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January 16, 2007, 9:30 PM CT

Marker For Head And Neck Cancer

Marker For Head And Neck Cancer
Scientists have found a marker on head and neck tumor cells that indicates which cells are capable of fueling the cancer's growth. The finding is the first evidence of cancer stem cells in head and neck tumors.

Cancer stem cells are the small number of cancer cells that replicate to drive tumor growth. Scientists believe current cancer therapys sometimes fail because they are not attacking the cancer stem cells. By identifying the stem cells, scientists can then develop drugs to target and kill these cells.

"Our therapy results for head and neck cancer are not as good as we'd like them to be. A lot of people still die of head and neck cancer. This finding will impact our understanding of head and neck cancer, and we hope it will lead to therapys that will be more effective," says study author Mark Prince, M.D., assistant professor of otolaryngology at the University of Michigan Medical School and section chief of otolaryngology at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.

Results of the study appear in the Jan. 16 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Scientists at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center and Stanford University School of Medicine took tumor samples from patients undergoing surgery for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, including cancers of the tongue, larynx, throat and sinus. Cells from the samples were separated based on whether they expressed a marker on their surface called CD44. The sorted cells were then implanted into immune-deficient mice to grow tumors.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 16, 2007, 8:12 PM CT

Antivirals Fights Influenza Virus

Antivirals Fights Influenza Virus
Two antiviral drugs, oseltamivir and zanamivir, are highly effective when given as a preventive measure to reduce the spread of the influenza virus, as per an analysis of household-based studies by scientists at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, University of Michigan and University of Virginia, reported in the current print edition of the American Journal of Epidemiology. The analysis also suggests that therapy with oseltamivir may reduce the infectiousness of influenza patients, eventhough further studies are needed to provide a definitive conclusion.

"Preventing the spread of influenza within families is an essential part of influenza management, regardless of the strain. This study shows that there is a clear benefit to be gained by giving antivirals to people who have been exposed to the virus to prevent the onset of symptomatic illness," said lead author M. Elizabeth (Betz) Halloran, M.D., D.Sc., a Hutchinson Center-based biostatistician.

"While the efficacy of antivirals to protect against influenza is critical, the effect of these drugs on infectiousness also has important public-health consequences. Further studies to determine antiviral efficacy for reducing infectiousness would therefore be of great value," said Halloran, a member of the Hutchinson Center's Public Health Sciences Division and a professor of biostatistics at the University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


January 16, 2007, 5:16 AM CT

Tomato-broccoli Combo For Prostate Cancer

Tomato-broccoli Combo For Prostate Cancer
A new University of Illinois study shows that tomatoes and broccoli--two vegetables known for their cancer-fighting qualities--are better at shrinking prostate tumors when both are part of the daily diet than when they're eaten alone.

"When tomatoes and broccoli are eaten together, we see an additive effect. We think it's because different bioactive compounds in each food work on different anti-cancer pathways," said University of Illinois food science and human nutrition professor John Erdman.

As per a research findings reported in the January 15 issue of Cancer Research, Erdman and doctoral candidate Kirstie Canene-Adams fed a diet containing 10 percent tomato powder and 10 percent broccoli powder to laboratory rats that had been implanted with prostate cancer cells. The powders were made from whole foods so the effects of eating the entire vegetable could be compared with consuming individual parts of them as a nutritional supplement.

Other rats in the study received either tomato or broccoli powder alone; or a supplemental dose of lycopene, the red pigment in tomatoes believed to be the effective cancer-preventive agent in tomatoes; or finasteride, a drug prescribed for men with enlarged prostates. Another group of rats was castrated.

After 22 weeks, the tumors were weighed. The tomato/broccoli combo outperformed all other diets in shrinking prostate tumors. Biopsies of tumors were reviewed at The Ohio State University, confirming that tumor cells in the tomato/broccoli-fed rats were not proliferating as rapidly. The only therapy that approached the tomato/broccoli diet's level of effectiveness was castration, said Erdman.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


January 16, 2007, 5:03 AM CT

Growth Hormone Is Not The Anti-aging Bullet

Growth Hormone Is Not The Anti-aging Bullet Pituitary gland is the source of growth hormone
A review of published data on use of human growth hormone (GH) by healthy elderly people observed that the synthetic hormone was linked to small changes in body composition but not in body weight or other clinically important outcomes.

