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Targeted High-Dose Radiation Helps Fight Advanced Lung Cancer




By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter TUESDAY Oct. 26, 2021 (HealthDay News). A preliminary study suggests that high-dose radiation therapy may slow down tumor growth in patients suffering from advanced lung cancer. Patients with advanced lung cancer were included in the study. They were considered “oligoprogressive.” Patients with lung cancer that was considered “oligoprogressive” were included in the study. The patients had a mixed response to standard systemic treatment, including targeted drugs and immune system therapies, as well as chemotherapy. The treatments were able to suppress growth in some distant tumors but not others. The trial found that high-dose radiation was more effective in preventing patients from developing cancer. Radiation treatment resulted in no cancer progression in 44 weeks. Half of patients had progression-free survival for longer periods, while half were stable for shorter periods. This was almost five times longer than the median time for patients receiving standard care, which was 9 weeks. According to Dr. C. Jillian Tsai (radiation oncologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre in New York City), the radiation technique may allow these patients to get “more mileage” from their systemic drugs. According to Tsai, doctors have used the approach occasionally in their practice, but it is determined on a case by case basis. Tsai says that targeted radiation therapy may be used to treat certain growths. Sometimes, a patient is responding well to systemic therapy. However, this tactic was not tested in clinical trials until recently. Tsai stated that three such studies are currently ongoing. The approach should be deemed standard of care by more evidence, according to Dr. Steven Chmura, a radiation surgeon at the University of Chicago, who was not involved in the research. Chmura stated that this is the first formal study to test the approach. He asked if it was possible to extend the use a systemic agent’s use when it’s working well in the majority of the body and only failing in some spots. He stated that a phase 3 trial was necessary to change the standard of care as well as clinical guidelines. This refers to the final phase of clinical testing for a new therapy. Continued Tsai presented his findings Sunday at the American Society for Radiation Oncology’s annual meeting in Chicago. Studies presented at meetings are usually considered preliminary until published in peer-reviewed journals. The trial included 58 patients with metastatic lung and 44 breast cancers. Metastatic means that the original cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Patients had one to five lesion that were progressing despite receiving systemic therapy. Tsai’s team randomly allocated patients to receive either stereotactic radiation therapy (SBRT), or standard care. Tsai explained that SBRT is a widely-used technique that delivers precise, high doses radiation to the tumor site and surrounding tissue. Patients with lung cancer who received SBRT experienced a median survival rate of 44 weeks. This is compared to the 9 weeks for patients who did not receive radiation. Breast cancer patients saw no such benefit. Tsai stated that it could be due to the different biology of the disease. Tsai noted that breast cancer patients who had received radiation treatment did respond to the treatment, but new lesions were developed. Tsai stated that more research is needed in order to understand the differences in breast cancer patients’ outcomes. Tsai said that her team is also interested in determining which characteristics make patients more likely to receive radiation therapy. Side effects of SBRT can vary depending on the location. Tsai stated that radiation delivered to the bones can cause temporary pain flare-ups. Radiation can cause inflammation if it reaches the lungs. Eight patients who were exposed to radiation experienced at least one moderately severe side effect during the trial. Although phase 3 trials are still in progress, radiation therapy is possible for patients with lung cancer. Chmura stated, “It would be helpful for a patient suffering from [lung cancer] to know that there is an alternative treatment option if they are doing well on systemic therapies but are showing signs of progress in a few areas.” He noted that continued SBRT has been available for around a decade and is widely accessible all over the globe. More information: The American Cancer Society has more information on lung cancer treatment. SOURCES: C. Jillian Tsai MD, PhD radiation oncologist and director, metastatic disease radiation therapy research, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City; Steven Chmura MD PhD director, clinical research for radiation oncology at the University of Chicago; presentation at American Society for Radiation Oncology annual conference, Chicago, October 24, 2021

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New GR Pharmacy to Serve Spanish-speaking Patients




GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — By the end of the year, Grand Rapids’ Roosevelt Park neighborhood will have a new pharmacy.

Trinity Health Clinica Santa Maria began construction Monday morning on the $1.5 million project. The new pharmacy will include both walk-up and drive-thru services.

Trinity Health Clinica Santa Maria practice leader Kameron Selleck it will offer convenience in a neighborhood that doesn’t have a pharmacy close in proximity, making it challenging for patients to get their prescriptions in a timely manner.

“A lot of our patients do encounter a lot of social barriers in their lives,” Selleck said.

He added that a language barrier can make it difficult patients to get their prescriptions. He said nearly every employee at Clinica Santa Maria is bilingual in Spanish and the plan is for that trend to carry over to new pharmacy and pharmacy tech hires.

“I think this project was announced almost five years ago, so it’s here,” Selleck said. “I just really encourage the community to be as excited as we are.

