Former Spain coach Luis Enrique announced the death of his nine-year-old daughter from bone cancer on Thursday.
“Our daughter Xana passed away this afternoon at nine years old, after fighting for five intense months against osteosarcoma,” Luis Enrique tweeted.
“We will miss you enormously but we will remember you every day of our lives,” he added.
Luis Enrique resigned as national coach in June “due to the reasons which had prevented me from fulfilling my duties as normal since last March” he said at the time.
His personal issue was never made public, until now.
Assistant Robert Moreno has been in charge for Spain’s last three matches and will now lead the team through Euro 2020 qualifying and the final tournament, in what is his first job as a professional coach.
In his poignant Twitter post, Luis Enrique thanked all the messages of support “received during these months”.
Prominent figures in football were quick to send Enrique their condolences, with his former Spain captain Sergio Ramos posting on Twitter: “All our support and love for you and your family. There are no words, but you always have us by your side.”
The president of the Spanish football federation Luis Rubiales sent a message to his former coach: “Always by your side, next to (Enrique’s wife) Elena and your whole family.”
La Liga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid also posted their condolences on social media, while the reaction to the sad news crossed into other sports.
“I just learned the terrible news of Xana’s death. I am very sad and can’t even imagine the pain of the family,” wrote tennis player Rafael Nadal, who is currently at the US Open in New York.
“A huge hug to Luis Enrique and the whole family from a distance. A lot of strength and encouragement in these hard times.”
A domestic worker sacked after a cancer diagnosis was awarded damages by a Hong Kong court Monday, in a case that highlighted the exploitation of foreign women toiling as maids in the wealthy financial hub.
Baby Jane Allas of the Philippines was diagnosed with stage three cervical cancer in January and fired the following month by her employer, who cited the illness as the reason for termination.
The 38-year-old single mother of five instantly lost the right to healthcare and has had to regularly apply for visa extensions as she navigated Hong Kong’s legal and immigration systems while battling cancer.
She has been undergoing radiation therapy five days a week, along with chemotherapy one day a week.
Allas and her former employer — who was absent from Monday’s proceedings — reached a settlement of HK30,000 ($3,800) at Hong Kong’s labour tribunal for sickness allowance, medical fees and wages in lieu of notice.
“I am standing here right now to encourage more workers to come out if they have these kinds of cases,” Allas said outside the hearing.
Paul Allen, who founded Microsoft with Bill Gates in the 1970s and later went on to become an investor, philanthropist and sports team owner, died on Monday after his latest battle with cancer at age 65.
“My brother was a remarkable individual on every level. While most knew PaulAllen as a technologist and philanthropist, for us he was a much-loved brother and uncle, and an exceptional friend,” Allen’s sister Jody said in a statement announcing his death.
In recent years, Allen was known as the owner of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks and the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers, and part owner of the Major League Soccer team the Seattle Sounders, along with a variety of business and charitable ventures.
One of the world’s wealthiest billionaires, Allen also founded Stratolaunch Systems, which built the world’s largest plane designed as a colossal rocket-launching aircraft touted as the future of space travel.
The craft was on track for its first launch demonstration as early as 2019.
Allen died just two weeks after publicly revealing that non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma he fought into remission nine years ago had returned. Incurable cancer affects white blood cells.
He never married and had no children.
Classmate of Gates
Allen was a high school classmate of Gates in Seattle, and later, while working as a computer programmer, persuaded his friend to drop out of Harvard to create Microsoft, which became the world’s most valuable company in the 1990s.
A “heartbroken” Gates remembered Allen as “one of my oldest and dearest friends.”
“Personal computing would not have existed without him,” Gates added.
“He was fond of saying, ‘If it has the potential to do good, then we should do it.’ That’s the kind of person he was.”
Allen had left Microsoft by 1983 for health reasons but held on to shares that made up the bulk of his fortune, estimated at some $20 billion.
“All of us who had the honor of working with Paul feel an inexpressible loss today,” said a statement by Vulcan, the investment firm that managed his operations.
“He possessed a remarkable intellect and a passion to solve some of the world’s most difficult problems, with the conviction that creative thinking and new approaches could make a profound and lasting impact.”
Microsoft said Allen’s “contributions to our company, our industry and to our community are indispensable.”
“As co-founder of Microsoft, in his own quiet and persistent way, he created magical products, experiences, and institutions. And in doing so, he changed the world,” added the company’s CEO, Satya Nadella.
