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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 8:45 am 
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Christ will help with my radiation therapy: Chavez

CARACAS - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said in a video aired Tuesday that he believes Jesus Christ will ensure the radiation therapy he is receiving for cancer in Havana makes him healed and whole.

"It's like a pact with Christ, who didn't die, he rose again. He certainly will intervene to make this treatment I am rigorously following a supreme success... and so I can continue redoubling my effort looking toward the future," Chavez said in a nearly 15-minute recording that was broadcast on all Venezuelan television and radio networks.

Chavez was diagnosed with cancer last June.

Dressed in casual athletic wear, the video shows Chavez in a garden playing a traditional Venezuelan ball game with his brother, Adan Chavez, Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro and Minister of Science and Technology Jorge Arreaza.

Monday night, the Venezuelan government released photos of the political officials together after Chavez spoke by telephone with state television channel VTV.

It was Chavez's first interview with the state media after nine days in Havana. He said he planned to return to Venezuela on Thursday.

In the video, Chavez said he forgave people who spread rumors claiming that his health was deteriorating.

He also said he had "great faith" in the treatment he is receiving in Cuba.

He received his second cancer surgery February 26 after a recurrence in the same area of his pelvis where it was first detected in June 2011.

"For those who feed rumors and have bad intentions toward me, I forgive them, but I have great faith in this hard work we are doing against the disease that ambushed me last year and I have great faith in Christ... to continue living more and more each day," Chavez said as he held a crucifix.

Chavez also said he was "very, very happy" with the treatment he is following, although he acknowledged Monday that it is "hard."

Elsewhere in the video, Chavez talks to his daughter, Rosa, and one of his grandchildren, while announcing that he will meet with Foreign Minister Maduro to discuss a labor bill and other issues.

Until Tuesday, Chavez had communicated only through his Twitter account, which he used to follow government actions and to make announcements.

On Sunday, Chavez's silence sparked a wave of rumors about his health in Venezuela and on social networks.

The 57-year-old Chavez, who continues to run for a third six-year term in the October 7 election, never has publicly revealed the kind of cancer he suffers or its exact location on his body.

He is running as a "revolutionary" socialist against center-left opposition candidate Henrique Capriles, governor of the state of Miranda.

http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/global-filip ... apy-chavez


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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 6:37 am 
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Risk from cancer overshadows risk from CT radiation-induced malignancy

Young patients who undergo chest or abdominopelvic CT are more than 35 times more likely to die of their disease than develop a radiation induced cancer, according to an analysis of 23,359 patients, some of whom were scanned more than 15 times.

The analysis conducted at three hospitals in Boston, found that in the chest CT group, 575 out of 8,133 patients were deceased after a mean follow-up of about 4 years. "That compares to the 12 cases of radiation-induced cancer that would be expected in this group based on the BEIR-VII method, a commonly used model for determining CT-induced cancer incidence," said Rob Zondervan, one of the authors of the study.

In the abdomino-pelvic CT group, 1,124 out of 15,226 patients were deceased after a mean follow-up of about 3.5 years. "That compares to 23 cases of predicted cancer incidence," said Mr. Zondervan. "Our results indicate that the risk from underlying disease overshadows risk from CT radiation-induced malignancy, even in young adults," he said.

Records of all patients aged 18-35 who underwent a chest CT or an abdominopelvic CT from 2003-2007 were included in the analysis.

The data was broken down further based on number of CT examinations. Patients who had only one or two scans had the most predicted cases of CT-induced cancer (20 out of the 35 predicted cases). "This seeming anomaly arises from the much greater number of young adults who get one or two scans," said Mr. Zondervan. "These results do emphasize that we need to focus our radiation reduction efforts on patients who are very rarely scanned as well as those who are more frequently scanned," he said.

The analysis will be presented at the ARRS Annual Meeting May 1 in Vancouver, Canada.

http://www.news-medical.net/news/201205 ... nancy.aspx


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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 7:40 am 
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Radiation May Not Be Needed for All Breast Ca

Radiofrequency ablation of the breast tumor excision site could substitute for radiation therapy in selected patients, a phase II study suggested.

Surgery and ablation for 3-cm or smaller, node-negative breast tumors yielded a local recurrence rate of 1.4% over nearly 5 years of follow-up, Misti Wilson, MD, of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, and colleagues found.

