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June 6, 2010, 8:47 PM CT

Dasatanib: CML drug evokes faster response

Dasatanib: CML drug evokes faster response
Dasatanib, a medicine currently approved as therapy for drug-resistant chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), provided patients with quicker, better responses as a first treatment than the existing front-line drug, as per scientists at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

The findings were presented at the 46th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology today, and reported in the New England Journal (NEJM) Hagop Kantarjian, M.D., professor and chair of MD Anderson's Department of Leukemia, presented the findings and is the corresponding author on the published study.

Currently, imatinib, or Gleevec , is the approved initial treatment for CML, which has increased the five-year survival rate for the disease from 50 percent to 90 percent, said Kantarjian. However, 30-40 percent of imatinib patients do not achieve confirmed cytogenic complete response (CCyR), or the absence of the defective chromosome that causes the disease, within a year. This benchmark is clearly linked to improvements in long-term outcome, said Kantarjian.

"Prior research conducted at MD Anderson observed that more patients taking dasatinib were achieving complete responses more quickly than they do on the current standard of care," said Kantarjian. "In this pivotal Phase III study, we confirmed that dasatinib gets more patients to high-quality remission faster than imatinib, making it a superior front-line treatment. Dasatinib, on average, also has a more favorable side-effect profile".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


June 6, 2010, 8:40 PM CT

New treatment regimen for ovarian cancer

New treatment regimen for ovarian cancer
Newly reported results from a major clinical trial show that adding bevacizumab (Avastin) to standard frontline chemotherapy for women with advanced ovary cancer and then continuing one of the majortenance dose of the drug afterwards significantly extends progression-free survival. Women receiving the new therapy regimen saw no worsening of their disease for 14.1 months, in comparison to 10.3 months for women receiving standard treatment.

The international, multi-center, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase III clinical trial was conducted by a network of scientists known as the Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG) and sponsored by the U.S. National Cancer Institute. The trial results were presented at the 46th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

The trial marked the first time a molecularly targeted agent has been part of a validated strategy for treating advanced ovary cancer. It was also the first time one of the majortenance dosing approach involving any treatment has been outlined for the disease. Additionally, ongoing analysis of the trial data may offer insights into genetically defined subgroups of patients who benefited more than others, pointing to the possibility of more personalized, even more effective therapy for ovary cancer in the future.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


June 6, 2010, 8:39 PM CT

Remote control for cholesterol regulation

Remote control for cholesterol regulation
Circulation of cholesterol is regulated in the brain by the hunger-signaling hormone ghrelin, scientists say. The finding points to a new potential target for the pharmacologic control of cholesterol levels.

The animal study, led by Matthias Tschp, MD, professor in the University of Cincinnati (UC) endocrinology division, appears online ahead of print Sunday, June 6, 2010, in Nature Neuroscience

"We have long thought that cholesterol is exclusively regulated through dietary absorption or synthesis and secretion by the liver," says Tschp. "Our study shows for the first time that cholesterol is also under direct 'remote control' by specific neurocircuitry in the central nervous system".

The hormone ghrelin inhibits the melanocortin 4 receptor (MC4R) in the hypothalamus and is important for the regulation of food intake and energy expenditure. Tschp and his team observed that increased levels of ghrelin in mice caused the animals to develop increased levels of blood-circulating cholesterol. This, the authors say, is due to a reduction in the uptake of cholesterol by the liver.

The research team next tested the effects of genetically deleting or chemically blocking MC4R in the central nervous system. This test also yielded increased levels of cholesterol, suggesting that MC4R was the central element of the "remote control".........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


June 4, 2010, 6:40 AM CT

Fighting leukemia with two-pronged therapy

Fighting leukemia with two-pronged therapy
A new treatment mounts a double-barreled attack on leukemia, targeting not just the cancer cells but also the environment in which those cells live and grow, University of Florida scientists report.

Like striking an enemy camp directly as well as cutting off its source of food and other resources, the agent, called Oxi4503, poisons leukemia cells and destroys the blood vessels that supply them with oxygen and nutrients.

