Newspaper Archive of
Heritage Florida Jewish News
Fern Park , Florida
June 14, 2013     Heritage Florida Jewish News
PAGE 20     (20 of 52 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
PAGE 20     (20 of 52 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
June 14, 2013

Newspaper Archive of Heritage Florida Jewish News produced by SmallTownPapers, Inc.
Website © 2019. All content copyrighted. Copyright Information.     Terms Of Use.     Request Content Removal.

PAGE 4B HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JUNE 14, 2013 By Karin Kloosterman ISRAEL21c Breast cancer can be curable if it's caught soon enough--unless it is the "triple negative" type more likely to target young, black or Hispanic women. Israeli researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot Israel are opening a new window of hope for the daughters and granddaughters of women diagnosed with triple-negative breast can- cer. The cancer carries a strong genetic link and it is als0 found in people of Jewish Ashkenazi (Eastern European) ancestry. "It's quite a difficult dis- ease," says professor Yosef Yarden, a lead researcher in the new study from the insti- tute's Biological Regulation Department. "Women who are initially treated with chemotherapy show a good response, but they eventu- ally develop resistance to the chemical therapy. They die within seven or eight years," he tells ISRAEL21c. Yarden and his colleague professor Michael Sela have determined that a two-anti- body approach may increase survival rates, and reduce the odds of reoccurrence. The cancer is called "triple negative" because it is lacking three hormone receptors that give fuel to most cancerous tumors-- estrogen, progesterone and HER2. Successful hormone blockers like Herceptin do not work, and there is no solution for triple-negative cancer, Yarden says. The Israelis' experimental approach employs tactics to mimic the way the body normally defends itself against cancer. As scientists do, Yarden and Sela began by study- ing the scientific literature to see what's been done to solve the problem of triple- negative breast cancer. They challenged themselves to target the cancer in a new way: Instead of attacking one antibody on the tumor surface, which is how Her- ceptin works, they would look for another doorway. They read that about 30 percent of all women with triple-negative cancer had higher than normal rates of E GFR, a growth hormone receptor. This presented a unique subtype of the triple- negative breast cancer to research. Drugs that block EGFR have proven ineffective against these tumors. Going back to the drawing board, the Israeli team decided to deliver a double punch by combining two different antibodies to two different parts of the receptors. And their hunch showed a positive effect: Breast- cancer cells shrunk in both animal models and in the Petri dish. If this approach is devel- oped into a drug, it might treat about five percent of all breast cancer patients, a meaningful proportion considering the aggressive- ness of triple negative, says Yarden. In their studies, the researchers subsequently uncovered a new cancer- Professor Yosef Yarden in his Weizmann lab. blocking mechanism: using the double antibody ap- proach, they were not only able to block EGFR, but the sheer weight of the antibod- ies attaching to the tumors caused individual cancer cells to collapse. While the tests are very positive, they have only been done on animals so far. Further collaboration with pharmaceutical companies will be needed to fund prog- ress toward a viable drug alternative, Yarden says. After their research was published in The Proceed- ings of the National Acade- my of Sciences, industry and potential research partners started reaching out. A new antibody is sought--one that could synergistically activate the two already on the market. These two existing antibod- ies do not show a synergistic effect since they are both at- tracted to the same receptor on the cancer cell. Genetic engineering and a molecular approach might be a step in the right direc- tion, Yarden surmises. A vaccination against cancer would be the ulti- mate goal. "What we are doing is the building block for future vaccines--either in active immunotherapy, where a patient will actively make antibodies; or in a passive approach, where we will provide the antibodies to the patient. Passive is used widely, while active is kind of a dream and a vision for the field. We have a much lorrger way to go," says Yarden. By Sandee Brawarsky New York Jewish Week On a recent Wednesday af- ternoon, The Jewish Museum was closed to the public. But a group ofvisitors on the second floorwas looking closely at the art and installations, discuss- ing the artist's background and approach and comment- ing on what they saw and felt, sometimes expressing very strong opinions. Prompted by a lively mu- seum educator, some of the dozen or so participants related the artwork to their own lives; others expressed admiration for the representa- tions of beauty. The fact that even before they left the museum 90 minutes later, most would not remember what they saw, or where they had been, was beside the point. About once a month during the school year, the museum opens its galleries to people with dementia and their fam- ily members or caregivers in a unique program called JM Journeys, believed to be the only such program offered at a Jewish museum. Usually, the group splits in two, with the procession of wheelchairs, rolling walkers and people holding gallery stools stop- ping in front of a few pieces of art for discussion, before heading to tables in the au- ditorium to do an art project together. After viewing the recent exhibit of medieval manu- scripts from the Bodleian Library, participants learned how to apply gold leaf to a parchment-like paper. The educators passed around the tools that the calligraphers and illuminators might have used, encouraging members of the group to try their hands at lettering by dipping a reed pen into ink. I've been attending this program for two years, ac- companying my mother. With patience, respect and real creativity, the educators and organizers thoroughly engage people who no