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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 9:05 am 
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Psychological Science Explains Uproar over Prostate-Cancer Screenings

WASHINGTON— The uproar that began last year when the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force stated that doctors should no longer offer regular prostate-cancer tests to healthy men continued this week when the task force released their final report. Overall, they stuck to their guns, stating that a blood test commonly used to screen for prostate cancer, the PSA test, causes more harm than good — it leads men to receive unnecessary, and sometimes even dangerous, treatments.

But many people simply don’t believe that the test is ineffective. Even faced with overwhelming evidence, such as a ten-year study of around 250,000 men that showed the test didn’t save lives, many activists and medical professionals are clamoring for men to continue receiving their annual PSA test. Why the disconnect?

In an article published in Psychological Science, a publication of the Association for Psychological Science, researchers Hal R. Arkes, of Ohio State University, and Wolfgang Gaismaier, from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, Germany, picked apart laypeople’s reactions to the report, and examined the reasons why people are so reluctant to give up the PSA test.

“Many folks who had a PSA test and think that it saved their life are infuriated that the Task Force seems to be so negative about the test,” said Arkes.

They suggest several factors that may have contributed to the public’s condemnation of the report. Many studies have shown that anecdotes have power over a person’s perceptions of medical treatments. For example, a person can be shown statistics that Treatment A works less frequently than Treatment B, but if they read anecdotes (such as comments on a website) by other patients who had success with Treatment B, they’ll be more likely to pick Treatment B. The source of the anecdotes matters too. If a friend, a close relative, or any trusted source received successful treatment, they would be more likely to recommend that treatment to others, even if there was evidence showing the treatment only works for a minority of people.

Arkes and Gaismaier also propose that the public may have recoiled against the task force’s recommendations so fiercely because they weren’t able to properly evaluate the data in the report. Confusion over the use of control groups may have led people in the general public to weigh the data differently than medical professionals did.

Icon array illustrating the benefits (or lack thereof) and harms of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening for men age 50 and older. The underlying epidemiological data are taken from Djulbegovic et al. (2010). Note that the numbers are not meant to be the final verdict on PSA screening, but rather serve to illustrate the order of magnitude of the effects. Copyright 2012 by the Harding Center for Risk Literacy.

“How to change this is the million-dollar question,” said Arkes. “Pictorial displays are far easier to comprehend than statistics. The two figures in our article depict the situation more clearly than text and numbers can do. I think data displayed in this manner can help change people’s view of the PSA test because we compare the relative outcomes of being tested and not being tested. Without that comparison, it is tough for the public to appreciate the relative pluses and minuses of the PSA test versus not having the PSA test.” An example of this kind of display (Figure 3 from the study) is shown at left.

Men will be able to continue to request the PSA test, and it will be covered by health insurance for the foreseeable future. But psychological science suggests that unless people are convinced to choose statistics over anecdotes, confusion surrounding the test’s effectiveness will linger.

http://www.healthcanal.com/mental-healt ... nings.html


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 7:34 am 
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Engineered Protein Subjected to Help Immune Cells Fight against Cancer Cells

Recent research findings proposed discovery of a genetically engineered protein to fight against cancer cells. It has been reported that this protein targets body’s immune cells, which further, invade tumor and fight against cancer cells.

The research commissioned by an international team, which was led by Prof Ruth Ganss at the Western Australian Institute for Medical Research, stated that so far immunotherapy has been looked forward to as a treatment for cancer, as these cancer cells become resistant to immune cells.

Moreover, as cancer advances, the tumor also expands, thus making it more difficult for the immune cells to invade and even in case, these cells are able to enter the tumor, then its environmental conditions, either kill it or these cells are unable to function in them.

Dr. Anna Johansson, from The University of Western Australia, a team member said, “We engineered a protein called TNF-Alpha so that it went straight to a pancreatic tumour and stayed there without toxic side effects outside the tumour”.

