🦓 Day 26, Cushing’s Awareness Challenge 2022

So often during the diagnosis phase of Cushing’s I felt lost like this picture – I was walking alone to an unknown place with an unknown future.

My diagnosis was pre-Internet which meant that any information had to be gotten from libraries, bookstores, magazines…or doctors.  In 1983 to 1986 I knew something was terribly wrong but there was no backup from doctors, family or friends.  My first hope was from a magazine (see Day Six)

After I got that first glimmer of hope, it was off to the library to try to understand medical texts.  I would pick out words I did understand – and it was more words each trip.  I made Xerox copies of my findings to read at home and try to digest. (I still have all those old pages!)

All my research led me to Cushing’s.

Unfortunately, the research didn’t lead me to doctors who could help for several years.  That contributed greatly to the loneliness.  If a doctor says you’re not sick, friends and family are going to believe the doctor, not you.  After all, he’s the one trained to know what’s wrong or find out.

I was so grateful when I finally got into a clinical trial at NIH and was so nice not to be alone with this mystery illness.  I was also surprised to learn, awful as I felt, there were Cushies much worse off than I was.

I am so glad that the Internet is here now helping us all know that we’re not alone anymore.

We’re all in this together with help, support, research, just being there.  I love this quote from Catherine at http://wheniwasyou.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/wheniwasyou/

Mary, I am delighted to see you here. Cushings – because of the persistent central obesity caused by (we know now) the lack of growth hormone plus the hypothyroidism I was diagnosed with (but for which treatment was ineffective due to my lack of cortisol) – was one of the things I considered as an explanation for my symptoms. Your site was enormously educational and helpful to me in figuring out what might be happening to me. Those other patient testimonies I referred to? Many of them were the bios you posted. Thank you so much for commenting. I am so grateful for the support and encouragement. I really hope that my experiences will help other undiagnosed hypopituitary patients find their way to a diagnosis. I often used to dream that one day I’d get to say to others what was so often said to me: don’t give up, there will be an answer. I kept believing in myself because people I hadn’t even met believed in me. Now I am finally here and I do hope my story will help others to have faith in their own instincts.

Thanks again. Please do keep in touch.

Catherine

🦓 Day 12, Cushing’s Awareness Challenge 2022

In March of 1987, after the endo finally confirmed that I had Cushing’s, I was sent to a local hospital where they repeated all those same tests for another week and decided that it was not my adrenal gland (Cushing’s Syndrome) creating the problem. The doctors and nurses had no idea what to do with me, so they put me on the brain cancer ward.

When I left this hospital after a week, we didn’t know any more than we had before.

As luck would have it, NIH (National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland) was doing a clinical trial of Cushing’s. I live in the same area as NIH so it was not too inconvenient but very scary at first to think of being tested there. At that time I only had a choice of NIH, Mayo Clinic and a place in Quebec to do this then-rare pituitary surgery called a Transsphenoidal Resection.

My husband asked my endo if it were his wife, if he would recommend this surgery.  The endo responded that he was divorcing his wife – he didn’t care what happened to her.  Oh, my!

I chose NIH – closest and free. After I was interviewed by the doctors there, I got a letter that I had been accepted into the clinical trial.

The night before I was admitted, I signed my will.  I was sure I was going to die there.  If not during testing, as a result of surgery.

 

The first time I was there was for 6 weeks as an inpatient. More of the same tests.

There were about 12 of us there and it was nice not to be alone with this mystery disease. Many of these Cushies (mostly women) were getting bald, couldn’t walk, having strokes, had diabetes. One was blind, one had a heart attack while I was there. Several were from Greece.

My first roommate was a nurse.  She spent the entire first night screaming in pain.  I was very glad when they moved me to a new room!

Towards the end of my testing period, I was looking forward to the surgery just to get this whole mess over with – either a cure or dying. While I was at NIH, I was gaining about a pound a day!

During the time I was home the weekend  before surgery, a college classmate of mine (I didn’t know her) DID die at NIH of a Cushing’s-related problem. I’m so glad I didn’t find out until reading the alumnae magazine a couple months later!  She was the same class, same major, same home-town, same disease…

We have a Scottish doctor named James Lind to thank for the clinical trial.  He  conducted the first ever clinical trial in 1747 and developed the theory that citrus fruits cured scurvy.  Lind  compared the effects of various different acidic substances, ranging from vinegar to cider, on groups of afflicted sailors, and found that the group who were given oranges and lemons had largely recovered from scurvy after 6 days.

