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August 11, 2009, 11:07 PM CT

Diarrhea in metastatic melanoma patients

Diarrhea in metastatic melanoma patients
Patients with stage III or IV melanoma taking ipilimumab and the oral steroid budesonide to reduce side effects did not have less diarrhea, a known side effect of ipilimumab, as per results of a phase II trial published in Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

These findings would "discourage the prophylactic use of budesonide to reduce the gastrointestinal side effects of ipilimumab," said researcher Jeffrey Weber, M.D., Ph.D. Weber is a senior member at the Moffitt Cancer Center and director of the Donald A. Adam Comprehensive Melanoma Research Center, Tampa, Fla.

Weber and his colleagues gave 10 mg/kg of ipilimumab to 115 patients every three weeks, for four doses. This was combined with daily budesonide for one group and placebo control for another.

After four months of therapy, they observed that budesonide did not affect the rate of diarrhea it occurred in 32.7 percent of patients treated with the drug and 35 percent of those who received placebo, as per the study. Median overall survival was 17.7 months among those treated with budesonide compared with 19.3 months among those who received placebo.

Additionally, the scientists saw anti-tumor responses in 10 to 15 percent of patients, without an apparent difference between patients treated with budesonide and those who received placebo.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


August 11, 2009, 11:06 PM CT

The tourist trap

The tourist trap
Mosquitoes with the potential to carry diseases lethal to a number of unique species of Galapagos wildlife are being regularly introduced to the islands via aircraft, as per new research published recently.

The southern house mosquito, Culex quinquefasciatus, was previously thought to have been introduced to the Galapagos in a one-off event in the mid-1980s.

However, researchers from the University of Leeds, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), the University of Guayaquil, the Galapagos National Park and the Charles Darwin Foundation, have shown that the mosquito is regularly hitching a ride from the mainland and breeding with existing populations.

The sinister stowaways are also island hopping on tourist boats, meaning that incursions of mosquito-borne diseases are likely to spread throughout the archipelago.

Arnaud Bataille, a Leeds-ZSL PhD student who carried out the work said, "Our research consisted of looking for insects in aircraft holds and genetic analysis of the mosquito populations. The former allows us to quantify the arrival rates of mosquitoes on aeroplanes, and the latter allow us to estimate how a number of survive and spread around the islands once in Galapagos. On average the number of mosquitoes per aeroplane is low, but a number of aircraft arrive each day from the mainland in order to service the tourist industry, and the mosquitoes seem able to survive and breed once they leave the plane".........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


August 6, 2009, 11:35 PM CT

Tumor mutations can predict chemo success

Tumor mutations can predict chemo success
New work by MIT cancer biologists shows that the interplay between two key genes that are often defective in tumors determines how cancer cells respond to chemotherapy.

The findings should have an immediate impact on cancer therapy, say Michael Hemann and Michael Yaffe, the two MIT biology professors who led the study. The work could help doctors predict what types of chemotherapy will be effective in a particular tumor, which would help tailor therapys to each patient.

"This isn't something that's going to take five years to do," says Yaffe, who, along with Hemann is a member of the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT. "You could begin doing this tomorrow".

The work could also guide the development of new chemotherapy drugs targeted to tumors with specific genetic mutations.

Hemann, Yaffe, and their colleagues report their results in the Aug. 15 issue of the journal Genes and Development Koch Institute postdoctoral associates Hai Jiang and H. Christian Reinhardt are main authors of the study, which the scientists say is one of the first examples of how genetic profiling of tumors can translate to improvements in patient therapy.

"There's a huge amount of genetic information available, but it hasn't made its way into clinical practice yet," says Hemann.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


August 6, 2009, 11:35 PM CT

Starving the colon cancer cells

Starving the colon cancer cells
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center have discovered how two cancer-promoting genes enhance a tumor's capacity to grow and survive under conditions where normal cells die. The knowledge, they say, may offer new therapys that starve cancer cells of a key nutrient - sugar. However, the researchers caution that research does not suggest that altering dietary sugar will make any difference in the growth and development of cancer.

"Cancer cells adapt to living within the inner layers of a tumor, a place where circulating nutrients are relatively scarce," says Nickolas Papadopoulos, Ph.D., associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. "We wanted to know what makes these cancer cells survive under such conditions".