Moreover, it was notified that the protein functioned in a significant manner by affecting blood vessels of tumor, thus opening the tumor and allowing the entrance of immune cells.

However, it has been asserted that the protein needs to be given in low doses, as in excess, it can be toxic.

http://topnews.ae/content/211824-engine ... ncer-cells


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 8:10 am 
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Platinum used to 'magnetically navigate' drugs through the body 1st June 2012

Scientists are using platinum to better target drugs where they are needed in the body.

A team from the University of Sydney in Australia, with collaborators in Scotland, have developed a system of magnetically directing drugs through the body using nanoparticles of platinum, iron and gold.

"This discovery means we can potentially direct where in the body a drug goes," said lead researcher Dr Nial Wheate of the discovery, which has been published in the international journal Inorganica Chimica Acta.

The team have created an anticancer drug with an iron oxide core that is five nanometres in size.

Dr Wheate explained on HealthCanal.com how this iron oxide core was coated in a protective layer of gold before the platinum drug cisplatin was attached to the gold coating using "spaghetti-like strings of polymer".

Because of the drug's iron core, it can be moved around the body under the influence of a magnet.

"We can move it to the desired cancer tumour site using powerful magnetic fields," explained Dr Wheate. "Otherwise, a strong magnet could be implanted into a tumour, and draw the drug into the cancer cells that way."

It is hoped that the new drug will remove some of the side-effects of other cancer treatments, which can attack and kill healthy cells and organs.

"Ultimately, this technology could greatly reduce or even eliminate the severe side-effects that people associate with chemotherapy such as hair loss, nausea, vomiting, low red blood cells and an increased risk of infection," said Dr Wheate.

Cisplatin is one of several platinum-based anticancer drugs, which also include carboplatin and oxaliplatin.

The research from Sydney comes after scientists at the University of Kentucky developed a new method of using ruthenium complexes in place of cisplatin.

Only toxic to cancer cells when exposed to light, the drug is another that it is hoped will reduce side-effects in cancer patients.

http://www.platinum.matthey.com/media-r ... 77431.html


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 7:48 am 
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New breast cancer drug shown to prolong life

A DRUG that delivers a powerful poison to tumours without some of the side effects of traditional treatments can delay the worsening of breast cancer and also appears to prolong lives, according to a new study.

Besides representing an advance in treating breast cancer, the success in the clinical trial validates an idea that is being pursued by pharmaceutical companies to treat various types of cancer in a way that delivers drugs to cancerous cells while sparing healthy ones.

''We've envisioned a world where cancer treatment would kill the cancer and not hurt the patient,'' said Kimberly Blackwell, professor of medicine at the Duke Cancer Institute and the lead investigator in the trial. ''And this drug does that.''

The drug, known as T-DM1, was developed by Genentech. The company plans to file for approval later this year. That could mean the drug will reach the market next year.

T-DM1 and similar drugs under development consist of powerful toxins linked to proteins called antibodies. The antibodies latch on to cancer cells and deliver the toxic payload directly into those cells. Since the toxin is not active until it reaches the tumour, side effects are reduced.

Such treatments, known as antibody-drug conjugates, have been pursued for decades, but only now is success being achieved. One such drug, Adcetris, was approved last year to treat two rare types of lymphoma. T-DM1 could be the first approved for a common cancer.

Results of the trial were formally presented yesterday at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago.

The late-stage clinical trial involved 991 women with metastatic breast cancer whose cancer was worsening despite previous treatment with the drug Herceptin and a chemotherapy drug called taxane. Half the women got T-DM1 and the other half received two drugs that are now commonly used for such patients - Tykerb, also known as lapatinib, and Xeloda, also known as capecitabine.

About 84.7 per cent of patients getting T-DM1 were alive after one year, compared with 77 per cent of those in the control group. By another commonly used measure called the hazard ratio, T-DM1 reduced the risk of death by 38 per cent.

http://www.smh.com.au/national/health/n ... z1wlkHXQaI


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 7:01 am 
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'Special K' could relieve depression

A common anaesthetic is providing almost instant relief for depression sufferers in the first Australian clinical trials, scientists say.