I’d like to think that I advanced the knowledge of Cushing’s at least a little bit by being a guinea  pig in 1987-1989.

From the NIH: http://endocrine.niddk.nih.gov/pubs/cushings/cushings.aspx

Hope through Research

Several components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conduct and support research on Cushing’s syndrome and other disorders of the endocrine system, including the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the National Cancer Institute, and the National Center for Research Resources.

NIH-supported scientists are conducting intensive research into the normal and abnormal function of the major endocrine glands and the many hormones of the endocrine system. Researchers continue to study the effects of excess cortisol, including its effect on brain structure and function. To refine the diagnostic process, studies are under way to assess the accuracy of existing screening tests and the effectiveness of new imaging techniques to evaluate patients with ectopic ACTH syndrome. Researchers are also investigating jugular vein sampling as a less invasive alternative to petrosal sinus sampling. Research into treatment options includes study of a new drug to treat the symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome caused by ectopic ACTH secretion.

Studies are under way to understand the causes of benign endocrine tumor formation, such as those that cause most cases of Cushing’s syndrome. In a few pituitary adenomas, specific gene defects have been identified and may provide important clues to understanding tumor formation. Endocrine factors may also play a role. Increasing evidence suggests that tumor formation is a multistep process. Understanding the basis of Cushing’s syndrome will yield new approaches to therapy.

The NIH supports research related to Cushing’s syndrome at medical centers throughout the United States. Scientists are also treating patients with Cushing’s syndrome at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, MD. Physicians who are interested in referring an adult patient may contact Lynnette Nieman, M.D., at NICHD, 10 Center Drive, Room 1-3140, Bethesda, MD 20892-1109, or by phone at 301-496-8935. Physicians interested in referring a child or adolescent may contact Constantine Stratakis, M.D., D.Sc., at NICHD, 10 Center Drive, Room 1-3330, Bethesda, MD 20892-1103, or by phone at 301-402-1998.

 

Long-Term Follow-Up of Survivors of Pediatric Cushing Disease

Sponsor:
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC) ( Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
Brief Summary:

Background:

The pituitary gland produces hormones. A tumor in this gland can cause it to produce too much of the hormone cortisol. Too much cortisol in the body causes Cushing disease. This disease causes many problems. Some of these problems might persist after the disease is cured.

Objective:

To find out the long-term effects of exposure to high levels of cortisol during childhood and adolescence.

Eligibility:

People ages 10-42years who were diagnosed with Cushing disease before age 21 and are now cured and have normal or low cortisol levels

People related to someone with Cushing disease

Design:

Participants will be screened with a medical history.

Participants will complete an online survey. This will include questions about their or their child s physical and mental health.

All participants will be seen at 5 -year intervals after cure of Cushing disease (5yr, 10yr, 15yr, 20yr (last visit))

Participants who have a relative with Cushing disease will have a medical history and blood tests or cheek swabs.

Participants who have the disease will have:

Physical exam

Blood tests

Cheek swab

DXA scan: A machine will x-ray the participant s body to measure bone mineral content.

For participants who are still growing, a hand x-ray

Participants with the disease may also have:

Hormone stimulation test: Participants will get a hormone or another substance that will be measured.

Serial hormone sampling: Participants blood will be measured several times through a thin plastic tube in an arm vein.

Urine tests: Participants urine may be collected over 24 hours.

MRI: Participants may have a dye injected into a vein. They will lie on a table that slides into a machine. The machine will take pictures of the body.

Read more https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03831958#eligibility

❓Clinical Trial: Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH)


The CAHmelia clinical trials are exploring a new investigational treatment for classic CAH.

CAHmelia 203 and CAHmelia 204 are clinical trials to test tildacerfont in adults with classic CAH, which may offer you and your loved ones hope of a brighter future – one where you may not have to choose between symptom management and long-term health.
Tildacerfont is a new type of oral, once-daily investigational treatment – one that is not a steroid – that is currently being tested in adults with classic CAH. By reducing the amount of androgens your body makes, tildacerfont may improve your classic CAH symptoms.
This investigational treatment will not replace your steroid treatment but may allow you to manage your disease with lower amounts of steroids at normal or near-normal doses.

