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June 4, 2006, 8:38 AM CT

Gene Therapy Protects Mice From Radiation

Gene Therapy Protects Mice From Radiation
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine scientists have successfully protected mice against the damaging effects that radiation can have on bone marrow using gene treatment. Based on these results, the scientists believe this approach may be able to protect first responders in the event of a radiological accident or the detonation of a crude radiological weapon, or "dirty bomb." The findings are being presented at the American Society of Gene Therapy annual meeting in Baltimore, May 31 to June 4.

Since the events of Sept.11, there has been growing concern that terrorists may use a dirty bomb--a conventional explosive wrapped in radiological material--or attack a nuclear power facility to disperse high-dose radiation across a populated area. Experts believe a significant number of the population would die within 30 days of exposure to a high dose of radiation from such an event, which has prompted the federal government to fund efforts to develop medical interventions against radiological and nuclear threats.

In this study, Pitt scientists used gene treatment to deliver the compound manganese superoxide dismutase-plasmid liposome (MnSOD-PL) to the cells of female mice. Twenty-four hours later, groups of mice that received the therapy and control mice that did not were exposed to varying doses of whole body radiation. Following irradiation, the mice were weighed daily and observed for signs of irradiation-induced damage to their bone marrow. Control mice irradiated at the higher doses lost weight and died fairly rapidly due to bone marrow damage. In contrast, mice treated with the MnSOD-PL gene treatment showed no changes in body weight, had little bone-marrow damage, and lived longer compared to the control irradiated mice.........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source


June 4, 2006, 8:35 AM CT

Gene Therapy For Ovarian Cancer

Gene Therapy For Ovarian Cancer
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine scientists have used gene treatment to either completely abolish or significantly inhibit tumor progression in a mouse model of ovary cancer. The scientists believe these findings, which are being presented at the American Society of Gene Therapy annual meeting in Baltimore, May 31 to June 4, may significantly improve the prognosis for ovary cancer patients.

Ovary cancer is diagnosed in more than 25,000 women in the United States each year, and about 16,000 American women die from the disease annually. Despite aggressive surgery and chemotherapy approaches, the prognosis for ovary cancer is poor, and most women have a life expectancy of only three to four years after their diagnoses.

In this study, the Pitt researchers inoculated mice with an ovary cancer cell line. They treated some of the mice immediately with a genetically engineered vaccinia virus containing a gene coding cytosine deaminase, a suicide gene, and delayed therapy of other mice for 30 or 60 days. Control mice were inoculated with ovary cancer cells but were not given the gene treatment.

The scientists found complete inhibition of tumor growth in the mice that were treated immediately with gene treatment and significant tumor inhibition in the 30- and 60-day delayed therapy mice. In contrast, all non-gene-therapy treated mice either died or were euthanized due to overwhelming buildup of fluid in the peritoneal cavity by 94 days following tumor inoculation.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


June 4, 2006, 8:32 AM CT

Race And Income And Advanced Breast Cancer

Race And Income And Advanced Breast Cancer
To determine the challenges of coping with metastatic breast cancer, scientists at the University of Pittsburgh schools of Nursing and Medicine evaluated the impact of race and income on women's experiences with the disease. They found that low-income African-American women were more likely to report physical and social distress and uncertainty about their future than other groups evaluated in the study. The results of the study were announced recently at the 42nd American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting in Atlanta.

"As more and more women are living with metastatic breast cancer, it becomes ever more important to look at how women experience the disease differently based on their unique circumstances," said Margaret Quinn Rosenzweig, Ph.D., assistant professor, department of acute and tertiary care, University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing. "While we know that equitable therapy and symptom management are critical to breast cancer survival, we know much less about how quality of life and symptom distress vary as per women's race and income level, especially for women living with advanced breast cancer."

The study looked at how women perceived barriers to therapy and to symptom management by evaluating the experiences of 57 women with metastatic breast cancer. Based on self-reporting, women were categorized into four groups: eight low-income African-American women, eight high-income African-American women, 16 low-income white women, and 25 high-income white women. Women filled out questionnaires on socio-demographics, symptom distress and quality of life, and were interviewed by the scientists to assess their experience with symptoms, self-care strategies and barriers to managing their symptoms.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


June 4, 2006, 8:30 AM CT

Switch From Tamoxifen To Aromasin

Switch From Tamoxifen To Aromasin
New data from the Intergroup Exemestane Study (IES) showed for the first time today that hormone sensitive postmenopausal early breast cancer patients who switched to Aromasin after 2 to 3 years of tamoxifen were 17% more likely to be alive and were 25% less likely to have their cancer return than patients who continued on tamoxifen for a full 5 years of therapy.

