- Health Officials Warning Americans of Mosquito-Borne Illness
- Study: Red Meat Possibly Linked to Breast Cancer
- Report: Diabetes Numbers Continue To Rise In US
- AMA Policy Backs Strict E-Cigarette Restrictions
- Healthy Seniors Tested in Bid to Block Alzheimer's
- Study: Antidepressant May Cut Alzheimer's Protein
- The Deer Antler Velvet Supplement Debate
- Five of the Most Dangerous Foods for Young Children
- Johns Hopkins Cancer Center Using $65M Gift for New Patient Care Building
- 10-Year-Old Crossing Items Off 'Vision Bucket List' Before Disease Robs Him of Sight
- Gansler Calls For Manufacturers To Prevent Kids From 'Vaping'
- Recent Study May Provide Key To 'Fountain Of Youth'
- Study: Coffee May Decrease Risk for Type 2 Diabetes
- Study: Laughter May Help Improve Short-Term Memory
- Effective Weight Loss Pill on the Horizon? Study Sees Promising Results
- Groundbreaking Procedure Saves MD Man After Devastating Stroke
- New Treatment Helps Paralyzed Patients Move Again
- Survey: Rate of Uninsured Americans Drops
- National Volunteer Month and the Healing Power Of Dogs
- Encouraging Results from New Drug in Stalling Cancer Growth
- New Non-Invasive Treatment for Atrial Fibrillation Safer, More Effective
- Study: Odd Sleep Schedules May Lead to Irreversible Brain Cell Damage
- States Vote on Restricting Teen Tanning
- Study: Using Acupuncture to Treat Chemo Side Effects for Breast Cancer Patients
- Study to Test 'Chocolate' Pills for Heart Health
- Is the Egg An Essential Part of a Healthy Diet?
- Sinai Hospital Researchers Working to Prevent Heart Attacks
- Researchers: Blood Test Could Predict Alzheimer's in Elderly Patients
- Doctors Hope for Cure in a Second Baby Born With HIV
- 2-Year Extension Seen For Canceled Health Plans
- Diabetes and Risk of Stroke, an Inside Look at the Dangers and Warning Signs
- What is Best: Wild or Farm-Raised Salmon?
- How to Eat Healthy on a Budget
- Indiana Woman Gives Birth to Healthy Boy, Didn't Know She Was Pregnant
- California Senator Seeks Review of Paralysis Cases
- Study Suggests Women Reduce Risk of Cancer By Removing Ovaries by 35
- Polio-Like Illness a Mystery in California
- Maryland Health Benefit Exchange Fires IT Contractor
- MD Official: Listeria Patients Have Recovered
- Maryland Maternity Access Coalition Seeks Statewide Injured Baby Fund
- MD Resets Goal for Health Insurance Enrollment
- Take Action Thursday: Heart Disease
- Asthma in Winter: Tips for Minimizing Attacks
- Healthy Drinks for Kids
- Heart Disease: The Symptoms Many Might Not Recognize
- Doctors at Hopkins Develop Procedure to Cure Excessive Sweating
- Health Exchange Woes to Come Before Md. Board
- Workers, Business Owners Debate Sick-Leave Mandate
- Study: Occasional 'Treat' May Help Overall Weight Loss
- 'Broken Heart Syndrome,' Can Have Symptoms Similar to Heart Attack, Study Finds
- Caffeine Common in Kids, Young Adults; Mainly Soda
- Experts Increasingly Contemplate End of Smoking
- FDA Reconsiders Heart Safety of Common Pain Pills
- First Guidelines Issued to Prevent Stroke in Women
- Frederick Co Mother Fighting for Medical Marijuana for her Children
- Breakthrough in Cancer Research at John's Hopkins Ludwig Center
- NIH Paying Volunteers to Catch the Flu
- Joint Experience Program - Jennifer Gilbert
Breakthrough in Cancer Research at John's Hopkins Ludwig Center
Updated: Monday, February 10 2014, 05:07 PM EST
The Ludwig Center team at John's Hopkins has successfully cracked the codes of more than a dozen forms of cancer. Breast cancer, colon cancer, brain cancer---all have genetic codes---codes that need to be cracked in order to further cancer research with the ultimate goal of finding a cure.
With this knowledge, and a recent gift of more than $90 million, strides are being made to eradicate a disease that touches everyone's life.
It was a whole new world for Brenna Kasoff who, after beginning her first semester in college, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
"Imagine an 18 year old, far from home, calling at 5 in the morning," Brenna's mom Joyce recalled. "She was hysterical. I couldn't understand her and she said, 'Mommy, I have ovarian cancer.'"
Brenna's tumor was very large - the size of a child's football - and necessitated a complete hysterectomy.
"We didn't have Thanksgiving at home," Joyce said. "We didn't have Thanksgiving dinner. It was the farthest thing from our mind. We didn't have any Christmas gifts or Christmas shopping."
Brenna's doctor allowed her to spend Christmas at home on one condition - that she begin the first of her five rounds of chemotherapy the very next day.
"This has been the hardest experience of our lives and at this point I take it a day at a time," Joyce said.
For the Ludwig team, the first breakthrough came in 2006.
"As scientists we're used to failure," Ludwig Cancer Center's Dr. Chetan Bettegowea said. "The vast majority of ideas that we have, the vast majority of experiments that we run, don't work. To have fundamental breakthroughs such as the ones that have happened over the last 10-12 years is incredibly rewarding."
The question now is, what is done with all the information, and how is it applied to help patients like Brenna?
The Ludwig team members say it's all about application. One of the main goals is early detection, coming up with new ways to stop cancer in its tracks.
"People don't usually die from the primary tumor," Dr. Nick Papadopoulos said. "They die because it spreads to other organs. It gets resistant, and we get all of those horror stories that we hear."
Papadopoulos continued, "So how do you go from having those cracked codes to early detection? Those are the changes in the genes that represent in these cancers and those are now our markers to develop tests that can detect changes very early before the cancer is at the stage where it's incurable."
The $90 million dollar gift received from the Ludwig Cancer Research Foundation last month will be used to fund experiments and clinical trials. New preventative measures are already being discovered.
When doctors at the center took pap smears from women with cancers in various parts of their gyn tract they were able to see that there were markers that were shed into the pap smear, not just for women with cervical cancer but also for women with ovarian cancer and ereuto cancer.
Doctors hope by implementing the knowledge of genetics they'll be able to make a new test to try to detect the tumors in the ovaries at a state that allows better treatment.
Those new developments and groundbreaking ideas - while in the works - won't come to fruition overnight. In fact the director of the Ludwig Center says once a disease is understood, it's only a matter of time before it is conquered. But that time is not measured in months and years, it's measured in decades.
"This is not a sprint," Dr. Nishant Agrawal said. "It's a marathon."
Brenna's scans from her chemotherapy treatment are expected to be available in a few weeks. If you'd like to help Brenna visit her go fundme website at www.gofundme.com/teambrenna