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April 24, 2009, 5:21 AM CT

New cancer drug reduces neuroblastoma growth by 75 percent

New cancer drug reduces neuroblastoma growth by 75 percent
Scientists from the Children's Cancer Hospital at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center have found a new drug that restricts the growth of neuroblastoma, a childhood brain cancer. The pre-clinical study was presented today in the plenary session at the 22nd annual meeting of the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology.

Alejandro Levy, M.D., fellow at the Children's Cancer Hospital at M. D. Anderson, presented research showing for the first time that the M. D. Anderson-developed drug, 3-BrOP, reduces tumor growth by more than 75 percent as a single agent. The study, conducted with human neuroblastoma cells transplanted into mice, showed how 3-BrOP, a glycolysis inhibitor, starved the cancer cells to death by shutting down their main energy source, glucose.

"We observed that neuroblastoma cells, unlike healthy cells, are highly dependent on glycolysis for energy instead of more efficient means of energy production," said Levy. "Glycolysis is a process that breaks down sugar for energy, so by blocking that process with 3-BrOP, we are able to keep the tumors from producing energy, and this disrupts their ability to grow".

As per the American Cancer Society, approximately 650 children, mainly under the age of five, are diagnosed with neuroblastoma in the United States each year. Close to two-thirds of these children are diagnosed after the cancer has metastasized to other parts of the body. For these patients with high-risk neuroblastoma, long-term survival is less than 40 percent because the tumors are often resistant to traditional chemotherapy.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 24, 2009, 5:19 AM CT

New breast radiation device for breast cancer patients

New breast radiation device for breast cancer patients
This is the SAVI applicator.
A newly released study shows that the SAVI applicator, a small, expandable device inserted inside the breast to deliver partial breast irradiation, carries a low infection risk, a potential complication of such devices. The research, led by radiation oncologists and surgeons at the Moores UCSD Cancer Center and Fort Myers, Florida-based 21st Century Oncology, also indicates that other complications such as seromas, pockets of fluid that build with the use of internal radiation devices are unlikely to occur.

That's good news for those women with early-stage breast cancer who opt to have such devices inserted for their radiation treatment after breast-sparing lumpectomy surgery, said Cate Yashar, MD, associate professor of radiation oncology at the UC San Diego School of Medicine and chief of breast and gynecological radiation services at the Moores UCSD Cancer Center. Their use is increasing, she added, noting that the Moores UCSD Cancer Center was one of the first medical facilities in the country to offer SAVI.

SAVI, which consists of flexible catheters through which radiation is given, provides customized radiation treatment and minimizes exposure to healthy tissue after a woman has undergone a lumpectomy to remove a malignant tumor. Radiation specialists sometimes decide to give women internal radiation a process called brachytherapy with the goal of giving concentrated doses of radiation to areas of concern while avoiding healthy tissue.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 24, 2009, 5:12 AM CT

Major advance in cell reprogramming

Major advance in cell reprogramming
In a paper publishing online April 23rd in Cell Stem Cell, a Cell Press journal, Dr. Sheng Ding and his colleagues from the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, report an important step forward in the race to make reprogrammed stem cells that appears to be better suited for use in clinical settings.

Ding and colleagues show that mouse cells can be reprogrammed to form stem cells with a combination of purified proteins and a chemical additive, thus avoiding the use of genetic material.

The discovery three years ago that adult cells could be reprogrammed to form induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, with similar properties to embryonic stem cells was a major scientific breakthrough. These cells hold enormous potential for drug development and even cell treatment processes, and this promise has garnered significant attention from researchers and the media worldwide. However, a major caveat to the eventual application of iPS cells is that until now all the methods used to generate them have mandatory the introduction of genetic material to make the transcription factors needed for reprogramming. Eventhough some research groups have recently generated iPS cells that lack genetic modifications, even the most advanced methods used genes in the form of plasmids, and thus the risk of genetic mutations caused by the introduced sequences remained.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


April 24, 2009, 5:08 AM CT

Stem cells obtained from a patient's own adipose tissue for MS treatment

Stem cells obtained from a patient's own adipose tissue for MS treatment
A preliminary study on the use of stem cells obtained from a patient's own adipose tissue in the therapy of multiple sclerosis (MS) has shown promising results. The three case studies, described in BioMed Central's open access Journal of Translational Medicine support further clinical assessment of stromal vascular fraction (SVF) cells in MS and other autoimmune conditions.

