Prince George’s woman works to raise awareness about rare disease

Lanham resident to speak at Patient Education Day event about Cushing’s disease

By Sophie Petit Staff Writer
stacy

Greg Dohler/The Gazette

Lanham resident Stacey L. Hardy, a survivor of Cushing’s disease, will speak about her experience with the pituitary disorder at an upcoming event at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Stacy L. Hardy of Lanham described herself as athletic, which is why she became concerned when in 1996 she mysteriously gained 240 pounds that took five doctors 14 years to determine she had a potentially fatal disease.

Now Hardy said she wants to raise awareness among others who may unknowingly have Cushing’s disease, but are unaware of the symptoms and treatment.

It wasn’t until 2010 that Hardy, now 43, was diagnosed with the disease, a rare disorder that causes the body to release too much cortisol, the body’s stress or “fight or flight” hormone, said Gary Wand, a pituitary gland specialist at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

Excess cortisol causes weight gain, especially in the stomach, extreme fatigue, muscle aches, anxiety and depression, he said.

“I didn’t even know what Cushing’s was. I was ready to just live with [the symptoms],” Hardy said, adding that by the time she was diagnosed she felt so tired she could barely move.

At 5 feet, 4 inches tall, Hardy said she reached 365 pounds during her struggle with the disease.

“We knew something for a while wasn’t right, but I never thought it would be something like that,” said Hardy’s daughter, Paij Hardy, 21, a student at Baltimore City Community College.

Just three out of every one million people are diagnosed with Cushing’s each year, said Wand, who estimates he sees 30 patients per year worldwide.

In 2011, Hardy underwent 16 hours of surgery at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore to remove four tumors from her pituitary gland, located at the base of the brain that controls the release of cortisol.

Today, she is 100 pounds lighter, with the weight still rapidly coming off, and said she is determined to serve as a lifelong support and education source for her fellow “cushies” — others with Cushing’s disease.

Hardy will speak Saturday at the Johns Hopkins Pituitary Gland Center’s fifth annual Patient Education Day, an event to raise awareness about the disease, Wand said.

Since the pituitary gland is the size of a kidney bean, Hardy underwent several brain scans before doctors, who previously suggested she might have leukemia or needed to diet and exercise more, could tell there were tumors on her gland, she said.

Hardy’s experience with delayed diagnosis and misdiagnosis is not unique, Wand said.

Cushing’s is a “subtle” disease, which is difficult to diagnose, and not everyone exhibits the same symptoms, he said.

If left untreated for more than a decade, the disease is fatal, but removing the pituitary gland tumors has proved extremely successful, Wand said.

“I’m evidence that there’s help out there,” Hardy said. “I can move. I can almost run. I can bend over and pick up a box. Oh my goodness, I can dance.”

From http://www.gazette.net/article/20130926/NEWS/130929354/1077/prince-george-x2019-s-woman-works-to-raise-awareness-about-rare&template=gazette

Characterization of persistent and recurrent Cushing’s disease

Pituitary, 09/25/2013  Review Article

Sundaram NK et al. – A case of possible recurrent Cushing’s disease (CD) is presented and data on current definitions of CD remission, persistence, and recurrence are reviewed.

The number and degree of abnormal test results needed to define recurrence, and the determination of which biochemical test has more significance when there are discrepancies between markers is inconsistent among studies. Further inquiry is warranted to examine if patients in apparent CD remission who have subtle hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis abnormalities represent distinctive remission subtypes versus mild or early recurrence.

Additional investigation could also explore the degree to which these HPA axis abnormalities, such as alterations in cortisol circadian rhythm or partial resistance to dexamethasone, are associated with persistence of CD morbidities, including neuropsychiatric impairments, alterations in body composition, and cardiovascular risk.

