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August 15, 2007, 8:33 PM CT

Protein May Indicate Pancreatic Cancer Risk

Protein May Indicate Pancreatic Cancer Risk
A protein that dwindles in response to obesity and a sedentary lifestyle may one day help doctors predict which people are at increased risk for pancreas cancer, new research by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and collaborating researchers indicates.

In a report in the Aug. 15 issue of Cancer Research, the researchers observed that, in a large study group, people with the lowest blood levels of a protein called IGFBP-1 were twice as likely to develop pancreas cancer as those with higher levels. Though much work remains to determine if the protein -- whose acronym stands for insulin-like growth factor binding protein-1 -- is a reliable indicator of pancreas cancer risk, the finding adds to the scientific understanding of how the disease develops.

"The levels of insulin and another circulating hormone, insulin-like growth factor or IGF, are modified by obesity and sedentary lifestyle, and there is evidence that these hormones may stimulate the growth of pancreas cancer cells," said the study's lead author, Brian Wolpin, MD, of Dana-Farber. "When IGF binds to proteins like IGFBP-1, there may be less IGF available to bind to pancreas cancer cells and promote their growth. We wanted to determine whether IGFBP-1 levels in the blood were linked to pancreas cancer risk".........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source

August 15, 2007, 8:16 PM CT

How To Vaccinate Hard-to-reach Populations?

How To Vaccinate Hard-to-reach Populations?
NEW YORK CITY, August 15 Most flu immunization plans in the United States do not address how to vaccinate hard-to-reach populations (HTR)--undocumented immigrants, substance users, the homeless, homebound elderly, and minorities--and this potentially dangerous omission can lead masses of people to become ill during an outbreak of pandemic flu or other contagious disease, as per a new study by The New York Academy of Medicine in the current issue of the Journal of Urban Health.

Hard-to-reach populations are important to vaccinate not only because theyre personally vulnerable, but because they could be widely transmitting disease to others, said lead author David Vlahov, PhD, Director of the Academys Center for Urban Epidemiologic Studies (CUES) and Senior Vice President for Research. The importance of achieving high flu immunization rates is magnified by concern over pandemic influenza.

Influenza vaccination will begin to be offered by some U.S. healthcare providers as early as next month in preparation for flu season, which commonly extends from November through April of each year. Considerable attention will be devoted once again to achieving high levels of vaccination, since the vaccine is the best way to reduce ones chance of getting the flu, as per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Influenza is a serious disease, causing 36,000 deaths (mostly among those aged 65 years or older) and striking 10 to 20 percent of the American population each year.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source

August 15, 2007, 8:10 PM CT

Plain soap as effective as antibacterial

Plain soap as effective as antibacterial
Antibacterial soaps show no health benefits over plain soaps and, in fact, may render some common antibiotics less effective, says a University of Michigan public health professor.

In the first known comprehensive analysis of whether antibacterial soaps work better than plain soaps, Allison Aiello of the U-M School of Public Health and her team observed that washing hands with an antibacterial soap was no more effective in preventing infectious illness than plain soap. Moreover, antibacterial soaps at formulations sold to the public do not remove any more bacteria from the hands during washing than plain soaps.

Because of the way the main active ingredient---triclosan---in a number of antibacterial soaps reacts in the cells, it may cause some bacteria to become resistant to usually used drugs such as amoxicillin, the scientists say. These changes have not been detected at the population level, but e-coli bacteria bugs adapted in lab experiments showed resistance when exposed to as much as 0.1 percent wt/vol triclosan soap.

"What we are saying is that these e-coli could survive in the concentrations that we use in our (consumer formulated) antibacterial soaps," Aiello said. "What it means for consumers is that we need to be aware of what's in the products. The soaps containing triclosan used in the community setting are no more effective than plain soap at preventing infectious illness symptoms, as well as reducing bacteria on the hands."........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

August 15, 2007, 6:11 AM CT

Air pollution linked to cardiovascular risk indices

Air pollution linked to cardiovascular risk indices
Scientists in Taiwan have shown for the first time that urban air pollution simultaneously affects key indicators of cardiovascular risk in young adults: inflammation, oxidative stress, coagulation and autonomic dysfunction.

The study, which appeared in the second issue for August of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, published by the American Thoracic Society, investigated the effect of common urban air pollutants on biological markers for inflammation, oxidative stress, coagulation and autonomic dysfunction in 76 healthy Taiwanese college students.

