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November 18, 2007, 9:18 PM CT

Treating Vomiting Caused By Chemotherapy

Treating Vomiting Caused By Chemotherapy
The subcutaneous administration of granisetron, an antiemetic pharmaceutical drug (suitable for control of vomiting), achieves similar blood concentrations to those administered intravenously. This was the conclusion of clinical tests undertaken by specialists at the University Hospital of Navarra, the results of which have been recently reported in the prestigious North American medical journal, The Oncologist.

Granisetron is a pharmaceutical drug the efficacy of which against vomiting (antiemetic), when administered orally or intravenously, has already been shown, but never studied when given subcutaneously. The research shows that the antiemetic granisetron, administered subcutaneously, behaves in a similar manner as when injected intravenously. The advantage of the subcutaneous method is the ease of therapy for non-hospitalised patients. For these patients using the intravenous method it is problematic, requiring, as it does, specialised care; while administering orally may involve the patient vomiting.

Home use and emergencies

This is why subcutaneous administration opens new perspectives, providing a comfortable and easy way of home-based therapy, either with self-medicine by the patients themselves or administered by their carers, in either case reducing the dependence on trained medical personnel.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 14, 2007, 9:52 PM CT

Cellular machinery that enables neurons to fire

Cellular machinery that enables neurons to fire
Neurons
If you ever had a set of Micronauts toy robots with removable body parts you probably had fun swapping their heads, imagining how it would affect their behavior. Researchers supported by the National Institutes of Health have been performing similar experiments on ion channels pores in our nerve cells to sort out the channels' key functional parts.

In the November 15 issue of Nature, one group of scientists shows that a part of ion channels called the paddle is uniquely transplantable between different channels. Writing in the same issue, another group exploited this property to probe the three-dimensional structure of ion channels on an atomic scale.

"The effects of a number of toxins and therapeutic drugs, as well as some diseases, can be wholly explained by changes in ion channel function," says Story Landis, Ph.D., director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the NIH. "We also know that ion channels are at least a contributing player in epilepsy, chronic pain, Parkinson's disease and other disorders. As we learn more about how channels work, we're able to pursue more approaches to therapy".

Ion channels are proteins that control the flow of electrically charged salt particles (ions) across the nerve cell membrane. It's the opening and closing of these channels that enables nerve cells to fire off bursts of electrical activity. A built-in voltmeter, called a voltage sensor, pops the channel open when the nerve cell is ready to fire. The papers in Nature hone in on a part of the voltage sensor called the paddle, named for its shape.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


November 14, 2007, 9:19 PM CT

Grape powder blocks genes linked to colon cancer

Grape powder blocks genes linked to colon cancer
Low doses of freeze-dried grape powder inhibit genes associated with the development of sporadic colorectal cancer, University of California, Irvine cancer scientists found.

The study suggests that a diet rich in grapes may help prevent the third most common form of cancer, one that kills more than a half a million people worldwide each year. Around 7 percent of all Americans develop colon cancer during their lifetimes.

Led by Dr. Randall Holcombe, director of clinical research at the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at UC Irvine, the study followed up on prior in vitro studies showing that resveratrol, a nutritional supplement derived from grape extract, blocks a cellular signaling pathway known as the Wnt pathway. The Wnt pathway has been associated with more than 85 percent of sporadic colon cancers, which is the most common form of colon cancer.

The UC Irvine scientists conducted their study with patients with colon cancer. One group was given 20 milligrams daily of resveratrol as a pill; another drank 120 grams daily of grape powder mixed in water; and a third drank 80 grams daily of grape powder.

While the supplements did not have an impact on existing tumors, biopsied colon tissue showed that Wnt signaling in the patients taking 80 grams of grape powder was significantly reduced. Similar changes were not seen in patients taking the higher dose of grape powder or the resveratrol pills.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


November 14, 2007, 8:44 PM CT

Endometrial cancer and vitamin D status

Endometrial cancer and vitamin D status
Using newly available data on worldwide cancer incidence, scientists at the Moores Cancer Center at University of California, San Diego (UCSD) have shown a clear association between deficiency in exposure to sunlight, specifically ultraviolet B (UVB), and endometrial cancer.

UVB exposure triggers photosynthesis of vitamin D3 in the body. This form of vitamin D is also available through diet and supplements. Prior studies from this research team have shown associations between higher levels of vitamin D3 and lower risk of cancers of the breast, colon, kidney and ovary.

Approximately 200,000 cases and 50,000 deaths from endometrial cancer occur annually worldwide, including 41,000 new cases and 7,400 deaths in the United States.