While Gates attended Harvard, Allen studied at the University of Washington and invested heavily in research projects in his hometown of Seattle.
He invested $100 million to found the Allen Institute for Brain Science in 2003.
A decade later, he founded the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence to study the impacts on society of new technologies and the Allen Institute for Cell Science to fund research for the treatment of diseases.
Big man in sports
In the world of sports, Allen in 1988 bought the Trail Blazers, taking the team to the NBA finals twice.
“Paul Allen was the ultimate trailblazer — in business, philanthropy and in sports,” said NBA commissioner Adam Silver.
“As one of the longest-tenured owners in the NBA, Paul brought a sense of discovery and vision to every league matter large and small.”
He was also credited with putting Seattle on the map for the NFL.
“Paul Allen was the driving force behind keeping the NFL in the Pacific Northwest,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement.
“His vision led to the construction of CenturyLink Field and the building of a team that played in three Super Bowls, winning the championship in Super Bowl XLVII. ”
His personal charitable foundation gave to a diverse array of causes, including anti-poaching initiatives in Africa, climate and energy research, and projects on homelessness, as well as the arts and culture.
Actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio hailed Allen as a “strong advocate for environmental protection.”
“His legacy lives on via his incredible work as a philanthropist and investor,” he added.
Amazon, Blue Origin and The Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos said Allen’s “passion for invention and pushing forward inspired so many. He was relentless to the end.”
In his 2011 memoir “Idea Man,” Allen described a somewhat stormy relationship with Gates in the early days of Microsoft.
Allen wrote that he had expected a 50-50 split in the new company, but Gates insisted on taking 60 percent, and later raised it to 64 percent, claiming that Gates schemed to “rip me off.”
He played guitar since he was a teenager and played for a blues-rock album with his group the Underthinkers in 2013 that was reviewed by Rolling Stone, which said Allen “curls some twang and grit into the blues-rock track.”
Nigerian international goalkeeper Carl Ikeme says he is on the road to recovery after undergoing chemotherapy for leukaemia.
The 32-year-old — who has been capped 10 times for the Super Eagles — posted on Instagram that he still faced obstacles but things were looking far more positive than a year ago when he was diagnosed with the illness.
Ikeme — who has been with Wolverhampton Wanderers for his entire career and has played almost 200 games for the club as well as another 60 in spells on loan at other English clubs — returned “abnormal blood tests” during pre-season testing.
“After a tough year and intense chemotherapy throughout I would like to let everyone know I am in complete REMISSION,” he posted on Instagram, alongside a photograph of him with his children.
“I still have hurdles to get over to be cured but I can hopefully now move forward with some normality. I would like to thank my family/friends to start with who have gone above and beyond for me.”
Ikeme, who laced his battle with humour posting a picture of himself on transfer deadline day in August 2017 saying he was transferring from one hospital room to another, said he had been touched by the support he had received.
“The support I have received from Wolves/Nigeria, the football world and from people from all over the world has been hard to put into words,” he said.
“I can’t thank everyone at the Christie and heartlands hospital (in Manchester) enough for there care!!! What next who knows… I’m just taking it a day at a time.”
Cancer treatments that attack tumors based on their individual genetic traits — not their location in the body — far outperform traditional methods, extending survival for twice as many patients, a study said Saturday.
The precision medicine field of targeted therapy involves testing tumors for clues about their genetic mutations, and matching patients with new drugs designed to block cancer’s growth on a molecular level.
Targeted options for patients have risen dramatically in the last two decades — and one-day tumor testing and cell-free DNA analysis may become the standard of care, said lead investigator Apostolia Tsimberidou, professor of investigational cancer therapeutics at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas.
“I am optimistic that in the next few years we will dramatically improve the outcomes of patients with cancer with increasing implementation of precision medicine,” she told reporters at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago, the world’s largest annual cancer conference.
Tsimberidou and colleagues began studying the impact of these therapies in 2007, after seeing the success of Gleevec (imatinib) — a breakthrough drug approved by US regulators in 2001 that showed huge success against chronic myeloid leukemia.
Their study, called IMPACT, is the first and largest to look at survival across a host of cancer types and many different targeted therapies.
More than 3,700 patients at Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center enrolled from 2007 to 2013.
All had advanced cancers, or “end-stage disease,” involving cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, breast, or lung. Melanoma and cancer of the female reproductive tract were also included, along with more rare types of cancer.
Those enrolled had typically tried at least four — and sometimes up to 16 — other treatments that failed to halt the growth of their cancer.
