Monday, July 15, 2019

Disease may cause loss of control of limbs, eyes

Rare autoimmune disease that attacks brain can be triggered by testicular cancer, new study says


Scientists using a novel diagnostic tool have discovered that testicular cancer can trigger a rare autoimmune disease.

That process stems from antibodies fighting the cancer going on to attack the brain, according to a recent story by Lois Zoppi in News Medical Life Sciences online.

The severe neurodegenerative disease that results (it's called "testicular cancer-associated paraneoplastic encephalitis"), the article says, "is often mis- or undiagnosed" — which means that appropriate treatment to limit its effects "often comes too late." 

The encephalitis causes men to lose control of their limbs, eye movement and, sometimes, their speech.

"Until now," the story continues, "scientists have been unable to identify which specific antibody was causing a staining pattern only seen in patients with testicular cancer. But the new study…showed a unique biomarker responsible for the disease."

A research team based at Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, the Mayo Clinic and the University of California at San Francisco made the discovery via "a variation of 'programmable phage display' technology, which simultaneously screens over 700,000 autoantibody targets across every human protein," the piece continues.
Dr. Sean Pittock
"By working together, our organizations have the potential to make biomarker discoveries much more rapidly," the News Medical Life Sciences piece quotes Dr. Sean Pittock, study co-author from the Mayor Clinic, as saying.

The story also quotes Joe DeRisi, who worked on the study, to the effect that their joint research "is the tip of the iceberg. We know there are more paraneoplastic autoimmune diseases waiting to be discovered and more people to help."

The study was published in "The New England Journal of Medicine."

More information about other studies of disease can be found in "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," a  VitalityPress book that I, Woody Weingarten, aimed at male caregivers.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Jurist raps Bayer company for being uncaring

Judge expected to trim $80 million jury verdict against Monsanto for its cancer-causing Roundup


The judge in the first federal court suit against Monsanto intends to reduce a jury's $80 million damage award.
Bob Egelko
According to a story by Bob Egelko this week on the San Francisco Chronicle's website, although Judge Vince Chhabria plans to reconsider the Roundup weed-killer verdict in favor of Edwin Hardeman, he's not expected to totally eliminate punitive damages "for what he called the company's 'reprehensible' conduct."

The judge has already rebuked the agribusiness for ignoring a 2015 World Health Organization agency ruling that glyphosate, an active ingredient in the weed-killer, is a probable carcinogen — and for "showing no interest in conducting new studies or reconsidering their public assurances to regulators or consumers."

In short, he charged during last week's hearing, evidence at the trial showed the Bayer AG company "not caring whether its products cause cancer."

Hardeman, 70, had sprayed Roundup on his Sonoma County property for more than 26 years. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2015. 

Jurors had awarded him $75 million in punitive damages as well as $3 million for past pain and suffering, another $2 million for emotional distress in the future, and $200,000 for economic losses. 

Monsanto had requested Chhabria overturn the verdict. The judge has showed no signs of doing that. 

He did, however, indicate he'd probably cut the punitive damages damages to comply with Supreme Court standards limiting awards, under normal circumstances, to nine times the amount of awarded compensation.

No date has been set for his latest decision.

More information on court verdicts regarding products that may cause disease can be found in "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," a VitalityPress book that I, Woody Weingarten, aimed at male caregivers.