YOUR HEALTH: A new leukemia treatment with positive results

LEHI, Utah – Lila Javan was 39 when she was diagnosed with AML the first time.

"36 hours later, I was in UCLA hospital on IV, chemo, 24/7. And I didn't leave that hospital for two months."

After months of chemo and a stem cell transplant, Lila was back home with her cat O'Malley.   But four years later, the cancer came back.

"There were times when I thought I wasn't going to make it."

Most patients diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, or AML, face weeks of intense, brutal chemotherapy and maybe a stem cell transplant.

Even then, the American Cancer Society says only about 27 percent will live another five years.

David Bearss company, Tolero Pharmaceuticals, is testing a drug called Alvocidib, which targets a protein called CDK-9.

"It affects a particular protein that those AML cells like to express," explained Bearss.   "It's a survival protein; it's a protein that helps them not die."

CDK-9 allows cancer cells to ignore signals to die.   Alvocidib lets the chemotherapy in to kill the cancer.   Trials show it is improving remission rates.

Bearss says 25 percent of AML patients have something in them that allows Alvocidib to work.
They're tested for that before getting into the trial.

"It asks the question, what is the mechanism the cell is using to live, and if it's using this particular protein, then we know the drug will work," said Bearss.

Lila's in remission again, but she's still excited about Alvocidib potential.

"It's amazing," said Lila.   "You know, like I said, it would be a total game changer and so many people would be helped."

The Alvocidib trial has enrolled 400 patients and is being run at the University of Iowa and eight other sites in the US and Canada.   It's open only to people who have positive responses to the test but Tolero expects to run a bigger randomized study soon and will have a better idea of how long Alvocidib can extend people`s lives.

NEW TECHNOLOGY: Researchers are testing a drug called Alvocidib that targets a protein called CDK-9 which allow cancer cells to ignore signals to die. Alvocidib lets the chemotherapy in to kill the cancer cells. The Alvocidib Phase II clinical trials in AML enrolled more than 400 patients. The trial demonstrates that there is significant activity when alvocidib is combined with a dosing treatment that includes the standard of care agents cytarabine and mitoxantrone (ACM). The study demonstrated that ACM showed an improvement in the complete remission (CR) rate of high-risk AML compared to the standard-of-care.  (Source: http://www.toleropharma.com/alvocidib.html)

If this story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Jim Mertens at jim.mertens@wqad.com or Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at mthomas@ivanhoe.com.

East Moline addiction center program waits on Illinois state funds for over a year

EAST MOLINE-- After almost 30 years of battling a heroin addiction Sarah is now 5 months sober.

That's the longest time she's gone without feeding her addiction, but it's been a long road to recovery.

The first time she tried heroin was at 18 years-old.

"It was like, a warm sense of well-being...nothing really mattered anymore," says Sarah.

After that it didn't take her long before she found herself looking for her next fix.

"When that (feeling) wears off...it's depression...so you do it again and eventually you have a habit and you need it," says Sarah.

It wasn't until she arrived at the center of Rock Island County Council of Addictions as part of their long-term inpatient program, that she was able to battle her addiction and stay sober.

"It’s definitely a problem that needs to be addressed, I’ve struggled with it for so long and so many times I’ve wanted to get help and couldn’t get help," says Sarah.

But now the program that's helped her with her own crisis is going through obstacles of their own. The treatment center hasn't received their funds from the state of Illinois for the program since last November.

Much of that money comes from vouchers through the state's Department of Corrections but it hasn't been signed off by Governor Bruce Rauner. The lack of funding has put a hold on expanding and improving the addiction center.

The executive director of the center, Mary Engholm, says she wants to open more beds in the treatment center.

"My hope is that I can dedicate those (beds) to opiates...specifically for opiate treatment. That is the long-term goal," says Engholm.

From Sarah's experience finding a place to recover was another obstacle getting in the way to get the help she needed.

"Sometimes there were beds available at treatment centers (sometimes) there weren't. I had to be put on a waiting list so I'd have to call everyday and I couldn't get help," says Sarah.