Use of the therapy in mouse models of acute myelogenous leukemia, or AML, is described online and in an upcoming print issue of the journal Blood The scientists plan human tests of the drug at Shands at UF later this year.

"We've identified a new tool to dissect out the specifics of the relationship between leukemia cells and the blood vessels that supply them," said Christopher Cogle, M.D., the UF College of Medicine oncologist who is senior author of the paper and a member of the UF Shands Cancer Center. "What we are offering is a brand new therapy by a very different mechanism to people who desperately need something new".

Each year, more than 120,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with a blood cancer, and about 80 percent of them die of the disease because there are no effective therapys, as per the National Cancer Institute. Some AMLs return after initially successful chemotherapy, while others do not respond at all. In addition, chemotherapy is too toxic for some elderly people, so they need an alternative.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


June 4, 2010, 6:30 AM CT

Is that cyst Pancreatic Cancer?

Is that cyst Pancreatic Cancer?
Working with scientists from the University of Michigan and Indiana University, Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) researchers have developed a method that could be used to predict whether pancreatic cysts are non-malignant or are precursors to invasive cancer.

More pancreatic cysts are being detected due to the widespread use of high resolution abdominal imaging. These advances in early detection, when coupled with the new findings, could result in fewer deaths from pancreas cancer, which struck more than 42,000 Americans in 2009 and killed more than 35,000, as per the National Cancer Institute.

"Because of the difficulty in detecting pancreas cancer in its early stages, most cancers are advanced at the time of diagnosis and recur after removal of the tumor," said VARI Senior Scientific Investigator Brian Haab, Ph.D., first author of a study reported in the recent issue of Annals of Surgery. "The best hope for a long-term cure appears to be the detection and removal of these pre-malignant cysts".

"Dr. Haab and colleagues have sought to address a very challenging clinical management problem regarding cystic lesions of the pancreas," said Peter J. Allen, MD, FACS, a doctor and researcher specializing in pancreatic, liver, and stomach cancer at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. "As the use of cross-sectional imaging increases, clinicians are seeing increased numbers of patients with these lesions and it will become imperative to sort out non-malignant from pre-cancerous." .........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


May 25, 2010, 7:00 AM CT

Sugar in drinks and blood pressure

Sugar in drinks and blood pressure
Research led by Liwei Chen, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Public Health at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, has observed that there is an association between sugary drinks and blood pressure and that by cutting daily consumption of sugary drinks by just one serving a day, people can lower their blood pressure. The research is published online in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association

"We found no association for diet beverage consumption or caffeine intake and blood pressure," notes Dr. Chen, "suggesting that sugar may actually be the nutrient that is linked to blood pressure and not caffeine which a number of people would suspect".

The research, which was supported by a grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health, analyzed dietary intake and blood pressure of 810 adults measured at baseline, 6 and 18 months. After known risk factors of hypertension were controlled for, a reduction in sugar-sweetened beverage consumption of one serving per day was linked to a drop of 1.8 mm Hg in systolic pressure and 1.1 mm Hg in diastolic blood pressure over 18 months.

After additional adjustment for weight change over the same period, a reduction in the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages was still significantly linked to blood pressure reduction.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


May 25, 2010, 6:50 AM CT

Fewer unnecessary imaging exams

Fewer unnecessary imaging exams
A new rule preventing medical support staff from completing orders for outpatient imaging exams that were likely to be negative resulted in a marked decrease in low-yield exams for patients, as per a research studyappearing in the recent issue of Radiology

A number of medical institutions request and schedule outpatient diagnostic imaging exams through use of web-based radiology order entry systems. Some systems offer real-time feedback, called decision support, on the appropriateness of the exams being ordered. When entering the desired examination into the system, the doctor or support staff must also enter clinical information justifying the order. Based on that information, the decision-support system provides a yield score ranging from one to nine. The score indicates the likelihood that the selected exam will yield valuable diagnostic or positive results for this set of clinical circumstances.

