Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Bits and Pieces: Pink is Important & My Genes Can Predict the Future

DSC00697Image by ***Images*** via Flickr
Two things were on my mind yesterday...

Pink is Not the Same as Blue

I got a delivery yesterday of my CPAP supplies, which included the new ResMed Swift LX for Her mask. Using a CPAP can't really be described as fun, but I do make an effort to research all the latest therapy improvements to at least make it as comfortable as possible. So I was tickled when I opened the packaging and found that the back strap and the strap guards for my new mask were made from hot pink fabric.

Which got me thinking that pink really is important.

As far as I know, ResMed is the first company to make CPAP masks specifically proportioned for women. They also include literature with the mask that features women talking about sleep apnea. This woman-centered presentation makes me feel supported knowing that ResMed understands that the sleep apnea experience for women is similar, but not the same, as it is for men.

Success or Failure: Is It Written in My Genes?

Yesterday I met with my liver doctor for a routine follow-up on my chronic Hepatitis C (HCV) infection.

My doctor updated me on the exciting things coming soon to the world of HCV treatment. First up in a few months' time are the HCV protease inhibitors, antiviral drugs that specifically target HCV. Not far behind are the HCV polymerase and NS5A inhibitors, two more classes of antivirals. I followed up my doctor's appointment with a visit to the HCV Advocate website and my head was literally spinning after reading the names of all the 34 antiviral drugs currently in clinical trials for HCV.

Finally, the antiviral therapy I've patiently been waiting for, for 16 long years now, is almost within my grasp!

Unfortunately, in the near future, these antivirals will still need to be administered with the standard HCV treatment of interferon and ribavirin because HCV can quickly mutate, as fast as 3 weeks, and become resistant to a single antiviral medication.

But I learned something new today: there is a simple blood test I can take to determine if I will respond to the interferon component of the treatment protocol. The test looks at the IL28B gene. A variation to it's structure can predict whether interferon will succeed or fail at clearing my HCV infection.

That's pretty heady stuff.

Since there is no urgent reason to immediately pursue this, I plan to get the test a few weeks before my next appointment in June 2011 so I can get the results in-person from my doctor.

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Felicia Fibro said...

Ow, pink straps, that does sound exciting! Not as exciting as the news you received about the latest in HCV though! I'm so happy for you!

Electronic Medical Records said...

That is great to know you are happy.There are difficult stages and you have to be brave to overcome the downs and the depressions.