From MDLinx

Researchers at Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes Release New Data on Cushing Syndrome

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Biotech Week — Research findings on Adrenal Gland Diseases are discussed in a new report. According to news reporting originating from Melbourne, Australia, by NewsRx correspondents, research stated, “Stereotactic radiation therapy has emerged as an alternative to conventional radiotherapy for treatment of Cushing disease. The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy and safety of this treatment.”

Our news editors obtained a quote from the research from the Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, “Records of patients with Cushing disease treated with stereotactic radiation were reviewed. Seventeen patients underwent stereotactic radiosurgery.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “Ten achieved remission after a mean of 23 (95% confidence interval, 15-31) months, and two developed hormone deficiencies.”

For more information on this research see: Stereotactic radiosurgery for treatment of Cushing disease: an Australian experience. Internal Medicine Journal, 2012;42(10):1153-6. (Wiley-Blackwell – www.wiley.com/; Internal Medicine Journal – onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1445-5994)

The news editors report that additional information may be obtained by contacting L. Wein, Dept. of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Additional authors for this research include M. Dally and L.A Bach (see also Adrenal Gland Diseases).

Keywords for this news article include: Melbourne, Treatment, Radiotherapy, Radiation Therapy, Cushing’s Syndrome, Adrenal Gland Diseases, Australia and New Zealand.

Our reports deliver fact-based news of research and discoveries from around the world. Copyright 2013, NewsRx LLC

From http://www.hispanicbusiness.com/2013/9/18/researchers_at_department_of_endocrinology_and.htm

Mifepristone in children with refractory Cushing’s disease

Introduction

This study is being done to examine the effects of a medication called mifepristone in children with Cushing’s disease. This medication has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in adult patients with Cushing’s syndrome. It is not FDA approved for use in children.

The study will investigate how children’s bodies absorb and process mifepristone, how it works in children and what effect it has on the use of sugar in the body, on the child’s weight and on growth hormone. An important part of the study is to determine the proper dosing and to evaluate the side effects of mifepristone in children.

Children 6 to 17 years old will be enrolled in the study if they have had surgery for Cushing’s disease and currently have elevated cortisol levels.

To get started, please click here.

NIH: An Open-Label Study of The Safety, Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics of Mifepristone in Children With Refractory Cushing’s Disease

This study is currently recruiting participants.

Summary

Number 13-CH-0170
Sponsoring Institute National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
Recruitment Detail Type: Participants currently recruited/enrolled
Gender: Male & Female
Min Age: 6
Max Age: 17
Referral Letter Required No
Population Exclusion(s) None
Special Instructions Currently Not Provided
Keywords Child;
Cushing Syndrome;
Metabolism;
Mifepristone;
Pharmacokinetic-Pharmacodynamic
Recruitment Keyword(s) None
Condition(s) Cushing’s Syndrome;
Cushing Syndrome
Investigational Drug(s) Mifepristone
Investigational Device(s) None
Intervention(s) Drug: mifepristone
Supporting Site National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

Background:

– There are currently no approved therapies for children with Cushing’s disease who are not cured by surgery alone. A drug called mifepristone has been approved to treat adults with Cushing’s syndrome and elevated blood glucose caused by Cushing’s. The drug is marketed under the name Korlym(Registered Trademark). The study drug may have a different effect on a child’s body than an adult’s, so researchers want to know how much of the drug to give children and what effect it will have. They want to learn if mifepristone improves Cushing’s disease in children as it does in adults. They also want to know about the drug’s side effects in children.

Objectives:

– To study the effect of a medication called mifepristone in children with Cushing’s disease that has not been helped by pituitary surgery.

Eligibility:

– Children ages 6 to 17 with active Cushing’s disease following pituitary surgery and who have a body weight higher than expected for their height and age.

Design:

– Participants will be screened for up to 8 weeks with a physical exam, medical history, and medical tests including blood tests and X-rays.

– Participants will take tablets of the study drug each day for 12 weeks.

– Participants will stay at the clinic for 4 nights at the beginning of the study. They will have three 1-day visits during the study. They will stay at the clinic the last 3 days of the study.