Ketamine, which is also found in a recreational drug dubbed 'Special K', prompted improvements in people suffering clinical depression from within hours to a day later, University of NSW researcher Prof Colleen Loo said.

The drug, which is given intravenously to people with moderate to severe clinical depression, has been trialled in a handful of patients as part of the Australian-first study.

Researchers hope to recruit up to 40 patients as part of the ongoing trial, which is comparing people with depression given ketamine with those given a placebo.

Prof Loo said several international studies had produced similar instantaneous results.

Although the drug is approved for medical use in Australia for anaesthesia, sedation, and pain relief, the research is investigating the safety and effectiveness of the drug to treat depression before it can be widely used.

However, the research is still in its very early stages with fewer than 100 patients involved in placebo-controlled trials worldwide, Prof Loo said.

But if studies proved ketamine to be effective it could provide another avenue to treat depression sufferers within years, she said.

Prof Loo, from the university's School of Psychiatry and the Black Dog Institute, said ketamine worked in a completely different way in the brain than other treatments.

''It's like a paradigm shift in the treatment of depression,'' Prof Loo told AAP.

All other anti-depressant medications work on serotonin, noradrenaline and dopamine.

Ketamine works on a different neurotransmitter system, involving the chemical glutamate.

Prof Loo said studies in animals showed ketamine worked by promoting the regrowth and regeneration of brain cells.

''When people are depressed, cells in some parts of the brains ... become unhealthy and shrink,'' she said.

''Ketamine reverses those kinds of changes. It's promoting the growth of new nerve projections and new synapses between nerve cells.''

Participants in the trial are given up to six ketamine treatments intravenously, under strict medical supervision in hospital, a week apart.

The carefully-controlled doses are low - about one-tenth of the level used in anaesthesia. Patients involved have had minimal success with other treatments.

The trial screens applicants in detail for substance abuse problems.

When used in a medically-controlled environment there was minimal risk of addiction, Prof Loo said.

The best way to administer the drug, the optimum dose and the patients who would benefit most were questions that would all need to be answered before the ketamine could be used for depression, she said.

The University of Adelaide and the University of Otago are collaborating on the study.

http://bigpondnews.com/articles/Health/ ... 58339.html


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 5:41 am 
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Ten-year-old girl gets vein grown from her stem cells

A 10-year-old girl has had a major blood vessel in her body replaced with one grown with her own stem cells, Swedish doctors report.

She had poor blood flow between her intestines and liver.

A vein was taken from a dead man, stripped of its own cells and then bathed in stem cells from the girl, according to a study published in the Lancet.

Surgeons said there was a "striking" improvement in her quality of life.

This is the latest in a series of body parts grown, or engineered, to match the tissue of the patient.

Last year, scientists created a synthetic windpipe and then coated it with a patient's stem cells.

Home-grown

A blockage in the major blood vessel linking the intestines and the liver can cause serious health problems including internal bleeding and even death.

In this case, other options such as using artificial grafts to bypass the blockage, had failed.

Doctors at the University of Gothenburg and Shalgrenska University Hospital tried to make a vein out of the patient's own cells.

It used a process known as "decellularisation".

It starts with a donor vein which is then effectively put through a washing machine in which repeated cycles of enzymes and detergents break down and wash away the person's cells.

It leaves behind a scaffold. This is then bathed in stem cells from the 10-year-old's bone marrow. The end product is a vein made from the girl's own cells.

The doctors said: "The new stem-cell derived graft resulted not only in good blood flow rates, but also in strikingly improved quality of life for the patient."

Profs Martin Birchall and George Hamilton, from University College London, said: "The young girl was spared the trauma of having veins harvested from the deep neck or leg with the associated risk of lower limb disorders."

They said this one-off procedure needed "to be converted into full clinical trials... if regenerative medicine solutions are to become widely used".

