The Inspirational Wilko Johnson:  12 July 1947 – 21 November 2022

The Inspirational Wilko Johnson: 12 July 1947 – 21 November 2022

Awareness, Inspiration
Wilko playing at his last show. Oct 2022 in London. Aged 75. RIP Wilko Johnson - Neuroendocrine Cancer I have been following Wilko's cancer story since December 2015 (and what a story it is) Read more by clicking here. [caption id="attachment_14806" align="aligncenter" width="785"] Wilko Johnson performing at The Royal Albert Hall, London on 26th September 2017[/caption] Charlie Chan (left) convinced Wilko to get his diagnosis checked, Emmanuel Huguet (right) removed his huge tumour in Cambridge. Two videos below.  Wilko is mainly a guitar player but he also wrote songs and sings too. Video 1 is 2006 when he was part of Dr Feelgood.  Boom Boom. Video 2 was made with Roger Dawltry (The Who) for the Going back Home tour.  Was supposed to be Wilko's swan song.  He opted for…
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New test of pancreatic cysts to help with cancer detection

New test of pancreatic cysts to help with cancer detection

Clinical Trials, Patient Advocacy, Treatment
With NETs, particularly pancreatic NETs, due to a lack of efficient prognostic markers, it is difficult to identify which cases are more likely to metastasise than others. Identifying whether cysts will turn cancerous is also another area requiring a screening program as a standard of care to monitor.   Molecular testing is advancing and this test I'm reporting here looks like good news in the case of assessing the risks of pancreatic cysts.  Pancreatic cysts are common. For example, up to 15% of the U.S. population will develop a pancreatic cyst at some point in their lives. Most of these cysts are benign, but a small fraction will transform into cancer, including pancreatic NET. A molecular test developed by the University of Pittsburgh is able to distinguish benign pancreatic cysts from…
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Neuroendocrine Cancer:  Glossary of Terms

Neuroendocrine Cancer: Glossary of Terms

Awareness, Clinical Trials, Diet and Nutrition, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship, Treatment
Welcome to my Neuroendocrine Cancer terms and definitions list providing a source of meanings for acronyms and medical terms, all sourced from top Neuroendocrine Cancer and general cancer sites. How to use this list:1. If your term begins with an A, click on A to find all terms beginning with A.  Select your term from the list.2. For numerical terms, please click on the hashtag (#) symbol in the A to Z strip.3. The term definition including acronym or abbreviation will be given in full along with any of my published articles containing that term as long as I have tagged it on my website to display in the list. Please note I'm constantly working on the repository to clean up all definitions, adding and removing links where necessary, and ensuring all definitions…
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Management of asymptomatic sporadic non-functioning pancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms no larger than 2 cm: interim analysis of prospective ASPEN trial

Management of asymptomatic sporadic non-functioning pancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms no larger than 2 cm: interim analysis of prospective ASPEN trial

Clinical Trials, Treatment
One of the most controversial subjects in Neuroendocrine Neoplasms is the management of small non-functional (asymptomatic) pancreatic NETs (NF-PanNEN).  In the most general terms, surgery is not recommended in tumours less than 2cm.  Allowances are made for those who are functional (i.e. symptomatic with one of several syndrome possibilities) or where the tumour is threatening important vessels (i.e. pre-emptive surgery).  Normally watching and waiting is recommended.  I wrote more detail in an earlier blog - Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumours - to cut or not to cutSome patients opt (or push for) a non-guideline surgery regardless and as one other patient advocate put it, "they will surgeon shop until they find one who will do it". While the guidelines are just that (guidelines), decisions on surgery in such cases must be carefully considered…
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Neuroendocrine Cancer: At least 50 shades of grey

Neuroendocrine Cancer: At least 50 shades of grey

Awareness, Patient Advocacy
If you read any authoritative source on this cancer, it will normally begin with "Neuroendocrine Neoplasms (NENs) are heterogeneous tumours .............".  The term heterogeneous means diverse in character or content; or a structure with dissimilar components or elements.  This is not surprising as these tumours are found in Neuroendocrine cells throughout the vast majority of the human anatomy.  And yet, when you look at many hospital/healthcare sites, advocate organisation sites, and cancer information sources not maintained by Neuroendocrine Cancer scientists or specialists, you might start to think there is just one big type of NET and only one syndrome. Once again, this is partly related to the lingering use of the term Carcinoid. Even within the community, so many people make blanket statements about Neuroendocrine Cancer which are misleading, e.g."they're…
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CAPTEM for Neuroendocrine Tumours