Further, people who took GH had increased rates of unhealthy side effects such as soft tissue swelling, joint pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and, in men, abnormal breast development. They were also somewhat more likely to develop diabetes.

The review, "The Safety and Efficacy of Growth Hormone in the Healthy Elderly," was reported in the Jan. 16, 2007, issue of Annals of Internal Medicine and is available on the Web at www.annals.org on that day.

"Growth hormone has been widely promoted as an anti-aging treatment," said Hau Liu, MD, a research fellow in endocrinology and health policy at Stanford University and an author of the review.

"But the scant clinical experience of GH in the healthy elderly suggests that eventhough GH may minimally alter body composition, it does not improve other clinically relevant outcomes such as bone density, cholesterol levels, stamina, and longevity in this population.

"And it's linked to high rates of adverse events.

"So, on the basis of available evidence, we cannot recommend growth hormone use for anti-aging in the healthy elderly."........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 16, 2007, 4:51 AM CT

One-time Melanoma Screening Of Older Adults Is Cost-effective

One-time Melanoma Screening Of Older Adults Is Cost-effective
One-time melanoma screening of adults age 50 or older appears to be as cost-effective as other nationally recommended cancer screening programs, as per an article in the recent issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Melanoma is the only cancer for which incidence and death rates continue to increase in the United States, while screening continues to be underused, as per background information in the article. Treating melanoma costs more than $740 million each year in the United States. Older patients and those who have immediate relatives with melanoma are at higher risk. Knowledge regarding risk factors and the availability of therapy has spurred greater interest in screening; however, the lack of a large randomized trial proving screening efficacy has been cited as an obstacle preventing its widespread implementation.

Elena Losina, Ph.D., Boston University School of Public Health, and his colleagues constructed a mathematical model to simulate the melanoma events that occur in a population, including disease occurrence, progression, detection with and without a screening program, therapy and death. The authors projected the additional costs of screening and the additional survival attributable to earlier detection. They then assessed the cost in dollars for every extra year of life gained (the cost-effectiveness) from melanoma screening by a dermatologist.........

Posted by: George      Read more         Source


January 15, 2007, 9:42 PM CT

Smoking Increases Risk Of Tuberculosis

Smoking Increases Risk Of Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease that causes an estimated 2 million deaths each year. The majority of those deaths occur in developing countries, home to more than 900 million of the world's 1.1 billion smokers. In addition, about half of the world's people cook and heat their homes with coal and biomass fuels such as wood, animal dung and charcoal, which generate indoor air pollution. In a new study, scientists from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) undertook a systematic review and meta-analysis of epidemiologic data to quantitatively assess the association between smoking, passive smoking and indoor air pollution and TB. They found consistent evidence that smoking is linked to an increased risk of TB; they also observed that passive smoking (secondhand smoke) and the burning of biomass fuels was linked to an increased TB risk.

The study appears online on January 16, 2007, in the open-access journal PLoS Medicine.

"The evidence suggests that, when in comparison to non-smokers, smokers have about double the risk of tuberculosis. The implication for global health is critical," said Megan Murray, associate professor of epidemiology at HSPH. "Since tobacco smoking has increased in developing countries where TB is prevalent, a considerable portion of the global burden of TB may be attributed to tobacco. Importantly, this also implies that smoking cessation might provide benefits for global TB control in addition to those for chronic diseases."........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


January 15, 2007, 9:33 PM CT

Common Gut Microbes May Contribute To Obesity

Common Gut Microbes May Contribute To Obesity
A link between obesity and the microbial communities living in our guts is suggested by new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The findings indicate that our gut microbes are biomarkers, mediators and potential therapeutic targets in the war against the worldwide obesity epidemic.

In two studies published this week in the journal Nature, the researchers report that the relative abundance of two of the most common groups of gut bacteria is altered in both obese humans and mice. By sequencing the genes present in gut microbial communities of obese and lean mice, and by observing the effects of transplanting these communities into germ-free mice, the scientists showed that the obese microbial community has an increased capacity to harvest calories from the diet.