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-18428889


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2012 6:06 am 
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Magnets that mark cancer

USING magnets to target cancer drug treatment can help reduce serious side effects, Australian scientists have discovered.

The side-effects of chemotherapy occur because the drugs attack healthy cells as well as cancers. But a team from the University of Sydney, working with researchers in Scotland, have discovered a way to insert a tiny iron oxide core inside an anti-cancer drug. They then used magnets to guide the drug to the area where it was needed.

The discovery has been published in the international scientific journal, Inorganica Chimica Acta.

Dr Nial Wheate, from the University of Sydney's faculty of pharmacy, said it could mean fewer side effects for cancer patients. ''Many of the side-effects associated with chemotherapy occur because the drugs spread throughout the body, killing healthy organs as well as cancers," he said.

"This technology could greatly reduce or even eliminate the severe side effects that people associate with chemotherapy such as hair loss, nausea, vomiting, low red blood cells and an increased risk of infection."

When the team placed a magnet under a plate containing cancer cells, the drug destroyed only those cells growing near the magnet, leaving the others unharmed. ''We can potentially direct exactly where in the human body a drug goes,'' Dr Wheate said.

http://www.busseltonmail.com.au/news/na ... 92801.aspx


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 6:35 am 
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Studying cancer evolution 'key to understanding disease'

Future cancer treatments will need to take greater account of the disease's natural tendency to evolve and develop resistance to therapies, according to scientists.

Researchers from the Moffitt Cancer Centre have published an opinion piece in the Nature Reviews Cancer journal suggesting science needs to acknowledge that cancer cells, like any living organism, are subject to Darwinian principles of evolution.

This means that cancer treatments will inevitably create an adaptive landscape in which the therapy-resistant cells survive and prosper, making the emergence of resistance "predictable and inevitable".

As such, the paper suggests that medical science should begin to focus on creating adaptive treatments that take account of the rapid evolution of the disease and counteract it.

Robert Gillies, chair of the department of cancer imaging and metabolism and programme leader of experimental therapeutics at the Moffitt Cancer Centre, said: "Recognising that evolutionary dynamics are an essential component of carcinogenesis itself can lead to development of appropriate therapeutic strategies."

A study carried out by Cancer Research UK last year showed that cancer is the most feared serious illness in Britain, ahead of other life-threatening conditions such as Alzheimer's, stroke and heart disease.

http://www.zenopa.com/news/801391580/St ... g_disease_


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 5:56 am 
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Pulse helps stroke patients

AUSTRALIAN scientists are using magnetic pulses to help Parkinson's disease and stroke sufferers talk again, a Hobart conference has been told.

Director of the Centre for Neurogenic Communication Disorders Research at the University of Queensland, Professor Bruce Murdoch, told a speech pathology conference yesterday a new method of treatment was giving patients the opportunity to talk again.

The technique involves holding a stimulating coil over relevant parts of the skull to pinpoint where to put the magnetic pulse.

"It can activate or deactivate the particular areas of the brain we are interested in, so we can switch areas of the brain on or switch areas off, depending on what the particular needs are."

Prof Murdoch said the trial program needed about $500,000 to help it reach the community.

http://www.themercury.com.au/article/20 ... ories.html


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 7:36 am 
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Epilepsy patients unaware of fracture risk

Few patients with epilepsy are aware that taking anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) puts them at increased risk for falls and fractures, report researchers.

"This study… highlights the need for better education on the risk of fracture, falls, and adverse effects of bone health among persons with epilepsy treated with AEDs," says Alison Pack (Columbia University, New York, USA) in an editorial accompanying the study in Neurology.

The study included 150 epilepsy patients who were using AEDs, and just 30% of these knew that AED use is associated with increased risk for falls, fractures, decreased bone mineral density (BMD), and a negative effect on bone metabolism. Just 23% knew that most fractures in epilepsy patients are not related to seizures.