The study will be published November 16, 2007, in the journal Preventive Medicine.

This is the first study, to our knowledge, to show that higher serum levels of vitamin D are linked to reduced risk of endometrial cancer, said Cedric F. Garland, Dr. P.H., professor of Family and Preventive Medicine in the UCSD School of Medicine, and member of the Moores UCSD Cancer Center. Prior epidemiological studies have focused on estrogen levels either natural or through hormone replacement treatment which play the major role in development of the disease, and on fat intake, which plays a smaller role. Since most women cannot control their natural levels of estrogen, and very low levels of fat intake are not acceptable to most American women, this article provides evidence that vitamin D adequacy should be considered as part of a comprehensive program for prevention of this cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 12, 2007, 8:52 PM CT

Laser Can Predict Decompression Sickness

Laser Can Predict Decompression Sickness
It may not rank among the top 10 causes of death, but decompression sickness can be fatal. Instead of waiting for symptoms to appear, a University of Houston professor is developing a laser-based system that can diagnose the sickness in a matter of seconds.

Kirill Larin, assistant professor of biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering, is using a $400,000 grant from the U.S. Navy to develop the first optical non-invasive tool to test those most likely to suffer from decompression sickness, such as scuba divers, submariners and airplane pilots. Decompression sickness affects those who experience sudden, drastic changes in the air or water pressure surrounding their bodies. It can cause anything from joint pain - known as the bends - to seizure, stroke, coma and, in the most extreme cases, death.

"Most of the time, decompression sickness isn't addressed until the person starts showing clinical symptoms," Larin said. "It would be better, of course, to treat the problem before the symptoms appear. That would allow individuals to take the appropriate medical actions to reduce the side effects of decompression sickness."

Larin's optical device can locate the presence of nitrogen gas - or microbubbles - in blood and tissues, which can restrict the flow of blood throughout the body and cause damage. Larin is developing the tool, which works much like an ultrasound machine, with Dr. Bruce Butler of the UT Health Science Center in Houston. Instead of getting readings using sound waves, however, Larin's system uses light waves in the form of lasers that bounce back when they encounter resistance, thereby providing a high-resolution image.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


November 12, 2007, 8:41 PM CT

Towards Spinal Cord Reconstruction Following Injury

Towards Spinal Cord Reconstruction Following Injury
A new study has identified what may be a pivotal first step towards the regeneration of nerve cells following spinal cord injury, using the body's own stem cells.

This seminal study, published in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, identifies key elements in the body's reaction to spinal injury, critical information that could lead to novel therapies for repairing previously irreversible nerve damage in the injured spinal cord. Very little is known about why, unlike a wound to the skin for example, the adult nervous system is unable to repair itself following spinal injury. This is in contrast to the developing brain and non-mammals which can repair and regenerate after severe injuries. One clue from these systems has been the role of stem cells and their potential to develop into different cell types.

"Because of their regenerative role, it is crucial to understand the movements of stem cells following brain or spinal cord injury," says Dr. Philip Horner, co-lead investigator and neuroscientist at the University of Washington. "We know that stem cells are present within the spinal cord, but it was not known why they could not function to repair the damage. Surprisingly, we discovered that they actually migrate away from the lesion and the question became why - what signal is telling the stem cells to move."........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


November 8, 2007, 9:58 PM CT

A Dose of Radiation May Help Knock Out Malaria

A Dose of Radiation May Help Knock Out Malaria
How are physicists helping an effort to eradicate malaria, the mosquito-borne disease that kills more than one million people every year? Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) used their expertise in radiation science to help a young company create weakened, harmless versions of the malaria-causing parasite. These parasites, in turn, are being used to create a new type of vaccine that shows promise of being more effective than current malaria vaccines.

The new vaccine is a departure from prior approaches, which have commonly depended on proteins derived from only part of the parasite Plasmodium falciparum, the most dangerous species of parasite that causes malaria. Using vaccines based on whole living parasites had been on scientists' minds for several decades, after they discovered that volunteers built up high levels of protection to malaria after being exposed to mosquitoes containing live, radiation-weakened parasites. But manufacturing technology only recently has been developed to the point where it is possible to efficiently extract weakened parasites from their mosquito carriers in order to make a vaccine.

