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June 20, 2007, 10:00 AM CT

A cure for Liver Cancer?

A cure for Liver Cancer?
Adding more good news to last week's announcement that Nexavar® (sorafenib) may be the first effective therapy for advanced liver cancer, scientists at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University have uncovered a new molecular mechanism that may "spontaneously" cause liver cancer.

Part of the well-known TGF-ß tumor suppressor pathway, the molecule disappears in the cells of nearly 90 percent of human hepatocellular cancers, the most common type of liver cancer. Lopa Mishra, MD, professor and vice chair in the department of surgery at Georgetown University Medical Center, showed that loss of only one copy of the embryonic liver fodrin, or ELF gene, can result in spontaneous development of liver cancer in human cell cultures and in vivo models.

In a paper published online by Oncogene on June 4, Mishra and her team also reported that by reintroducing ELF to the cancer cells, the proteins driving cell division and growth were kept in check. To the research team, this implies that ELF or another inhibitor of downstream cell division and growth proteins could be developed into an effective new treatment.

"We're looking for ways of treating untreatable cancers," explained Mishra. "Pancreatic and liver cancers are the third- and fourth-leading causes of cancer death in the world".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


June 20, 2007, 9:49 AM CT

Improving Treatment Of Anemia

Improving Treatment Of Anemia
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) have determined a key mechanism by which the body regulates iron metabolism, a discovery that may provide new approaches for the therapy of anemia.

The findings, which are reported this week in the online publication of The Journal of Clinical Investigation, represent a collaborative effort between the laboratories of Randall Johnson, Ph.D., UCSD professor of biology and Victor Nizet, M.D., professor of pediatrics and pharmacy at the UCSD School of Medicine and Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Iron is essential for a number of normal biological processes including the production red blood cells that deliver oxygen to the body's tissues. By studying the regulation of iron and production of red blood cells in mice, the scientists established the relationship between a pair of proteins that play a central role in monitoring a hormone called hepcidin.

The hepcidin hormone is a peptide, or small protein, that is synthesized in the liver and regulates the levels of iron in the body. It prevents the body from absorbing more iron than is needed from food or supplements, and blocks the export of iron from cells.

Patients with cancer, chronic inflammatory diseases or infections often develop high levels of hepcidin, which reduces the amount of iron available to support the production of new red blood cells. Consequently, such patients suffer from low red blood cell production, or anemia.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


June 20, 2007, 8:36 AM CT

Identifying Potentially Violent Individuals

Identifying Potentially Violent Individuals
A researcher who spent nearly 300 hours observing patients in an accident and emergency department has developed a method for identifying possible flashpoints, as per the latest Journal of Advanced Nursing.

Lauretta Luck, who carried out her research at the University of Western Sydney, Australia, points out that the STAMP violence assessment framework could have much wider applications than just hospitals.

STAMP - which stands for Staring and eye contact, Tone and volume of voice, Anxiety, Mumbling and Pacing could be used by any professionals in potentially violent situations, such as law enforcement and social services.

The five-month research project was carried out in a 33-bedded emergency department in a public hospital serving a large rural, remote and metropolitan community in Australia.

It serves a multi-cultural community, which includes a high number of tourists and seasonal workers as well as a large metropolitan population.

Luck carried out 290 hours of observation and interviewed 20 Registered Nurses who agreed to take part in the study.

During my time in the department there were 16 violent episodes aimed at staff taking part in the study says Luck. Because I was on the spot I was able to obtain feedback from them while the event was still fresh in their minds. They were able to tell me how they perceived the event and how they tried to handle it.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


June 20, 2007, 8:18 AM CT

When it comes to delinquency boys

When it comes to delinquency boys
Scientists trying to understand why high school-age boys are involved in serious delinquency more often than girls have observed that males are exposed to higher levels of risk factors and lower amounts of protective factors.

A new study of more than 7,800 high school sophomores from 40 suburban and rural communities in seven states examined 22 risk and protective factors linked to serious delinquency. It observed that boys reported higher levels of risk and lower levels of protection for 18 of the factors than did girls. In addition, boys were twice as likely to engage in seven of the eight serious delinquent behaviors that were measured.

"Boys come into contact with risk factors in their families, school, peers and in their personal attributes more frequently and are sometimes influenced by them more strongly than are girls," said Abigail Fagan, lead author of the study and an intervention specialist with the University of Washington's Social Development Research Group.

