» AML Wed, 26 Dec 2012 21:04:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Azacitidine Treatment “Significantly Extends Overall Survival” For Myelodysplastic Syndromes and Acute Myeloid Leukemia Patients Sun, 21 Jun 2009 01:50:51 +0000 This article discusses recent studies on the success of azacitidine (Vidaza®) treatment in reducing transfusion dependency, and increasing overall survival in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients.

Data presented at the 14th Congress of the European Society of Hematology demonstrate that treatment with azacitidine (Vidaza®) significantly extends overall survival and helps patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) become or remain red blood cell transfusion independent. Patients who benefited included those with higher-risk MDS or acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) with 20-30% blasts, as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO).
“The presentations at EHA this year continue to support the clinical benefit associated with Vidaza in MDS, including significantly extended overall survival…

Read the full article at



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Consider Attending Bone Marrow Failure Disorder Conference This July Wed, 27 May 2009 02:16:40 +0000 The Aplastic Anemia and Myelodysplastic syndromes International Foundation Inc. (AA&MDSIF) describes itself as "dedicated to fighting bone marrow failure diseases through patient support and research."

The organization will hold a it’s AA&MDSIF Patient and family Conference in Indianapolis this year from Friday July 10, to Sunday July 12. 

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with a bone marrow failure disease such as aplastic anemia, myelodysplastic syndromes, or acute myeloid leukemia, AA&MDSIF supplied these excellent reasons why you should attend this event.

  • Hear from leading experts. Learn more about your disease, current treatments and emerging therapies.
  • Talk with fellow patients and their family members about practical matters and their personal experiences.
  • Explore a variety of topics on living well and improving your quality of life.
  • Join our Support Workshops, which are always a favorite, and connect and share with others who are coping with these rare diseases.
  • Understand how AA&MDSIF can help you through this life-changing experience.
  • Participate in our Survivors Celebration and leave with a sense of hope and a positive outlook for the future.

To register for this event click here.

Benzene Leukemia Law Blog recommends bookmarking AA&MDSIF’s home page.  



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Support the Bone Marrow Failure Disease Research and Treatment Act of 2009 Mon, 25 May 2009 10:57:19 +0000 While a link between bone marrow failure diseases and benzene exposure has been well established, there is a great need for more research into causes and treatments for these potentially fatal disorders. 

Bone marrow failure diseases, like aplastic anemia, myelodysplastic syndromes, and acute myeloid leukemia (AML), sicken between 20,000 and 30,000 Americans each year.

On February 26, 2009 Representative Dorris O Matusi (D-CA) introduced the Bone Marrow Failure Disease Research and Treatment Act of 2009. The legislation would pool the resources of several federal agencies in order to increase understanding and treatments for the disorders.

The following summary of the bill is courtesy of the Aplastic Anemia & MDS (myelodysplastic syndromes) International Foundation, Inc. (AA&MDSIF).

The legislation directs the Health and Human Services Department to develop a comprehensive 
strategy to combat these diseases, which include: 

• A national bone marrow failure disease registry so that researchers can combine their 
data in one place, yielding more effective research designs and better results; 

• Pilot studies through the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry to 
determine which environmental factors cause people to acquire bone marrow failure 

• Minority-focused programs to make information on treatment options and clinical trials 
available to minority communities, particularly Hispanic and Asian American 

• Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality grants to help improve diagnostic 
practices and quality of care for patients with bone marrow failure diseases. 

In total, the legislation authorizes $8 million annually for fiscal years 2010 through 2014. 

For more details on the bill click here.

For information on how you can take action to help pass this legislation, check out AA&MDSIF’s Grass Roots Action page by clicking here.













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ExxonMobil Faces New Lawsuit Over Excessive Chemical Releases Sat, 16 May 2009 04:10:08 +0000 The Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN) has filed a lawsuit  against ExxonMobil accusing the oil giant of trampling state environmental laws at it’s Scenic Highway chemical plant, in Baton Rouge, by releasing 89,700 pounds more airborne pollution than it’s permits allow since May 13, 2008.

The suit brings up multiple documented chemical leaks, and failure to maintain pollution control devices, claiming these factors illustrate a clear pattern of noncompliance with state laws, and constitute a threat to public health.

According to the lawsuit, since may 2008, the company has released pollution in excess of permitted levels, 66 times.

The suit alleges that many of the chemicals released by ExxonMobil were not even covered by permits, for example, 3,800 pounds of propylene, ethylene, and flammable vapors.

Most alarming is the defendant’s report of an airborne benzene leak of "at least" 525 pounds. The leak allegedly lasted for 22 days.

Benzene is a carcinogenic organic solvent known to disrupt blood cell production in humans at exposure levels less than 1ppm. Exposure to benzene has been linked to alpastic anemia, myelodysplastic syndromes, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, as well as several types of leukemia including acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), and acute myelogenous leukemia (AML).