With their knowledge of measuring radiation doses for industrial processes such as medical equipment sterilization, NIST scientists have been lending their expertise for several years to Maryland-based biotech firm Sanaria Inc., which is creating the new vaccine. In the manufacturing process, live mosquitoes containing the parasite are exposed to gamma rays. To ensure that the parasites are sufficiently weakened for the vaccine, yet remain alive, they must be exposed to a radiation dose of at least 150 gray, but not much more. Coincidentally, this is also the dose used to delay sprouting in potatoes and onions.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


November 8, 2007, 9:47 PM CT

Discovery That May Lead To Safe Treatment For High Blood Pressure

Discovery That May Lead To Safe Treatment For High Blood Pressure
Jason Koski/University Photography
Frank Schroeder inserts a natural product sample into a nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology. NMR spectroscopy has evolved into the most important tool for identifying new biologically active compounds.
For more than 40 years, scientists have suspected there must be a natural hormone that could safely flush sodium out of the body and could be harnessed to develop more effective and safer therapys for high blood pressure, or hypertension. Currently, drugs that lower sodium levels all have serious side effects because they also reduce potassium levels.

Scientists at Cornell and the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research (BTI) have used a new technique and identified a hormone from human urine -- a xanthurenic-acid derivative -- that seems able to do the job. The discovery opens the door to developing novel medications to control sodium levels and treat hypertension.

Frank Schroeder, an assistant scientist at BTI and co-author of the paper, which appeared in a recent issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, developed a new technique for analyzing complex mixtures of small molecules, making it possible to finally identify the hormone.

Previous to the discovery, scientists knew that a human steroid called aldosterone activates the kidney to reabsorb sodium and excrete potassium, which led them to suspect that there must be another hormone that would trigger the kidney to do the opposite: excrete sodium and reabsorb potassium. A number of had tried to find such a hormone in human urine, but urine contains a mix of hundreds of molecules, and the correct one could not be isolated, probably because the suspected hormone breaks down easily during traditional chemical analysis.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


November 7, 2007, 6:27 PM CT

Gleevec safe and effective over the long term

Gleevec safe and effective over the long term
The drug imatinib mesylate, more usually known as Gleevec®, proves safe and effective over the long term in patients with an advanced form of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), as per a research studyprepublished online in Blood, the official journal of the American Society of Hematology.

A team of scientists from the U.S. and Europe, including the drug's creator, Brian Druker, MD, followed 454 patients with chronic-phase CML taking imatinib for more than six years. Previous to enrollment, all study participants had experienced either therapy failure or intolerance with interferon alpha, which was the standard of care for CML at the time the study was initiated.

"The long-term follow-up results of imatinib in CML post interferon failure reassure us of the high efficacy of the drug and its safety," stated Hagop Kantarjian, MD, the lead author on the study and Chairman and Professor of the Leukemia Department at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. "With a six-year follow-up, the estimated six-year survival rate is 76 percent. In historical data, after interferon failure the average survival was about three to four years".

Imatinib dosage began at 400 milligrams per day and was escalated to 600 mg/d or 800 mg/d in patients who did not achieve positive therapy responses within set time periods or whose disease relapsed.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


November 7, 2007, 6:16 PM CT

Golimumab for ankylosing spondylitis

Golimumab for ankylosing spondylitis
More than half of patients receiving monthly subcutaneous (SC) injections of golimumab (CNTO 148) 50 mg and 100 mg experienced significant and sustained improvements in the signs and symptoms of active ankylosing spondylitis, according to Phase 3 study results presented at the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) annual meeting. At week 14 of the study, 59 percent of patients receiving golimumab 50 mg and 60 percent of patients receiving golimumab 100 mg achieved at least 20 percent improvement in the Assessment in Ankylosing Spondylitis criteria (ASAS 20) compared with 22 percent of patients receiving placebo.

(P < 0.001). Investigators also reported that study subjects receiving golimumab 50 mg or golimumab 100 mg showed significant, sustained improvements in physical function through six months as measured by the Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Functional Index (BASFI).

Golimumab, Centocor Inc. and Schering-Plough Corporation's next-generation human anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha monoclonal antibody, is currently in the most comprehensive Phase 3 development program to date for an anti-TNF-alpha biologic therapy. With ongoing studies for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis, golimumab is being studied as a monthly SC injection and an every twelve-week intravenous (IV) infusion (approximately 30-minutes) therapy.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
Scientists at Yale have brought to light a mechanism that regulates the way an internal organelle, the Golgi apparatus, duplicates as cells prepare to divide, according to a report in Science Express.Graham Warren, professor of cell biology, and colleagues at Yale study Trypanosoma brucei, the parasite that causes Sleeping Sickness. Like a number of parasites, it is exceptionally streamlined and has only one of each internal organelle, making it ideal for studying processes of more complex organisms that have a number of copies in each cell.

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