longer can communicate as they once did, and lead them to new modes of expression. In the moment, the haze of dementia seems to lift. Dara Cohen, the museum's manager of school programs and outreach, points out that studies have shown the connection between visual art--whether looking at it or creating it--and memory. "There's something about the immediacy, the fact that there's something in front of a nametag. No one says the someone with dementia, the word "dementia." idea of getting their fingers Aregularattendee, Victoria dirty experimenting with art Pacaud, just turned 100. Her materials is not an experience caregiver, Juan-Carlos Rojas, they normally have. There's who always shows up dressed something about the physical in jacket and tie, said, "It's so act of making art that is just interesting to come here. I'm great. It's wonderful to watch the groUp that people~n- learningaboutJewishh/story,(~:~n action. And art making nectto, as we've seen in some We always hear something ...... stimulates the brain--they're cases, that has brought back beautiful.": morelikelytobemoreverbally memories or allow dthem to Educators addi ess the par- expressive while making art." connect to past ex!~rience, in a way that daily discussion does not." Cohen runs the program, now in its second year, along with Meredith Wong, the museum's scheduling and ac- cess coordinator, who added, "They're not required to respond verbally. A blink of an eye or a gesture are all welcome and encouraged." The group varies each ses- sion, and most participants are late middle-aged and up; they come from Manhattan as well as from Brooklyn and Queens. Some arrive with caregivers, others with family members, and some with both. Several arrive as couples, with one spouse helping or holding the hand of the other. Everyone wears ticipants by their first names. There are no right answers here, and all responses are met with affirmation, even those that trail off. People speak with honesty, like the woman who was asked what she saw in R.B. Kitaj's piece "Transitions," with its muted colors, in the current show "R.B. Kitaj: Personal Library." "Nothing," she replied. At another session, at the exhibit "As it were ... So to speak: A Museum Collection in Dialogue with Barbara Bloom," the group was asked to describe the woman sit- ting alone at a table, with Shabbat candles lit, in Isidore Kaufmann's 1920 painting, "Friday Evening." Some said she looks lonely, or like a widow, but a woman who has lit Shabbat candles for decades said with conviction, "No, she is waiting." And Rhoda Resnick of Manhattan, delighting in the installation artist's as- semblages, asked, "Is Barbara Bloom here? I'd like to meet her." At the exhibition's stand of spice boxes, educator Hollie Ecker passed around small vials of scents to the group, and had them match the scents with colors. A ceramic artist, she said later, "I always think of multi-modal ways of thinking about art." "More than anything, we're trying to create a happy mo- ment in the now that may or may or may not remind them of happy times in their lives," Ecker said. Wong said she enjoys watching the studio compo- nent of the program. "For Cohen and Wong speak of the importance of engaging the caregiver, whether a pro- fessional or family member, as well as the person with dementia, to help them to work together, and also to provide needed stimulation to the caregiver, who is often isolated. Cohen explains that in establishing the program, the museum partnered with the Alzheimer's Association and Arts & Minds, a nonprofit organization committed to improving quality of life for people with Alzheimer's dis- ease and other dementias. They did extensive train- ing and planning. Now, the Metropolitan Museum, The Museum of Modern Art, The Rubin Museum, The Studio Museum of Harlem and The New York Historical Society are among the museums with similar programs. Lin Jacobson accompanies her husband, Manny, from their Upper West Side home to The Jewish Museum and to programs at several other museums around the city. "We always went to muse- ums," she said, looking back on their younger years. "Now, to have the opportunity tovisit a museum and sit and discuss a work of art--to begin a con- versation--is so rich, it's like a graduate seminar." Jack Resnick added, "It's very stimulating for my wife. And it's nice to get out of the house." Myrlande Pierre-Loisseau, a caregiver who was born in Haiti and recently became a citizen, said that she hadn't been to museums before and is learning from the teachers, seeing art she has never seen before. As for the woman she lovingly cares for, she says, "When she's looking at art, she's more alive and interest- ed, freely offering opinions." Matt Kudish, director of Education, Outreach and Caregiver Services at the New York chapter of the Alzheim- er's Association, which has been involved with initiating programs in many museums, notes that conversations can be very basic--about colors, or about more complex issues, depending on where the par- ticipant is, in terms of stages of the disease. "We have all these assump- tions about what a person with dementia can do," he continued. "We see people who are non-verbal, and when they are asked certain kinds of questions in the right environment, they are drawn out in amazing and beautiful ways. These programs can provide opportunities for surprise--that'swhat hope is, to be open to surprises and to opportunities." The program is free for par- ticipants, who are treated like honored guests at The Jewish Museum. The security guards go the extra mile too, in help- ing these visitors get in and out of the building. Funding comes from private founda- tions, individual donors and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Betty Francolo and her husband, William, travel to the Museum from Kew Gardens, Queens. She said, "It's enlightening for him. He doesn't remember much the next day but that doesn't matter. He enjoys the day." The final program for the season is June 19. For infor- mation about registering for future events, email access@ Sandee Brawarsky is the book critic for The New York Jewish Week, from which this article was reprinted by permission.