Friday Frontline: Cancer Updates, Research and Education on June 4, 2020

June 5, 2020

From the Food and Drug Administration asking pharmaceutical companies to voluntarily recall metformin, a type 2 diabetes medication, as it contains high levels of the cancer-causing contaminant NDMA to an NHL team’s fanbase showing support to a player as he finishes treatment for Ewing sarcoma, here’s what is making the headlines in the cancer space this week.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asks companies to recall metformin, a popular type-2 diabetes drug, as it contains high levels of a contaminant called N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) that causes cancer.

The agency said it found high levels of NDMA in extended-release forms of metformin and is asking drug manufactures to voluntarily recall products that contain NDMA. Two manufactures, Amneal Pharmaceuticals and Apotex Corp, have recalled their 500milligram (mg) and 750 mg metformin tablets.

“While hearing that our medicines — agents essential for our health and well-being — could be compromised in any way is certainly alarming, it is important to understand the magnitude of the risk, which is extremely low,” Dr. Amir Masoud, a Yale Medicine gastroenterologist and assistant professor of internal medicine, said in an interview.

While the risk is extremely low, patients are advised to talk to their doctor if they currently take metformin.

An NFL Hall of Famer has been diagnosed with an aggressive from of cancer.

According to former teammate Pat Killorin, Denver Broncos legend Floyd Little is fighting a “treatable but aggressive form of cancer”. “No doubt it will be the toughest fight of his life," Killorin wrote. "Although he has lived a full life admired and enjoyed by many, Floyd doesn’t believe he has yet written, with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the final play of his life.”

Little is perhaps most known at his alma matter Syracuse University where he played from 1964-1966. He was a three-time All American and finished his college career with 2,704 rushing yards and 46 touchdowns. Little was drafted sixth overall and played nine seasons with the Denver Broncos and was inducted into the league’s hall of fame in 2010.

Cancer hospitals have been forced to reimagine how they care for patients with cancer amid the COVID-19 pandemic as some patients are being diagnosed with cancer and the novel coronavirus simultaneously.

At Memorial Sloan Kettering Eliza Paris, a 25-year-old patient with stage 4 appendix cancer, received multiple rounds of chemotherapy and had to undergo an 18-hour surgery to remove her ovaries, gallbladder, spleen, appendix and part of her colon. She required chemotherapy consistently but due to the coronavirus her treatment plan was halted. She moved to Atlanta to work from home with her family and after experiencing extreme stomach pains woke up in the ICU with sepsis, coronavirus and cancer.

“I hit the trifecta," Paris said in an interview. "I was also trying to advocate for myself, to say, 'Listen, I'm not your normal 27-year-old woman. I have cancer.'" Paris also explained that during her experience in the ICU all she can really think back on is not being able to catch her breath.

Paris has since recovered from her bout with COVID-19 and has resumed chemotherapy treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering under their guidelines to restrict the spread of the virus,

Philadelphia Flyers forward Oskar Lindbolm is currently battling Ewing sarcoma and some sources say he is close to finishing treatment for the disease. His fans made sure to show their support.

A recent series on NHL.com and the league’s official twitter account asked fans who they thought was the best current player wearing the number 23. The options were Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Sean Monahan, Dustin Brown, Adam Fox and Sam Reinhart. Lindbolm, who also wears 23, was left out but not in the fan responses. Fans responded with pictures and gifs of Lindbolm in his jersey including an official tweet from the Flyers twitter account.

"His treatments are doing well," Alain Vigneault, the Flyers head coach, said. "I’ve been texting him more on a regular basis since the beginning. We’ll have some news when the season starts again.”


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