Working with colorectal cancer cell lines that carry two of the most common cancer genes - KRAS and BRAF - they went on a hunt for genes that were controlled by KRAS and BRAF and allowed cancer cells to be more fit for survival. Nearly half of all patients with colon cancer carry KRAS mutations in their tumors and another five percent of these patients have alterations in BRAF. The findings are published online in the August 6 issue of Science Express.

Their hunt quickly narrowed to one gene, GLUT1, which was consistently turned on at high levels in cells laden with KRAS and BRAF mutations. Proteins made by GLUT1 are located on the cell surface and transport glucose into cells' interiors. With increased expression of the GLUT1 gene, cells make more GLUT1 transporters and ingest more glucose.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


August 6, 2009, 11:29 PM CT

Noninsulin-producing alpha cells in the pancreas

Noninsulin-producing alpha cells in the pancreas
In findings that add to the prospects of regenerating insulin-producing cells in people with type 1 diabetes, scientists in Europe -- co-funded by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation -- have shown that insulin-producing beta cells can be derived from non-insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.

In results of a study published recently in the journal Cell, the researchers, led by Patrick Collombat of the Max-Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Gera number of and Ahmed Mansouri of the University of Gttingen in Gera number of, in collaboration with scientists at the JDRF Center for Beta Cell Therapy in Diabetes in Brussels, discovered in mice that new insulin-producing beta cells can be generated from alpha cells in the islets of the pancreas by modifying the expression of a specific gene (Pax4) in alpha cells. (Alpha cells generate the hormone glucagon in response to low blood sugar to restore normal blood sugar levels.) They also discovered that the alpha cells that give rise to new beta cells originate from progenitor cells in the pancreas. The newly formed beta cells result in better glucose control and prolonged survival of younger mice with diabetes.

In type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks beta cells, stopping a person's pancreas from producing insulin, the hormone that enables people to get energy from glucose. One pathway towards a cure for type 1 diabetes appears to be to restore insulin production through regeneration of insulin-producing beta cells within a person's body, an alternative to transplanting functional beta cells from a donor.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


August 5, 2009, 9:59 PM CT

Significant Benefits of F-FDG PET in Evaluating Colorectal Liver Metastases

Significant Benefits of F-FDG PET in Evaluating Colorectal Liver Metastases
The Access to Medical Imaging Coalition (AMIC) announced recently that a study published in this month's Journal of Nuclear Medicine demonstrated the tremendous benefits of advanced imaging in the assessment of colorectal liver metastases. Dr. Theo Ruers lead a team of scientists in evaluating the benefits of F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET) when combined with computed tomography (CT), and its ability to diagnose and stage hepatic growths far more effectively than standard CT alone. The study was presented at the Society of Nuclear Medicine annual meeting in 2008 and received the Siemens Award for Excellence in Practice-Based Research.

"Liver metastases are among the most dangerous threats to patients who have been treated for colorectal cancer, and it is absolutely imperative that at-risk patients have access to the highest quality diagnostic procedures in order to detect and properly stage these malignant growths if they develop," said Tim Trysla, executive director, AMIC. "Effective staging of these growths can lead to improved clinical outcomes, and in a number of cases can prevent unnecessary or ineffective surgeries. AMIC applauds the work of Dr. Ruers and his team, whose research proves the addition of F-FDG PET to standard diagnostic protocols to be extremely useful in accurately identifying the population of individuals most likely to benefit from hepatic surgery and, in turn, drastically reducing the number of wasteful procedures".........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


August 4, 2009, 8:25 AM CT

How you eat may be just as important as how much you eat

How you eat may be just as important as how much you eat
How you eat appears to be just as important as how much you eat, if mice studies are any clue.

Cancer scientists have long studied the role of diet on breast cancer risk, but results to date have been mixed. New findings published in Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, suggest the method by which calories are restricted appears to be more important for cancer protection than the actual overall degree of calorie restriction.

"Understanding how calorie restriction provides protection against the development of mammary tumors should help us identify pathways that could be targeted for chemoprevention studies," said Margot P. Cleary, Ph.D., professor at the Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota. "Further identification of serum factors that are involved in tumor development would possibly provide a way to identify at risk individuals and target interventions to these people".