Cosmesis was "good" to "excellent" in 90% of these women treated without standard radiation, Wilson reported at a press briefing in conjunction with the American Society of Breast Surgeons meeting in Phoenix.

These results, albeit from an uncontrolled 73-patient study, put the strategy on par with partial breast irradiation, Wilson noted.

It "can replace radiation therapy in certain select patients with small tumors and clinically negative nodes," she concluded.

Peter Beitsch, MD, of the Dallas Breast Center, who presented a separate registry study on accelerated partial breast irradiation at the same briefing showing it equal to whole breast irradiation for local control, agreed that radiofrequency ablation is looking like a competitor.

"That's great," he told reporters. "Whatever we can do to reduce treatment time for women is spectacular."

Partial breast irradiation, or brachytherapy, takes 1 week compared with 7 for standard radiation therapy, he noted.

The radiofrequency ablation technique used in the study allows women to be finished with treatment before they're discharged, explained V. Suzanne Klimberg, MD, principle investigator on the study done at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences where she serves as director of the breast cancer program.

A high proportion of women -- up to 80% -- don't get their prescribed radiation therapy after surgery.

For some, especially in poor, rural areas like Arkansas, the logistics or cost of returning for radiotherapy puts it out of reach, Klimberg noted.

One advantage of radiofrequency ablation in that regard is its much lower cost compared with intraoperative radiation therapy, she added.

"This is a cheap way to do it, cheaper than any other way," Klimberg said at the briefing.

For the 73 women in the study, the surgeon did a lumpectomy; then the radiofrequency ablation probe was placed in the tumor bed and heated to 100° C for 15 minutes to create a 1-cm ablation zone, thereby extending the margins. None had radiation.

Only 4% of the cohort required a second surgery because of grossly positive margins or residual calcifications of postoperative mammography (3 of 73). Among those with close or focally positive margins, 84% were spared re-excision (16 of 19).

After a median follow-up of 55 months, only one of the 73 patients had a local recurrence in the tumor bed.

Three had recurrences elsewhere in the ipsilateral breast, of which one was more than 5 cm from the original tumor site and another was a different type than the initial tumor (mucinous versus invasive ductal carcinoma).

Cosmesis scored in 40 patients according to standard criteria showed an "excellent" outcome in 45%, "good" in another 45%, and "fair" in the other 10%.

Five-year data are likely sufficient to show the impact of treatment, Beitsch said.

"If you look at reductions in recurrence with radiation, essentially all of that reduction is in the first 5 years," he explained. "A 5-year follow-up study is going to be adequate for any breast control technique, be it radiation or ablative technology."

A multicenter phase II study, called ABLATE, is under way with radiofrequency ablation as the sole treatment after surgery for small breast tumors. The strategy would likely not be suitable for larger tumors, according to Wilson.

A randomized phase III trial would be best, but the strategy could catch on without one, if history is any guide, Beitsch suggested, pointing to sentinel node biopsy as an example of a shift based initially on common sense rather than evidence.

http://www.medpagetoday.com/MeetingCove ... ings/32523


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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 7:33 am 
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Wait for radiation on rise as staff move interstate

CANCER patients are waiting up to seven weeks for radiation therapy at Victorian hospitals, and the staff who oversee treatment equipment argue the delay is caused by the Victorian government's refusal to match pay rates in other states.

Radiation oncology medical physicists, who number about 50 in Victoria, are responsible for the safe operation of radiation equipment at cancer treating hospitals.

The medical physicists last week applied to the national workplace umpire to take industrial action over their pay - which is the lowest on the Australian mainland.

A recently qualified medical physicist in Victoria, who has about eight years' training, will be paid $78,000, compared with $107,000 in New South Wales and Canberra.

Frank Gagliardi, a Victorian medical physicist, said his colleagues were going to work in other states because of the much higher pay on offer.

''People are slowly drifting out,'' Mr Gagliardi said.

''Victoria is just not competitive on the international market, or even the national market.''

In Victoria, the public hospitals offering cancer patients radiation treatment are the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, and the Austin, Geelong and Alfred hospitals. All four find it hard to attract and retain staff to install and maintain equipment.