For now, the addiction center relies on funding from other programs in the center.

They're now looking for ways to raise funds to expand so they can open their doors for more patients and help their road to recovery.

"I know I’ll never beat this disease, I know its something  I’ll have to put effort and work into it every single day," says Sarah.







93-year-old takes late wife’s photo to restaurant so he can still have lunch dates with her

GLENNVILLE, Ga.– True love does exist. Just look at Clarence Purvis and you’ll know it’s true.

Clarence, 93, was with the love of his life, Carolyn, for more than six decades. They had three children together.  She passed away four years ago.

But, her memory still lives on every single day.

“Ain’t nobody loved one another more than me and my wife loved one another,” Clarence told WTOC.

Clarence takes photos of Carolyn with him to his favorite Georgia restaurant so he can still have lunch dates with her. “She was always with me when we were livin’.  She’s with me now.”

His beautiful gesture has touched the hearts of many people including those at the restaurant where he dines.

Clarence also drives to his late wife’s grave each day and keeps her favorite lamp on in their living room.

He told WTOC, “I love her that much, and miss her that much.”

Pushing for more women in the Iowa Legislature

MUSCATINE, Iowa - A group of women wants to change the face of politics

"I feel like there`s a lot of little boys in the sandbox that it`s my way or no way and we really need to collaborate and work together," said Ann Rhinehart.

They want to see more women in the Iowa legislature. 50/50 in 2020 is an organization to push more women into politics. The goal is to have women make up 50 percent of the Iowa legislature by the year 2020.

"In Iowa, we have only 23 percent women in the Iowa legislature, women make up 53 percent of the population," said Jean Llyod-Jones, co-founder.

The toughest challenge is convincing women they can run for office.

"From what I`ve seen women tend to think they`re not qualified that it requires some kind of experience level to be ready to run and that`s definitely not true so I think having groups like this is going to change that," said Lauren Whitehead, a councilwoman in Solon, Iowa.

The group holds different events like their "Step Up" event to hopefully get more women like Rhinehart interested.

"To be honest I`m very tired of what`s going on in politics today and I`m tired of just moaning about it and not doing anything," said Rhinehart.

Even though Iowa has its first female U.S. Senator and first female governor, the group says more representation is needed.

"We`re pretty sure in the legislature women would be a really good influence but there have to be enough of them so that they can have a real impact," said Lloyd-Jones.

The organization also hosts a two-day seminar at the state capitol in Des Moines. People get to explore both the House and Senate chambers and have a Q and A session with legislative leaders and the governor.


Mystery smell leads to emergency response at steel plant

BETTERNDORF, Iowa -- The area surrounding Sivyer Steel this afternoon was filled with emergency crews from several departments but the situation looked worse than it actually was, according to a Sivyer Steel official.

A release from the company stated a supervisor detected an odor in the plant, which was determined to be coming from a smoldering fiber barrel containing a powder used in the steel casting-making process. The entire manufacturing facility was evacuated and Bettendorf Police and Fire departments were called as a precaution.

The barrel was isolated and workers were able to return to the building.

There were no injuries reported.

Pennsylvania father accused of selling heroin from baby daughter’s maternity ward

GREENSBURG, Pa. – Police arrested a 25-year-old man for selling heroin from a room in the same hospital where his newborn child was staying, according to WPMT.

Cody Hulse, of Latrobe, was visiting his baby at Excela Westmoreland Hospital Thursday when he was arrested, police say.

Hulse was allegedly dealing the narcotic inside the maternity ward where his baby daughter was being cared for, according to WPVI.

He allegedly admitted to selling heroin and was found to be in possession of 34 baggies of suspected heroin and drug paraphernalia when police took him into custody, according to a post on the Greensburg Police Department’s Facebook page.

Hulse’s girlfriend told police she had no idea the alleged drug dealing was happening, according to WPVI.

New dad accused of selling heroin from room in maternity ward the day his baby was born! Cody Hulse arraigned today, hear from him tonight! pic.twitter.com/dt3Zz15poi

— Melanie Marsalko (@WPXIMelanie) October 20, 2017