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January 10, 2007, 8:25 PM CT

pivotal Nexavar kidney cancer study published in NEJM

pivotal Nexavar kidney cancer study published in NEJM
Bayer Pharmaceuticals Corporation and Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced that the New England Journal of Medicine has published their pivotal Phase III trial demonstrating that Nexavar (sorafenib) tablets doubled median progression-free survival (PFS) in patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC), or kidney cancer. The data, as assessed by independent radiologic review, are from the Treatment Approaches in Renal Cancer Global Evaluation Trial (TARGET) – the largest randomized controlled trial ever conducted in advanced RCC.

"Historically, patients with kidney cancer have had limited treatment options and there has been a particularly critical need for new therapies to help patients with advanced disease," said co-principal investigator Ronald Bukowski, M.D., Director of the Experimental Therapeutics Program of The Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Center in Cleveland, OH. "This landmark study demonstrated the efficacy, tolerability and clinical benefit of Nexavar, which has rapidly become a valuable weapon against this devastating disease."

Based on these data, Nexavar was granted U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for the treatment of patients with advanced RCC, or kidney cancer, on December 20, 2005. Since then, Nexavar has been approved in nearly 50 countries. ........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


January 10, 2007, 5:07 AM CT

Milk Eliminates Cardiovascular Health Benefits Of Tea

Milk Eliminates Cardiovascular Health Benefits Of Tea
Tests on volunteers showed that black tea significantly improves the ability of the arteries to relax and expand, but adding milk completely blunts the effect. Supporting tests on rat aortas (aortic rings) and endothelial (lining) cells showed that tea relaxed the aortic rings by producing nitric oxide, which promotes dilation of blood vessels. But, again, adding milk blocked the effect.

The findings, by heart specialists and researchers from the Charite Hospital, Universitätsmedizin-Berlin, Gera number of, are bad news for tea-drinking nations like the British, who normally add milk to their beverage. The results have led the scientists to suggest that tea drinkers who customarily add milk should consider omitting it some of the time.

Their study showed that the culprit in milk is a group of proteins called caseins, which they found interacted with the tea to decrease the concentration of catechins in the beverage. Catechins are the flavonoids in tea that mainly contribute to its protection against cardiovascular disease.

Senior researcher Dr Verena Stangl, Professor of Cardiology (Molecular Atherosclerosis) at the hospital, said: "There is a broad body of evidence from experimental and clinical studies indicating that tea exerts antioxidative, anti-inflammatory and vasodilating effects, thereby protecting against cardiovascular diseases. As worldwide tea consumption is second only to that of water, its beneficial effects represent an important public health issue. But, up to now, it's not been known whether adding milk to tea, as widely practised in the UK and some other countries, influences these protective properties. So, we decided to investigate the effects of tea, with and without milk, on endothelial function, because that is a sensitive indicator of what is happening to blood vessels."........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


January 10, 2007, 4:31 AM CT

Cancer-related Gene Critical For Placenta Development

Cancer-related Gene Critical For Placenta Development
An important cancer-related gene may play a critical role in the development of the placenta, the organ that controls nutrient and oxygen exchange between a mother and her fetus during pregnancy, and perhaps in miscarriages.

Those conclusions come from a new study of the retinoblastoma (Rb) gene in mice. In humans, this gene, when mutated, raises the risk of a rare cancer of the eye called retinoblastoma. Two decades ago, it was identified as the first tumor-suppressor gene, a class of genes that protects cells from becoming cancerous. It has since been shown to be inactivated in many cancers.

In this study, researchers shut off the Rb gene in stem cells that give rise to most of the placenta, resulting in an abnormal placenta and death of the embryos.

The findings provide new insights into development of the placenta and into how the Rb gene blocks tumor growth.

They also raise the possibility that this important tumor-suppressor gene might play a role in miscarriages.

The study, led by researchers at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, is published in the January 2007 issue of the journal Genes and Development.

"Our findings strongly suggest that the Rb gene is important in the development of the placenta, but they have other important implications, as well," says principal investigator Gustavo Leone, assistant professor of molecular virology, immunology and medical genetics and a researcher with Ohio State's Comprehensive Cancer Center and human cancer genetics program.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


January 9, 2007, 10:00 PM CT

Calcium For Nursing Mothers' Oral Health

Calcium For Nursing Mothers' Oral Health
Mothers who breastfeed should be sure to have enough Calcium in their diet, or may risk bone loss around their teeth and gums, as per a new study that appears in the recent issue of the Journal of Periodontology (JOP).