So severe has the shortage of radiation oncology medical physicists become in Victoria that the Austin's new Olivia Newton-John centre - scheduled to open in July - has been employing fly-in fly-out medical physicists from NSW.

The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre's Emma Liepa said the hospital was, as a major employer of medical physicists, ''supportive of any reasonable initiative to improve [their] working conditions''.

She conceded recruiting medical physicists from within Australia could be difficult and that retaining suitably qualified medical physicists in Victoria was ''a continuing challenge''.

Rosemary Kelly of the Medical Scientists Association of Victoria said that Health Minister David Davis was well aware of the problems of hiring and retaining medical physicists.

In a letter to medical physicists in July, the minister said he was aware of the ''acute'' shortages forecast, and was taking measures to better attract people to the profession.

Last night neither Mr Davis nor his spokeswoman responded to questions about delays in radiation treatment in Victoria.

Alec Djoneff, of the Victorian Hospitals Industrial Association, who recently spent eight months in conflict with nurses over their pay, is negotiating with medical physicists on behalf of hospitals.

Mr Djoneff said that it was a ''reality of life'' that Victorian hospitals would not be able to offer any groups bargaining for better pay more than a 2.5 per cent rise unless they could offer productivity savings.

http://www.smh.com.au/national/wait-for ... z1u7xmDKpE


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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 8:00 am 
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Child-sizing radiation doses from medical scans

When your child's doctor orders a CT scan, X-ray or similar test, there are two big questions: Is the scan really needed? And if so, will it deliver a child-sized or adult-sized dose of radiation?

That's the message from the Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday, as it took steps to help protect children from getting unneeded radiation from these increasingly common tests.

The FDA is pushing manufacturers to design new scanners to minimize radiation exposure for the youngest, smallest patients. And it posted advice on the Internet urging parents to speak up when a doctor orders a scan _ to ask if it's the best option or if there's a radiation-free alternative _ and to track how many their child receives.

Too much radiation from medical testing is a growing concern, especially for children, because it may increase the risk of cancer later in life.

Specialists welcomed the FDA's steps.

"We know imaging is extremely valuable, but we can probably do it with less radiation," said Dr. Dorothy Bulas of Children's National Medical Center in Washington, past president of the Society for Pediatric Radiology.

The use of CT scans, which show more detail than standard X-rays but entail far more radiation, and other X-ray based medical imaging has soared in recent years. The tests can be critical to a good diagnosis, and specialists say people who really need one shouldn't avoid it for fear of future risk from radiation.

But research shows too often the scans are unnecessary _ they're given too frequently, for example, or in place of other tests that don't emit radiation. Children are of particular concern because their rapidly growing tissues are more sensitive to radiation. Plus, they have more years ahead of them for radiation-triggered cancers to develop.

One recent study concluded the average child will receive more than seven radiation-emitting scans by age 18.

And while pediatric hospitals routinely adjust scanner doses for youngsters' smaller sizes, 90 percent of child imaging is performed in general hospitals _ and the FDA said no one knows how many make those adjustments.

The goal of Wednesday's guidelines: "Regardless if my child is imaged at a pediatric hospital or a local community hospital, they get the same basic care," FDA biomedical engineer Jana Delfino told The Associated Press. "Everybody should be able to do it."

Under the FDA's proposal, new medical imaging devices would come with dose settings and instructions for children of different ages and sizes _ or be labeled not for pediatric use. While the guidelines wouldn't require changes to existing scanners, those eventually would be upgraded and fall under the same standards. The guidelines are open for public comment for four months before the agency will finalize them.

A voluntary campaign called Image Gently, run by the Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging, over the past few years has helped teach health providers how to program existing scanners to give child-size radiation doses, plus other steps such as shielding vulnerable organs from the beam.

But Dr. Marilyn Goske of Cincinnati Children's Hospital, who chairs the alliance, said FDA's move "puts the spotlight on children."

Doctors don't keep track of how much radiation their patients receive from testing. They just order a scan, and how much radiation results can vary widely by the age and brand of machine, and the possible diagnosis. An average CT of the head for an adult is equal to about 100 chest X-rays, the FDA says, while a CT of the abdomen brings even more.

Radiologists don't always need the crispest image. Often it's possible to diagnose fine while using a fraction of the typical radiation dose, said Dr. Marta Hernanz-Schulman of Vanderbilt University, who chairs the American College of Radiology's pediatric imaging commission.