Thomas Ichim, from Medistem Inc., and Dr. Boris Minev, from the Division of Neurosurgery, University of California San Diego, worked with a team of scientists to demonstrate the possible effectiveness of SVF cells in MS therapy. Minev said, "All three patients in our study showed dramatic improvement in their condition after the course of SVF treatment. While obviously no conclusions in terms of therapeutic efficacy can be drawn from these reports, this first clinical use of fat stem cells for therapy of MS supports further investigations into this very simple and easily-implementable therapy methodology".

MS is an autoimmune condition, in which the body's own defences attack nerve cells, resulting in loss of their fatty myelin sheath. The first symptoms commonly occur in young adults, most usually in women. It is believed that SVF cells, and other stem cells, appears to be able to treat the condition by limiting the immune reaction and promoting the growth of new myelin. As per Minev, "None of the presently available MS therapys selectively inhibit the immune attack against the nervous system, nor do they stimulate regeneration of previously damaged tissue. We've shown that SVF cells may fill this therapeutic gap".........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


April 24, 2009, 5:05 AM CT

How cigarettes calm you down

How cigarettes calm you down
The calming neurological effects of nicotine have been demonstrated in a group of non-smokers during anger provocation. Scientists writing in BioMed Central's open access journal Behavioral and Brain Functions suggest that nicotine may alter the activity of brain areas that are involved in the inhibition of negative emotions such as anger.

Jean Gehricke led a team of scientists from the University of California who studied the effect of nicotine patches on the subjects' tendency to retaliate in response to anger provocation. The subjects played a computer game and could see a video screen of another player who they thought to betheir opponent, although, in fact, they were playing alone. After each round, the victor could give his opponent a burst of unpleasant noise at a duration and volume set by the winner. In some of the subjects, nicotine was linked to a reduced tendency to retaliate, even after provocation by the 'opponent'.

As per Gehricke, "Participants who showed nicotine-induced changes in anger task performance also showed changes in brain metabolism. Nicotine-induced reductions in length of retaliation were linked to changes in brain metabolism in response to nicotine in brain areas responsible for orienting, planning and processing of emotional stimuli".........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


April 24, 2009, 4:57 AM CT

New guidance on malaria elimination

New guidance on malaria elimination
Countries and policy leaders gain new guidance today on how and when to eliminate malaria, paving the way for the potential global eradication of the deadly disease. The announcement is being made on behalf of the Malaria Elimination Group, a global body of researchers, policy experts and country program managers, by the Global Health Group of UCSF Global Health Sciences.

"The international community has provided relatively little guidance to countries on elimination to date. The documents published recently are intended to change that," said Sir Richard Feachem, KBE, DSc(Med), PhD, director of the Global Health Group, and chair of the Malaria Elimination Group.

"Much of the world's attention has rightly focused on controlling malaria and reducing deaths caused by the disease," Feachem said. "However, 39 countries around the world have embarked on the next step of elimination in the pursuit of eventual global eradication. They deserve our full support and encouragement".

Feachem will officially announce the release of two publications, Shrinking the Malaria Map: A Prospectus on Malaria Elimination, and its companion, Shrinking the Malaria Map: A Guide on Malaria Elimination for Policy Makers, during a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland, jointly sponsored with the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership to commemorate World Malaria Day 2009.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


April 23, 2009, 5:22 AM CT

Helping doctors follow cholesterol treatment guidelines

Helping doctors follow cholesterol treatment guidelines
A newly released study by scientists at Wake Forest University School of Medicine suggests that patients with high cholesterol receive better care when physicians use a variety of tools to learn and apply a clinical practice guideline for treating the condition.

The study, reported in the April 13 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, tracked the adherence to clinical guidelines at 61 primary care practices. The study aimed to improve the therapy of high cholesterol by having doctors use a personal digital assistant (PDA) to assess the patient's risk of heart disease and recommend therapy. Doctors also received copies of the cholesterol guideline and an introductory lecture on it, attended additional presentations on treating high cholesterol, and received a report on their practices' performance on cholesterol management.

