The Caring Ambassadors supports individuals in gaining control of their health care, regardless of the illness they face.

We provide information, tools, and resources to help those with any chronic health condition not only manage their health care after a diagnosis, but improve their quality of life and capacity for healing. As an advocacy organization, we both fight for patient rights and work to build a new generation of patient and health care champions. Our disease specific programs for Hepatitis C and Lung Cancer have been helping people obtain the support, assistance, and information they need for over 20 years.

Lily wrote and recited a piece about HCV from her vantage point as a young woman impacted by this silent virus on multiple fronts.
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Week Ending April 15, 2019

U.S. liver cancer deaths more common with less education
‘Liver cancer is the most rapidly rising cause of U.S. cancer deaths, and most of those dying from this disease are people with less education, a new study suggests. During the study – from 2000 to 2015 – liver cancer death rates nationwide rose from 7.5 to 11.2 fatalities for every 100,000 men ages 25 to 74 and from 2.8 to 3.8 fatalities for every 100,000 women in this age range, researchers note in the journal Cancer.’

Intensive Models of Hepatitis C Care for People Who Inject Drugs Receiving Opioid Agonist Therapy: A Randomized Controlled Trial
‘Many people who inject drugs (PWID) are denied treatment for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, even if they are receiving opioid agonist therapy (OAT). Research suggests that HCV in PWID may be treated effectively, but optimal models of care for promoting adherence and sustained virologic response (SVR) have not been evaluated in the direct-acting antiviral (DAA) era.’

Glecaprevir/pibrentasvir safe, effective in cirrhotic patients with HCV
‘For the treatment of chronic hepatitis C genotype 1 through 6 infections, glecaprevir and pibrentasvir demonstrated safety and efficacy in patients with compensated liver disease, including those with chronic kidney disease stage 4 or 5, according to results pooled from nine phase 2 and 3 trials.’

Optimal Limit of Detection for a Point-of-Care HCV Viremia Test
‘Increasing the level of detection of circulating hepatitis C virus (HCV) in diagnostic testing would maintain good test accuracy and would likely allow for the development of more affordable portable tests for use in low- and middle-income countries, according to a study published in the Journal of Hepatology.’

Gene Predicts Recovery from Decompensated HCV Cirrhosis
‘A gene linked to risk for steatosis predicted likelihood of patients with sustained virologic response (SVR) after direct-acting antiviral (DAA) treatment recovering from decompensated hepatitis C cirrhosis. “Patients with decompensated cirrhosis experience a variety of outcomes,” observed Winston Dunn, MD, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, MO, and colleagues, “and the prognostic factors for clinical recovery from decompensated cirrhosis after SVR remain unknown.”

The contribution of injection drug use to hepatitis C virus transmission globally, regionally, and at country level: a modelling study
‘WHO aims to eliminate the hepatitis C virus (HCV) as a public health threat by 2030. Injection drug use is an important risk factor for HCV transmission, but its contribution to country-level and global epidemics is unknown. We estimated the contribution of injection drug use to risk for HCV epidemics globally, regionally, and at country level.’

HCV Increases Mortality in Dialysis Patients
‘Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection was found to be an independent and significant risk factor for death in patients with chronic kidney disease on maintenance dialysis, in a new systematic review and meta-analysis of studies involving over a half-million patients.

NAFLD Prevalence Soars in HIV+ Medicare Patients
‘VIENNA — Rates of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) among Medicare patients living with HIV doubled in ten years, while rates of viral hepatitis among these patients declined, a researcher said here.

Hep C Rise Seen Among HIV-Negative Gay, Bi Men
‘Data emerging from the US and Europe shows that more HIV-negative gay and bisexual men are contracting hepatitis C than in the past, and New York-based health experts say PrEP’s role in preventing the spread of HIV could be altering what had been a longstanding link between the two infections.’

Short and sporadic injecting cessation episodes as predictors of incident hepatitis C virus infection: Findings from a cohort study of people who inject drugs in Montréal, Canada
‘In Montréal, Canada, researchers performed this cohort study investigating the predictive value of injecting cessation episodes over one- to three-months for acquiring hepatitis C virus (HCV). Between March 2011 and June 2016, enrollment of 372 HCV-uninfected (HCV RNA negative, HCV antibody positive or negative) people who inject drugs (mean age 39, 82% male, 45% HCV antibody positive) was done.’