While there's no generally accepted safe lifetime radiation dose for children, Schulman tells parents to keep a list of their child's medical scans _ and pull it out every time a doctor considers ordering another one. That's especially helpful for children with chronic diseases who truly need more medical scans than the average youngster.

Consider 4-year-old Sarhea (Sa-RAY-ah) Kaupp of Cincinnati, who has cystic fibrosis and serious intestinal complications. By her mother's count, she's had more than 100 X-rays, three CT scans and multiple fluoroscopies, like an X-ray movie.

"The risk of radiation in our experience, it has to happen. It's the lesser of two evils," says her mother, Sarah Kaupp. But she lists all her daughter's latest scans at every doctor visit to avoid any unnecessary repeats.

And now she only gets them at a pediatric hospital, after X-rays from a stand-alone facility had to be repeated twice because the technicians aimed wrong and took blurry shots. Until then, "I thought an X-ray was an X-ray," Kaupp said.

For parents, the FDA recommended:

_Keep a list of your child's medical scans. At the least, it helps guard against unneeded repeats.

_Ask the doctor who orders a scan how it will improve the child's care and whether there are alternatives, such as MRI or ultrasound, that don't use radiation.

_Ask the imaging facility whether it uses reduced radiation techniques for children.

The FDA also is urging doctors to consider how many scans the child already has had and the possibility of alternatives before ordering another test.

"It's something you need to use conscientiously," Schulman said of the scans. "Any radiation you don't need is radiation you shouldn't get."

http://www.maysville-online.com/lifesty ... z1uVSyIU8S


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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 7:44 am 
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Cost Of Cancer Pills Can Be Hard For Medicare Patients To Swallow

If you've got cancer, chances are you'd rather take a pill to fight the cancer cells than sit for hours hooked up to an IV line as the chemotherapy drips slowly into you.

The difficulty is, many of the new cancer pills, which often target cancer cells for destruction but leave healthy cells intact, are pricey, costing tens of thousands of dollars for a course of treatment. And how some insurers pay for treatments means that pills can wind up costing a patient more than chemotherapy given by IV.

Nineteen states and the District of Columbia now require private health plans to cover cancer-fighting pills, if they're available, to the same degree and without charging patients more than they would for traditional intravenous infusion therapy, according to the National Patient Advocate Foundation.

So, for example, a health plan that has a $1,500 limit on out-of-pocket spending for outpatient services like IV chemotherapy can't charge more than that annually for their treatment pills.

But Medicare beneficiaries don't benefit from these laws.

They're tied to whatever coverage they have through their Medicare prescription drug plan, which may or may not provide affordable coverage for their anti-cancer pills, if they're covered at all.

High drug costs are a problem for all patients, but those on fixed incomes can be hit especially hard.

One study by researchers at Avalere Health found that about 46 percent of Medicare beneficiaries faced more than $500 in cost sharing for their initial anti-cancer drug prescription. Sixteen percent of Medicare beneficiaries didn't fill their initial prescriptions for anti-cancer pills, compared with 9 percent of patients with private insurance.

Under the Medicare Part D drug benefit, beneficiaries are responsible for paying 100 percent of their prescription drug costs from the time they reach $2,930 in total drug spending until they hit the $4,700 maximum out-of-pocket limit for the year. Once they're through that so-called doughnut hole in coverage, they're usually responsible for 5 percent of their drug costs.

A new lung cancer drug might cost $10,000 a month. "It's a real problem for people on Social Security who don't have any other income," says Len Lichtenfeld, deputy medical director for the American Cancer Society.

http://www.tristatesradio.com/post/cost ... ts-swallow


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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 10:32 am 
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A ray of hope for cancer fight - Tireless work brings 'exciting' new heat therapy to Australia

SHE lost her husband to cancer - and is doing her best to ensure others don't suffer the same fate.

Jenny Barlow has been campaigning for six years to bring equipment for a new treatment option to Australia for the first time.

Well established in Europe, hyperthermia-oncothermia works in conjunction with radiotherapy and chemotherapy to heat the body and target cancer cells, destroying or weakening them.