Scientists from Tohoku University in Japan investigated if lactation affects alveolar bone loss, the bone surrounding the roots of teeth, in rat models of experimental periodontitis. They found mothers who are lactating could put the bone structures around their teeth at risk, particularly when there was not enough Calcium in their diet.

"Our research emphasized the importance of having a high-Calcium diet while breast-feeding," said Dr. Kanako Shoji, Division of Periodontology and Endodontology at Tohoku University. "While our study was on a rat population, the evidence confirmed that breastfeeding can cause increased bone loss in the mother, particularly when the mother has insufficient Calcium intake. But additional studies in human populations are necessary to confirm these findings."

The study showed that all groups with insufficient Calcium intake saw an acute inflammatory reaction in periodontal tissues and disruption of the gingival epithelium, the tissues surrounding the teeth, in addition to increased attachment loss, and increased alveolar bone loss. Those groups which were lactating saw even greater attachment loss and bone loss.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 9, 2007, 9:38 PM CT

Pancreatic Cancer Surgery Five-Year Survivors

Pancreatic Cancer Surgery Five-Year Survivors
A new study shows that pancreas cancer patients 65 or older who live at least five years after surgery have nearly as good a chance as anyone else to live another five years.

Scientists at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia evaluated the records of 890 patients with pancreas cancer who underwent the standard pancreaticoduodenectomy, or Whipple procedure, which entails the removal of the gallbladder, common bile duct, part of the duodenum, and the head of the pancreas, between 1970 and 1999 at Johns Hopkins University. They identified those who lived for five years, and compared those who lived for at least an additional five years to the "actuarial" - or estimated - survival of the general population beginning at age 70.

Reporting in the journal Surgery, they observed that 201 patients (23 percent) lived five years after surgery, at least half of whom were 65 years old or older at the time of surgery. Of those five-year survivors, an estimated 65 percent lived at least an additional five years. In the general population, roughly 87 percent of the same age group live another five years.

The study has an important message, says Charles Yeo, M.D., Samuel Gross Professor and Chair of Surgery at Jefferson Medical College, who led the work. "A decade ago, a number of clinicians thought that there was little reason to operate on patients with pancreatic ductal cancer, that surgery does little to extend life and improve the quality of life," says Dr. Yeo. "Not too long ago, few lived for five years after diagnosis. Today that's not true. There's been a paradigm shift in the way we treat and think about this disease."........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


January 9, 2007, 8:53 PM CT

Caffeine Cuts Post-workout Pain

Caffeine Cuts Post-workout Pain
Eventhough it's too soon to recommend dropping by Starbucks before hitting the gym, a new study suggests that caffeine can help reduce the post-workout soreness that discourages some people from exercising.

In a study would be reported in the recent issue of The Journal of Pain, a team of University of Georgia scientists finds that moderate doses of caffeine, roughly equivalent to two cups of coffee, cut post-workout muscle pain by up to 48 percent in a small sample of volunteers.

Lead author Victor Maridakis, a researcher in the department of kinesiology at the UGA College of Education, said the findings may be especially relevant to people new to exercise, since they tend to experience the most soreness.

"If you can use caffeine to reduce the pain, it may make it easier to transition from that first week into a much longer exercise program," he said.

Maridakis and colleagues studied nine female college students who were not regular caffeine users and did not engage in regular resistance training. One and two days after an exercise session that caused moderate muscle soreness, the volunteers took either caffeine or a placebo and performed two different quadriceps (thigh) exercises, one designed to produce a maximal force, the other designed to generate a sub-maximal force. Those that consumed caffeine one-hour before the maximum force test had a 48 percent reduction in pain in comparison to the placebo group, while those that took caffeine before the sub-maximal test reported a 26 percent reduction in pain.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 9, 2007, 8:25 PM CT

Letting The Blind See

Letting The Blind See
Kristina Narfstrom, a University of Missouri-Columbia veterinary ophthalmologist, has been working with a microchip implant to help blind animals "see." As per Narfstrom, the preliminary results are promising.

"About one in 3,500 people worldwide is affected with a hereditary disease, retinitis pigmentosa, that causes the death of retinal cells and, eventually, blindness," Narfstrom said. "Our current study is aimed at determining safety issues in regard to the implants and to further develop surgical techniques. We also are examining the protection the implants might provide to the retinal cells that are dying due to disease progression with the hope that natural sight can be maintained much longer than would be possible in an untreated patient."