"Exemestane is the only anti-hormonal therapy that has been shown to demonstrate improved overall survival over tamoxifen alone," said Lead Investigator Professor Charles Coombes, director of cancer medicine, Imperial College, London. These significant survival benefits were seen in patients who are considered hormone sensitive, which represents 97% of the study population. Although not statistically significant in the intent to treat population, 15% of patients taking Aromasin were more likely to be alive versus those that continued on tamoxifen. These new findings were based on nearly 5 years of follow-up after randomization in the IES trial. IES was a large randomized double blind multinational trial of postmenopausal women with early breast cancer which was designed to compare the clinical benefits of switching 2352 patients to Aromasin after 2 to 3 years of tamoxifen versus continuing 2372 patients on tamoxifen for a full 5 years of therapy. The 5 year follow-up time includes a period of observation lasting over 2 years after completion of all treatment. ........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


June 4, 2006, 8:26 AM CT

Three-drug Combo In Head And Neck Cancers

Three-drug Combo In Head And Neck Cancers
The addition of docetaxel (Taxotere) to an initial chemotherapy regimen for inoperable head and neck cancers reduced mortality by nearly 30 percent over three years following therapy compared to the standard two-drug combination, scientists from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston will report at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's annual meeting in Atlanta.

The survival advantage emerged from an international clinical trial of more than 500 patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck treated with a sequential regimen that included induction chemotherapy and chemoradiotherapy, explains Marshall R. Posner, MD, director of head and neck oncology at Dana-Farber.

"This changes the standard of care for chemotherapy and radiation for head and neck cancer in this country," says Posner, who will present the data at a scientific special session on head and neck cancers on Sunday, June 4, 1 p.m., Building C, Level 1, Hall C4.

In recent years, Posner and his colleagues at Dana-Farber have developed a multi-modality treatment for inoperable, locally advanced head and neck cancers that can reduce the need to remove critical organs while giving the patient good odds of survival. The first phase is induction chemotherapy with a combination of drugs followed by simultaneous fractionated radiation treatment and weekly therapy with carboplatin chemotherapy. Patients then have surgery if needed.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


June 2, 2006, 7:01 AM CT

Adverse Reactions to Popular Type 2 Diabetes Drugs

Adverse Reactions to Popular Type 2 Diabetes Drugs
Used by several million people worldwide, rosiglitazone (RSG) is an oral agent that helps patients with type 2 diabetes maintain good blood glucose levels by improving how their bodies use insulin.

But RSG, like all the other thiazolidinedione (TZD) drugs that can lower blood glucose levels, can cause fluid retention (edema), a condition that puts patients at greater risk for weight gain, vascular complications and heart failure. Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and GlaxoSmithKline, which manufactures the drugs, reported cases of new onset or worsening macular edema (an eye disorder that leads to blurred or distorted vision) among patients who took RSG. While reports of these complications remain rare, GlaxoSmithKline has added a warning about the risks to the drugs' labels.

Now a new study at Joslin Diabetes Center has uncovered a mechanism that leads to these complications and suggests a way to prevent them. The study was led by George L. King, M.D., the Director of Research and Head of Vascular Cell Biology at Joslin and Professor at Harvard Medical School. It will appear in the June edition of the FASEB Journal, a publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

Treating rats with RSG over several weeks and comparing their tissues with those of rats in the control group, the scientists documented increases in blood vessel leakage and fluid retention in fat tissue and the retina. They also showed that the rats experienced weight gain similar to that observed in patients. What gave them the clue to the cause of these changes came when they examined the activity levels of one form of the protein kinase C (PKC) enzyme in the affected tissues.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


June 2, 2006, 6:53 AM CT

Repeat Episodes Of Low Blood Sugar Spell Disaster

Repeat Episodes Of Low Blood Sugar Spell Disaster
Low blood glucose (hypoglycemia) may occur when a person with diabetes has injected too much insulin, eaten too little food, or exercised without extra food. They may experience nausea, sweating, faintness, and confusion. In reaction to these symptoms the person is prompted to eat, and the body instinctively knows to take counterregulatory measures including decreasing insulin secretion, and increasing glucagon and epinephrine secretion. Single or repeated episodes of hypoglycemia can impair the body's ability to detect low blood sugar in the future. This impairment can allow an individual to develop severe hypoglycemia in which they may lose consciousness, experience convulsions, fall into a coma, and suffer brain damage. This failure to respond to hypoglycemia has become a major limitation to effective insulin treatment in type 1 diabetes.