And now Mrs Barlow's tireless efforts have paid off, with the Therapeutic Goods Administration processing the European approval for the equipment, which is essentially a treatment bed with in-built oncothermia technology.

Mrs Barlow, whose husband Ross died after being diagnosed with multiple myeloma, raised funds to have it shipped to Australia by next month and hopes to begin treatments within three to four months.

She formed the Radiowave Barlow Trust and its fundraising event - The Rays of Hope Gold Medal Ball - will be taking place on Friday night at the Le Montage function centre in Leichhardt to raise money so cancer patients can use the new treatment.

"We are hoping to partially fund 50 patients. Some are prepared to pay themselves but not everybody can do that," Mrs Barlow said.

"We're hoping the more money we raise, the more patients we treat and we'll get closer to being Medicare approved."

Professor Michael Jackson, head of radiation oncology at Prince of Wales Hospital, described the technology as an "exciting new option for cancer patients".

"If we can prove the value of the treatment and provide it in Australia, it will reduce the need to travel overseas," Professor Jackson said.

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/techno ... 6361625217


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PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2012 8:05 am 
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Wait just a wee bit longer

BREAST, gynaecological and prostate cancers are the biggest cancer threats treated at Bundaberg Hospital, according to figures released on the Federal Government's MyHospitals website.

The website shows that in the 2010-2011 financial year, 44 surgeries on breast cancer were performed, 38 surgeries on gynaecological cancer and 29 on prostate cancer.

But, it was prostate cancer and bladder cancer which had the longest waiting time.

Prostate cancer had a median wait time of 52 days and bladder cancer 59 days.

This compares to a median wait time of 20 days or less for all other types of cancer surgery at the hospital.

Bundaberg Hospital director of medical service Michael Hills said the hospital relied on visiting medical officers to provide surgery of bladder and prostate cancer.

"Unfortunately given that there is an international shortage of urologists, there are not enough of these highly trained specialists working in public hospitals outside of our capital cities. Bundaberg is no different to any other regional area in this regard," he said.

"Despite this, the latest urology figures show that 93% of patients are waiting within the clinically recommended timeframe."

Dr Hills said the hospital was looking at options to improve treatment times for urology patients.

He said it was also important to note the data on the MyHospitals website was almost 12 months old.

"In fact the latest publicly released hospital performance data for April this year shows that Bundaberg Hospital is currently performing better than or within range of some of the best hospitals across Australia for elective surgery," Dr Hills said.

http://www.news-mail.com.au/story/2012/ ... it-longer/


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 2:13 pm 
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Radiation oncology researchers revise glioblastoma classification system

Radiation oncology researchers have revised the system used by doctors since the 1990s to determine the prognosis of people with glioblastoma, which is the most devastating of malignant brain tumors.

The outdated system was devised for glioblastoma and related brain tumors that were treated by radiation therapy only, and it relied on clinical signs and symptoms. It divided patients into six prognostic groups. The new system accommodates advances in treatment - particularly the use of radiation therapy plus the chemotherapy drug temozolomide - and it incorporates molecular biomarkers as well as clinical variables.

"The new model is more relevant and contemporary and should do a better job of identifying patients that require the most aggressive therapy," says the study's chair for Translational Research Dr. Arnab Chakravarti, professor of Radiation Oncology and co-director of the brain tumor program at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Comprehensive Cancer Center and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC - James).

Chakravarti will present the findings at the 2012 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago.

To devise the new system, Chakravarti and his colleagues compared tumor and healthy tissue from 162 glioblastoma patients who were treated under the Radiation Oncology Group clinical trial 0525 (RTOG 0525). The investigators profiled protein, messenger RNA and epigenetic changes in patients' tumor cells looking for alterations in key signaling molecules.

They showed that high expression of the proteins called pAKT, c-met, and MGMT was associated with poor prognosis, while methylation of the MGMT gene, which codes for a DNA repair protein, was associated with a better prognosis.

"We hope to begin further studies to validate out classification system soon," Chakravarti says.

Source: Ohio State University Medical Center

http://www.news-medical.net/news/201205 ... ystem.aspx


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 6:49 am 
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Canadian hospital uses iPads to soothe young cancer patients

THE iPad not only entertains kids, it calms sick ones, too.

The tablet is letting young cancer patients in Canada go without sedatives while undergoing radiation treatments by occupying them with movies and TV shows, according to a Canadian newspaper.

