Wednesday, 15 March 2006

Intensive care after a clinical drugs test

I participate in these tests as well. It can happen...
Six men remain in intensive care after they were taken ill during a clinical drugs test in north-west London. The healthy volunteers had been given an anti-inflammatory drug at a private research unit based at Northwick Park Hospital when they suffered a reaction. Myfanwy Marshall told BBC News her boyfriend's body was badly swollen and his organs were failing. An investigation has begun at the unit, run by Parexel, which said it followed recommended guidelines in its trial.
The young men were being paid to take part in the early stages of a trial for the drug TGN1412 which is designed to treat conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and leukaemia. But within hours of taking it on Monday, six volunteers had to be admitted to intensive care - a further two had been given a placebo.
Northwick Park Hospital's intensive care director Ganesh Suntharalingam said two were in a critical condition, and the other four were serious but showing some signs of improvement. He added his team had been doing everything possible in this "unique set of circumstances". "The drug, which is untested and therefore unused by doctors, has caused an inflammatory response which affects some organs of the body," he said.
Ms Marshall, 35, whose boyfriend is critically ill, said the normally healthy 28-year-old barman's face was so puffed, he "looks like the Elephant Man". She said: "His friends cannot even face seeing him. I have to stay there because I'm looking beyond all the wires and the puffiness. "This is not leukaemia, this is not pneumonia, this is not something they know how to deal with." Such an adverse drug reaction occurs extremely rarely and this is an unfortunate and unusual situation
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) immediately withdrew authorisation for the trial and an international warning was sent out to prevent the drug from being tested abroad.
MHRA inspectors have visited the independent research unit and are in talks with the local strategic health authority, the Department of Health and police about the cases.
Its chief executive Professor Kent Woods said: "Our immediate priority has been to ensure that no further patients are harmed. "We will now undertake an exhaustive investigation to determine the cause and ensure all appropriate actions are taken." It had approved the trial and the drug had already been tested on animals.
Volunteers are paid up to £150 a day to take part in clinical trials. Parexel, which was running the trial, said it had followed guidelines and such cases were extremely rare. The Medical Research Council said that while it was "an unfortunate and extremely rare event", such clinical trials were essential for the development of new and better treatments.
Professor Herman Scholtz, from Parexel, said: "When the adverse drug reaction occurred, the Parexel clinical pharmacology medical team responded swiftly to stop the study procedures immediately. "Such an adverse drug reaction occurs extremely rarely and this is an unfortunate and unusual situation. We did everything possible to get the patients treated as quickly as possible."
TeGenero, the Germany-based manufacturers of the drug, said the events were completely unexpected and did not reflect results from initial laboratory studies. Health secretary Patricia Hewitt said: "It is a shocking event and obviously our thoughts are with those young people and with their families."

Observer Belarus

I almost got myself into an observermission to Belarus. This is what happend to a part of the group. Nice isn't it? :-) Strange that there are still dictators in Europe...

Sunday, 12 March 2006


Once in a while, I check up (although it is becoming more obsessive) who is visiting my blog. Normally a lot of visitors who only stay 00.00 minutes at my blog, some regular readers and the occasional exception. Yesterday I had such an exception in a visitor from Moldova, who stayed a very, very long time:

Time: 3:19:34 pm
Pageviews: 32
Total time visited: 150:56

I know who might that was and thank you for that! :) You definitely boosted up my statistics!

Thursday, 9 March 2006

From the early days...

"I ended up in a bar reading yesterday's newspaper (have to stay up-to-date) and after that chatting with some drivers/security of the Eminim/50Cent/G-Unit concert. Was funny, they all passed me, everyone going crazy, but I'm just standing there flabbergasted by the atmosphere and things happening. All the Escalades, Jeeps, Ferrari's, Limo's, big black men with lot's of gold, loud (rap) music and more. Something you don't see every day. Got an invitation for the after-party in the X-club (?) as well, but me alone in a club with mostly big black men? Well, my brother should have joined me then. Black women would have been nice though... ;-)"

Gumball goes around the World in 8 Days

Wish I had the money and a decent car... I have all their trips on video and they rock! :-)

"Sunday 30th April - Sunday 7th May

3000 miles, 200 drivers, 100 cars, 8 days, 3 Continents, 1 Amazing Adventure!
& 7 Spaces Remaining!

Following Phileas Fogg's quest to traverse the world in 80 days back in 1872, the 8th annual 'Gumball 3000' Rally today announces its most ambitious route ever, with a 3000-mile adventure around the world, starting in London and finishing just 8 days later in Los Angeles!

'Picture Pamela Anderson navigating her way through the streets of Bangkok, with Johnny Knoxville, Bam and Tony Hawk coming up her rear in his beat up Cadillac, and Snoop Dogg in hot pursuit and you start to get the picture, Gumball 3000 is a real life wacky races!'