Narfstrom, the Ruth M. Kraeuchi-Missouri Professor in Veterinary Ophthalmology, is working primarily with Abyssinian and Persian cats that are affected with hereditary retinal blinding disease. The cat's eye is a good model to use for this type of research because it is very similar to a human eye in size and construction, so surgeons can use the same techniques and equipment. Cats also share a number of of the same eye diseases with humans. The Abyssinian cats that Narfstrom is working with typically start to lose their sight when they are around one or two years old and are completely blind by age four.........

Posted by: Mike      Read more         Source


January 8, 2007, 9:19 PM CT

Hopeful Nurses Are More Comfortable

Hopeful Nurses Are More Comfortable
Nurses with higher levels of hopefulness are more likely to report feeling confident and competent in their ability to care for dying children and their families. Scientists at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, reporting on a survey of hundreds of pediatric nurses, said that nurses who were more confident about their skills also were more likely to have received education in palliative care--the practice of providing high-quality, responsive care to patients with a life-threatening illness.

The study appears in the recent issue of Pediatrics.

"Very few scientists have analyzed whether healthcare providers' underlying beliefs and feelings are linked to their ability to care for dying children and their families," said study authors Chris Feudtner, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.; and Gina Santucci, M.S.N., of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "This study may help educators develop programs to help nurses and other healthcare providers to address difficult situations."

A pediatrician and a nurse, respectively, Dr. Feudtner and Ms. Santucci are experts on pediatric palliative care and members of the Hospital's Pediatric Advanced Care Team, which provides palliative, end-of-life and bereavement services.

The study team analyzed responses from 410 pediatric nurses at Children's Hospital in spring 2005 with a web-based, written survey. The survey asked the nurses whether they were comfortable working with dying children and their families and inquired about their knowledge, attitudes, practices and experiences regarding aspects of palliative and end-of-life care. The team also used questions from a standardized measuring tool called the Adult Dispositional Hope Scale.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 8, 2007, 9:14 PM CT

New Cancer Drugs

New Cancer Drugs
Combining synthetic chemistry techniques with a knowledge of the properties and actions of enzymes, researchers have been able to produce an exciting class of anti-cancer drugs originally isolated from blue-green algae.

This accomplishment is expected to make it possible to produce enough of the promising drugs for use in clinical trials.

In a study featured on the cover of the recent issue of the journal ACS Chemical Biology, a scientific team lead by University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute Research Professor David H. Sherman and researcher Zachary Q. Beck found the trick to turning the green gunk into gold-cancer fighting gold.

"It was simply too difficult to use the native blue-green algae for high-level production using traditional fermentation approaches," said Sherman. But the compound, called cryptophycin 1, held so much promise as an anti-cancer drug that organic chemists got busy trying to find ways to make a synthetic form of the compound in large enough quantities for clinical trials.

Developing an efficient synthetic route to natural product compounds and their analogs is often an essential step in drug development. With drugs such as penicillin and tetracycline, it can easily be done, but cryptophycins present more of a challenge. Sherman's team realized that with all cryptophycins, the most difficult step came very late in the synthesis, at the point at which a key part called an epoxide-a highly strained, three-membered ring oxygen-containing group, crucial for the drug's anti-cancer activity-becomes attached to the molecule.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 7, 2007, 9:32 PM CT

The Molecular Basis Of Memory

The Molecular Basis Of Memory
Phone numbers, the way to work, granny's birthday -- our brain with its finite number of nerve cells can store incredible amounts of information. At the bottom of memory lies a complex network of molecules. To understand how this network brings about one of the most remarkable capacities of our brain we need to identify its components and their interactions. Scientists from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory's (EMBL) Mouse Biology Unit in Monterotondo, Italy, and the Universidad Pablo de Olavide in Sevilla, Spain, now for the first time investigate the molecular basis of memory in living mice. The study, which appears in the current issue of Learning and Memory, identified a molecule that is crucially involved in learning and singled out the signaling pathway through which it affects memory.

Our sense organs inform our brain about what happens around us and brain cells communicate this information between each other using electrical signals. These signals become stronger the more often a cell experiences the same stimulus allowing it to distinguish familiar information from news. In other words a cell remembers an event as an uncommonly strong and long-lasting signal. This phenomenon called long-term potentiation (LTP) is thought to underpin learning and memory and its molecular basis is being investigated intensively.........

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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