PHILADELPHIA, July 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Diagnosed with lymphoma, a deadly cancer of the lymphatic system, award-winning Newsweek journalist Jamie Reno felt stunned and alone. What gave him hope was learning of others’ successful battles with the disease.
His spirits were lifted and today, eleven years later, Jamie Reno has drawn on his experience with the release of Hope Begins in the Dark, a collection of 50 compelling lymphoma survivors’ stories. Featuring inspiring personal accounts from a wide range of lymphoma patients including former professional baseball player Andres Galarraga, comedian Robert Schimmel, and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, Hope Begins in the Dark stresses the importance of self advocacy during treatment.
“When I was diagnosed with lymphoma, I searched for information about the experiences of other patients. Yet, there wasn’t one comprehensive resource that provided personal stories of patients who beat this disease,” said Reno. “The goal of Hope Begins in the Dark is to give patients strength, through other’s stories, to become their own advocates and to take an active role in their disease with the support from this community. There is hope!”
Reno became an advocate for the lymphoma community after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in late 1996. He was initially treated successfully with a common chemotherapy, but his cancer returned two years later. When Reno learned of the recurrence, he immediately began researching new treatment options and enrolled in a clinical trial with a radioimmunotherapy called BEXXAR(R) (Tositumomab and Iodine I 131 Tositumomab). BEXXAR, which was an experimental therapy at the time, has since been approved by the FDA for patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma whose disease has returned following initial therapy. He has been in remission for nine years since receiving that treatment in the spring of 1999.
“I took control of my treatment by conducting my own research and identifying the options that were right for me,” said Reno. “I hope that this book empowers other patients to educate themselves and discuss all available treatment options for their disease with their doctors.”
While no two stories in Hope Begins in the Dark are the same, taking control of your life and living it to the fullest, as well as making informed decisions with the help of a doctor, are common themes echoed from each survivor in the book.
“The stories featured in Hope Begins in the Dark are a true inspiration to everyone involved in the fight against lymphoma and we commend Jamie for his efforts to strengthen the bond within this community,” said Dave Moules, Vice President of Oncology, GlaxoSmithKline. “We believe this book will provide support and hope for the people facing this disease and their loved ones.”
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is the fifth most common cancer in the United States(excluding skin cancer) and the most common cancer of the lymphatic system.(1,2) The average risk of an American developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is approximately one in 50.(1) In 2008, approximately 66,000 people are expected to be diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in the United States.(1) Recent diagnoses in the news include former American Idol finalist Luke Menard, who has been diagnosed with Stage II non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and the father of World Series game-winning Boston Red Sox pitcher, Jon Lester. In 2006, Jon Lester himself was diagnosed with a form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma called anaplastic large cell lymphoma. Today, he is cancer-free.
The book was written in association with Vital Options International, a not-for-profit cancer communications and advocacy support organization and producer of The Group Room(R) cancer talk radio show, and supported through an unrestricted educational grant from GlaxoSmithKline. Limited quantities of Hope Begins in the Dark are available free of charge by contacting Vital Options at http://www.vitaloptions.org/ or calling 1-800-477-7666.
Important Safety Information(3)
BEXXAR(R) is not for everyone. Patients who are pregnant or allergic to any components of the regimen should not receive BEXXAR. Serious hypersensitivity reactions, including some with fatal outcome, have been observed with the BEXXAR Therapeutic Regimen. Treatment with BEXXAR resulted in very severe decreases in blood counts (platelets, white blood cells, and red blood cells) in the majority of patients, which could be life-threatening, for an extended period of time (about a month). In 7% of patients, these decreases persisted for more than 90 days. Infections occurred in 45% of patients, bleeding in 12% of patients, and treatment with hematologic supportive care in 27% of patients. Other reactions during or following the infusion included fever, chills, sweating, nausea, low blood pressure, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing. There is also a risk of hypothyroidism following the administration of BEXXAR.
Administration of BEXXAR resulted in the development of antibodies to the mouse antibody (called HAMA). Certain cancer therapies including BEXXAR have been associated with the development of a second type of blood cancer and solid tumors. At a median follow-up of 29 months, 44 cases of myelodysplastic syndrome (a type of pre-leukemia) and/or leukemia and 65 cases of secondary tumors in 54 patients were reported among the 995 patients enrolled in studies with BEXXAR.
Healthcare providers must be specifically trained to administer BEXXAR. Additional information about the BEXXAR Therapeutic Regimen, including safety and complete prescribing information, may be obtained by calling 1-877-423-9927 (1-877-4BEXXAR) or visiting http://www.bexxar.com/
GlaxoSmithKline — one of the world’s leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies — is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better, and live longer. For company information, visit GlaxoSmithKline at http://www.gsk.com/.
Cautionary statement regarding forward-looking statements
Under the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, GSK cautions investors that any forward-looking statements or projections made by GSK, including those made in this announcement, are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Factors that may affect GSK’s operations are described under ‘Risk Factors’ in the ‘Business Review’ in the company’s Annual Report on Form 20-F for 2007.
Note to Editors
To access the latest GSK Oncology media materials, visit http://www.gsk.com/media.
Enquiries: US Media enquiries: Sarah Alspach +1 919 483 2839 Mary Anne Rhyne +1 919 483 2839 References:
(1) The American Cancer Society. What are the key statistics about non-Hodgkin lymphoma? Available at:
http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/content/CRI_2_4_1x_What_are_the_key_stat istics_for_childhood_non_Hodgkins_lymphoma_9.asp Accessed June 12, 2008.
(2) Lymphoma Research Foundation. What you need to know about lymphoma. Available at:
http://www.lymphoma.org/site/pp.asp?c=chKOI6PEImE&b=1573289 Accessed June 12, 2008.
(3) BEXXAR Prescribing Information.
CONTACT: Sarah Alspach, +1-919-483-2839, Mary Anne Rhyne,+1-919-483-2839, both of GlaxoSmithKline
Web Site: http://www.bexxar.com/http://www.gsk.com/http://www.vitaloptions.org/