"The amount of calories you consume by eating, and the amount of calories you expend by exercising are key determinants of your tendency to be obese or lean," says lead investigator Jeffrey Gordon, M.D., director of the Center for Genome Sciences and the Dr. Robert J. Glaser Distinguished University Professor. "Our studies imply that differences in our gut microbial ecology may determine how a number of calories we are able to extract and absorb from our diet and deposit in our fat cells."........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 15, 2007, 9:21 PM CT

Programmed Cell Death

Programmed Cell Death Neutrophil granulocytes have trapped Shigella bacteria in NETs.
Image: Dr. Volker Brinkmann, Max Planck Institute for Infection Biolog
They are the largest group of white blood cells: neutrophil granulocytes kill microorganisms. Neutrophils catch microbes with extracellular structures nicknamed Neutrophil Extracellular Traps (NETs) that are composed of nucleic acid and aggressive enzymes. A group of researchers lead by Arturo Zychlinsky at the Max-Planck-Institute for Infectious Biology in Berlin, Gera number of discovered, how the neutrophils form this snaring network (Journal of Cell Biology, online, January 8, 2007). Once triggered, the cells undergo a novel program leading to their death. While they perish, the cells release the content of their nuclei. The nucleic acid, mingled with bactericidal enzymes, forms a lethal network outside the cell. Invading bacteria and pathogenic fungi get caught and killed in the NETs.

Every minute, several million neutrophils leave the bone marrow and are ready to defend the body of invading germs. They are the immune system's first line of defence against harmful bacteria and migrate into the tissue at the site of infection to combat pathogens. For more than hundred years it was known that neutrophil granulocytes kill bacteria very efficiently by devouring them. After eating the germs neutrophils kill tehm with antimicrobial proteins.

The group of researchers lead by Arturo Zychlinsky at the Max-Planck-Institute for Infectious Biology discovered a second killing mechanism: neutrophil granulocytes can form web-like structures outside the cells composed of nucleic acid and enzymes which catch bacteria and kill them. The researchers were able to generate impressive micrographs of these nets. But it remained a mystery how the granulocytes could mobilise the contents of their nuclei and catapult it out of the cells.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


January 15, 2007, 5:10 AM CT

One In Four Specialist Trainee Doctors 'Very Worried'

One In Four Specialist Trainee Doctors 'Very Worried'
One in four specialist trainee doctors in England views their future job prospects as "poor" or "very worrying," as a result of changes in training and healthcare delivery, reveals a survey* published ahead of print in a special edition of Postgraduate Medical Journal.

While the government plans to shift the focus of care, especially for long term conditions, away from hospitals into the community, almost a third of those surveyed regarded working with patients directly in these settings as a "bad" or "very bad" development, the responses reveal.

Eight out of 10 respondents felt poorly prepared to meet the challenge of working as specialist practitioners in the community, and wanted additional training to enable them to work in the new environment.

Three out of four felt that this should take the form of a university based degree. But even with appropriate training, only half felt that they would be better equipped to find work as a consultant.

The study authors point out that by 2010, the number of medical graduates will have increased by 50%.

Coupled with the shift of emphasis to healthcare provision in community based facilities, and a much greater focus on prevention, this will create new responsibilities for doctors and drastically cut the number of hospital based specialists required, they say.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 15, 2007, 5:07 AM CT

New Genetic Clue To Cause Of Alzheimer's Disease

New Genetic Clue To Cause Of Alzheimer's Disease Tangles Alzheimer's
Variations in a gene known as SORL1 may be a factor in the development of late onset Alzheimer's disease, an international team of scientists has discovered. The genetic clue, which could lead to a better understanding of one cause of Alzheimer's, is reported in Nature Genetics online, Jan. 14, 2007, and was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The scientists suggest that faulty versions of the SORL1 gene contribute to formation of amyloid plaques, a hallmark sign of Alzheimer's in the brains of people with the disease. They identified 29 variants that mark relatively short segments of DNA where disease-causing changes could lie. The study did not, however, identify specific genetic changes that result in Alzheimer's.

Richard Mayeux, M.D., of Columbia University, Lindsay Farrer, Ph.D., of Boston University, and Peter St. George-Hyslop, M.D., of the University of Toronto, led the study, which involved 14 collaborating institutions in North America, Europe and Asia, and 6,000 individuals who donated blood for genetic typing. The work was funded by NIH's National Institute on Aging (NIA) and National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), as well as by 18 other international public and private organizations.

"We do not fully understand what causes Alzheimer's disease, but we know that genetic factors can play a role," says NIA director Richard J. Hodes, M.D. "Researchers have previously identified three genes, variants of which can cause early onset Alzheimer's, and one that increases risk for the late onset form. This discovery provides a completely new genetic clue about the late onset forms of this very complex disease. We are eager to investigate the role of this gene further".........

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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