From actor Rick Aiello’s death due cancer to the FDA approval of a medication to treat lymphoma in dogs, here’s what’s happening in the cancer landscape this week.
Rick Aiello died from pancreatic cancer at age 65 on Monday. Aiello was known for his acting work in “Jungle Fever” and “Sex and the City,” and was also the son of late Oscar-nominated actor Danny Aiello, who starred in “Moonstruck” and “The Godfather: Part II.”
Aiello’s older brother, Danny Aiello III, also died from pancreatic cancer in 2010. He was 53.
"Ricky was a wonderful father, husband and a good friend to so many people," Aiello’s wife, Arlene Urichich, said in a statement. "After losing his brother and then his Dad, he continued to show such courage and strength throughout his own battle with cancer. For 18 and 1/2 months he just fought so hard. After all our years together, it’s difficult to imagine our life without him. I’m grateful for all the support my family has been receiving during this sad time."
Aiello was survived by his wife, his two children Ricky Jr. and Tori, his mother Sandy, his brother Jaime as well as his sister Stacy.
Lymphoma is one of the most common canine cancers, with a life expectancy after diagnosis of just one to two months without treatment. Recently, the FDA approved Tanovea (rabacfosadine) to treat the disease.
Tanovea is an injection administered into the dogs’ veins, in five doses given three weeks apart. It contains a molecule which targets the lymphoma cells.
According to Freethink, while there’s no indication that Tanovea will be used in humans, researchers have begun to reference canine cancer studies in thinking about cancer treatments in humans, because dogs are more biologically similar to people than lab mice and share the same environment.
Howard L. Young, 75, was sentenced to eight years in prison last week after falsely claiming to have a grant from Vanderbilt University to study patients with cancer. He had been posing as a holistic wellness business, claiming to have cured himself from cancer with naturopathic methods.
In the scheme, Young required patients to pay $10,000 to participate in a study that did not exist, telling them their money would be returned afterward. His scheme tricked more than 80 patients, financial institutions and investors out of just under $700,000, according to AP News.
In October 2020, Young was charged with bank fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, to which he pleaded guilty. He was ordered to pay $693,128.66 in restitution.
Jesse Starr, 8, helped gather his community to raise almost $20,000 for his friend Claire Calvin, 7. Calvin, who has a brain tumor, was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma in 2020.
The two friends met in school and quickly became friends. When Starr found out about Calvin’s diagnosis, he decided to sell the pet hog he raised at his family’s farm – which sold for $16,000. After additional contributions from community businesses and a T-shirt sale among neighbors, the total was raised to just under $20,000.
"Jesse is such an amazing and thoughtful kid. Honestly, it didn’t surprise me that he came up with this generous idea but we were so grateful," Calvin's mother, Rachael Record, told Fox News.
Calvin’s cancer was discovered when she underwent testing at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and a tumor was detected on her brain stem.
"Claire is doing well overall,” Record said. “The tumor is significantly smaller than it was at diagnosis. She will continue with the clinical trial at this time…The community has supported us in so many ways. It’s been so amazing and we are so very grateful.”
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