– At these visits, participants will be given several tests. In one test, a small wire is inserted under the skin of the belly and a small monitor is attached taped to the belly. In another, the participant drinks a liquid and blood samples are taken.

– Follow-up visits will occur 4 weeks and 12 weeks after the study ends.

–Back to Top–

Eligibility

INCLUSION CRITERIAPatients who are eligible for enrollment must meet the following eligibility criteria:

– Males and females 6-17 years at informed consent

– Active Cushing’s disease as demonstrated by the following:

–24 hour Urinary Free Cortisol greater than the upper limit of normal for age on two urine collections during screening and

— midnight serum cortisol > 4.4 mcg/dL (mean of two determinations on a single day at 2330 and 2400 during screening)

– Previous trans-sphenoidal surgery (TSS) for ACTH secreting pituitary tumor at least 3 months prior to screening

– Increased body weight defined by BMI Z-score of 1.5 or above

– Able to provide consent/assent

– Able to swallow study drug tablets (not crushed or split)

– Willing to use non-hormonal method of contraception in patients of reproductive potential

– Primary health care provider in home location

EXCLUSION CRITERIA:

– Hypercortisolism not due to Cushing’s disease.

– Type 1 diabetes mellitus

– HbA1c geater than or equal to 9.5% at Screening

– Body weight < 25 kg

– Use of certain medications that are CYP3A substrates with narrow therapeutic ranges, such as simvastatin, lovastatin, cyclosporine, dihydroergotamine, ergotamine, fentanyl, pimozide, quinidine, sirolimus, and tacrolimus during the 4 weeks prior to starting study drug. Use of these medications is also prohibited until 2 weeks after end of dosing.

– Use of certain medications that are strong CYP3A inhibitors such as itraconazole, nefazodone, ritonavir, nelfinavir, indinavir, atazanavir, amprenavir, fosamprenavir, boceprevir, clarithromycin, conivaptan, lopinavir, mibefradil, posaconazole, saquinavir, telaprevir, telithromycin, and voriconazole during the 2 weeks prior to starting study drug.

Use of these medications is also prohibited until 2 weeks after end of dosing. Grapefruit and grapefruit juice are prohibited during this time frame.

– Use of certain medications that are strong inducers on CYP3A such as rifampin, rifabutin, rifapentin, phenobarbital, phenytoin, carbamazepine, St. John’s wort during the 2 weeks prior to starting study drug. Use of these medications is also prohibited until 2 weeks after end of dosing.

– Use of medications used to treat hypercortisolism from the duration indicated below prior to Day 1. Use of the medications is also prohibited until after the end of study 4 week follow up visit.

–steroidogenesis inhibitors such as ketoconazole, metyrapone: 4 weeks

–cabergoline, bromocriptine, somatostatin analogs such as octreotide, lanreotide, pasireotide long acting formulations: 8 weeks (immediate release formulations: 2 weeks)

–mitotane: 8 weeks

– Use of systemic glucocorticoid medications beginning 1 month prior to screening or anticipated use of these medications except for the treatment of adrenal insufficiency. Use of glucocorticoid medications is prohibited during the study until after the end of study 4 week study visit.

– Inflammatory, rheumatological, proliferative or other disorder(s) that would be anticipated to worsen with glucocorticoid blockade (e.g. inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, etc.).

– Uncontrolled hypo- or hyperthyroidism.

– Uncorrected hypokalemia (< 3.5 mEq/L). The screening period may be used to correct hypokalemia prior to starting study drug. Use of potassium and/or mineralocorticoid antagonists is permitted during the study.

– QTc geater than or equal to 450 msec on Screening electrocardiogram

– Unexplained vaginal bleeding in females and/or any history of endometrial pathology.

– Positive pregnancy test in females.

From http://clinicalstudies.info.nih.gov/cgi/detail.cgi?A_2013-CH-0170.html

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