The pharmacy is at 730 Cesar E. Chavez Ave. SW (formerly Grandville Avenue) at Martin Luther King Jr. Street (formerly Franklin Street) in Grand Rapids. It will be the seventh Trinity Health pharmacy in the Grand Rapids area, with the other locations being Cathedral Square, the Wege Building at Trinity Heath Saint Mary’s, Hudsonville, Rockford, Byron Center and Southeast Grand Rapids.

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Tulip Time Crowds Encouraging for Returning Festivals




HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Tulip Time saw big crowds this year as it returned to a more regular schedule.

The event was cancelled in 2020 and scaled back last year because of the pandemic.

Hot temperatures caused damage to some of Holland’s tulips, Tulip Time organizers say.

The heat caused challenges for the 2022 festival. The Tulip Immersion Garden, a new attraction, had to close early because the hot temperatures caused too much damage to the flowers, Tulip Time Executive Director Gwen Auwerda said.

“They don’t like 80 degree, 90 degree weather. Tulips prefer it to be about 40 at night, 60 to 70, maybe 80 during the day,” Auwerda said.

Heat closes down Tulip Time Immersion Garden early

The organization is working on final numbers but saw attendance return to pre-pandemic levels.

“I do know that the carnival exceeded 2019 by 25 to 30%, so that was fabulous for them and it was packed everywhere in town,” Auwerda said.

Kevin Knight, the owner of Market Zero, said the festival definitely provided a boost as they worked to keep up with demand. 

“It’s a huge kick off to your summer season,” Knight said. “Our fridges were completely full and got completely empty and completely full and completely empty, so it was about everything we could handle.”

Market Zero in downtown Holland on May 16, 2022. Inside Market Zero in downtown Holland on May 16, 2022.

The return of crowds could be good sign for other events coming back this summer, like the Festival of the Arts in Grand Rapids. Mark Azkoul, an organizer for the event that began in 1970, sees the success of Tulip Time as encouraging.

Tulip Time has record-breaking opening weekend

“We’ve been out for two years so this is a big thing for us and for the city to get Festival back up and going,” Azkoul said.

Organizers created the Plein Air event for 2021, which combined outdoor art and music.

The 2022 event runs June 3 through June 5. After taking a break because of the pandemic the festival needs extra help.    

“A lot of people still don’t know yet festival is coming back, so we really want to get the word out. We need more volunteers,” Azkoul said.

People interested in volunteering can sign up on the Festival of the Arts website.


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Mom Does ‘small Part’ to Help Parents Who Need Formula




HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Though there appears to an end of the baby formula shortage in sight, it’s still causing problems for parents, so a mother in Holland did what she could to help.

Abbott Nutrition has announced its entered into an agreement with the federal Food and Drug Administration to restart its Sturgis plant within two weeks. The closure of that plant has been a huge contributing factor to the shortage. The company expects its products to ship to stores eight weeks after production resumes.

But for now, many parents can’t find the formula they need. The low supply has some stores limiting the number of formulas customers can purchase, adding that they are in “extraordinary high” demand.

The baby formula shelves at a Meijer in Holland.

So Caitlin Dampier, a mother of two whose youngest is a 3-month-old girl, stepped up to help where she could.

“I really wish I could help out more, but this is just my small part,” Dampier said.

She got a box of Enfamil formulas that she’s not using because she’s breastfeeding.

“When you’re pregnant, you get free samples and so I thought I would just offer mine for free for mothers who need them,” Dampier said. “I kept it around in case I wasn’t able to breastfeed.”

5 things to know if you can’t find baby formula

Dampier made a post on Facebook this week directed at parents who can’t find formula. The box she received included three cans of Enfamil formulas and two ready-made formulas.

Two mothers reached out to her, including Kourtney Hann, another Holland resident. She’s one of thousands of mothers across the country who have had to go to great lengths to find food for their baby.

“I have had to go to stores maybe 45 minutes away just to even try to get formula,” she said. “It’s very hard to find them where I’m at right now. I went to Walmart yesterday and all they had was Similac and my daughter has a really bad reaction to Similac.”

Hann was able to connect with Dampier and picked up a can of Enfamil. Dampier left the box on her front porch with the message, “Please take only the formula you chose and tear out some coupons for yourself. My prayers are with you during this difficult time.”

The box of Enfamil products Caitlin Dampier left at her door for mothers to pick up.

Hann said she was down to her last can of baby formula which lasts her about five days. Now that she has received another can from Dampier, she’ll be able to feed her 9-month-old for the next two weeks.

“Being a mom is hard enough as it is. You have so many other struggles and to be afraid to know if you’re going to be able to feed your baby or not is a struggle,” Dampier said. “You want to do everything for your kids so when you’re not able to it’s hard. It’s just the worst feeling in the world.”


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