Until the experiment at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary started, little ones younger than seven had to be sedated so they would stay still - a requirement of the treatments, which can last up to 30 minutes each.

Now, with a tablet attached to the couch where they get their treatments, five out of eight kids between the ages of four and seven do not need any medication to keep them from squirming.

"The children now enter the treatment room without fear to eagerly select their movie," radiation therapist Amanda Jacques told the Calgary Herald.

For radiation therapy manager Mona Udowicz, the iPad is letting the kids lead more normal lives.

"Eliminating sedation means these children can eat, go to school and generally be more active," Udowicz said.

Seven-year-old Jordan Feradi watches the iPad during his radiation treatments for brain-stem cancer.

"[The iPad] completely takes their mind off it and he was able to lay there and stay still," said Shawna Feradi, Jordan's mom.

Feradi has seen the tablet dramatically reduce the amount of time she and Jordan have to spend at the hospital.

"With sedation, you have to be there very early in the morning and that means I wouldn't be able to take my other son to school," she said. "Jordan doesn't mind going so much because you are in there for a shorter period of time."

And every minute counts for Jordan.

"There is no cure" Feradi said of Jordan's illness, "but the radiation has helped keep him with us longer."

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/lifest ... 6391018753


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2012 7:00 am 
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Cancer's next magic bullet may be magic shotgun

A new approach to drug design, pioneered by a group of researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and Mt. Sinai, New York, promises to help identify future drugs to fight cancer and other diseases that will be more effective and have fewer side effects.

Rather than seeking to find magic bullets—chemicals that specifically attack one gene or protein involved in one particular part of a disease process—the new approach looks to find "magic shotguns" by sifting through the known universe of chemicals to find the few special molecules that broadly disrupt the whole diseases process.

"We've always been looking for magic bullets," said Kevan Shokat, PhD, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and the Chair of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology at UCSF. "This is a magic shotgun—it doesn't inhibit one target but a set of targets—and that gives us a much, much better ability to stop the cancer without causing as many side effects."

Described in the June 7, 2012 issue of the journal Nature, the magic shotgun approach has already yielded two potential drugs, called AD80 and AD81, which in fruit flies were more effective and less toxic than the drug vandetanib, which was approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration last year for the treatment of a certain type of thyroid cancer.

Expanding the Targets to Lower a Drug's Toxicity

Drug design is basically all about disruption. In any disease, there are numerous molecular interactions and other processes that take place within specific tissues, and in the broadest sense, most drugs are simply chemicals that interfere with the proteins and genes involved in those processes. The better a drug disrupts key parts of a disease process, the more effective it is.

The toxicity of a drug, on the other hand, refers to how it also disrupts other parts of the body's system. Drugs always fall short of perfection in this sense, and all pharmaceuticals have some level of toxicity due to unwanted interactions the drugs have with other molecules in the body.

Scientists use something called the therapeutic index (the ratio of effective dose to toxic dose) as a way of defining how severe the side effects of a given drug would be. Many of the safest drugs on the market have therapeutic indexes that are 20 or higher—meaning that you would have to take 20 times the prescribed dose to suffer severe side effects.

Many cancer drugs, on the other hand, have a therapeutic index of 1. In other words, the amount of the drug you need to take to treat the cancer is the exact amount that causes severe side effects. The problem, said Shokat, comes down to the fact that cancer drug targets are so similar to normal human proteins that the drugs have widespread effects felt far outside the tumor.

While suffering the side effects of drugs is a reality that many people with cancer bravely face, finding ways of minimizing this toxicity is a big goal pharmaceutical companies would like to solve. Shokat and his colleagues believe the shotgun approach is one way to do this.

The dogma that the best drugs are the most selective could be wrong, he said, and for cancer a magic shotgun may be more effective than a magic bullet.

Looking at fruit flies, they found a way to screen compounds to find the few that best disrupt an entire network of interacting genes and proteins. Rather than judging a compound according to how well it inhibits a specific target, they judged as best the compounds that inhibited not only that specific target but disrupted other parts of the network while not interacting with other genes and proteins that would cause toxic side effects.

http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-06-c ... otgun.html


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 7:42 am 
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Shorter regimen of radiotherapy safe for noninvasive breast cancer patients

Accelerated whole breast irradiation after lumpectomy is an effective treatment for ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), a very common early stage and noninvasive form of breast cancer, meaning many more breast cancer patients could see their treatment times reduced by half, according to a study in the June issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology-Biology-Physics, the official scientific journal of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO).