The scientists collected blood samples and performed electrocardiograms on each subject approximately every 30 days for the months of April, May and June in either 2004 or 2005. They then correlated the sample dates and time with monitoring data from a fixed-site air monitoring station on the students campus. The concentrations of common urban air pollutants were averaged over 24, 48 and 72 hours.

They found significant increases in all indices of cardiovascular risk were linked to increased exposure to common pollutants. This study provides evidence that urban air pollution is linked to systemic inflammation/oxidative stress, impairment of the fibrinogenic system, activation of blood coagulation and alterations in the autonomic nervous system in young, healthy humans, wrote the studys lead author Chang-Chuan Chan, Sc.D., of National Taiwan Universitys College of Public Health.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source

August 15, 2007, 6:09 AM CT

Relapse from antidepressant medication

Relapse from antidepressant medication
A new study by Rhode Island Hospital scientists indicates that a relapse during antidepressant continuation therapy may be due to a relapse in patients who were not true drug responders. The loss of drug response may be due to loss of placebo response (a positive medical response to taking a placebo as if it were an active medication.). The study was reported in the recent issue of the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

Historically, the therapy of depression is divided into three phases initial/acute, continuation and maintenance. During the initial phase, the goal is to reduce symptoms and psychosocial impairment. During the continuation phase, commonly six months to one year after initial therapy response, the goal is to maintain the gains and prevent a relapse. In the maintenance phase, which occurs after a sustained period of improvement, the goal is to further maintain the gains and prevent recurrence of the disorder.

Mark Zimmerman, MD, director of outpatient psychiatry at Rhode Island Hospital and associate professor of psychiatry and human behavior at the Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University, is the papers lead author. Zimmerman, along with his colleague Tavi Thongy, MD, also of Rhode Island Hospital and Brown University, conducted a meta-analysis of continuation studies of new generation antidepressants that began as placebo-controlled acute phase studies. Treatment studies of depression have observed that approximately 50 to 65 percent of patients respond to medicine and that approximately 25 to 35 percent respond to placebo.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

August 15, 2007, 6:08 AM CT

First biomarker for prostate cancer outcome

First biomarker for prostate cancer outcome
Mayo Clinic scientists have identified the first immune molecule that appears to play a role in prostate cancer development and in predicting cancer recurrence and progression after surgery. The report on the B7-H3 molecule by Mayo Clinic Cancer Center appears today in Cancer Research.

This discovery will allow physicians to individualize therapy and observation plans for patients with prostate cancer, says Timothy Roth, M.D., a Mayo Clinic urology resident and lead author of the study. Being able to tell a patient his specific risk after surgery, and perhaps even previous to surgery, will be a huge step forward.

Until now there were no strongly-predictive molecules for prostate cancer. The most notable other prostate biomarkers, prostate-specific antigen (PSA), and prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) are useful to diagnose prostate cancer. However, PSA tends to leave prostate cancer cells and migrate throughout the body, making it a poor target for treatment.

Todays Research

In this study, Mayo scientists demonstrate that nearly all normal, pre-cancerous and malignant prostate cells have B7-H3 on their surface. Unlike PSA, B7-H3 stays attached to the surface of prostate cancer cells and does not appear to migrate, thus making B7-H3 a especially attractive target for treatment. The scientists think that B7-H3 kills or paralyzes immune cells that are trying to attack the cancer. Their findings indicate that B7-H3 may prove useful as a diagnostic, prognostic and even therapeutic tool because it is stably or increasingly displayed by tumor cells as prostate cancers develop -- even after initiation of anti-hormone treatment, which is the most common therapy for advanced prostate cancer.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source

August 10, 2007, 7:22 AM CT

stop cancer cells reading their own DNA

stop cancer cells reading their own DNA
A promising new line in anti-cancer treatment by blocking the molecular motors involved in copying genetic information during cell division is being pursued by young Dutch researcher Dr. Nynke Dekker in one of this years EURYI award winning projects sponsored by the European Science Foundation (ESF) and the European Heads of Research Councils (EuroHORCS). Dekker and her team are trying to stop tumor development by interfering with the molecular motors that copy DNA during cell division. This will cut off the genetic information flow that tumours need to grow, and could complement existing cancer therapies, while in the longer term bringing the promise of improved outcomes with greatly reduced side effects.

There are three primary ways of treating cancer at present, and these have fundamentally changed little in 30 years. In the case of solid tumours, surgery can be used to cut out the malignant tissue, while radiation treatment can kill the cancerous cells, and chemotherapy stops them dividing. Dekkers work is aiming towards a new generation of drugs that target cancer cells much more specifically than traditional chemotherapy, avoiding side effects such as temporary hair loss.