CAPTEM for Neuroendocrine Tumours

Clinical Trials
What is CAPTEM? Capecitabine is an oral drug used alone or with other drugs to treat certain types of colorectal cancer and breast cancer. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer including in combination with a second drug. Capecitabine is taken up by cancer cells and breaks down into fluorouracil, a substance that kills cancer cells. Xeloda is a type of antimetabolite. Also called Xeloda.Temozolomide is an oral drug used to treat adults with certain types of brain tumors. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer including in combination with a second drug. Temozolomide damages the cell’s DNA and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of alkylating agent. Also called Temodar.Capecitabine (brand name Xeloda) plus Temozolomide (brand…
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Clinical Trial: Testing the Use of Chemotherapy After Surgery for High-Risk Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors

Clinical Trial: Testing the Use of Chemotherapy After Surgery for High-Risk Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors

Clinical Trials, Treatment
An interesting trial centred on SW USA.   The use of CAPTEM following surgery in high-risk pancreatic NETs (G2/G3 well-differentiated).  Also includes the use of NETest at 3 time points, which is very interesting considering the recent withdrawal of Chromogranin A from US NET Guidelines.  (Read about NETest here). Randomized Phase II Trial of Postoperative Adjuvant Capecitabine and Temozolomide versus Observation in High-Risk Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors (S2104) is a recently activated National Clinical Trials Network randomized phase II trial designed to compare CAPTEM chemotherapy versus observation following resection of pNETs (see Figure 2). Patients with well-differentiated grade 2 or 3 (Ki-67 up to 55%) pNETS with a Zaidi score of ≥3 who underwent resection (or ablation) for either localized disease with or without up to five liver metastases are eligible for…
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Neuroendocrine Tumors: Targeted Therapies – Update from NET Specialist Diane Reidy-Lagunes, MD, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center – August 2021

Neuroendocrine Tumors: Targeted Therapies – Update from NET Specialist Diane Reidy-Lagunes, MD, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center – August 2021

Clinical Trials, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship, Treatment
Background.  For those who want a quick run through of Neuroendocrine Tumors from diagnosis to selection of treatment, about the treatments themselves plus what is the Future Directions in the Management of Neuroendocrine Tumors.  There are 8 episodes, and each is around 3-5 minutes long. I personally found them very useful and in a language understandable to patients. Great job by OncLive and Dr Reidy-Lagunes!  Episode 1 - Understanding the Diagnosis and Prognosis of Neuroendocrine Tumors Diane Reidy-Lagunes, MD, provides an overview of neuroendocrine tumors, along with specific considerations for optimal diagnosis and prognostication. Understanding the Diagnosis and Prognosis of Neuroendocrine Tumors (onclive.com) Episode 2 - Neuroendocrine Tumor Pathogenesis and Molecular Testing Expert insight on the pathogenesis of neuroendocrine tumors and the best use of molecular testing to inform treatment decisions.Neuroendocrine Tumor Pathogenesis…
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Every picture tells a story (point, click, read)

Every picture tells a story (point, click, read)

Awareness, Clinical Trials, Diet and Nutrition, Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Newsletters, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship, Treatment
I always try to use graphics for a number of pictures, I admit mainly to catch people's attention but also because sometimes a picture on its own tells a story or at least provides a great introduction to one. If the picture catches your eye, clicking on will take you to the text.  This post will auto update as new blogs are published. thanks for reading and sharing! Scroll, point, click, read, share! Click here and answer all questions to join my private Facebook group Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email Thanks for reading. Ronny I’m also active on Facebook. Like my page for even more news. Help me build up my new site here –…
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“I’m vertical” – Steve Jobs announces to Apple staff after a liver transplant

“I’m vertical” – Steve Jobs announces to Apple staff after a liver transplant

Patient Advocacy
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email A lot had been written about Steve Jobs, some good, some bad, some inaccurate - the latter is mostly about the cancer he had.  I came across this clip published by an Apple Mac publication and it contained a video of Steve the day he returned to Apple after having a liver transplant and had recovered from the procedure.  In it he said "I'm vertical" in classic Jobs language and positive outlook.  Watch the clip here:https://youtu.be/BNv2lH225Ko The article is a good one except it falls for the usual trap - that he had Pancreatic Cancer.  I made a comment of course - you might like to too.   It's probably too…
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Targeted Therapy for Neuroendocrine Cancer – Sunitinib (Sutent)

