Cox2 inhibitors play a role in fighting some cancers?

The results of a recent study suggests that women who have been taking the anti-inflammatory Cox-2 inhibitors such as Celebrex for a period of more than 2 years, have a possible less risk of developing breast cancer.
The researchers studied the breast tissue of women who had developed hyperplasia and they discovered that the women with high levels of cox-2 went on to develop breast cancer. A similar study relating to colon cancer has discovered that people who take Cox-2 inhibitors are less likely to develop colon cancer.
These results contain good news and bad news, because the minimum dose of the Cox-2 inhibitors required to protect against these cancers is an unknown quantity. At the present time there is only one drug available on the open market that is being sold as a Cox-2 inhibitor – Celebrex. On the negative side is the potential for this drug to produce unwanted side effects such as hypertension as well as the possibility of causing a heart attack. (NOTE – if the person already has heart problems then that person should either not be given Celebrex or must be monitored very closesly). At this point in time there is no definite research that shows how the benefits outweigh the risks.
Perhaps the answer might lie in researching natural herbal alternatives to the manufactured Cox-2 inhibitors.

Lab-grown bladders ‘a milestone’

_41314864_scientist203.jpegUS scientists have successfully implanted bladders grown in the lab from patients’ own cells into people with bladder disease.
The researchers, from North Carolina’s Wake Forest University, describe seven successful cases, in some of which the implanted organs have worked for years.
The achievement, details of which have been published online by The Lancet, is being described as a “milestone”. One of the researchers described these results as one small step in our ability to go forward in replacing damaged tissues and organs, and that it could prove to be particularly useful for people with bladder cancer.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Protect Against Inflammation And Bone Loss

Gum disease is initiated by bacteria populating dental plaque and may eventually result in tissue and tooth loss. Gum disease is similar to other chronic inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, where inflammation causes tissue damage and is responsible for the disease. To date, the prevention of gum disease is limited to successful oral hygiene and regular professional care. However, despite these preventive actions, plaque control is not enough to prevent disease in susceptible individuals with a high inflammatory response.
However, researchers presenting their findings today during the 35th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Dental Research are introducing Resolvins, a new family of biologically active products of omega-3 fatty acids. They are natural endogenous regulators of the inflammatory response. Since it is now known that inflammation plays a critical role in many diseases, including heart diseases and asthma, experiments were carried out to test the actions of the newly described EPA (eicosapentanoic acid)-derived Resolvin E1 (RvE1) in regulating tissue destruction and resolving inflammation in gum disease.
Experimental gum disease characterized by tissue inflammation and bone loss was stimulated in rabbits by the application of specific bacteria that cause human gum disease. The results of this study showed that topical application of RvE1 in experimental gum disease provided remarkable protection against soft tissue and bone loss associated with gum disease (periodontitis).

[Read more...]

The First Clinical Test For Saliva-Based Oral Cancer Detection: Ready Now

The purpose of this study was to explore the presence of informative RNA biomarkers from human serum transcriptome, and evaluate the serum transcriptome diagnostics for disease detection. Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) was selected as the proof-of-concept disease. – Abstract
Scientists at Dr. David Wong’s laboratory at the School of Dentistry at UCLA have discovered that seven RNAs, molecules that carry information in cells, when found in saliva are very useful for oral cancer detection.
Today, at the 35th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Dental Research, Wong’s research team is reporting for the first time that they have developed a standardized “Saliva RNA Test for Oral Cancer” ready for clinical usage. The “Saliva RNA Test” has been tested in 100 oral cancer and healthy people, and it has been confirmed that four saliva oral cancer RNA biomarkers are highly accurate in detecting oral cancer.

Oral cancer is the 6th most common cancer in men and the 14th most common cancer in women. In the US, oral cancer will be diagnosed in an estimated 30,000 Americans this year and will cause more than 8,000 deaths. The disease kills approximately one person every hour. Oral cancer can spread quickly. The majority of oral cancers are diagnosed in late stages, which accounts for the high death rates. Only half of those diagnosed with the disease will survive more than five years. However, if the cancer is detected early, there is an 80 to 90% chance for survival. It is therefore extremely important to detect oral cancer as early as possible, when it can be treated more successfully, thus enhancing the rate of survival.
Currently, the early detection of oral cancer depends on a thorough oral cancer examination, usually by a dentist or other qualified health care provider, for possible signs and symptoms of this disease. Scientists are working on technologies and biomarkers for the early detection of oral cancer. Saliva, an easy-to-obtain and non-invasive body fluid, has recently been shown to harbor highly informative biomarkers for oral cancer detection.
The saliva oral cancer RNA signature has been tested in over 300 saliva samples from oral cancer patients and healthy people, and the signature is always present in higher levels in the saliva of oral cancer patients than in saliva from healthy people, with an overall accuracy rate of about 85%.

