My mother; PLEASE send this on <fwd> (fwd)

Avry akss at
Wed Oct 16 22:02:52 EST 1996

>>>         My mom, Gunisha Singh, was diagnosed about a month ago with
>>> cancer--she has malignant mesothelioma, which is cancer of the inner chest
>>> cavity. This is a rare and mostly incurable form of cancer. Standard
>>> treatment like chemotherapy and radiation therapy is not very effective
>>> against it, and by the time her particular cancer was diagnosed it was
>>> judged inoperable by Dr. M.S. Bains of the Memorial Sloane-Kettering Cancer
>>> Center in New York City.
>>>         As far as we know, the only treatment that can potentially cure her
>>> is gene-therapy. Gene-therapy is on the cutting edge of cancer treatment;
>>> basically what doctors do is take an ordinary virus like the cold virus,
>>> fill it with "suicide genes" that will cause the cancer cells to
>>> self-destruct, and then inject the virus into the chest cavity. So far this
>>> treatment has been very successful. My mom was waiting in New York to get
>>> into a gene-therapy treatment program at the University of Pennsylvania, but
>>> the FDA just shut down the program because the virus the doctors there were
>>> using was having adverse side-effects. Doctors at UPenn have restarted that
>>> program using another virus and are now testing on animals. They will not be
>>> ready to take human patients for some months.
>>>         Life expectancy for sufferers from mesothelioma usually ranges from
>>> 12-18 months. Please help my family. We are looking for **other treatment
>>> options for MALIGNANT STAGE III MESOTHELIOMA,** including other gene-therapy
>>> programs anywhere in the world.
>>> We are primarily looking for DOCTORS/SPECIALISTS/RESEARCHERS who could point
>>> us to alternative treatments or GOVT. OFFICIALS/connections with the FDA who
>>> could we could communicate with about restarting the gene-therapy program at
>>> UPenn. But please send this to ANYONE and EVERYONE--post it in newsgroups,
>>> send it email, etc--you never know who could be a key link in the chain to
>>> my mother's recovery.
>>> Thanks everyone :)
>>> =)ashika
>>> ********************************************************************
>>> If you have no medical knowledge the following probably won't make much
>>> sense to you, but you are welcome to read it anyway.
>>> DESCRIPTION WAS WRITTEN BY LARRY R. KAISER, M.D., one of the doctors in
>>> charge of the gene-therapy program at UPenn, recommending my mom as an ideal
>>> patient for gene-therapy.
>>> ********************************************************************
>>> Sept 13, 1996
>>> Gunisha Singh is a 46 year old Indian female with no significant past
>>> medical history who presents for evaluation of a newly diagnosed right-sided
>>> pleural malignant mesothelioma.
>>>         Mrs. Singh was in her usual excellent state of health until
>>> approximately January 1996 when she noticed the onset of right neck, arm,
>>> and shoulder discomfort gradually increasing in intensity. This was often
>>> accompanied by a burning sensation in the distal arm and fingers on the
>>> right side. At that time she was living in Hong Kong and was evaluated by a
>>> neurosurgeon who felt that her symptoms were consistent with two herniated
>>> cervical discs. The patient then came to the U.S. for evaluation by a
>>> neurosurgeon at the University of California in San Francisco who felt that
>>> she had cervical spondylosis with herniated discs without evidence of frank
>>> neurological impairment. At this time, her primary intervention was
>>> manipulation of pain to control her symptoms.
>>>         While in California, the patient had an episode where she had severe
>>> chest pain and collapsed from the severity of her symptoms. She was brought
>>> to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, California where chest X-ray
>>> was performed which documented the presence of right-sided pleural
>>> thickening and masses. On the 22nd of August, the patient underwent
>>> right-sided video thoracoscopy for biopsy which revealed the presence of
>>> malignant mesothelioma. Pathology was reviewed and confirmed at the Mayo
>>> Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona. Importantly, no pleurodesis was performed at
>>> the time of the video thoracoscopy. Review of CT scans of the chest and
>>> abdomen at the time revealed questionable lymph adenopathy in the
>>> pre-vascular space, right pleural disease predominantly at the apex and at
>>> the base with no evidence of asbestos pleural plaques. There was a question
>>> of extension of the mass at the base of the right lung through the right
>>> hermidiaphragm and into the liver. A follow-up MRI examination of the chest
>>> with carinal views was obtained which again questioned the resence of
>>> transdiaphragmatic extension of the mass through the right hemidiaphragm
>>> into the peritoneal cavity.
>>>         The patient was referred to Dr. M.S.Bains at the Memorial
>>> Sloane-Kettering Cancer Center who on 9/11/96 performed a video laparoscopy
>>> with documentation of tumor extending through the right hemi-diaphragm and
>>> onto the surface of the liver. He felt that she would not be a candidate for
>>> primary surgical resection and referred her to the University of
>>> Pennsylvania Center for Lung Cancer and Related Disorders for evalution of
>>> Phase I clinical trial using gene-therapy for mesothelioma.
>>>         The patient's past medical history is essentially unremarkable. Her
>>> past surgical history is significant only for a C section. Occupational
>>> history is negative for exposure to asbestos. She does have a possible
>>> exposure to asbestos from her childhood in India at which time she lived in
>>> buildings which may have had extensive asbestos in them. Social history is
>>> negative for any tobacco, alcohol, or drug use as she is a Sikh. Her husband
>>> is an executive for Chase Manhattan Bank and although they currently live in
>>> Hong Kong, he is stationed in Bombay and they own a home in New York.
>>>         Mrs. Singh is a 46 year old female with a Stage III mesothelioma of
>>> mized cellular type with a question of mediastinal involvement but with
>>> documented extension through the right hemidiaphragm into the peritoneal
>>> cavity. In addition, I feel that she has suggestion of compression of the
>>> right brachial plexus accounting for her right cervical and right upper
>>> extremity symptomatology. The fact that she has patent pleural space, is not
>>> a surgical candidate, and has had no other therapy to date, she would be an
>>> excellent candidate for our gene therapy clinical trial.
>>>                          Ashika Singh
>>> asingh at                        "(S)he that is to govern a
>>>whole Nation,
>>>      must read in himself not this,
>>>or that
>>> Hahvahd University                      particular man, but Mankind"--Hobbes
>>dcm1 at

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