Following American College of Radiology appropriateness criteria, a score of one to three is considered low yield. The user is then given the opportunity to cancel the order or select a different examination. However, because medical support staff do not make clinical decisions, they are less likely to cancel or revise an order without additional clarification from the physician.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


May 25, 2010, 6:48 AM CT

A profile of teenage pregnancy in Spain

A profile of teenage pregnancy in Spain
The effective use of contraception once becoming sexually active is the best way to avoid unwanted pregnancy during adolescence. This is just one of the conclusions of a study by the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and the Universidad Complutense in Madrid which additionally reveals that using no contraception or using it well after starting sexual relations increases up to six times the risk for teen pregnancy. In addition, the use of ineffective contraception (methods other than condoms, intrauterine contraceptive device [IUDs], diaphragms, or hormonal methods) quadrupled the risk.

These two conclusions are reflected in the study Teenage motherhood in Spain, led by CSIC researcher Margarita Delgado. Research was based on a survey conducted by the spanish Sociological Research Center on 9,700 women over the age of fifteen and even covered generations of women born before 1931. The study has been funded by the Spanish Contraception Foundation.

The research has enabled the authors to create a profile of teenage mothers in Spain: young women who become mothers early tend to emancipate and to be in romantic relationships earlier than their peers since pregnancy is a trigger for such events. Also, young mothers end their formal education earlier, start their first job later and rarely achieve stable employment.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


May 21, 2010, 7:27 AM CT

First drug to demonstrate therapeutic effect in a type of autism

First drug to demonstrate therapeutic effect in a type of autism
Scientists from Mount Sinai School of Medicine have identified a drug that improves communication between nerve cells in a mouse model of Phelan-McDermid Syndrome (PMS). Behavioral symptoms of PMS fall under the autism spectrum disorder category. The research will be presented Friday at the International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR) in Philadelphia.

Prior research has shown that a gene mutation in the brain called SHANK3 can cause absent or severely delayed language abilities, intellectual disability, and autism. Mount Sinai scientists developed mice with a mutant SHANK3 gene and observed a lapse in communication between nerve cells in the brain, which can lead to learning problems. This communication breakdown indicated that the nerve cells were not maturing properly.

The scientists then injected the mice with a derivative of a compound called insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF1), which is FDA-approved to treat growth failure in children. After two weeks of therapy, nerve cell communication was normal and adaptation of nerve cells to stimulation, a key part of learning and memory, was restored.

"The result of IGF1 therapy of these mice is an exciting development on the road to ultimate therapies for individuals with PMS," said Joseph Buxbaum, PhD, Director of the Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. "If these data are further verified in additional preclinical studies, individuals with a SHANK3 mutation appears to benefit from therapys with compounds like this one".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


May 21, 2010, 7:25 AM CT

Hormonal drugs minimize surgery in breast cancer

Hormonal drugs minimize surgery in breast cancer
Breast surgeon Julie Margenthaler, M.D., looks at a mammogram. Margenthaler was one of the lead investigators in a nationwide trial that tested how estrogen-lowering drugs before breast cancer surgery affected surgical outcomes.

Credit: Robert Boston

A nationwide study has confirmed the benefit of giving estrogen-lowering drugs before surgery to patients with breast cancer. The therapy increased the likelihood that women could undergo breast-conservation surgery, also called lumpectomy, instead of mastectomy.

The study's chair, Matthew J. Ellis, MD, PhD, the Anheuser-Busch Endowed Chair in Medical Oncology and a breast cancer specialist with the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, will present the findings June 7 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Sponsored by the American College of Surgeons Oncology Group, the study took place at 118 hospitals across the country and involved 352 postmenopausal women with estrogen-receptor positive (ER+) breast tumors. The participants received aromatase inhibitors for 16 weeks before surgery for breast cancer, and the extent of their tumors was monitored before and after the drug therapy.

The lead investigator at the Washington University site was Julie A. Margenthaler, MD, assistant professor of surgery and a breast surgeon at the Siteman Cancer Center.

Aromatase inhibitors are also referred to as estrogen-lowering agents because they interfere with the body's production of estrogen, a hormone that stimulates the growth of ER+ breast tumors. ER+ is the most common breast cancer, accounting for three-quarters of cases.........

Posted by: Janet      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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