This was "despite our study population attending specialist epilepsy clinics at a center with a research interest in this area," comment John Wark (University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) and colleagues.

However, 70% of the patients said they wanted to know more about the impact of AEDs on bone health. This suggests that "more effective education strategies are not only warranted, but may also be well-received," says the team.

The findings also serve to confirm the increased fracture risk in patients taking AEDs, which occurred in 31 of the AED users in the current study. They were aged a median of 30 years and had been taking AEDs for nearly 20 years.

Compared with 506 age- and gender-matched patients without epilepsy, AED users were 4.62-fold more likely to have osteoporosis, and the likelihood for a previous fracture was increased 3.92-fold for spinal fractures, 3.75-fold for clavicle fractures, and 2.34-fold for ankle fractures.

The researchers calculate that each additional year of AED use raised patients' fracture risk by 4% for all fractures and 6% for fractures related to seizures, after accounting for other variables including age. But they note that 69% of fractures were not a direct consequence of a seizure.

In her editorial, Pack says: "Additional well-designed controlled studies are needed to better understand the effect of epilepsy and AED therapy on osteoporosis and fall and fracture risk. Future studies should determine the differential effect of specific AEDs, particularly given the availability of multiple AED agents."

http://www.news-medical.net/news/201206 ... -risk.aspx


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 5:30 am 
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Stark choices in the shadow of illness

REBECCA and Shannon Carey know the pain of breast cancer. The disease stole both of their mothers in their 30s and 50s, casting a shadow over their lives.

With such strong family histories of the illness, the couple decided to get tested for gene mutations to see if they, too, were likely to get the cancer. Shannon tested positive for the BRCA 1 gene fault, but Rebecca was clear. Shannon's positive result created a dilemma for the couple who feared the 50 per cent chance of passing it on to their offspring, so they decided to pay more than $10,000 for new IVF technology to screen embryos for the gene and select those without it.

In a decision that has transformed their future, the pair used the technology called preimplantation genetic diagnosis to have Emily, 2, who is free of the gene, and are now a week away from having their second baby who is also clear.

''We feel like we've got two miracle babies,'' said Mrs Carey, 36, whose mother died at 36. ''We didn't want our kids to go through what we've been through … I couldn't imagine what it would be like if Emily was diagnosed with breast cancer in 30 or 40 years' time when we knew there was a risk.''

The couple decided to tell their story after The Age revealed about 10 couples had used the technology at Melbourne IVF clinics to screen out BRCA 1 and 2 genes so their children would be spared the increased cancer risk that comes with them.

It came amid calls for the technology to be subsidised by the government for people with the genes who, depending on their sex, have up to an 80 per cent chance of getting breast cancer in their lifetime. Women with the genes are also at increased risk of getting ovarian cancer.

Chief executive of Breast Cancer Network Australia and breast cancer survivor Maxine Morand welcomed the technology, but said it was prohibitively expensive at a cost of at least $9000.

''BCNA would encourage the government to look into subsidising preimplantation genetic diagnosis for families carrying BRCA 1 and 2 mutations, as the financial and emotional costs incurred may be far outweighed by the benefit of ensuring future generations of these families are no longer devastated by breast cancer,'' she said.

The call for funding was also backed by people who had grappled with breast cancer and the fear that comes with carrying faulty genes.

Yarraville mother Sarah Powell and her husband Shane Powell were forced to make difficult decisions when she discovered she had the BRCA 1 gene mutation six months after having her first baby, Mikayla.

Wanting a second child prompted them to explore the IVF technology called preimplantation genetic diagnosis to see if they should try for an embryo without the gene, but they were uncomfortable with the idea, given Mikayla had already been born without the benefit of the genetic knowledge.

''She might have been one of the ones [embryos] we chose not to have. Thinking that I might not have had a child because of that doesn't sit right with me now,'' Mrs Powell said.

However, six months pregnant now with her second baby who is known to be a boy, Mrs Powell said things might have been different if she knew of her BRCA 1 gene mutation before she started having a family.

