Miniature Portable Dialysis Machine on Fast Track for FDA Approval

I sure hope I never need this but…


An Alternative to Conventional DialysisThe US Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) fasttrack program, Innovation Pathway, streamlines the approval process for breakthrough technologies.

In 2012, the “Wearable Artificial Kidney” (WAK), promoted by the Wearable Artificial Kidney Foundation, Inc., was awarded fast-track status, along with two other renal projects.

Since then, WAK has made progress with its wearable dialysis machine and is currently involved in animal trials; human trials scheduled for 2017.

The current prototype weighs just 10 pounds and can be carried about the waist of the patient. Another company, AWAK Technologies, has developed a WAK for Peritoneal Dialysis called “ViWAK PD” that weighs just two pounds.

Source: Miniature Portable Dialysis Machine on Fast Track for FDA Approval | Health Cure Center

New drug improves outcome in treatment resistant kidney cancer – ONA


A new drug is proven more effective than standard therapies for advanced kidney cancer in patients with demonstrated drug resistance.A study trial, led by researchers from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, compared the effectiveness of a new drug, cabozantinib, with the accepted second-line treatment, everolimus (Affinitor).

The trial enrolled 658 patients with clear cell renal carcinoma; all participants had advanced or metastatic renal cell carcinoma and their disease had worsened following first-line therapy.

Initial therapy for these patients had targeted the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR). Cabozantinib proved to be more effective than everolimus in slowing the growth of cancer in these patients and there were early indications that it may have improved their overall survival as well (progression-free survival was a median of 7.4 months vs 3.8 for those using everolimus).

Toni K. Choueiri, MD, clinical director of the Genitourinary Cancer Treatment Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and first author of the report, feels that cabozantinib may also have potential as a first-line treatment for kidney cancer.Cabozantinib has received breakthrough therapy designation from the Food and Drug Administration. Report data were published online in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Source: New drug improves outcome in treatment resistant kidney cancer – ONA

Kidney Cancer Awareness Day


Did you know that smoking, obesity, certain workplace exposures, a strong family history of kidney cancer, and some medications are all associated with an increased risk of developing this disease?

To learn more, the public is invited to attend a free Kidney Cancer Awareness Day educational program at Winthrop-University Hospital on Saturday, October 3, 2015, from 9 AM to 12 PM.

The event will be held in the Winthrop Research and Academic Center, located at 101 Mineola Boulevard, at the corner of Second Street in Mineola.

Speakers include Aaron Katz, MD, Chairman of the Department of Urology and Jeffrey Schiff, MD, Department of Urology; Mary O’Keeffe, MD, Department of Oncology/Hematology; Corinne Liu, MD and Jason Hoffman, MD, both from the Department of Radiology, will discuss the signs, risk factors and treatment options for kidney cancer. A question and answer period will be included.

Coffee and a light breakfast will be provided. Admission is free, but registration is required. To register and for information about the program or parking, please call Kate Owens (516) 663- 2316 or e-mail

Source: Kidney Cancer Awareness Day | | Garden City News

Cortisone: The End Of An Era

Cortisone is a therapeutic drug used to fight ailments ranging from asthma to arthritis. It was the athlete’s best friend throughout the 20th century. But in orthopedics, there is a significant downside.

Cortisone is naturally produced by the adrenal gland in the body and influences the functioning of most of the body’s systems.

Since the discovery of its antirheumatic properties in 1948 and its synthetic commercial production soon after, the drug has been injected into every swollen joint, every inflamed tendon, sore back and aching body. The anti-inflammatory nature of the drug soothed the pain and reduced the swelling, yet permitted the athlete to further injure themselves time and time again.

We now know that a cortisone injection interferes with the body’s natural healing process, which works like this: When tissues are overused, overstretched or torn, the cells of those tissues release factors that recruit blood vessels, stem cells and healing factors. With that in rush of fluid, the tissue temporarily swells. Over time, with the laying down of new collagen — the protein that makes up most of our body — the injured tissue heals. Some tissues heal normally; others with scar tissue, over time, often can remodel into normal tissue.”The anti-inflammatory nature of the drug soothed the pain and reduced the swelling, yet permitted the athlete to further injure themselves time and time again.”

Cortisone shuts down this cellular recruitment process, reducing swelling, but unfortunately inhibiting healing. The result is that the weakened tissues stay in the weakened state for a longer period of time, sometimes exposing the athlete to repeat injury or permanent damage. This panacea drug has always had this hidden harmful risk. If used too often or in the wrong place such as the Achilles tendon, the tissues can completely rupture and never return to the full, uninjured state.