Targeted Therapy for Neuroendocrine Cancer – Sunitinib (Sutent)

Clinical Trials, Treatment
Click here to see the A to Z of Neuroendocrine Cancer What is Sunitinib (Sutent)? Manufactured by Pfizer, this is a targeted biological therapy or more accurately, a multitargeted tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI).  You may also see it described as an anti-angiogenic agent on the basis that these tumor types are highly vascularized and show high expression of something called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a key driver of angiogenesis in neuroendocrine tumors. Because NETs are generally hypervascularized tumors, treatment with antiangiogenic drugs seems a rational approach. A complex process but in the simplest of terms, sunitinib blocks a particular enzyme and keeps tumors from making their own blood vessels, which are needed to deliver oxygen and other nutrients to help them survive and grow. In clinical trials, SUTENT was…
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Targeted Therapy for Neuroendocrine Cancer – Everolimus (Afinitor)

Targeted Therapy for Neuroendocrine Cancer – Everolimus (Afinitor)

Clinical Trials, Treatment
Click picture to read the A to Z of Neuroendocrine Cancer What is Everolimus (Afinitor)? Manufactured by Novartis, this is a targeted biological therapy or more accurately, a mammalian Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitor. It works by stopping some of the signals within cells that make them grow and divide. Everolimus stops a particular protein called mTOR from working properly. mTOR controls other proteins that trigger cancer cells to grow. So everolimus helps to stop the cancer growing or may slow it down.  The drug is also approved for Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC) and hormone-receptor-positive advanced Breast Cancer.The drug is administered in oral form (tablet). The recommended dose for AFINITOR® (everolimus) Tablets is one 10-mg tablet once daily but lower doses of 7.5-mg tablets, 5-mg tablets, and 2.5-mg tablets are…
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Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumours – to cut or not to cut

Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumours – to cut or not to cut

Treatment
Background I've written before about pancreatic NETs (pNETs), much of which has been on the awareness side of my advocacy work, particularly emphasising the differences with core Pancreatic Cancer (adenocarcinoma).Pancreatic NETs are quite difficult to diagnose and treat, some of that difficulty is due to the location of the pancreas and accessibility for surgeons and radiographers. It's not helped by the fact that most pNETs are non-functional, making diagnosis more difficult as there is little clinical suspicion to scan, but also results in more late diagnoses.Although biopsies are possible, mainly via endoscopic ultrasound or laparoscopy, they can still be difficult to reach.  In some cases, biopsies are not done until after the surgical removal of tumours. The latter scenario plus surgery after a positive biopsy result does present an increased risk…
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Neuroendocrine Cancer and Pancreatic Enzyme Replacement Therapy (PERT) – the Digested Version (Nutrition Series Article 5)

Neuroendocrine Cancer and Pancreatic Enzyme Replacement Therapy (PERT) – the Digested Version (Nutrition Series Article 5)

Diet and Nutrition, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship, Treatment
After 7 years of avoiding pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy (PERT), I finally asked for some on a trial basis at the end of 2017.  To be honest, for some time, I thought they were really only needed in the NET world for those with pancreatic issues (pNETs).  I've always known I've had some digestive issues related to malabsorption. However, I'm not losing weight - this has been stable for some years (but see below).  Plus my key vitamin levels (B12 and D) are in range.  However, I had been struggling with a lot of bloating issues, thus the trial.  You know me, I like to research and analyse such things! I've actually written about a lot of these issues in my Nutrition series ..... so this is now 'Article Number…
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ASCO 2017 – Let’s talk about NETs #ASCO17

ASCO 2017 – Let’s talk about NETs #ASCO17

Clinical Trials
ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncology) is one of the biggest cancer conferences in the world normally bringing together more than 30,000 oncology professionals from around the world to discuss state-of-the-art treatment modalities, new therapies, and ongoing controversies in the field.  As Neuroendorine Tumors is on a roll in terms of new treatments and continued research, we appear to be well represented with over 20 'extracts' submitted for review and display.  This is fairly complex stuff but much of it will be familiar to many.  I've filtered and extracted all the Neuroendocrine stuff into one list providing you with an easy to peruse table of contents, complete with relevant linkages if you need to read more.  For many the extract title and conclusion will be sufficiently educational or at least…
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Clinical Trial – Cabozantinib for Neuroendocrine Neoplasms