Who can take part in this trial? You may be able to take part if you:Are at least 18 years of ageHave a confirmed diagnosis of classic CAH due to 21-OH deficiencyHave been on the same daily dose of steroids (GCs and/or mineralocorticoids) for at least 1 month before starting the trialBoth trials are now open for enrollment.
Tildacerfont is an investigational treatment not authorized for use in people outside the clinical trial.
For more information, go to: clarahealth.com/studies/cahmelia

​​​​​​​ 

📞 Cushing’s Disease Study

We have an opportunity for you to take part in a Cushing’s Disease study (IPS_4636) for Patients. Our project number for this study is IPS_4636.

Project Details:

  • Web- Camera Interview
  • There is a homework component
  • Interview is 75-minutes long
  • 125 Reward + 100 homework

Things to Note:

  • Patient study only, Caregivers please pass the link along
  • Unique links, please do not pass along for 2nd use
  • One Participant per household
  • Want to share this opportunity? Let us know and we can provide a new link
  • Preliminary questions are Mobile Friendly!
  • Save this email to reference if you have any questions about the study!
  • If you have any problems, email pm3@rarepatientvoice.com and reference the project number.  If you hit reply, you will get an auto do-not-reply email.

If you are interested in this study, please click the link below to answer a few questions to see if you qualify.

Study Link: Link

Thanks as always for your participation! Please be aware that by entering this information you are not guaranteed that you will be selected to participate. As always, we do not share any of your contact information without your permission.

💉 CLINICAL TRIALS | Awareness Project

Health Condition: All Conditions

Demographics: Ages 18+, United States Resident

Special Request(s): Everyone who has taken part in a clinical trial is asked to share. We are interested in learning why you decided to take part in a clinical trial and how your experience went.

Honoraria: Some respondents may be asked to participate in a clinical trial awareness network where there are paid opportunities to tell their stories.

 Apply to learn more.

🦓 Day 26, Cushing’s Awareness Challenge 2020

So often during the diagnosis phase of Cushing’s I felt lost like this picture – I was walking alone to an unknown place with an unknown future.

My diagnosis was pre-Internet which meant that any information had to be gotten from libraries, bookstores, magazines…or doctors.  In 1983 to 1986 I knew something was terribly wrong but there was no backup from doctors, family or friends.  My first hope was from a magazine (see Day Six)

After I got that first glimmer of hope, it was off to the library to try to understand medical texts.  I would pick out words I did understand – and it was more words each trip.  I made Xerox copies of my findings to read at home and try to digest. (I still have all those old pages!)

All my research led me to Cushing’s.

Unfortunately, the research didn’t lead me to doctors who could help for several years.  That contributed greatly to the loneliness.  If a doctor says you’re not sick, friends and family are going to believe the doctor, not you.  After all, he’s the one trained to know what’s wrong or find out.

I was so grateful when I finally got into a clinical trial at NIH and was so nice not to be alone with this mystery illness.  I was also surprised to learn, awful as I felt, there were Cushies much worse off than I was.

I am so glad that the Internet is here now helping us all know that we’re not alone anymore.

We’re all in this together with help, support, research, just being there.  I love this quote from Catherine at http://wheniwasyou.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/wheniwasyou/

Mary, I am delighted to see you here. Cushings – because of the persistent central obesity caused by (we know now) the lack of growth hormone plus the hypothyroidism I was diagnosed with (but for which treatment was ineffective due to my lack of cortisol) – was one of the things I considered as an explanation for my symptoms. Your site was enormously educational and helpful to me in figuring out what might be happening to me. Those other patient testimonies I referred to? Many of them were the bios you posted. Thank you so much for commenting. I am so grateful for the support and encouragement. I really hope that my experiences will help other undiagnosed hypopituitary patients find their way to a diagnosis. I often used to dream that one day I’d get to say to others what was so often said to me: don’t give up, there will be an answer. I kept believing in myself because people I hadn’t even met believed in me. Now I am finally here and I do hope my story will help others to have faith in their own instincts.

Thanks again. Please do keep in touch.

Catherine

🦓 Day 12, Cushing’s Awareness Challenge 2020

In March of 1987, after the endo finally confirmed that I had Cushing’s, I was sent to a local hospital where they repeated all those same tests for another week and decided that it was not my adrenal gland (Cushing’s Syndrome) creating the problem. The doctors and nurses had no idea what to do with me, so they put me on the brain cancer ward.

When I left this hospital after a week, we didn’t know any more than we had before.