The LEAN vs. ExxonMobil suit seeks:

  • an injunction to stop the release of un-permitted pollution
  • civil penalties payed to the state
  • a declaration that ExxonMobil is in violation of the Louisiana Environmental Quality Act
  • plaintiff attorney and expert witness fees

Marylee Orr, executive director of LEAN said this of the continuing violations:

 “It’s affecting our public health. It’s affecting the way our children learn, it’s affecting everyone in the community, it’s a confirmation that there’s a problem.”


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Are You At Elevated Risk of Benzene Exposure? Mon, 11 May 2009 03:32:22 +0000 What is Benzene?

Benzene is a commodity chemical widely used in the industrial sector in the production of many products we use every day, such as:

  • fuels
  • plastics
  • resins
  • rubbers
  • synthetic fibers
  • lubricants
  • detergents
  • dyes
  • pesticides
  • drugs

This highly carcinogenic organic solvent has been shown disrupt blood cell production in humans, leading to a number of hematological (blood) diseases such as:

  • aplastic anemia
  • myelodysplastic syndromes
  • non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) 
  • acute myelogenous leukemia (AML)
  • acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL)

Those who work in the industrial sector are at risk of harm from exposure to this chemical, and should be aware of the benzene exposure possibilities posed by their specific job. Thousands of workers have been needlessly sickened and killed due to exposure that could have been avoided by taking the correct precautions.

While some employers are responsible in this area, a clear pattern of neglect regarding the dangers of benzene exposure is exemplified in countless successful lawsuits which have resulted in monetary compensation for the exposed worker, or their families.

If you work in almost any industrial setting, your risk is elevated. Do not count on your employer to protect you, rather, take personal responsibility for your health by using every possible means of protection when working with or around products containing benzene.

A recent Benzene Leukemia Law Blog post, "On The Job Benzene Exposure: Know What To Do," is a useful starting point for workers seeking to educate themselves about benzene exposure.  


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Concerned about Benzene Exposure? Tue, 10 Feb 2009 00:02:33 +0000 Benzene exposure can cause a number of serious health problems, and people may be exposed to the toxic chemical through various sources. We have seen many different types of cases involving benzene exposure and think it’s important that individuals understand how it occurs, its effects and other benzene facts.

How It Occurs
Benzene is a widely used chemical in industrial processes in the United States – Individuals who live or work in industrial areas may face a greater risk of benzene exposure than others.
Benzene is also found in hazardous waste sites and underground storage tanks near gas stations. Leaks can contaminate groundwater and cause exposure.  
Low levels of benzene exposure may occur in the outdoor air as a result of tobacco smoke and vehicle exhaust.

Health Effects
Exposure to benzene can impair red blood cell production and cause anemia.
It can damage the immune system and cause the loss of white blood cells.
The Department of Health and Human Services has identified benzene exposure as a cause of cancer, particularly acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).
Exposure may affect fertility in women.

The health effects a person experiences depends on the amount and duration of benzene exposure, and also whether exposure occurred through direct contact with the skin, ingestion or inhalation. Medical advice should be sought any time benzene exposure is suspected.

Individual Rights
Irresponsible corporate and industrial practices that result in benzene exposure may form the basis of legal actions, and individuals who have developed illnesses like cancer may be able to file or join a lawsuit to seek damages.


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Promising Study Outcomes for AML Patients Sun, 14 Dec 2008 12:55:12 +0000 A recent study conducted at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center and Solove Research Institute reveals that there is a promising treatment for older patients suffering from acute myloid leukemia (AML). According to researchers, phase II of the study found that older patients treated with the drug decitabine had a higher than expected recovery rate. The drug was found to be most effective when taken on a strict dosing schedule.

"This study could provide a new treatment paradigm for elderly patients with AML," explains co-author Dr. John Byrd, the associate director of translational research at Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Study to be Presented to Board of Researchers

The study will reportedly be presented at the 50th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology in San Francisco this week. Researchers will also be analyzing the 13,300 new cases of AML that have popped up this year alone in the United States.

AML is a rapidly progressive disease that often results in the production of immature, cells within the bone marrow and bloodstream. As a result, the body can become unable to fight off infections or even produce enough healthy red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. AML can primarily affect patients who are 60 years of age and older and it has become known as the second most common form of leukemia in adults.

A majority of elderly AML patients who are diagnosed with AML today are offered only supportive care as treatment due to the fact that their bodies are believed to be too weak to withstand the strong and life changing effects of chemotherapy.

"The treatment of AML is difficult in anybody, but particularly for older patients who don’t tolerate the ‘thunderbolt’ of intensive chemotherapy well," says Dr. William Blum, a hematologist and oncologist at Ohio State. "Some of the patients we are treating successfully had previously been told by other physicians to ‘go home and die.’ They were judged not to be candidates for any treatment at all because they likely would not survive the traditional, harsh chemotherapy approach."

The ongoing study focusing on AML in older patients, involves 33 patients from the age of 60 to 83. An estimated 58 percent of the patients studied responded, 42 percent who reportedly went into complete remission. In many cases, patients who did go into remission were able to receive bone marrow transplants as part of another clinical trial that’s been designed for older patients suffering from AML.


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Walking Helps Leukemia Chemotherapy Patients Thu, 12 Jun 2008 13:30:34 +0000 A study published in the May issue of the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management  indicates that a walking exercise program can  reduce fatigue levels in those AML( acute myelogenous leukemia) patients  who are being treated with chemotherapy.