More than 1,300 were found to have tumors with at least one genetic change. Of these, 711 received a treatment that matched the biology of the tumor. Another 596 received a treatment was not matched, often because no matched treatment for the patient was available at the time.
After three years, 15 percent of people treated with targeted cancer therapies were alive, compared to seven percent in the non-targeted group.
After 10 years, six percent of the targeted group was alive, compared to just one percent in the other group.
– Still far from a cure –
On the whole, targeted therapies led to an average of four months of life without the cancer advancing, known as progression-free survival, and nine extra months of overall survival.
Those who were treated with traditional approaches lived just under three months without cancer growing, and 7.3 months longer overall.
Targeted therapies “significantly improved overall survival,” said Catherine Diefenbach, an oncologist at New York University (NYU) Langone.
This method of molecularly profiling tumors, understanding their genetics and how to act on that “is the wave of the future,” added Diefenbach, who was not involved in the study.
For Diefenbach, the study illustrates a paradigm shift in cancer treatment, whereby cancers are no longer treated on the “neighborhood” of the body in which they arise.
“Prior to precision medicine, patients were treated based on what kind of cancer they had,” she told reporters.
“But a breast cancer patient, as we have heard, can have a cell that is much more like a lung cancer patient, genetically, than another breast cancer.”
Diefenbach also pointed out that “most of these patients received drugs that were already (US Food and Drug Administration) FDA-approved or in advanced clinical trials, so people did not have to go out and reinvent the wheel to treat these patients in a completely new way.”
The field of precision medicine has grown immensely since the study began, said Tsimberidou, recalling that back in 2007, “we tested for no more than one to two genes.
“Now patients are being tested for hundreds of actionable genes, amplifications and mutations, as well as for immune markers,” she said.
Thanks to a laser-equipped mini-microscope developed by a French start-up, scientists have discovered a previously undetected feature of the human anatomy that could help explain why some cancers spread so quickly.
Nobody was looking for the interstitium, as the new quasi-organ is called, because no one knew it was there, at least not in complex form revealed in a study published this week.
As with many breakthroughs in medicine and science, it was — to paraphrase Louis Pasteur’s oft-quoted dictum — a case of chance favouring the prepared.
In 2015, a pair of doctors at New York’s Beth Israel Medical Center, David Carr-Locke and Petros Benias, found something unexpected while using the high-tech endoscopic probe to look for signs of cancer on a patient’s bile duct.
There on a screen, clear as day, was a lattice-like layer of liquid-filled cavities that did not match anything found in the anatomy chapters of medical school textbooks.
“These have no obvious correlate to known structures,” they noted dryly in the journal Scientific Reports.
And then the mystery deepened.
The doctors showed the images to a pathologist, Neil Theise, who used a thinly sliced fleck of tissue removed from the patient to prepare the kind of glass slides scientists have been peering at with microscopes for centuries.
But the novel layer of tissue simply wasn’t there — or at least it wasn’t visible.
Sacha Loiseau, founder and director of Mauna Kea Technologies, which made the camera-equipped probe that had revealed the phantom tissue, explained why.
“The classic microscope on a lab bench magnifies dead tissue from a biopsy that has been dehydrated and treated with chemicals,” he told AFP.
The meshwork of liquid bubbles visible in the patient’s body, in other words, had pancaked in the slides like a collapsed building, leaving hardly a trace.
A ‘highway of fluid’
“This made a fluid-filled tissue type throughout the body appear solid in biopsy slides,” Theise said in a statement.
“Our research corrects for this to expand the anatomy of most tissues.”
The probe bundles some 30,000 optic fibres topped by a camera barely bigger than the head of a pin. Lasers light up the tissue, and sensors analyse the reflected pattern.
“We have reinvented the microscope so that it can be inserted into the body of a patient to observe living tissue in its natural environment,” said Loiseau.
The result is a virtual, in-vivo biopsy.
The newly found network of fluid-filled pockets — held in place by collagen proteins, which are stiff, and more flexible elastin — may act like a shock absorber preventing tissue tear as organs, muscles and vessels go through their daily motions, the researchers said.
Once they knew what to look for, the scientists found interstitium throughout the body: below the skin’s surface, lining the digestive tract, in the lungs and urinary tract, and even surrounding arteries and veins.
Layers long thought to be dense, connective tissue, it turned out, were in fact interconnected and fluid-filled compartments.
Described as a “highway of moving fluid,” the meshwork “may be important in cancer metastasis,” the study suggested.