The widespread use of mammography beginning in the early 1980s has led to a dramatic increase in the number of DCIS instances detected, making this one of the most common forms of breast cancer. Multiple studies have proven that lumpectomy plus radiation significantly reduces the risk of recurrence in both noninvasive and invasive breast cancers and for DCIS, the current standard of treatment is lumpectomy followed by five to six weeks of whole breast radiation.

However, for invasive cancers, the use of an accelerated form of radiation that increases the strength of the dose per treatment and uses fewer treatment sessions overall has been well-established as effective, providing patients with a shorter treatment time with similar positive results. The effectiveness of an accelerated treatment time has not been established for DCIS.

Researchers in the study followed 145 DCIS patients who were treated with lumpectomy and accelerated whole breast irradiation or lumpectomy with accelerated whole breast irradiation plus an additional daily boost. At five years post-treatment, only 4.1 percent of patients experienced a recurrence, which is comparable to the five to 10 percent recurrence rate demonstrated in randomized trials for patients receiving standard radiation.

"The results of our study suggest that DCIS patients can be safely treated with a shorter regimen of radiotherapy," Silvia Formenti, MD, senior author of the study and a radiation oncologist at New York University School of Medicine, said. "This is good news for many breast cancer patients who would prefer to receive their treatments in a shorter period of time, but also want the peace of mind that they are receiving the most effective treatment available."

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


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 5:57 am 
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Toxic health dumping scandal

The dangerous disposal of hazardous substances including liquid uranium and contaminated objects, the dumping of the confidential records of patients and the mishandling of asbestos have exposed a culture of mismanagement in Sydney hospitals.

A former NSW health contractor turned whistleblower is alleging that a lack of proper procedures and controls has led to breaches of state regulations at Royal North Shore Hospital, and serious compliance issues in several other hospitals.

Phil Clare, whose company In The Shed Asset Management was contracted with local health area services to manage surplus assets, said he has tried for years to expose the practices in some hospitals.

He filed a complaint with the NSW Ombudsman's office earlier this year about the mishandling of asbestos at Royal North Shore and now demolished buildings at Manly Hospital.

He claims that alerting the authorities to the information, as well as details of corrupt asset stripping of Health Department property, led to all his contracts with the department being cancelled. He is in dispute with NSW Health about the payment of outstanding bills.

''The management issues I uncovered are pandemic and they are continuing today,'' Mr Clare said.

''I saw numerous cases of improperly managed assets, equipment, records and asbestos as well as the theft of public property and corrupt conduct, but I eventually ran up against politics and favouritism.''

Mr Clare has alleged that during his five-year contract between 2006 and October 2010, his workers discovered a raft of problems, including:

Radioactive materials and liquid uranium that had been abandoned in a former research laboratory. Mr Clare said two workers were told by senior hospital staff to wash it down the sink;

Private patient records dumped in non-secure areas of Royal North Shore Hospital;

Hazardous chemicals, human tissue samples and contaminated sharps scattered around;

Piles of asbestos next to a rusted airconditioning unit on the 12th floor at Royal North Shore Hospital;

http://www.hardenexpress.com.au/news/na ... 16775.aspx


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 6:26 am 
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Radiologist diagnosed shunt blockage in 20 minutes: Inquest

A radiologist who examined the CT scan of a Perth teen the day after his death said he immediately identified a shunt blockage, a court has heard.

Today, Fremantle Hospital consultant radiologist Dr Brad Wood, gave evidence at a coronial inquest into the disabled teen's death.

Vaughn, who was unable to speak, died in the intensive care unit of Princess Margaret Hospital as a result of severe brain swelling, which was initially diagnosed as gastroenteritis at Fremantle Hospital on November 12. The pain would have been agonising.

Despite the insistence of his parents, 15-year-old Vaughn's cranial shunt was blocked and causing a build-up of fluid and their repeated requests a CT scan be conducted, no scan was carried out until 11.51pm on November 16.