''I'm not against it. I understand why people would do it. The thought of my daughter going through any of the stuff I've been through is terrible. I really hope that by the time she's 18 [when she can get a genetic test], there will be better options for her if she has the mutation,'' said Mrs Powell, 35, who was treated for breast cancer six years ago and has had a double mastectomy to reduce her chance of it recurring.

While some ethicists object to preimplantation genetic diagnosis, saying it causes discrimination against embryos and could lead to more ''designer babies'' based on other genetic characteristics, Mrs Powell and Mrs Carey said it was hard to judge the fear and pain that comes with a family history of breast cancer without experiencing it.

''I go through phases even six years down the track [from having cancer] where I freak out about getting cancer again,'' Mrs Powell said.

''I have a friend who was meant to celebrate 10 years cancer free this July and she's been diagnosed with secondary cancer, so when things like that happen it puts me back at square one. It's so unfair,'' she said.

http://www.theage.com.au/national/healt ... z1zabxyQ8L


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 6:00 am 
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Stilnox ban for Olympics but company calls it safe

THE drug company selling the controversial sleeping tablet Stilnox maintains the pills are safe and has government support to continue selling them.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has determined "used properly this is a medicine of value to some patients, particularly with severe insomnia, and should not be taken off the market".

But the government's drug watchdog conceded, "we would not know" how many Australians routinely take Stilnox, a medication linked to suicide and is widely-known to cause severe hallucinations.

The Sunday Telegraph exclusively revealed last weekend that Olympic swimmer Grant Hackett used Stilnox during his sports career and developed a "heavy reliance".

Within 24 hours of this newspaper breaking the Hackett story, Australian Olympic Committee boss John Coates moved to ban the drug from being used by athletes at the upcoming London Games.

There were also calls for Stilnox to be banned by the International Olympic Committee. Mr Coates said it was prudent for action to be taken to protect the well-being of elite athletes.

Hackett described Stilnox as "evil" and "scary".

Despite the drug now being off-limits for Olympic competitors, the TGA said the wider Australian public should be allowed to access Stilnox.

"There is no specific new safety signal of concern to the TGA that would require the TGA to take any further action at this time," said spin doctor Kay McNiece.

But the TGA is well aware of the dangers associated with Stilnox and issued a warning to the medical profession last month in its Medicines Safety Update. It said Stilnox "may be associated with potentially dangerous complex sleep-related behaviours which may include sleep walking, sleep driving and other bizarre behaviours". The warning said Zolpidem, of which Stilnox is one brand name, is not to be taken with alcohol.

But there is no warning about taking Stilnox in conjunction with caffeine or energy drinks, something Mr Coates conceded has been happening among athletes.

Because Stilnox is not funded through Medicare the TGA did not know how many tablets were issued each year, or the number of patients using the product. What is known is that 532,049 patients used a variety of subsidised hypnotics and sedatives between 2010 and 2011.

Sanofi, the pharmaceutical company which markets Stilnox in Australia and New Zealand, would not reveal what quantity of the drug it had sold in recent years, but the company's medical director, Alex Condoleon, confirmed a "downward trend" had emerged with sales.

He said the drug was safe to use so long as it was for short-term management of insomnia.

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/nation ... 6419760874


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 5:22 am 
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New blood cancer treatment to be tested

A NEW therapy for blood cancer patients that kills rogue cells while sparing normal ones is soon to be trialled following a landmark discovery by Melbourne scientists.

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre specialists found that cancer cells could be selectively killed by blocking the production of ribosomes, which are essential to the growth and survival of the cells.

"What is really quite remarkable and was quite unexpected was that normal cells are not so dependent on this formation of the ribosomes," said the co-head of Peter Mac's Cancer Therapeutics Program, Grant McArthur.

"This is an exciting new concept to what is really a bit of a 'Holy Grail' in cancer treatments," Prof McArthur told AAP.

This means the treatment would be hard on the cancer but softer on the patient, he said.