Prior studies have shown that intermittent calorie restriction provided greater protection from mammary tumor development than did the same overall degree of restriction, which was implemented in a chronic fashion. The scientists compared changes of a growth factor (IGF-1) in relationship to these two calorie restriction methods chronic and intermittent and tumor development beginning in 10-week old female mice at risk to develop mammary tumors. Their hope was to explain why intermittent restriction is more effective.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


August 4, 2009, 8:23 AM CT

Hip and back fractures increase mortality rates in older adults

Hip and back fractures increase mortality rates in older adults
If you are 50 or older and you break your hip, you have a one in four chance of dying within five years. Break your back, and you have a one in six chance of dying that soon, says a McMaster University study.

The research, to be published August 4 in the online edition of the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), has observed that approximately 25 per cent of men and women who develop hip fractures and 16 per cent of people who develop spine factures will die over a five-year period.

The national study was led by George Ioannidis, a health research methodologist in the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, in collaboration with researchers from the schools of medicine and nursing at McMaster, as well as several universities across Canada.

Using data from the Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study, the scientists examined the relationship between new fractures and mortality over a 5-year period in more than 7,750 Canadians aged 50 years and older. The study, looking at various types of fractures reported by participants, differed from prior research in that the study group was representative of the general population.

"Hip fractures may have long-lasting effects that result in eventual death by signalling or actually inducing a progressive decline in health," said Ioannidis. "Our results also showed that vertebral fracture was an independent predictor of death."........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


August 4, 2009, 8:22 AM CT

High cholesterol in midlife raises risk of late-life dementia

High cholesterol in midlife raises risk of late-life dementia
Elevated cholesterol levels in midlife even levels considered only borderline elevated increase significantly the risk of Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia during the later part of life, as per a newly released study by scientists at Kaiser Permanente's Division of Research and the University of Kuopio in Finland. The study appears in the journal Dementia & Geriatric Cognitive Disorders

The four-decade study of 9,844 men and women observed that having high cholesterol in midlife (240 or higher milligrams per deciliter of blood) increases, by 66 percent, the risk for Alzheimer's disease during the later part of life. Even borderline cholesterol levels (200 239 mg/dL) in midlife raised risk for late-life vascular dementia by nearly the same amount: 52 percent. Vascular dementia, the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer's disease, is a group of dementia syndromes caused by conditions affecting the blood supply to the brain. Researchers are still trying to pinpoint the genetic factors and lifestyle causes for Alzheimer's disease.

By measuring cholesterol levels in 1964 to 1973 based on the 2002 Adult Treatment Panel III guidelines (the current practice standard) when the Kaiser Permanente Northern California members were 40 to 45 years old, then following the participants for 40 years, this study is the largest long-term study with the most diverse population to examine the midlife cholesterol levels and late-life dementia. It is also the first study to look at borderline high cholesterol levels and vascular dementia, rather than just Alzheimer's disease.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


August 4, 2009, 8:06 AM CT

Brain difference in psychopaths identified

Brain difference in psychopaths identified
Professor Declan Murphy and his colleagues Dr Michael Craig and Dr Marco Catani from the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London have found differences in the brain which may provide a biological explanation for psychopathy. The results of their study are outlined in the paper 'Altered connections on the road to psychopathy', published in Molecular Psychiatry

The research investigated the brain biology of psychopaths with convictions that included attempted murder, manslaughter, multiple rape with strangulation and false imprisonment. Using a powerful imaging technique (DT-MRI) the scientists have highlighted biological differences in the brain which may underpin these types of behaviour and provide a more comprehensive understanding of criminal psychopathy.

Dr Michael Craig said: 'If replicated by larger studies the significance of these findings cannot be underestimated. The suggestion of a clear structural deficit in the brains of psychopaths has profound implications for clinicians, research researchers and the criminal justice system.'.

While psychopathy is strongly linked to serious criminal behaviour (eg rape and murder) and repeat offending, the biological basis of psychopathy remains poorly understood. Also some researchers stress mainly social reasons to explain antisocial behaviours. To date, nobody has investigated the 'connectivity' between the specific brain regions implicated in psychopathy.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
Studies in monkeys and women suggest that unlike traditional estrogen therapy, a diet high in the natural plant estrogens found in soy does not increase the risk of uterine cancer in postmenopausal women, according to Mark Cline, D.V.M., Ph.D., an associate professor of comparative medicine at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

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