As luck would have it, NIH (National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland) was doing a clinical trial of Cushing’s. I live in the same area as NIH so it was not too inconvenient but very scary at first to think of being tested there. At that time I only had a choice of NIH, Mayo Clinic and a place in Quebec to do this then-rare pituitary surgery called a Transsphenoidal Resection.

My husband asked my endo if it were his wife, if he would recommend this surgery.  The endo responded that he was divorcing his wife – he didn’t care what happened to her.  Oh, my!

I chose NIH – closest and free. After I was interviewed by the doctors there, I got a letter that I had been accepted into the clinical trial.

The night before I was admitted, I signed my will.  I was sure I was going to die there.  If not during testing, as a result of surgery.

The first time I was there was for 6 weeks as an inpatient. More of the same tests.

There were about 12 of us there and it was nice not to be alone with this mystery disease. Many of these Cushies (mostly women) were getting bald, couldn’t walk, having strokes, had diabetes. One was blind, one had a heart attack while I was there. Several were from Greece.

My first roommate was a nurse.  She spent the entire first night screaming in pain.  I was very glad when they moved me to a new room!

Towards the end of my testing period, I was looking forward to the surgery just to get this whole mess over with – either a cure or dying. While I was at NIH, I was gaining about a pound a day!

During the time I was home the weekend  before surgery, a college classmate of mine (I didn’t know her) DID die at NIH of a Cushing’s-related problem. I’m so glad I didn’t find out until reading the alumnae magazine a couple months later!  She was the same class, same major, same home-town, same disease…

We have a Scottish doctor named James Lind to thank for the clinical trial.  He  conducted the first ever clinical trial in 1747 and developed the theory that citrus fruits cured scurvy.  Lind  compared the effects of various different acidic substances, ranging from vinegar to cider, on groups of afflicted sailors, and found that the group who were given oranges and lemons had largely recovered from scurvy after 6 days.

I’d like to think that I advanced the knowledge of Cushing’s at least a little bit by being a guinea  pig in 1987-1989.

From the NIH: http://endocrine.niddk.nih.gov/pubs/cushings/cushings.aspx

Hope through Research

Several components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conduct and support research on Cushing’s syndrome and other disorders of the endocrine system, including the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the National Cancer Institute, and the National Center for Research Resources.

NIH-supported scientists are conducting intensive research into the normal and abnormal function of the major endocrine glands and the many hormones of the endocrine system. Researchers continue to study the effects of excess cortisol, including its effect on brain structure and function. To refine the diagnostic process, studies are under way to assess the accuracy of existing screening tests and the effectiveness of new imaging techniques to evaluate patients with ectopic ACTH syndrome. Researchers are also investigating jugular vein sampling as a less invasive alternative to petrosal sinus sampling. Research into treatment options includes study of a new drug to treat the symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome caused by ectopic ACTH secretion.

Studies are under way to understand the causes of benign endocrine tumor formation, such as those that cause most cases of Cushing’s syndrome. In a few pituitary adenomas, specific gene defects have been identified and may provide important clues to understanding tumor formation. Endocrine factors may also play a role. Increasing evidence suggests that tumor formation is a multistep process. Understanding the basis of Cushing’s syndrome will yield new approaches to therapy.

The NIH supports research related to Cushing’s syndrome at medical centers throughout the United States. Scientists are also treating patients with Cushing’s syndrome at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, MD. Physicians who are interested in referring an adult patient may contact Lynnette Nieman, M.D., at NICHD, 10 Center Drive, Room 1-3140, Bethesda, MD 20892-1109, or by phone at 301-496-8935. Physicians interested in referring a child or adolescent may contact Constantine Stratakis, M.D., D.Sc., at NICHD, 10 Center Drive, Room 1-3330, Bethesda, MD 20892-1103, or by phone at 301-402-1998.

😷 Clinical Trial: Endogenous Cushing’s Syndrome Patients Sought for Phase 3 Trial Testing Relacorilant

Corcept Therapeutics is recruiting participants for its Phase 3 clinical trial evaluating relacorilant as a potential treatment for Cushing’s syndrome-related side effects such as high blood pressure and impaired glucose tolerance.

Also, findings from the study “A Randomized-Withdrawal, Placebo-Controlled, Phase 3 Study to Assess the Efficacy and Safety of Selective Glucocorticoid Receptor Antagonist, Relacorilant, in Patients with Cushing Syndrome (GRACE Study),” were presented at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Endocrine Society (ENDO), in New Orleans, Louisiana.