"We're always trying to come up with new cancer drugs that will kill the cancer and leave the normal cells in the body relatively unaffected or only with minimal side-effects," Prof McArthur said.

There is a big push on to come up with new treatments that meet those criteria so we're hopeful that this might be an example of that."

Prof McArthur and Associate Professor Ross Hannan worked with Californian biotechnology company Cylene Pharmaceuticals to develop a treatment that would block the cellular process.

The drug, CX-5461, is given intravenously like chemotherapy.

But, unlike chemotherapy which damages cell DNA, the new treatment specifically targets part of the cell called the nucleolus to interrupt the production of ribosomes.

The first human trials of the therapy are scheduled at Peter Mac this year involving about 40 patients, Prof McArthur said.

Patients with blood cancers like leukaemia and lymphoma are to participate in the trial, after earlier laboratory tests showed the treatment was most successful at attacking those cancers.

However, further investigations are under way to test the therapy on other cancers.

The upcoming trial's principal investigator, Simon Harrison, said the first trials would test the safety of the therapy.

"To offer this new trial to Victorians with incurable cancer of the blood system is fantastic, and knowing it has the potential to one day help patients across the globe is an incredibly exciting development," Dr Harrison said.

Assoc Prof Hannan, who has spent most of his career investigating ribosomes in cancer cells said that the therapy, if tested successfully, could potentially save lives.

The research was published this week in the journal Cancer Cell.

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/techno ... 6422129538


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 5:49 am 
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Doctors dead on their feet 'a danger'

MORE than half of Australian doctors are continuing to work unsafe hours that leave them so tired they could pose a potential danger to their patients, a national survey has found.

Even though working longer than 17 hours straight is known to cause the same impairment as having a blood alcohol level above the legal driving limit, the survey found the work patterns of 53 per cent of hospital doctors would be classified as high risk or significant risk.

Although this represented an overall improvement on the previous survey in 2006, when 62 per cent of doctors were found to be working risky hours, the survey highlighted continuing problems among the hardest-working doctors, with some measures getting worse instead of better.

The survey, conducted by the Australian Medical Association over seven days last August, found the longest recorded shift was 43 hours -- up from 39 hours in 2006 -- while the maximum number of total hours worked across the week increased from 113 hours in 2006 to 120 last year.

There was also a high rate of doctors working more than the standard five working days, with 21 per cent having no free days during the seven-day audit.

AMA vice-president Geoffrey Dobb said if the same levels of impairment caused by the long hours had in fact been caused by alcohol consumption, "hospital policies would prevent these doctors from working".

"We need urgent action from governments and administrators to create and maintain safer working environments for doctors," Dr Dobb said.

Trainee obstetrician Will Milford, chairman of the AMA's Council of Doctors-in-Training, said he had "lost count of the number of times I have been told by colleagues that they have been on their way home after a night shift and have fallen asleep at traffic lights at the wheel of their car".

NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner said while the AMA's audit was national, NSW Health was "committed to providing a safe and appropriate working environment for all staff".

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/na ... 6425746544


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 5:29 am 
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Video games used to aid stroke victims

VIDEO games are proving a handy tool to restore strength and dexterity in stroke victims.

Penelope McNulty, of Neuroscience Research Australia, heads a team that has developed a new stroke rehabilitation method called Wii-based Movement Therapy.

In an intensive two-week training program patients play games using the Nintendo Wii console to strengthen the muscles and nerves in stroke-affected arms and hands.

The patients play sports games requiring arm movements and also need to shift weight between their legs and move occasionally, so other muscles also benefit.

Dr McNulty is excited about Wii therapy, because most patients find it hard to stay motivated with other rehabilitation methods.

''The Wii is inexpensive, easy to use and, very importantly, fun. This type of rehabilitation motivates participants to actually complete their therapy, which is essential for maximum recovery,'' she said.

http://www.smh.com.au/national/video-ga ... 22d67.html


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