In a study appearing in the recent issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Rory J. McCrimmon and his colleagues from Yale University, show that administration to the brain of urocortin I suppresses the counterregulatory response to hypoglycemia for at least 24 hours in rats. They show that urocortin I, which activates corticotrophin-releasing factor receptor 2 (CRFR2), impairs the sensitivity of glucose-sensing neurons in the brain. In contrast, administration of CRF, which activates CRFR1, amplifies the response to hypoglycemia. The data suggest that the regulation of the counterregulatory response to hypoglycemia is largely determined by the interaction between CRFR2-mediated suppression and CRFR1-mediated activation in the hypothalamus.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


June 1, 2006, 11:37 PM CT

Why do statistics about overweight and obesity differ?

Why do statistics about overweight and obesity differ?
The definitions or measurement characteristics for overweight and obesity have varied over time, from study to study, and from one part of the world to another. The varied definitions affect prevalence statistics and make it difficult to compare data from different studies. Prevalence refers to the total number of existing cases of a disease or condition in a given population at a given time. Some overweight- and obesity-related prevalence rates are presented as crude or unadjusted estimates, while others are age-adjusted estimates. Unadjusted prevalence estimates are used to present cross-sectional data for population groups at a given point or time period. For age-adjusted rates, statistical procedures are used to remove the effect of age differences in populations that are being compared over different time periods. Unadjusted estimates and age-adjusted estimates will yield slightly different values.

Prior studies in the United States have used the 1959 or the 1983 Metropolitan Life Insurance tables of desirable weight-for-height as the reference for overweight.[3] More recently, a number of Government agencies and scientific health organizations have estimated overweight using data from a series of cross-sectional surveys called the National Health Examination Surveys (NHES) and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES). The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted these surveys. Each had three cycles: NHES I, II, and III spanned the period from 1960 to 1970, and NHANES I, II, and III were conducted in the 1970's, 1980's, and early 1990's. Since 1999, NHANES has become a continuous survey.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


June 1, 2006, 11:31 PM CT

A Father's Hand Guides A Child To Success

A Father's Hand Guides A Child To Success Paquette believes that there is a link between a poor father-child relationship and such problems as dropping out of school, difficulty entering the job market, gangs and homelessness.
"Does a child need a father?" Daniel Paquette asks this question when he speaks at libraries and cultural centres in Quebec. The answer is yes. Paquette, a professor in the Department of Psychology, explains: "A good relationship with the father gives a child confidence in her own abilities and teaches her how to handle danger and new physical and social situations".

Paquette, a researcher at the Institut de recherche pour le developpement social des jeunes, has been investigating various aspects of attachment for eleven years. His studies on the development of children in distress have convinced him that a child's social skills must be learned through close relationships with one or more adults in the child's circle. The father is an essential role model.

"Fathers help the child explore her world," says Paquette. "The child needs stimulation and encouragement as much as she needs the security and stability that she gets from her mother. Fathers are more likely than mothers to play physical games with young children." These games teach the child to take initiative, face challenges and claim her place in a competitive world.

Paquette believes that there is a link between a poor father-child relationship and such problems as dropping out of school, difficulty entering the job market, gangs and homelessness.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


June 1, 2006, 7:16 PM CT

Cancer Worries Continue

Cancer Worries Continue
The doctor may give the cancer patient a clean bill of health, but worries about recurrences, lingering effects from therapy, a second cancer and a shortened life plague the thoughts of approximately one-third of long-term, older-adult cancer survivors, as per scientists from Case Western Reserve University's Cancer Survivor Research Project. This is one of the first studies to look at the worries experienced by long-term survivors.

It may be that these long-term survivors of five or more years after the end of their therapys may be worriers in general, said Gary Deimling, Case professor of sociology and lead investigator on the "Cancer-Related Health Worries and Psychology Distress among Older Adult, Long-Term Cancer Survivor" article in the journal, Psycho-Oncology.

But he adds that it raises concerns that cancer continues to impact survivors' lives.

Overall most survivors are not letting these worries compromise the quality of their lives either physically or psychologically, report Deimling and co-researchers Karen Bowman, Samantha Stern, Louis Wagner from Case's sociology department and Boaz Kahana from Cleveland State University, but these worries are linked to both depression and anxiety.

The researchers' concerns led to the study of 321 long-term survivors of breast, colorectal or prostate cancer in National Cancer Institute-funded Cancer Survivors Research Project at Case.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         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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