All of the risk and protective factors examined were significantly correlation to serious delinquency for both boys and girls, as per Fagan.

The students in the study came from communities with populations ranging from 1,600 to 106,000 in Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Oregon, Utah and Washington. Slightly more than half of the students were girls, and 79 percent were white.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


June 19, 2007, 9:30 PM CT

Cigarette smoking impairs ligament healing

Cigarette smoking impairs ligament healing
The list of reasons you shouldn't smoke has gotten longer. Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are reporting that smoking interferes with ligament healing.

Studying mice with knee ligament injuries, the team discovered cigarette smoking impairs the recruitment of cells to the injury site and delays healing following ligament-repair surgery. They reported their findings in the Journal of Orthopaedic Research.

The scientists looked at the mouse medial collateral ligament (MCL), a ligament that supports the knee joint in both mice and people. Each year in the United States there are more than 20 million reported ligament injuries, and MCL injuries are the most common. They also are the most common injuries seen in competitive and recreational sports. It's not clear exactly how a number of MCL injuries occur annually because a number of go unreported.

"A lot of MCL injuries never make it to an emergency room because patients will have a sore knee but don't seek therapy," says Rick W. Wright, M.D., associate professor of orthopaedic surgery and a senior investigator on the MCL study.

Prior studies have demonstrated that the mouse provides a good paradigm for what happens in injured human knees.

"This is a good model for knee ligament injury, but it could be a model for ligament injuries anywhere in the body," says co-investigator Linda J. Sandell, Ph.D., professor of orthopaedic surgery. "It's likely the biology is transferable to other knee ligaments, elbow ligaments, shoulder ligaments, you name it."........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


June 19, 2007, 5:08 AM CT

Nanoparticle Offers Promise for Treating Glaucoma

Nanoparticle Offers Promise for Treating Glaucoma
Photo: Jerry Klein.
Glaucoma affects millions of people and if left untreated can cause blindness
A unique nanoparticle made in a laboratory at the University of Central Florida is proving promising as a drug delivery device for treating glaucoma, an eye disease that can cause blindness and affects millions of people worldwide.

"The nanoparticle can safely get past the blood-brain barrier making it an effective non-toxic tool for drug delivery," said Sudipta Seal, an engineering professor with appointments in UCF's Advanced Materials Processing and Analysis Center and the Nanoscience Technology Center.

The findings will be published in an article appearing in the June 28 issue of the Journal of Physical Chemistry C.

Seal and colleagues from North Dakota State University note in the article that while barely 1-3 percent of existing glaucoma medicines penetrate into the eye, earlier experiments with nanoparticles have shown not only high penetration rates but also little patient discomfort. The miniscule size of the nanoparticles makes them less abrasive than some of the complex polymers now used in most eye drops.

Seal and his team created a specialized cerium oxide nanoparticle and bound it with a compound that has been shown to block the activity of an enzyme (hCAII) believed to play a central role in causing glaucoma.

The disease involves abnormally high pressure of the fluid inside the eye, which, if left untreated, can result in damage to the optic nerve and vision loss. High pressure occurs, in part, because of a buildup of carbon dioxide inside the eye, and the compound blocks the enzyme that produces carbon dioxide.........

Posted by: Mike      Read more         Source


June 19, 2007, 5:05 AM CT

Bacterial pneumonia patients at increased risk of major heart problems

Bacterial pneumonia patients at increased risk of major heart problems
A new study suggests patients hospitalized with pneumonia may be at serious risk of new or worsening heart problems. The study is reported in the July 15 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, currently available online.

Scientists led by Daniel Musher, MD, studied the records of all 170 patients hospitalized with pneumococcal pneumonia at a Texas Veterans Affairs medical center from 2001 to 2005. They observed that 19.4 percent of them had a heart attack or other major heart problem concurrently at the time of admission, and that the presence of the heart condition significantly increased mortality from pneumonia.

In this study, the authors note, when adult patients were hospitalized with a diagnosis of bacterial pneumonia, the concurrence of pneumonia and a new cardiac event was often unrecognized, particularly in the first 12-24 hours of hospitalization, which led some patients to go without antibiotics for pneumonia and others to have no cardiac monitoring or anticoagulant treatment.

