The scenes are heartbreaking. Farrah Fawcett, an actress we all remember from the 1970s as the beautiful blond from Charlie's Angels, is back on TV, but in a very different role. Farrah is shown bedridden in a hospital gown, frail looking and moaning in pain. This is her story of her fight with anal cancer, in her own words.
Nearly 9 million people tuned in on Friday night to NBC to watch "Farrah's Story", a two hour documentary narrated mostly by Farrah herself but also includes interviews with her long time partner, actor Ryan O'Neal, her best friend Alana Stewart, and her doctors.
Farrah Fawcett says in the documentary she wanted to share the pain and anguish of cancer with as many people as possible, as a reminder that this is a serious and often deadly disease. The documentary shows everything from happy times with her family to Farrah revealing her bald head from chemotherapy. This clip shows Farrah in a German hospital undergoing painful treatments for the cancer that has spread to her liver. You can see how debilitating the treatment is on Farrah, she starts off laughing and joking with her doctor about never eating liver again, to lying on her bed, stricken with pain.
Senior Producer, CNN Medical Unit
I’d just gotten the kids to bed and was cleaning up the house when the news flashed on my blackberry – a Chinese news report that researchers in South Korea, working with a sample from Atlanta, had discovered a potential vaccine against the swine flu H1N1 virus. It was nearly 10 o’clock at night but that’s how this goes – a worldwide, round-the-clock effort for the past several weeks, what some are calling a model of international cooperation.
A few minutes later I was on the phone with Dr. Seo Sang-heui, of Chungnam National University. He told me that yes, he believes he has created a vaccine that could be used against the virus. He’s packed up eight vials of the new vaccine and was waiting for a courier to pick them up and fly them to Atlanta, for testing at the CDC. He figured the courier would arrive in about an hour.
We’re not talking about a usable vaccine, not yet, but this is an important step. Here’s how it works: the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention isolated the 2009 H1N1 virus in its lab, in Atlanta. It sent isolates to a number of researchers around the world – including, it appears, Dr. Seo. These researchers follow a careful regimen, genetically modifying the vaccine to make it grow well, while keeping the traits that will – we hope – induce a strong immune response. It’s a process of trial and error, but Dr. Seo told me that in the past few days he figured out a way to grow the modified virus in an agar solution. He says he’s doing what any vaccine researcher would do, sending the samples back to Atlanta at no charge, with no conditions attached.
Tonight on 360°, Farrah Fawcett's fight to live. The former "Charlie's Angels" actress is sharing her battle against anal cancer in documentary. 360 M.D. will have the facts on the disease. Who's at risk and more.
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[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/HEALTH/05/18/swine.flu.ny.death/art.asst.principal.swine.flu.wabc.jpg caption="Mitchell Wiener, 55, who died Sunday, was listed in critical condition when he was admitted to the hospital."]
The danger isn't over with swine flu. There's been another death in the U.S. linked to the virus. The victim was an assistant school principal in New York City, who had an underlying condition. Tonight, students held a vigil for the popular former math teacher. Their school is among 17 temporarily closed because students have fallen sick.
Tonight, 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta has the latest on the outbreak. Get the facts you need know about H1N1.
Plus, Farrah Fawcett's fight to live. More than 9 million people watched the NBC documentary "Farrah's Story" on Friday. The former "Charlie's Angels" actress was diagnosed with anal cancer in 2006. It has spread to her liver. The 62 year old said she's sharing her battle so more people are aware of the rare illness that kills about 680 people each year. Dr. Gupta will stick around to give you the risk factors and other details on the cancer.
And, did police in Toledo, Ohio use too much force when they arrested a 14 year old boy? Click here to watch the controversial video posted on Youtube. Trevor Casey's family says he's the victim of police brutality. But according to a police report obtained by Toledo affiliate NBC 24, Casey and three others were loitering and Casey refused orders to leave the are. When he was told he was under arrest, Casey allegedly began fighting officers. We'll have both sides of this story and let you be the judge.
Join us for all this and more starting at 10pm ET.
See you then!
Program Note: AC360° Contributor Robert Zimmerman will be on the show tonight, here are the questions he's thinking about, and we'd like to hear your thoughts about them. Tonight AC360° at 10 p.m. ET
In this country, can we build a dialogue around the issues we care about or is the divide too great? The people are ready to work together. Will the politicians allow it to happen?
Senior White House Correspondent
In one of the federal government's most dramatic steps to cut greenhouse gas emissions ever, President Obama on Tuesday will combine California's tough auto-emission rules with the federal government's current fuel efficiency guidelines to create one tough new national standard for cars and light trucks, according to a senior administration official.
The new regulations will take effect beginning in 2012 and force automobiles to get more fuel efficient over the course of the following five years. By 2016, cars will be required to get 39 miles per gallon while light trucks will be forced to reach 30 mpg for a fleet average of 35.5 miles per gallon, according to the senior administration official.