By that stage, Vaughn had 35 centimetres of fluid around his brain - the normal range was zero to 10 centimetres - and after emergency surgery he was declared brain dead.

His parents then had to make the heartbreaking decision to turn off Vaughn's life support, and are now searching for answers as to why their son died.

Dr Wood did not examine Vaughn, who had died before he viewed the CT scan. Nor was he told Vaughn had died, assuming the blockage had been identified and treated.

He said Vaughn's brain scan would have been "difficult to assess" to an untrained eye, but it was a diagnosis he had reached within 20 minutes.

The inquest also heard expert evidence from Professor Bryant Stokes, one of Western Australia's foremost authorities on neurosurgery.

He told the court it would have been difficult for an intern or registered medical officer to diagnose Vaughn's shunt blockage, but said it should have been diagnosed by more experienced clinicians.

He said the notes made on Vaughn's file at PMH were inadequate and did not include notation regarding shunt issues.

Yesterday, Dr Jarrad Cross, a PMH registrar, told the court he "did not consider shunt blockage as likely" after examining Vaughn and his CT scan on November 15.

He said a test on the shunt's valve – a test described as "unreliable" by experts – showed the shunt was working.

However, Dr Cross conceded he "forgot" to tell his consultant Vaughn had a shunt when discussing his case, stating it was "a pity".

Earlier in the week, consultant paediatrician at Princess Margaret Hospital Dr Helen Mead told the inquest Vaughn "appeared to be having intermittent to sub-acute shunt problems" when he presented at PMH on November 15 and that a CT scan was to be conducted the next day.

However, Dr Mead, who was the most senior doctor in the emergency ward, never examined Vaughn or spoke to his parents about the planned scan.

She said in "hindsight" she wished she'd spoken directly to the Rasmussens but that it was a "busy night" and she wanted to go home.

She admitted she had not taken notes about Vaughn's case and that her statement was not prepared until more than two years after his death.

To create the statement, Dr Mead said, she used his file notes and recall.

The inquest, which was supposed to finish today, is expected to resume on August 8 after one of the doctors involved in Vaughn's treatment thought to be missing resurfaced.

Upon the completion of the inquest, Coroner Dominic Mulligan will produce finding and recommendations.

http://www.smh.com.au/wa-news/radiologi ... 220xc.html


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 5:23 am 
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Japan nuclear fallout may cause 1300 cancer deaths

RADIATION from Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant may cause as many as 1300 cancer deaths globally, according to a study that showed fallout from the Tokyo Electric Power Company's crippled reactors may be deadlier than predicted.

The March 2011 nuclear disaster may cause as many as 2500 cases of cancer, mostly in Japan, Stanford University scientists said.

They incorporated emission estimates into three-dimensional global atmospheric modelling to predict the effects of radiation exposure, which was detected as far away as the US and Europe.

Cancer cases may have been at least 10 times greater if the radiation had not mostly fallen in the sea, said Mark Jacobson, co-author of the first detailed analysis of the event's global health effects. Identical emissions from a hypothetical accident at California's Diablo Canyon Power Plant would be 25 per cent deadlier because of differing weather patterns, according to the study published in the journal Energy & Environmental Science. ''There was a lot of luck involved,'' said Professor Jacobson. ''The only reason this wasn't a lot worse was because 81 per cent of all the emissions were deposited over the ocean.''

The failure of back-up power at the Fukushima No. 1 plant, 220 kilometres north of Tokyo, caused the worst atomic accident since Chernobyl in 1986.

Prolonged exposure to radiation in the air, ground and food can damage DNA, causing leukaemia and other cancers.

The most likely number of cancer deaths is 130 and estimated to range from 15 to 1300, the authors said, adding that the ranges reflect uncertainties about emissions and the methods the researchers used to calculate their impact.

Those affected by the fallout of radioactive material were overwhelmingly in Japan, according to the researchers' model. It predicted ''extremely small effects'' in mainland Asia and North America.

Radioactive barium, caesium, iodine and tellurium were detected on March 16, 2011, in a radiation plume released by damaged reactors at Fukushima. A partly dispersed cloud passed the Tokyo area the same day, Austria's Meteorological and Geophysics Centre reported.

http://m.smh.com.au/world/japan-nuclear ... 22akp.html


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