Clinical Trial – Cabozantinib for Neuroendocrine Neoplasms

Clinical Trials
What is Cabozantinib?Cabozantinib is an oral drug which works by blocking the growth of new blood vessels that feed a tumour. In addition to blocking the formation of new blood cells in tumours, Cabozantinib also blocks pathways that may be responsible for allowing cancers cells to become resistant to other "anti-angiogenic" drugs. It is a type of drug called a growth blocker.  Cabozantinib has been studied or is already in research studies as a possible treatment for various types of cancer, including prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, brain cancer, thyroid cancer, lung cancer, and kidney cancer. During my research, I found that it has a connection to Medullary Thyroid Cancer (MTC) which is a type of Neuroendocrine Cancer, frequently associated with Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia (MEN).  Cabozantinib, under the brand name of 'Cometriq'…
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Theranostics for Neuroendocrine Cancer –  A Find and Destroy Mission

Theranostics for Neuroendocrine Cancer – A Find and Destroy Mission

Awareness, Clinical Trials, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Treatment
[caption id="attachment_14426" width="1200"] Courtesy of Pashtoon Kasi MD on Twitter https://twitter.com/pashtoonkasi/status/1078675398601396224[/caption] Theranostics is a joining of the words therapeutics and diagnostics. You may also see it conveyed as 'Theragnostics' and these terms are interchangeable. The basic aim of theranotistics is to find and then destroy the 'bad guys'. With Neuroendocrine Cancer, finding the tumours (the bad guys) can often be a challenge - they can be small and/or difficult to find - they are sometimes expert at camouflage. Moreover, once found, they can then be difficult to treat (destroy), as they can often prove resistant to conventional cancer drugs and many are inoperable due to sheer quantity, spread and positioning. When they are found and identified, it's also really helpful to know from the intelligence gathered, how successful the destroy…
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Surgery for Neuroendocrine Neoplasms – to cut or not to cut?

Surgery for Neuroendocrine Neoplasms – to cut or not to cut?

Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship, Treatment
Reviewed and edited 26th September 2021Surgery can sometimes be a tough call (......to cut or not to cut?)It is an area where I have some sympathy for physicians and surgeons who sometimes have tough decisions to make. Surgery is risky, particularly where people are presenting in a weak condition, perhaps with very advanced disease, secondary illness and comorbidities. I also suspect age is a factor (I was surprised to find myself considered 'young' at 55). Physicians and surgeons need to weigh up these risks and the consequences of the surgery against a 'watch and wait' or alternative non-surgical approach. This would normally be discussed via a 'Tumor Board' or Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) meeting. However, and although imaging helps, the situation is not really 100% clear until the surgeon 'gets inside'.…
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Steve Jobs – the most famous Neuroendocrine Cancer Ambassador we NEVER had

Steve Jobs – the most famous Neuroendocrine Cancer Ambassador we NEVER had

Awareness, Diet and Nutrition, Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Survivorship, Treatment
Steve Jobs died 5 Oct 2011. RIP Steve, you certainly made a difference to the world of technology and that is still being felt today. I have a number of google alerts setup and every day the emails arrive in my inbox. The longest email is always the Steve Jobs one, i.e. Steve Jobs is written about more than Neuroendocrine Cancer and other connected subjects. That's interesting because Neuroendocrine Cancer is the type Steve had, not Pancreatic as is frequently reported.There are huge differences between Pancreatic Cancer and Neuroendocrine Cancer with a pancreatic primary - click here to read more. I've mentioned Steve Jobs a few times previously, mainly in my blog The Human Anatomy of Neuroendocrine Cancer. I wrote that blog when I was frustrated about the constant misreporting…
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Neuroendocrine Cancer: Patient Power!