Scientists have long known that half the fluid in the body is found within cells, and about 14 percent inside the heart, blood vessels and lymphatic system.
The remaining fluid is “interstitial”, or between the cells, and the new study argues that the interstitium should be considered as an organ in it’s own right — indeed, one of the largest in the body.
Organ or not, “this finding has potential to drive dramatic advances in medicine, including the possibility that the direct sampling of interstitial fluid may become a powerful diagnostic too,” said Theise.
Higher levels of Vitamin D in the blood may be linked to a lower risk of developing certain cancers, a study in Japanese adults reported Thursday.
“These findings support the hypothesis that Vitamin D has protective effects against cancers at many sites,” researchers reported in a study published in The BMJ medical journal.
Vitamin D is made by the skin in response to sunlight. By maintaining calcium levels in the body, it helps keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy.
While the benefits of Vitamin D on bone health are well known, there is some evidence that it may protect against chronic diseases as well, including some cancers.
Studies to date, however, have been carried out mainly in European and North American people.
As natural Vitamin D concentrations can vary by ethnicity, researchers from half-a-dozen Japanese medical schools and institutes set out to determine the potential for lowering cancer risk in Asians.
They analysed the public health records of 33,736 men and women aged 40 to 69.
At the start of the study, participants provided detailed information on their medical history, diet and lifestyle. Blood samples were taken to measure Vitamin D levels.
The researchers did not specify whether the trial participants used vitamin supplements or not.
Taking into account seasonal variations, the group was divided into four groups, ranging from the lowest to highest concentration of Vitamin D.
Participants were then monitored for 16 years on average, during which time 3,301 new cases of cancer were recorded.
After adjusting for well-known cancer risk factors — age, weight, smoking, and alcohol intake, for example — the researchers found that, overall, higher Vitamin D levels was associated with a 20 percent lower cancer risk for both genders.
The risk of liver cancer dropped even more, by up to 50 percent, especially for men.
Vitamin D did not appear have any impact in warding off lung or prostate cancer, however.
None of the cancers examined showed an increased risk associated with higher Vitamin D levels.
Previous studies have shown that low levels of Vitamin D increase the risk of bone fractures, heart disease, colorectal cancer, diabetes, depression, Alzheimer’s disease and death.
But others have found no evidence of a link to disease risk.
Death rates from cancer in the United States dropped again between 2014 and 2015, continuing a downward trend that began in 1991 and has meant 2.4 million fewer deaths, a study said Thursday.
Advances in early detection and treatment, along with a drop in smoking, are believed to be responsible for much of the 26 percent drop since 1991, said the findings in the American Cancer Society’s comprehensive annual report.
“This new report reiterates where cancer control efforts have worked, particularly the impact of tobacco control,” said Otis W. Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society.
“A decline in consumption of cigarettes is credited with being the most important factor in the drop in cancer death rates.”
However, he noted that “tobacco remains by far the leading cause of cancer deaths today, responsible for nearly three in 10 cancer deaths.”
Overall, the US cancer death rate reached a peak of 215.1 per 100,000 population in 1991, and has declined to 158.6 per 100,000 in 2015. Deaths from lung cancer made a 45 percent decline among men and 19 percent among women.
Cancers of the breast, prostate and colon and rectum are also down steeply.
The report forecasts about 1.7 million new cancer cases and 609,640 cancer deaths in the United States in 2018.
“Over the past decade, the overall cancer incidence rate was stable in women and declined by about two percent per year in men,” it said.
While progress is evident, stark racial disparities remain.
The cancer death rate in 2015 was 14 percent higher in blacks than in whites, down from a peak of 33 percent in 1993.
The wife of Nigeria’s vice president, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo has described the increasing rate of deaths to cancer as alarming and disturbing.
Nigeria is said to record about ten thousand deaths annually from cancer, as the country lacks the resources for cancer treatment and care.
In reaction to this trend, Mrs Osinabajo said it is disturbing and she is advocating the establishment of cancer treatment centers across the country to reduce the number of cancer-related deaths in Nigeria.
Mrs Osinbajo made this appeal in Abuja, where she commissioned a cancer treatment center at the national hospital.
Also at the event, the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole also decried the huge number of cancer-related deaths.
“For us in Nigeria, we lose about 10,000 people every year to cancer. This will increase if we do nothing. This is apart from the suffering and the agony that many of these individuals go through. This is a major challenge,” he said.
He added that it is also worrisome that many African countries do not have the resources to treat cancer patients, explaining that only about 17% of the countries in Africa have resources for cancer care.