Dekker is focusing on an enzyme called Topoisomerase IB that plays a key role in some of the molecular motors involved in the processes of DNA and RNA copying during cell division. These are responsible for reading the genetic code and making sure it is encoded correctly in the daughter cell. In healthy cells it is important that this process works normally, but in cancer cells it is a natural target for disruptive treatment. Specifically targeting these molecular motors in cancer cells would then prevent the cancer cells from growing into a larger tumor, said Dekker.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

August 10, 2007, 7:20 AM CT

A New Door To Understanding Cancer

A New Door To Understanding Cancer
An in-depth understanding of the mechanisms that trigger cancer cell growth is vital to the development of more targeted therapys for the disease. An article reported in the August 3 issue of Molecular Cell provides a key to these mechanisms that may prove crucial in the future. The paper is co-authored by Dr Morag Park, Director of the MUHC Molecular Oncology Group, and Dr Kalle Gehring, Head of the Nuclear Magnetic Resonnance Laboratory of the McGill University Biochemistry Department.

To understand cancer, it is necessary to first understand how the molecules interact, explains Dr. Park, who is also a Professor of oncology and biochemistry at McGill University. In that study we have clarified the structure of some of the proteins involved and their connections, which allows us to understand the consequences of these interactions. This is, in fact, a feat that merits close attention, because it means that scientists can now see elements smaller than a millionth of a millimetre!

In a cells interior, the function of the ubiquitin molecule is to clean house. It attaches itself to proteins that must disappear and triggers their degradation; in doing so, it allows many mechanisms to be minutely controlled. This new study reveals that ubiquitin also promotes interactions between proteins known as Cb-b. In a healthy patient, Cb-b is activated when a growth factor attaches itself to the surface of a cell, its role being to mitigate the cell proliferation and growth mechanisms induced by the factor. However, in some cancer patients this mitigation mechanism does not appear to function, partly because the ubiquitin does not attach itself correctly to the cell surface and to Cb-b. As a result, the effects of the growth factor become much more pronounced, which results in an unrestrained proliferation of cells that can become a cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

August 10, 2007, 7:13 AM CT

Why Persistent Acid Reflux Sometimes Turns Into Cancer?

Why Persistent Acid Reflux Sometimes Turns Into Cancer?
Image courtesy of Medical college of georgia
New research from researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center and the Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center underscores the importance of preventing recurring acid reflux while also uncovering tantalizing clues on how typical acid reflux can turn potentially malignant.

In research published in July and August, researchers discovered that people with acid reflux disease, especially those with a complication of acid reflux called Barretts esophagus, have altered cells in their esophagus containing shortened telomeres, the ending sequences in DNA strands. Combined with related research would be published this month, the findings indicate that the shortened sequences might allow other cells more prone to cancer to take over.

The research supports why it is important to prevent reflux, because the more reflux you have and the longer you have it, the more it might predispose you to getting Barretts esophagus. So you want to suppress that reflux, said Dr. Rhonda Souza, associate professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern and lead author of the paper which appears in the recent issue of the American Journal of Physiology Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology

Heartburn occurs when acid splashes back up from the stomach into the esophagus, the long feeding tube that connects the stomach and throat, causing a burning sensation.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

August 8, 2007, 9:38 PM CT

Control Mechanism For Metastasis

Control Mechanism For Metastasis
Metastasis when cancer cells dissociate from the original tumor and migrate via the blood stream to colonize distant organs is the main cause of cancer death. A team of researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science has now revealed new details about the mechanisms controlling metastasis of breast cancer cells. Their findings, published recently online in Nature Cell Biology, add significantly to the understanding of metastasis and may aid, in the future, in the development of anti-cancer drugs.

For a cell such as a cancer cell to migrate, it first must detach itself from neighboring cells and the intercellular material to which it is anchored. Before it can do this, it receives an order from outside the cell saying: 'prepare to move.' This signal takes the form of a substance called a growth factor, which, in addition to controlling movement, can activate many processes in the cell including division and differentiation. The growth factor attaches to a receptor on the cell wall, initiating a sequence of changes in the cellular structure. The cells internal skeleton an assembly of densely-packed protein fibers comes apart and the protein fibers then form thin threads on the outside of the cell membrane that push the cell away from its neighbors. In addition, many protein levels change: some get produced in higher quantities and some in less.........

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. Archives of health news blog

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