Awareness, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship, Treatment
There's a saying that the patient is the most underused person in healthcare and I think there's a lot of truth in that. However, I would suggest with Neuroendocrine Cancer, it's less true than for many other cancers. There are so many NET Cancer patients out there who know quite a lot about their cancer, and in some detail. Even the great Dr Liu once said that NET Patients frequently know more about NET Cancer than their doctors. If you go onto Twitter, if you go onto Facebook, if you read newspaper stories, you will find cancer patient stories in abundance and they will normally be patients diagnosed with the big 4 cancers. This is not surprising as these tend to affect more people.  However, the ratio of NET Cancer…
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Neuroendocrine Cancer – tumour markers and hormone levels

Neuroendocrine Cancer – tumour markers and hormone levels

Patient Advocacy
BackgroundI think most people have had a form of medical testing at some point in their life, i.e. the sampling and testing of blood, urine, saliva, stool or body tissue. In a nutshell, the medical staff are just measuring the content of a 'substance' and then taking a view whether this is normal or not based on pre-determined ranges. These tests are normally done as a physician's reaction to symptom presentation or maintenance/surveillance of an existing diagnosed condition. Sometimes, abnormal results will lead to more specialist tests.In cancer, these tests are frequently called 'markers'. Most tumour markers are made by normal cells as well as by cancer cells; however, they are produced at much higher levels in cancerous conditions. These substances can be found in the blood, urine, stool, tumour tissue,…
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Neuroendocrine Cancer Nutrition Series Article 2 – Gastrointestinal Malabsorption

Neuroendocrine Cancer Nutrition Series Article 2 – Gastrointestinal Malabsorption

Diet and Nutrition, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Survivorship, Treatment
This is the second article in the Neuroendocrine Cancer Nutrition series. In the first article, I focused on Vitamin and Mineral deficiency risks for patients and there is a big overlap with the subject of Gastrointestinal Malabsorption. Those who remember the content will have spotted the risks pertaining to the inability to absorb particular vitamins and minerals. This comes under the general heading of Malabsorption and in Neuroendocrine Cancer patients, this can be caused or exacerbated by one or more of a number of factors relating to their condition. It's also worth pointing out that malabsorption issues can be caused by other reasons unrelated to NETs. Additionally, malabsorption and nutrient deficiency issues can form part of the presenting symptoms which eventually lead to a diagnosis of Neuroendocrine Cancer; e.g. in my own case,…
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Neuroendocrine Neoplasms – not as rare as you think

Neuroendocrine Neoplasms – not as rare as you think

Awareness, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy
Background Although initially considered rare tumours up until 10 years ago, the most recent data indicates the incidence of Neuroendocrine Neoplasms (NENs) has increased exponentially over the last 4 decades and they are as common as Myeloma, Testicular Cancer, and Hodgkin's Lymphoma. In terms of prevalence, NENs represent the second most common gastrointestinal malignancy after colorectal cancer. Consequently, many experts are now claiming NENs are not rare (see below). A recent study published in Dec 2020 indicates that Rectal NETs may be vastly understated having been included in the databases for Colorectal Cancer and hidden from NET figures.  Read more here. A recent study published on 5 Dec 2018 reports that even if you isolate Small Intestine NETs in the USA population, the incidence rate is 9/100,000. Contrast this against…
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Surgery for NETs – Chop Chop

Surgery for NETs – Chop Chop

Treatment
At the end of 2014, I was feeling pretty good celebrating 4 years since my first 'big' surgery in 2010. It prompted me to write an article Surgery - the gift that keeps on giving. In that particlar article, I really just wanted to say I was grateful for the early surgical treatment and as I was just about to spend another Christmas with my family, I was reminiscing what a wonderful gift it was at the time. Other than some detail of the surgery, I didn't get too technical, I just wanted to generate a thankful and festive mood. However, a recent private message from a subscriber prompted me to study the current benefits of surgery for Neuroendocrine Tumours (NETs) in more detail just to ensure my understanding was still in line with best practice. …
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Neuroendocrine Cancer – Horrible Hormones

Neuroendocrine Cancer – Horrible Hormones

Patient Advocacy
Hormonal imbalances are quite common in many conditions including day to day stuff. With Neuroendocrine Cancer, it can be a real challenge both at diagnostic and maintenance phases.  In addition to the cancer angle, there's some strange stuff going on, inexplicable, frightening for the patient, an unwanted ingredient causing chaos!Until I was diagnosed with metastatic Neuroendocrine Cancer, I didn't have a clue about hormones - it's one of those things you just take for granted. However, hormones are vital to human health (male and female) and it's only when things go wrong you suddenly appreciate how important they are.  Hormones are involved in many conditions, not just an issue with Neuroendocrine Tumours (NETs) but the presence of over-secreting hormones (often called peptides throughout) is useful to aid a diagnosis, albeit…
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