Week Ending April 15, 2019

Quashing the resistance: MicroRNA regulates drug tolerance in subset of lung cancers
Relapse of disease following conventional treatments remains one of the central problems in cancer management, yet few therapeutic agents targeting drug resistance and tolerance exist. New research conducted at the Cancer Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center found that a microRNA—a small fragment of non-coding genetic material that regulates gene expression—mediates drug tolerance in lung cancers with a specific mutation. The findings, published today in Nature Metabolism, suggest that the microRNA could serve as a potential target for reversing and preventing drug tolerance in a subset of non-small-cell lung cancers.

Pioneers and Progress in Personalized Lung Cancer Treatment
The treatment of lung cancer with personalized medicine has come a long way in recent decades, but still more achievements remain to be seen, said Bruce Johnson, MD, FASCO, immediate past president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, during his keynote speech opening the Business of Oncology Summit hosted by the Florida Society of Clinical Oncology in Kissimmee, Florida.

Health Take-Away: Lung screening is recommended for smokers, those who quitH
Though cigarette smoking has reached the lowest level ever recorded among U.S. adults, it still remains the number-one cause of preventable disease and death, accounting for more than 480,000 deaths every year, or about 1 in 5 deaths. Lung cancer alone is responsible for 29% of cancer deaths, more than those from breast cancer, colon cancer and prostate cancer combined. Health Take-Away: Lung screening is recommended for smokers, those who quit.

Is It Too Soon to Augment Lung Cancer Screening Guidelines for High-Risk Patients?
A lung cancer risk prediction model identified patients at high risk for lung cancer who could forgo annual low-dose CT screening for a specified amount of time, potentially augmenting current lung cancer screening guidelines. The study results were recently published online in JAMA Network Open.

Studies show varying efficacy of immunotherapy in elderly patients with lung cancer
Pembrolizumab monotherapy extended OS compared with chemotherapy among elderly patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer, according to results of a pooled data analysis presented at European Lung Cancer Congress.

Dr. Reck on the Rationale of the Impower150 Study
Martin Reck, MD, PhD, head of the department of thoracic oncology at Lung Clinic Grosshansdorf, discusses the rationale for the IMpower150 study, which assessed the combination of atezolizumab (Tecentriq), bevacizumab (Avastin), and chemotherapy in the first-line treatment of patients with nonsquamous non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Dr. Marc Siegel: Sniffing out cancer before it’s too late
The science of cancer detection has taken some unusual turns lately. A new study from a Florida lab appropriately named BioScentDx, presented this week at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, found that four beagles could sniff out lung cancer from human blood samples with 97 percent accuracy.

KEYNOTE trials show pembrolizumab benefited patients with advanced small cell lung cancer
Prof Chung Hyun Cheol gives a press conference at AACR 2019 on the data from two separate KEYNOTE trials that showed anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody pembrolizumab was a benefit to patients with advanced small cell lung cancer.

Timely biomarker work-up helps ensure optimal lung cancer treatment
NEW YORK — This year’s HemOnc Today New York meeting kicked off with a session dedicated to treatment advances and challenges in lung cancer.

Week Ending April 15, 2019

Managing pain differently: A look at alternative therapies
“When patients with chronic pain visit Erica Kumala, MD, at the Family Medicine Clinic at Alvernon, they likely won’t leave with an opioid prescription. Rather, the second-year resident in the University of Arizona—Tucson Alvernon Family Medicine Residency program may recommend they try a supplement like magnesium or refer them to a local yoga class as part of their treatment plan.”

Where to Start When You Want to Optimize Your Health
“You could spend forever working out exactly how to live a healthy life—the Internet is full of hacks meant to help you optimize each little detail. But honestly, most of the benefits of sleep, exercise, and diet come from just doing the basics right. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, here’s where to start.”

Complementary, alternative medicine use high in cancer patients
“One-third of patients with cancer and cancer survivors report using complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), and many do not disclose use to physicians, according to a research letter published online April 11 in JAMA Oncology.”

Brain-gut connection explains why integrative treatments can help relieve digestive ailments
“During the 20th century, medicine became very good at compartmentalizing different systems of the body in order to understand them better. However, today we are increasingly realizing that different systems of the body are interconnected and cannot be completely understood in isolation.”

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