This is the first standardized saliva-based test for clinical oral cancer detection and will have enormous clinical value in reducing the mortality and morbidity for oral cancer patients, as well as improving their quality of life.

[Read more...]

The Future of Family Medicine

Interesting notes from a conference talk:

“Patients don’t come to use for information ..they come to us for CARE .. as they have access to information.”
Principle: care is based on continuous healing relationships.

The comments remind me of the rise of telemedicine, technology and protocols that will provide a continuous connection with health care providers.
More importantly, by catching illnesses promptly and reducing the need for after-hours trips to the hospital, telemedicine could help to improve children

The Top Three Sugar Substitutes

sugar-substitutes.jpgBarbara Quinn has written and excellent summary of the most popular FDA approved sugar substitutes. These supliments are generally classified as sweeteners that contain minimal calories and do not affect blood sugar levels:

Saccharin: The pink packet also known as Sweet ‘N Low. Warning labels hung over saccharin for many years when the FDA determined that large amounts pumped into mice may cause cancer. In 2000, after a thorough review of new findings, saccharin was officially removed from the list of potential carcinogens and has regained its status as a safe sweetener.
Aspartame: The blue packet named Equal or Nutrasweet is a mixture of two amino acids from protein. One of the most intensely studied sweeteners, aspartame is approved for use in more than 100 countries.
Unfounded rumors continue to abound about aspartame. Contrary to what you may read on the Internet, aspartame does not turn to poison when it is heated to extreme temperatures; it just loses its sweetness. You get six times more methanol from a glass of tomato juice than from a beverage containing aspartame. And two double-blinded studies on people who reported allergic reactions to aspartame failed to reproduce allergic reactions under controlled conditions. Neither has aspartame been found to be related to cancer or multiple sclerosis.
Aspartame does carry a label warning people with phenylketonuria (PKU)

First Islet Transplant from a Living Donor – Pioneering operation gives hope to diabetes sufferers

Breaking News from the Guardian:

A Japanese woman is free of the symptoms of diabetes after receiving cells from her mother’s pancreas in the first transplant from a living donor, it emerged yesterday.
The woman, 27, who had had insulin-dependent diabetes since she was 15, was given islet cells from her 56-year-old mother’s pancreas.
Fears that the donor might become diabetic because of the loss of a substantial numbers of islet cells appear unfounded.

However, the technology is probably far from common use. The article continues,

In a commentary, Stephanie Amiel from King’s College, London, warns that these are early days. “Islet transplantation is not yet a perfect technique,” she says. “Insulin independence is by no means certain.” The drugs needed to stop the body rejecting the transplanted cells are toxic and the long-term survival of the cells is unclear.

However, Islet transplantation as a solution to Type 1 diabetes has been shown to be feasible. Now, is it practical, i.e., is it suitable for use in most people?

[Read more...]

Eye Exams Provide Clues to Heart, Blood Vessel Health, Says The Harvard Heart Letter

Over a romantic candlelit dinner, the eyes may be the windows to the soul. In a more prosaic light, they’re windows to the heart, according to the March issue of the Harvard Heart Letter. A look into the eye can reveal the silent damage wrought by high blood pressure and diabetes and reflect the risk of a future stroke or heart attack.
High blood pressure and diabetes damage blood vessels throughout the body. “Changes inside the retina can offer an early warning sign of damage to the heart, kidneys, and elsewhere that may influence treatment decisions,” says Dr. John I. Loewenstein, a retina specialist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, who contributed to the Harvard Heart Letter article. Such changes include narrowing or ballooning of blood vessels and swelling of the base of the optic nerve.
Four large studies have shown that people with changes in their retinal blood vessels from high blood pressure (known as hypertensive retinopathy) are two to four times as likely to have a stroke as people without such changes, reports the Harvard Heart Letter. Other studies have found that people with hypertensive retinopathy have a higher risk for heart attacks and heart failure. The link tends to be strongest in women, indicating that women may be more affected than men by damage to small blood vessels (so-called microvascular changes) from high blood pressure and diabetes.
Getting regular eye exams makes good sense, even when vision seems just fine. In addition to early detection of treatable eye problems such as glaucoma, regular eye exams also provide an opportunity for spotting subtle changes that can foreshadow the usually invisible damage from high blood pressure or diabetes, points out the Harvard Heart Letter.
Source: News Release