Setting the benchmark for all modern day explorers, the start flag will drop in Central London on Sunday 30th April, when 120 of the most amazing cars, stars and eccentrics will set off on stage one driving a 1000 mile route through Europe, crossing the capital cities of Brussels, Vienna, Budapest, and upon reaching 'war torn' Belgrade, all cars and drivers will be airlifted in Russian Antanov cargo planes and an Icelandic Air Boeing 757 to Asia for stage 2.

After landing on a tropical paradise Island off the coast of Malaysia, the route follows a 1000 mile drive through the beaches and tropical rainforests of Thailand to reach Bangkok for another huge party. The following day the grid will again be airlifted, this time to Salt Lake City, USA, for the final 1000-mile stage through the desert. After the 'Gumball All-stars' take on the Utah Jazz basketball team for a game of one-on-one, the route will travel via the Bonneville Salt Flats to Las Vegas for a 'Gumball exclusive' performance from hip hop legend Snoop Dogg at the Hard Rock Hotel, and then onwards to cross the finish line on the famous Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills on Sunday 7th May, ready to party the night away with Hugh Hefner and his Playmates at the famous Playboy Mansion!

The first Gumball 3000 took place in 1999, when British Gumball creator Maximillion Cooper invited 50 of his friends to take part in a 3000 mile Rally around Europe. Eight years later, Gumball has consistently hit the headlines as "Cool Britannia's" most unique addition to pop culture. Described by Vanity Fair Magazine as "the most rock 'n' roll car rally ever staged" and famed for its exploits and celebrity participation, the event attracts stars including Oscar-winning star of the Pianist and King Kong Adrien Brody, supermodels Jodie Kidd and Linda Evangelista, Kill Bills Daryl Hannah, Jackass' Johnny Knoxville, skateboard and MX legends Tony Hawk and Carey Hart, and rock stars including Pink, The Happy Mondays Bez, The Darkness, Placebo, Blink 182, Goldie, Jamiroquai and even Ms Minogue.

The entry grid is packed full of superstars and supercars from the worlds of music, film and fashion, driving everything from Ferrari Enzo's and Bugatti Veyrons to Rolls Royce Phantoms and even a humble Ice Cream van. Gumball is certain to cause a stir wherever it goes; in 2005, over 3 million people took to the streets in 13 countries to watch the Gumball drive through and TV coverage was broadcast in 180 countries. 2006 will be even bigger…!

For further information, go to or email . Due to an extra cargo plane we still have 7 spaces remaining so if you are up for it, get filling in the application form at the bottom of the terms and conditions off the 2006 Rally page of the site."

Sunday, 5 March 2006


One of my friends had her birthday last Friday and I sent her an SMS to congratulate her. I haven't spoken to her in a while, as she was in Morocco for 6 months and when she returned in February I was away most of the time. She is a good friend and we used to date a couple of years back. So far the background info.
I received an email from her address on Saturday that further contact between us was not wanted as in her current relationship she encountered problems because of me. I very much doubted that, since we hardly spoke the last 7 months, and didn't like the tone of the email. Therefore I asked her to explain this and said that I was disappointed. On Saturday evening I got the following email back:

stupid you,
i think that my girlfriend X was clear in her last e mails there is no reason for you to bother her with your story cause she and i don't want to hear anything from a donkey like you. other wise you will have affair with me and i m sure that you will not like me to be part in this argument. hope that you will be wise domestic animal and obey to what the person will bite you ass said.
we don t want you and you are not welcome in our relationship and life we order you to stay in you cage and don t try to be friend of one of us.
i have Xs password so if you will want to reply to this e mail he you have to send it to just one of us to don t be more stupid and i would like you to send me in english the e mail with all you want to say.

Well, so far the friendliness. I already feared that her boyfriend would behind this, and sadly it is true. I do not want to generalize about Moroccan boyfriends (as some friends of mine are Moroccan as well), but you do sometimes hear these kind of stories that they totally claim the girl and that they don't have their own lives and friends anymore. But who does this guy think he is? And how does he even darethreateningg me? He sure as hell, doesn't know where he got himself into and I guess he got stuck in the late 1500's... He is a guest in our country, doesn't know me at all and he behaves like this. I am not a violent person by nature, but this does trigger something.

To make things even worse: I cannot reach my friend. Her phone isn't being answered, I don't bother sending her an email as he reads them anyway, so I might just drop by her house. Although I probably will have to bring a friend then. That god could have created such idiots...

Saturday, 4 March 2006

There is a theory...

"There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened."

Friday, 3 March 2006


Watched Syriana in the cinema this evening. Very good movie and terribly anti-American/capitalistic. The Chinese will love it probably and it has a good story about fundamentalism. It shows how easy one get into it and forget what it is all about. Not an every day ending as well, so definitely worth seeing.


My personal world map

Visited Countries
Visited Countries Map from TravelBlog