Read more at: Cortisone: The End Of An Era | Kevin R Stone

What is Addison’s disease?

The adrenal glands are located just above each kidney. They work together with the hypothalamus and pituitary glands in the brain to keep the human body in a stable, constant condition. The pituitary gland, often referred to as the “master” gland, is about the size of a pea and is considered the most important part of a system called the Endocrine System.

In general, the Endocrine System is in charge of body processes that happen slowly, such as cell growth. Faster processes like breathing and body movement are controlled by the Nervous System.

What normally happens is the hypothalamus produces something called “corticotrophin releasing hormone” or CRH. CRH then causes the pituitary gland to produce ACTH leading to the production of Cortisol and ADH by the adrenal glands.

More at Trinidad Express Newspapers: Features | What is Addison’s disease?.

Survival rates for kidney cancer by TNM stage. | Cancer Fact Sheet

Some people with cancer may want to know the survival rates for their type of cancer. Others may not find the numbers helpful, or may even not want to know them. If you decide that you don’t want to know them, stop reading here and skip to the next section.

The 5-year survival rate refers to the percentage of patients who live at least 5 years after their cancer is found. Keep in mind that many of these patients live much longer than 5 years after their cancer is found and treated. And survival rates are based on patients whose cancer was found and treated more than 5 years ago. Better treatments now may mean that patients have a better outlook.

The numbers below come from the National Cancer Data Base and are based on patients whose cancer was found in the years 2001 and 2002. These are observed survival rates. They include people with kidney cancer who may have later died from other causes, such as heart disease. People with kidney cancer tend to be older and may have other serious health conditions. Therefore, the percentage of people surviving the cancer itself is likely to be higher.


kidney-survivalWhile these numbers give an overall picture, every person is different. Statistics can’t predict what will happen in your case. Talk with your cancer care team if you have questions about your own chances of a cure, or how long you might survive your cancer. They know your situation best.

via Survival rates for kidney cancer by TNM stage. | Cancer Fact Sheet.

Are There Early Signs of Kidney Cancer?

kidney-cancerKnowing Your Risk

Kidney cancer isn’t as common as breast or lung cancer. For most people, the chance of getting kidney cancer in their lifetime is less than two percent, according to the American Cancer Society.

Your risk increases if you smoke, are obese, or have been exposed to chemicals such as asbestos and benzene. Sometimes kidney cancer can run in families. If you’re at high risk, talk to your doctor and watch out for symptoms.

Hard to Find

When someone has skin cancer, they might see an unusual growth on their skin. For example, breast cancer is often found when a woman discovers a lump in her breast. Because the kidneys are so deep inside the body, it’s harder to find kidney cancer just by looking or feeling for growths.

Searching from the Inside

Imaging tests like computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can spot cancer in the kidneys. Yet these tests are costly, and they often can’t differentiate between kidney cancer and noncancerous growths.

Usually, doctors only recommend CT or MRI scans for people who are at very high risk for kidney cancer because of an inherited condition, like von Hippel-Landau disease.

Warning Signs of Kidney Cancer

Kidney cancer often doesn’t cause symptoms until the tumor has already grown. The most common symptom is blood in the urine, called hematuria. If the amount of blood is too small to be seen with the naked eye, it can be found on a urine test.

Other Symptoms

Blood in the urine is the main symptom of kidney cancer, but there are other signs too. Other symptoms include:

pain in the side or lower back

symptoms of an infection, such as fever, fatigue, and an overall sick feeling

losing weight without trying

swollen ankles

Many of these symptoms can be caused by other illnesses, like the flu or a back injury. But if these symptoms don’t go away, talk to your doctor.

What Your Doctor Might Find

During an exam, your doctor will look for other symptoms of kidney cancer that you couldn’t find on your own. They might press on your abdomen to check for a lump. Or tests might show high blood pressure or a low red blood cell count (anemia).

Kidney Cancer Tests

Many different tests can detect kidney cancer. Urine tests find traces of blood in the urine. Blood tests search for chemicals that the kidneys are supposed to remove from the body.

CT, MRI, and ultrasound scans create pictures of the kidneys and allow doctors to look for growths that may be cancerous. A biopsy removes a piece of tissue from the kidneys to be examined under a microscope for cancer.

What to Do Next

If you do have kidney cancer, your doctor will find out how advanced it is and whether it has spread to other parts of your body. This is called staging. It helps your doctor determine the right course of treatment for you.

Many different treatments are available for kidney cancer. Radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery can help stop the cancer and improve your long-term outlook.

via Are There Early Signs of Kidney Cancer? | Cancer factsheet.