Dr. Yeur-Hur Lai of National Taiwan University in Taipei and colleagues randomly assigned 22 hospitalized AML patients  to either a walking group or a control group receiving standard ward care.  The walking group walked 12 minutes each day for 5 days a week for a period of 3 weeks.  All patients were evaluated before chemotherapy and on day 7,14 and 21 of the chemotherapy.

The investigation found that those in the walking had lower levels of fatigue intensity and interference than the control.   They also found that symptom distress, anxiety and depression were lower in the walking group.

"Taken together, our preliminary findings suggest that a brief exercise-driven program, such as the walking exercise program, should be started at the beginning of chemotherapy to decrease chemotherapy-related fatigue," Lai’s team concluded. "Standardizing the walking exercise program as part of a chemotherapy-related care model should be feasible and encouraged to improve cancer-related fatigue experiences."

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Another example AML-Benzene case Sun, 24 Feb 2008 11:09:00 +0000 This one is also from the Texas area.  This shows a typical situation where the AML was possibly caused by benzene exposure.  We see independent contractors as clients fairly often, because this is how a lot of work was done at these refineries.

An independent contractor for various local refineries during the ’60s and early ’70s, John Thompson says he was negligently exposed to benzene – a chemical which he claims has caused him to develop leukemia.

John and his wife Carol Thompson have filed suit against Chevron U.S.A. and eight other chemical companies on Feb. 7 in the Jefferson County District Court.

Some of the other defendants named in the suit include Texaco, E.I. DuPont, ExxonMobil and Goodrich.

According to the plaintiffs’ petition, "at various times over a (decade) John Thompson was employed by various independent contractor employers as a laborer … upon the premises of the Defendants, (where he) was occupationally exposed to various toxic and carcinogenic chemicals benzene."

As a result of his benzene exposure, Thompson claims he developed acute myelogenous leukemia, the suit said.

Source: Southeast Texas Record

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AML Benzene case filed in Illinois Sun, 17 Feb 2008 10:56:52 +0000 Why would it be important to list how a person learned about the connection between AML and benzene? 

This article, I found,  lists that as the headline.  The person who filed the lawsuit learned about the connection between AML and Benzene from a TV ad.  The reason it may be important is that the case may have a problem with the statute of limitations

The Statute of Limitations is a law which limits the amount of time that you have to file a lawsuit.  In some states it can be very short (1 year) and in others it can be 3 years or more.  In a lot of the states, the law is written in such a way that the statute of limitations "clock" doesn’t start until after you learn of the connection between the disease and benzene. 

This is called the discovery rule.  The time starts to run you discover the connection between your injury and the benzene.  This is not true in all states, so you have to carefully read the law to find out.

Here’s the article:  "TV Ad informs laborer of links to disease"

Had it not been for a television advertisement, laborer Steve Ivkovcic may not have known the reason he developed acute myelogenous leukemia was because of benzene-containing products he was exposed to at work.

Ivkovcic, a machinist and tool and die maker, filed a benzene suit against 11 defendant corporations in Madison County Circuit Court Feb. 7, alleging benzene caused his disease.

"Steve Ivkovcic did not know that the products (he was exposed to at work) contained benzene, or that benzene could cause Acute Myelogenous Leukemia until approximately August of 2007 when he saw a television advertisement," the complaint states.

Ivkovcic was employed at Pactiv in Wheeling, Ill. from 1986 until 2007, and at Johnson Motors in Waukegan, Ill. from 1970 until 1986.

He claims that during his employment at Johnson Motors, he was exposed to benzene and benzene-containing products which were manufactured and/or sold by the defendants, which include BP Products North America Inc., BP Corporation North America Inc., BP Amoco Chemical Company, Exxon Corporation, Exxon Mobil Corporation, Exxon Mobil Oil, Radiator Specialty Company, Sunoco, Inc., Sunoco (R&M), United States Steel and Aristech Chemical.

Ivkovcic claims the benzene-containing products consisted of products known as "Naptha" which was manufactured by Amoco and Mobil.

According to the complaint, Naptha was manufactured at Amoco at its Wood River refinery.

He was diagnosed with AML in the summer of 2006, the complaint states.

AML is a fast-growing cancer of the blood and bone marrow – the spongy tissue inside bones where blood cells are made.

Ivkovcic claims the defendants were negligent by failing to use ordinary care to eliminate benzene from products and failed to provide a safe place for him to work.

He also claims the defendants failed to give adequate warnings of the harmful effects associated with exposure to benzene and benzene-containing products and failed to provide adequate safety equipment and/or failed to recommend adequate safety and control measures.

According to Ivkovcic, his disease has disabled and disfigured him, caused him to incur medical expenses, and has caused great physical pain and mental anguish.

Represented by Thomas Schwartz of Holloran, White & Schwartz in St. Louis and L. Jeth Jones of Houston, Ivkovcic is seeking damages in excess of $150,000, plus costs of the suit.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Nicholas Byron.

Source:  St.Clair Record

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