In endogenous Cushing’s syndrome there is an “internal” culprit — usually a benign tumor — that makes the body produce too much of the hormone cortisol. The excessive amount of circulating cortisol can lead to serious problems, such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

Relacorilant is designed to prevent the effects of excess cortisol by blocking one of its receptors, the glucocorticoid receptor. Results from a Phase 2 trial (NCT02804750) suggest that relacorilant may manage the effects of prolonged cortisol excess in Cushing’s patients faster and without the known side effects of approved medications like Korlym (mifepristone).

Also, the treatment improved glucose tolerance and improved blood pressure in patients, suggesting it could be used to treat those with endogenous Cushing’s syndrome and concurrent type 2 diabetes mellitus, impaired glucose tolerance, and/or uncontrolled high blood pressure (hypertension).

Corcept has now designed the GRACE Phase 3 trial (NCT03697109), a multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized-withdrawal study, to evaluate relacorilant’s safety and effectiveness in these patients.

GRACE will be conducted in two stages. First, all patients will be given oral relacorilant each day for 22 weeks, at doses rising from 100 mg to a maximum of 400 mg.

Those who complete that stage and show improvements in pre-specified parameters of glucose tolerance or hypertension will move into the second, randomized phase of the trial.

Here, they will be randomly assigned to placebo or relacorilant at the same dose they received at the end of the first stage. This new round of treatment will last 12 weeks. Treatment-related adverse events (side effects) also will be assessed for up to 48 weeks (about 11 months) as a main outcome.

Additional primary goals include changes in glucose tolerance and blood pressure between the end of the first and second stages of the study.

Secondary objectives include identifying the proportion of patients achieving a response in glucose tolerance and high blood pressure criteria and the proportion of those who worsened at the end of the first stage, and the changes in quality of life throughout the study.

Researchers plan to enroll 130 people in these U.S. cities: Indianapolis, Indiana; Metairie, Louisiana; Jackson, Mississippi; Albany, New York; Jamaica, New York; Wilmington, North Carolina; Miami, Florida; Summerville, South Carolina; El Paso, Texas; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and; Aurora, Colorado. More detailed information is available here.

“We look forward to presenting new findings concerning cortisol modulation in patients with hypercortisolism,” Joseph K. Belanoff, MD, Corcept’s CEO,  said in a press release.

🦓 Day 16: Cushing’s Awareness Challenge 2019

So often during the diagnosis phase of Cushing’s I felt like this picture – I was walking alone to an unknown place with an unknown future.

My diagnosis was pre-Internet which meant that any information had to be gotten from libraries, bookstores, magazines…or doctors.  In 1983 to 1986 I knew something was terribly wrong but there was no backup from doctors, family or friends.  My first hope was from a magazine (see Day Twenty-nine, 2016)

After I got that first glimmer of hope, it was off to the library to try to understand medical texts.  I would pick out words I did understand – and it was more words each trip.  I made Xerox copies of my findings to read at home and try to digest. (I still have all those old pages!)

All my research led me to Cushing’s.

Unfortunately, the research didn’t lead me to doctors who could help for several years.  That contributed greatly to the loneliness.  If a Doctor says you’re not sick, friends and family are going to believe the doctor, not you.  After all, he’s the one trained to know what’s wrong or find out.

I was so grateful when I finally got into a clinical trial at NIH and was so nice not to be alone with this mystery illness.  I was also surprised to learn, awful as I felt, there were Cushies much worse off than I was.

I am so glad that the Internet is here now helping us all know that we’re not alone anymore.

 

We’re all in this together with help, support, research, just being there.  I love this quote from Catherine at http://wheniwasyou.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/wheniwasyou/

Mary, I am delighted to see you here. Cushings – because of the persistent central obesity caused by (we know now) the lack of growth hormone plus the hypothyroidism I was diagnosed with (but for which treatment was ineffective due to my lack of cortisol) – was one of the things I considered as an explanation for my symptoms. Your site was enormously educational and helpful to me in figuring out what might be happening to me. Those other patient testimonies I referred to? Many of them were the bios you posted. Thank you so much for commenting. I am so grateful for the support and encouragement. I really hope that my experiences will help other undiagnosed hypopituitary patients find their way to a diagnosis. I often used to dream that one day I’d get to say to others what was so often said to me: don’t give up, there will be an answer. I kept believing in myself because people I hadn’t even met believed in me. Now I am finally here and I do hope my story will help others to have faith in their own instincts.

Thanks again. Please do keep in touch.

Catherine