"We wanted to know if we could improve guideline adherence with this multifaceted strategy," said Alain G. Bertoni, M.D., M.P.H., an associate professor in the Departments of Epidemiology & Prevention and Internal Medicine, and main author on the study. "When you look at prior quality improvement efforts, it appears that single strategies don't work that well".

Clinical guidelines aim to prevent the under- or over-treatment of a disease. Lowering high cholesterol reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the United States, but the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel (ATP III) guideline suggests prescribing drugs only under certain conditions. The complexity of the guideline made it the perfect subject for study, Bertoni said.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


April 23, 2009, 5:05 AM CT

Vitamin D levels and asthma severity

Vitamin D levels and asthma severity
New research provides evidence for a link between vitamin D insufficiency and asthma severity.

Serum levels of vitamin D in more than 600 Costa Rican children were inversely associated with several indicators of allergy and asthma severity, including hospitalizations for asthma, use of inhaled steroids and total IgE levels, as per a research studythat will appear in the first issue for May of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine

While prior in vitro studies have suggested that vitamin D may affect how airway cells respond to therapy with inhaled steroids, this is the first in vivo study of vitamin D and disease severity in children with asthma.

Juan Celedn, M.D., Dr. P.H. and Augusto Litonjua, M.D., M.P.H. of Harvard Medical School and his colleagues recruited 616 children with asthma living in the Central Valley of Costa Rica, a country known to have a high prevalence of asthma. Each child was assessed for allergic markers, including both allergen-specific and general sensitivity tests, and assessed for lung function and circulating vitamin D levels. Children whose forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) exceeded 65 percent of the predicted value were also tested for airway reactivity.

They observed that children with lower vitamin D levels were significantly more likely to have been hospitalized for asthma in the prior year, tended to have airways with increased hyperreactivity and were likely to have used more inhaled corticosteroids, all signifying higher asthma severity. These children were also significantly more likely to have several markers of allergy, including dust-mite sensitivity.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


April 23, 2009, 5:03 AM CT

DNA-based vaccination against chronic hepatitis C

DNA-based vaccination against chronic hepatitis C
Copenhagen, Denmark, Thursday 23 April: The first-proof-of-concept for a DNA-based therapeutic vaccination against chronic hepatitis C was announced recently at EASL 2009, the Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of the Liver in Copenhagen, Denmark.

In the first clinical trial of a therapeutic vaccination using naked DNA delivered by in vivo electroporation (EP), antiviral effects were shown in patients with hepatitis C (HCV). Scientists hope that this will encourage further clinical development. The data also provide further evidence for the antiviral role of the HCV-specific T cell response.

It is estimated that some 3% of the world's population is infected with HCV. In industrialised countries, hepatitis C accounts for 70% of chronic hepatitis cases. One of the main concerns is that HCV infection remains asymptomatic until advanced stages of the disease.

Clearance of HCV infection correlates with activation of the host T cell response. Therefore, in this study, scientists developed a T cell vaccine based on a codon-optimised HCV non-structural (NS) 3/4A DNA-gene expressed under the control of the cytomegalovirus immediate-early promoter (ChronVac-C) delivered by in vivo electroporation (EP). A first phase I/IIa clinical trial in HCV infected patients is currently ongoing.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


April 22, 2009, 10:15 PM CT

Benefit of grapes may be more than skin deep

Benefit of grapes may be more than skin deep
Can a grape-enriched diet prevent the downhill sequence of heart failure after years of high blood pressure?.

A University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center study suggests grapes may prevent heart health risks beyond the simple blood pressure-lowering impact that can come from a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. The benefits appears to be the result of the phytochemicals naturally occurring antioxidants turning on a protective process in the genes that reduces damage to the heart muscle.

The study, performed in laboratory rats, was presented at the 2009 Experimental Biology convention in New Orleans.

The scientists studied the effect of regular table grapes (a blend of green, red, and black grapes) that were mixed into the rat diet in a powdered form, as part of either a high- or low-salt diet. Comparisons were made between rats consuming the grape powder and rats that received a mild dose of a common blood pressure drug. All the rats were from a research breed that develops hypertension when fed a salty diet.

After 18 weeks, the rats that received the grape-enriched diet powder had lower blood pressure, better heart function, and fewer signs of heart muscle damage than the rats that ate the same salty diet but didn't receive grapes.........

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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