her tumor’s nickname! Theodore Stern Kia 7. Visit Debbie’s blog to read all about her experiences with Dr. Vogl and this treatment. She even has photos of herself at the clinic.

Debbie points out that chemoembolization is not a cure for mesothelioma, but is thought to slow the growth of the tumor or reduce it, allowing the patient a longer life.

In conjunction with or following this treatment, Debbie will undergo a dendritic cell vaccine. According to the web site drugresearcher.com, dendritic cells – a part of the body’s immune system that detects foreign proteins in the body – can be used as vaccines by mixing them with genetic material from the patient’s tumour and infusing the treated cells back into the patient. The dendritic cells present the tumour antigens to the body’s white blood cells (T lymphocytes) for destruction.