May 14, 2013 |
By opting for surgery to remove her breasts while they were still healthy, Angelina Jolie joined a growing number of women who have used genetic testing to take control of their health. Here are answers to some common questions about how DNA influences breast cancer risk and what women can do about it. What genes are involved in breast cancer? The two primary ones are known as BRCA1 and BRCA2. Hundreds of variants of these genes have been found that make a woman - or a man - more likely to develop breast cancer.
May 14, 2013 |
Late Monday night, friends and colleagues started sending me Angelina Jolie's op-ed about her decision to have a double mastectomy. Like Jolie, I have the mutation in my BRCA1 gene that pushed my lifetime risk of developing breast cancer to nearly 90%. (It also raised my risk of ovarian cancer above 50%.) Also like Jolie, I chose to get a double mastectomy to reduce my risk of breast cancer to less than 5%. In 2007, I wrote a first-person story in the Los Angeles Times about finding out I had this mutation and how I decided what to do about it. Jolie is an icon of beauty -- and her disclosure doesn't change that.
April 19, 2013 |
When Maggie Heim had a recurrence of ovarian cancer about a year after her initial treatment, her oncologist suggested that she take what he believed could be a lifesaving drug. There was just one problem: Her insurer wouldn't pay for it. The 59-year-old Hermosa Beach resident inquired about the cost of the treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she received care. To her alarm, she was told that the cancer-fighting drug, Avastin, would set her back as much as $50,000 a month.
April 16, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court took up a deceptively simple question in a case brought by breast cancer patients and medical researchers: Are human genes patentable? The answer appeared to be "no" during Monday's oral arguments. The justices signaled that they probably will bar any grants of exclusive and profitable patents on human genes that prevent other scientists from testing these pieces of DNA. But the justices were aware the issue itself was anything but simple, and they sounded wary of going too far and taking away the financial incentives for companies and their scientists to explore new uses for DNA. "The patent law is filled with uneasy compromises," Justice Stephen G. Breyer said.
April 15, 2013 |
Can a private company own rights to your DNA? The nine justices of the Supreme Court will consider that question Monday as lawyers for Myriad Genetics make their best case that the company should be able to keep its patent on two genes known to influence the risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Challenging that notion will be lawyers representing the Assn. for Molecular Pathology and other scientific organizations, which argue that allowing genes to be patented slows or shuts down scientific research involving those genes.
April 1, 2013 |
Certain mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes can increase a woman's chances of developing breast cancer or ovarian cancer dramatically. But that doesn't mean all women should line up for laboratory testing to see if they have those risky versions of the genes, members of a government panel said Monday. Unless she has a family history that makes it likely she has the harmful mutations, a woman will be unlikely to benefit from genetic counseling and...
March 27, 2013 |
A massive gene-hunting effort involving hundreds of scientists has identified 74 newly discovered regions of DNA that are associated with breast, ovarian and prostate cancers - diseases that strike about half a million Americans every year. The international project, known as the Collaborative Oncological Gene-environment Study, or COGS, nearly doubled the number of genetic markers known to be linked with the three cancers, scientists reported Wednesday. Their findings could lead to more effective ways to screen, study and treat these diseases.
January 24, 2013
If the Pasadena Playhouse had decided to adopt a theme song when a dire economy and longstanding debts forced it to cease operations for most of 2010 while it tried to claw its way back to solvency, "Stand by Me," the 1961 pop-soul classic sung by Ben E. King, would have fit the situation precisely. It turns out that Mike Stoller, who co-wrote and co-produced "Stand by Me," among dozens of other indelible hits of the 1950s and 1960s on which he teamed with his partner, the late Jerry Leiber, was paying attention, along with his wife, musician Corky Hale Stoller.
October 29, 2012 |
They came wearing pink tutus, pink Converse sneakers, pink pashminas and pink hats. A fashionable crowd put on the pink Saturday night for Elyse Walker's 8th Annual Pink Party to raise money for the Cedars-Sinai women's cancer program. Hosted by actress Michelle Pfeiffer and Pacific Palisades boutique owner Elyse Walker, the night of fashion, fuchsia and fundraising resulted in channeling more than $1.6 million into the cancer program at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute , bringing the cumulative fundraising revenue from eight years of the event to $7.8 million.