"This has the effect of preserving consumer choice," said the senior administration official, who briefed reporters in advance of the official announcement. "You can continue to buy whatever sized car you like. All cars get cleaner."
Obama will unveil the changes at a 12:15pm event in the Rose Garden on Tuesday. Administration officials say that California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm will both be in attendance for the event along with executives from auto manufacturing companies.
Struggling U.S. automakers are already signaling their support because they believe the new national standard will help provide some certainty for their long-term planning, instead of dealing with the current patchwork of state regulations.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/HEALTH/04/09/anal.cancer.fawcett/art.fawcett.gi.jpg caption="Farrah Fawcett, shown here in 2004, learned she had cancer in 2006."]
The Mayo Health Clinic
Anal cancer is an uncommon type of cancer that occurs in the anal canal. The anal canal is a short tube at the end of your rectum through which stool leaves your body.
About 5,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with anal cancer each year, according to the National Cancer Institute. The incidence of anal cancer is increasing, though it isn't clear why.
Most cases of anal cancer are diagnosed at an early stage — when treatment provides the best chance for a cure. Most people with anal cancer are treated with a combination of chemotherapy and radiation.
What is anal cancer?
Normally, cells in the body will grow and divide to replace old or damaged cells in the body. This growth is highly regulated, and once enough cells are produced to replace the old ones, normal cells stop dividing. Tumors occur when there is an error in this regulation and cells continue to grow in an uncontrolled way. Tumors can either be benign or malignant. Although benign tumors may grow in an uncontrolled fashion sometimes, they do not spread beyond the part of the body where they started (metastasize) and do not invade into surrounding tissues. Malignant tumors, however, will grow in such a way that they invade and damage other tissues around them.
S. Korea says it has candidate strain for possible H1N1 vaccine
SEOUL, Korea (CNN) - Researchers at a South Korean university say they have discovered a candidate strain for an H1N1 vaccine, though it has not yet been approved by health authorities in the United States or the World Health Organization.
The strain is a genetically modified version of a live virus, and could lead to a vaccine against H1N1 - commonly known as swine flu, said Seo Sang-heui, a professor at Chungnam National University's College of Veterinary Medicine in South Korea.
"We created a candidate strain," Seo told CNN on Wednesday. The strain would still have to undergo additional testing and tweaking, but Seo believes it could be the right one to develop a vaccine.
He said the university is sending eight vials of the strain to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Seo added that the CDC had sent the university an original strain of the virus for testing.
CDC spokesman Dave Daigle told CNN said the agency has sent H1N1 strains to roughly 10 labs around the world, but he had no information on South Korea's claims. He said the CDC would check out the university's research.
Researchers around the world are racing to come up with a vaccine for the widespread virus, but the CDC and the WHO have said it could take up to six months between the time a virus appears to the time the vaccine is available to the public.
Earlier this month, WHO officials said candidate vaccine strains would undergo quality-control measures and be evaluated in clinical trials. If it meets certain criteria, a candidate vaccine would still have to be approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration before being available to patients in the United States.
–CNN's David Ariosto, Caleb Hellerman and Saundra Young contributed to this report.
Ready for today's Beat 360°? Everyday we post a picture – and you provide the caption and our staff will join in too. Tune in tonight at 10pm to see if you are our favorite! Here is the 'Beat 360°' pic:
First Lady Michelle Obama gestures before delivering the commencement speech at the University of California, Merced on May 16, 2009 in Merced, California. (Photo by David Paul Morris/Getty Images)
Have fun with it. We're looking forward to your captions! Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.
Program Note: Tune in tonight to hear more about the H1N1 influenza from Dr. Sanjay Gupta on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.
The World Health Organization
As of 06:00 GMT, 17 May 2009, 39 countries have officially reported 8480 cases of influenza A(H1N1) infection.
Mexico has reported 2895 laboratory confirmed human cases of infection, including 66 deaths. The United States has reported 4714 laboratory confirmed human cases, including four deaths. Canada has reported 496 laboratory confirmed human cases, including one death. Costa Rica has reported nine laboratory confirmed human cases, including one death.
Click here to see the number of reported cases in the United States, by state.
The following countries have reported laboratory confirmed cases with no deaths – Argentina (1), Australia (1), Austria (1), Belgium (4), Brazil (8), China (5), Colombia (11), Cuba (3), Denmark (1), Ecuador (1), El Salvador (4), Finland (2), France (14), Germany (14), Guatemala (3), India (1), Ireland (1), Israel (7), Italy (9), Japan (7), Malaysia (2), Netherlands (3), New Zealand (9), Norway (2), Panama (54), Peru (1), Poland (1), Portugal (1), Republic of Korea (3), Spain (103), Sweden (3), Switzerland (1), Thailand (2), Turkey (1), and the United Kingdom (82).