Saturday, March 6, 2010

Exciting Article About Drug Delivery

Beating the cystic fibrosis barrier

Biodegradable nanoparticles capable of penetrating the mucus barrier in the lungs and gut of cystic fibrosis (CF) sufferers have been developed by researchers at John Hopkins University, led by Justin Hanes, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering.

“Cystic fibrosis mucus is notoriously thick and sticky, and represents a huge barrier to aerosolised drug delivery,” said Pamela Zeitlin, CF expert and professor of paediatrics, who collaborated on the study. “Nanoparticles were engineered to travel through cystic fibrosis mucus at a much greater velocity than ever before, thereby improving drug delivery,” she said.

The nanoparticles comprise of two parts made of molecules regularly used in existing medications. An inner core of polysebacic acid (PSA) traps therapeutic agents inside while a dense outer coating of polyethylene glycol (PEG) molecules allows the particle to move through the mucus by preventing it from reacting with proteins.

Hanes previously demonstrated that latex coated with PEG could slip past mucus coatings, but because the body could not break it down into harmless components it was impractical. “The major advance here is that we were able to make biodegradable nanoparticles that can rapidly penetrate thick and sticky mucus secretions and that these particles can transport a wide range of therapeutic molecules,” said Hanes.

The nanoparticles have potential applications treating lung and cervical cancers, and inflammation of the sinuses, eyes, lungs and gastrointestinal tract where mucus is produced to protect sensitive areas, said Benjamin C Tang, lead author and postdoctoral fellow in the department of chemical and biomolecular engineering. Zeitlin concludes: “This work is critically important to moving forward with the next generation of small molecule and gene-based therapies.”

Read the full article here:

Friday, March 5, 2010

My First Experience with Hemoptysis

**Reposted from August 2009**

I present to you the first edition of First Friday. I believe this idea came from Casey who wrote a blog about his CF "firsts"(click here to view) a couple weeks ago. Here are some examples of other's "firsts" blogs (that sure was a lot of the letter "s" at the end, how far off was I grammatically?) from Piper, CysticGal, Chrissy and Megan (if I missed yours and you'd like to be included, please shoot me an email and I'll add it).

What I've decided to do is highlight ONE of my CF firsts every Friday and try to capture exactly what happened and what I was feeling in that moment. It can be very scary experiencing something for the first time, so hopefully you guys can use this and other CFers' blogs as resources when those times occur.

My first bout with hemoptysis reared it's ugly head at about age 12. I distinctly remember coughing up so much junk that I ran to the toilet to spit it out. Now, for me, that was a big deal. Back then it didn't bother me at all to swallow mucus that I had coughed up from out of my lungs. Today, it's a different story, and I try to spit it out into a tissue (or on my floor). But this particular coughing festival produced much thinner mucus than I was used to and it did taste a little different than normal, plus, it was filling up my mouth. So I ran to the toilet to spit it out. Low and behold, my mucus was red. First I thought, "man what did I eat that made my mucus so red". Remember, I was a kid, a healthy kid, and hemoptysis wasn't even in my vocabulary.

As I leaned over the toilet and continued to cough up that lovely warm red stuff, it hit me, "Wait a second, it looks like blood and now it tastes like blood, hmmmmm, it must be blood!" Here's the deal though, I didn't panic. I don't know why and I still can't fully explain why I don't panic now 17 years later when I'm coughing up CUPS of blood (although I admit, coughing up multiple cups of blood while in CHINA, didn't produce the calmest of emotions). Back then, I remember thinking "this is kind of cool". I don't even think I told my mom or grandma (I was at her house when this happened) about the episode. I'm not a big fan of having people (especially my mom) worry about me. I do however know that people (especially my mom) worry about me already without bringing anything else to the table.

What's strange, is I didn't have another case of hemoptysis until well into high school or maybe even until college. After the age of 20 though it was pretty common for me to have a bout or two in between hospital stays. I would usually cough up around 1-4 tablespoons per bout. In recent history, I've been embolized twice for the hemoptysis, in November 2005 and February 2009. Both procedures were considered a success and I had very little bleeding between the two embolizations. Since February's procedure I have coughed up blood twice, but it was very little and during a run.

So there it is, my first experience with hemoptysis...wanna tell me about yours????

PS- I'm hoping to get no responses because none of you have ever experienced coughing up blood :) I can hope right?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Rondi Sings "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun"

This is long overdue and we want to thank Phoenix for his patience. Keep rocking it little fibro!! This is for you!!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Ebbs and Flows of Running

We can't always predict how our workouts are going to go from week to week, but what's important is that we keep moving forward. Sometimes we can let what should be a small setback turn into a large one. It's so important to set your goal and do absolutely whatever it takes to accomplish it.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Top Ten Favorite "Reality" Shows

So I just got done watching the season finale of The Bachelor with Mandi and I've got to say, I just don't get it. I, like Jake, thought that Tinsley would be the (2nd) most perfect wife out there. I never thought in a million years that he would pick Vienna. With that said, I TOTALLY get his reasoning. If you have to force yourself to be someone different or feel like you're walking on eggshells around that person, pretty sure it's not a good match. It's so important to find that person that you can be yourself around and not worry about the consequences.

Anywhoo, it got me thinking about reality tv in general and how much I love it. I know that I've done a blog about favorite tv shows, so there will be some overlap, but this is my Top Ten "Reality" Shows of all time...well, at least of the last year :)

10. Undercover Boss - This is a new one that airs on Sundays. It takes a CEO of a company and has him/her go undercover in their own company to "learn the ropes" as a new trainee. It has basically the same story line every episode, but I have really enjoyed it thus far.

9. The Sing Off - I got into this show my last hospital stay. It had acapella groups perform against each other and I was absolutely fascinated by the sounds they could make.
8. So You Think You Can Dance - I have nothing but respect for people that can dance the way that they do.

7. Survivor - I don't watch every season, but when I do, I always enjoy it. This season is very enjoyable as it matches past "Heroes" vs "Villains". All of the character development has been done and now you can sit and enjoy the back stabbing.

6. The Bachelor - I don't understand the choices always, but I do always have quite a reaction.

5. Dating in the Dark - I'm hoping they bring this show back. The premise was simple. Have two people "date" without being able to see each other. Then, once they have picked a person on conversation alone, that person is revealed. Once revealed, they decide if they would like to continue with a relationship.

4. The Amazing Race - My mom got me into this show. I like being able to see other cultures and all of the beautiful scenery, plus, it's awesome to see hoe people navigate through the stress that the show brings.

3. Shark Tank - I'm pretty sure it's my goal to one day be on this show. You simply pitch an idea to 4 investors and if they like it, they give you money. Some of the ideas are a waste of time, but many of them are really cool.

2. The Biggest Loser - Probably the most positive and impactful (is that a word?) out there. It warms my heart every season to see the transformations.

1. American Idol - Best. Show. Ever.

Alright, let me have it! What are your guilty pleasure reality shows?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Engagement Photos Slideshow

As I shared two weeks ago, Ronnie and I had our engagement photos taken Valentine's Day weekend. We finally got them back and, as promised, we wanted to share them with you.

Do you have a favorite? We're trying to figure out which one to use for our "Save the Date".

You can see all of the photos here if you're on Facebook :)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

One Happy Couple