The authors propose that pneumonia increases the risk of heart problems by increasing the hearts demand for oxygen while simultaneously causing a decrease in the lungs ability to transfer oxygen from the air to the blood. Also, pneumonia raises blood levels of a type of a chemical signal called a cytokine that promotes the formation of blood clots and that decreases the efficiency of the heart.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


June 19, 2007, 5:02 AM CT

Predicting Danger of Flu Pandemic

Predicting Danger of Flu Pandemic
Researchers studying the potential spread of a flu pandemic must be careful to distinguish the different rates of infection among different groups, including the sociable and the shy, those most susceptible to infection and those less so, as per a new study in the "O.R. Forum" section of Operations Research, a flagship journal of The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS®).

In the study, "Simple Models of Influenza Progression Within a Heterogeneous Population," Dr. Richard C. Larson, a former president of INFORMS and a professor at MIT, discusses the importance of forecasting and ultimately limiting the spread of disease while taking into account the different infection rates among those who might contract the disease.

"We allow for socially active people who interact with a number of other people on a given day, and we allow for relatively inactive people who interact with few others," he writes. "We provide for highly susceptible people who are more likely to become infected once exposed to the virus, and we include those who are less susceptible. In a similar vein, we allow for highly contagious as well as less contagious infected persons.

"The reasoning behind these assumptions is that heterogeneity across the population in these attributes may affect in first-order ways the manner in which the disease propagates and, consequently, the manner in which we should address mitigation measures."........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


June 18, 2007, 9:41 PM CT

Fat fish put obesity on the hook

Fat fish put obesity on the hook
Everyone knows that eating lean fish helps slim waistlines, but scientists from the Center for the Study of Weight Regulation and Associated Disorders at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, OR, have found a new way fish can help eliminate obesity. In a study would be reported in the July 2007 print issue of The FASEB Journal, scientists describe the first genetic model of obesity in a fish. Having this model should greatly accelerate the development of new drugs to help people lose weight and keep it off.

As per corresponding author Roger Cone, Being able to model human disorders like obesity in zebrafish allows researchers to understand the molecular basis of disease. This may ultimately increase the efficiency and power of the drug discovery process, thus bringing new medicines to the market faster and cheaper.

In the study, scientists caused obesity in zebrafish by introducing the same type of genetic mutation that causes severe obesity in humans. The genetic change blocks the activity of a receptor, the melanocortin-4 receptor, which is at the heart of a device in our brains called the adipostat. The adipostat regulates body weight homeostatically, like the thermostat in a house, and works to keep long-term energy storesa.k.a. body fatconstant. The adipostat is what makes it difficult for people to lose weight and keep it off.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


June 18, 2007, 9:38 PM CT

Link Between Foie Gras And Disease

Link Between Foie Gras And Disease
University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine professor and researcher Alan Solomon, M.D., director of the Human Immunology and Cancer/Alzheimers Disease and Amyloid-Related Disorders Research Program, led a team that discovered a link between foie gras prepared from goose or duck liver and the type of amyloid found in rheumatoid arthritis or tuberculosis.

Their experimental data, appearing in this week's edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has provided the first evidence that a food product can hasten amyloid development.

Amyloidosis is a disease process involving the deposit of normal or mutated proteins that have become misfolded. In this unstable state, such proteins form hair-like fibers, or fibrils, that are deposited into vital organs like the heart, kidneys, liver, pancreas and brain. This process leads to organ failure and, eventually, death. There are a number of types of amyloid-related diseases in addition to rheumatoid arthritis, such as Alzheimers disease, adult-onset (type-2) diabetes and an illness correlation to multiple myeloma called primary or AL amyloidosis, an illness that has been a particular focus of study in the Solomon laboratory.

Foie gras is a culinary delicacy derived from massively enlarged fatty livers of ducks and geese. It is produced by gorging the fowl over several weeks. Solomon and his research team analyzed commercially sold foie gras from the U.S. and France and observed that it contained a type of amyloid called AA. Amyloid deposits are usually found in waterfowl, but this condition is noticeably increased in force-fed birds. In their study, mice prone to develop AA amyloidosis were injected or fed amyloid extracted from foie gras. Within eight weeks, a majority of the animals developed extensive amyloid deposits in the liver, spleen, intestine and other organs.........

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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