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Monthly Archives: October 2013

Some nutrition and diet studies may overstate results

By Shereen Jegtvig

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Doctors, policymakers and everyday people may make decisions or give advice based on the results of published nutrition studies. But a new analysis shows researchers sometimes overstate the results of those reports.

Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham looked at papers published about nutrition and obesity in leading medical and public health journals. They tracked how often authors overreached in the summary of their findings.

“We found that about one of 11 studies have some kind of issue that we identified that was degrading the fidelity of research reporting,” Dr. Nir Menachemi said.

“In the article we call it an overreaching statement. That’s probably the most fair way to characterize these infractions,” Menachemi, who led the analysis, told Reuters Health.

His team’s findings were published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Not much is known about how often findings are distorted by scientists or the media.

Results from so-called observational studies – which can’t prove cause-and-effect – are often used to make potentially inappropriate recommendations without better data, the researchers said. One study showed half of press releases on more rigorous trials also overstated their results.

Menachemi and his colleagues wondered if researchers might be more likely to overstate the results of studies on politically and socially charged topics. They decided to focus on nutrition and obesity reports.

The researchers looked for articles published in eight leading journals in either 2001 or 2011 to examine changes in reporting over time. […]

By |October 31st, 2013|blogs|0 Comments

Scientists Discover Molecule With Important Lung Cancer Role

Massachusetts scientists have uncovered a molecule that plays an important role in the development of lung cancer. They hope that its discovery could result in a way to detect the illness in its early stages and in new methods to treat it.

By using RNA sequencing, a team of researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine studying airway epithelial cells found a molecule known as a microRNA. This model inhibits the growth of lung cancer cells, according to Medical News Today. Findings appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

This type of malignancy is the leading cause of U.S. deaths from cancer, the Mayo Clinic reports. It claims more victims every year than the combined total from prostate, ovarian, breast, and colon cancers. The National Cancer Institute estimates 228,190 new U.S. cases in 2013 and 159,480 deaths. An estimated 373,489 Americans live with this illness.

As a class, microRNAs regulate the activity of certain genes. The Boston scientists determined that a microRNA known as miR-4423 has an important role in how epithelial airway cells develop. In cells from lung-cancer subjects who were smokers, they found decreased levels of miR-4423.

Research showed that this particular microRNA has the capability to boost the development of normal airway cells and to inhibit the growth of lung cancer cells, suggesting that low levels of miR-4423 might contribute to the development of lung cancer. The fact that it occurs at high levels only in the […]

By |October 31st, 2013|blogs|0 Comments

Ariad suspends sales of blood cancer drug, shares sink

By Esha Dey

(Reuters) – Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc will suspend sales of its blood cancer drug Iclusig, barely two weeks after the company stopped an ongoing trial of the drug due to safety concerns.

The company’s shares fell as much as 43 percent to a four-year low on Thursday.

Ariad, on a conference call, said there was a possibility that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration might ask for new trials for the drug that won an accelerated approval last December.

Iclusig was approved to treat two rare blood cancers, a type of chronic myeloid leukemia and a version of acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

An accelerated approval is granted based on promising data from early trials. The process still requires further studies to prove the drug is as effective as initially thought.

But the FDA earlier this month placed a partial hold on Iclusig’s late-stage trial after a number of patients taking the drug experienced blood clots and heart damage. The company later discontinued the trial.

Ariad had $351.9 million in cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities, as of June 30.

Iclusig, which was also being developed for lung cancer, gastrointestinal tumors and thyroid cancer, was expected to generate sales of about $821 million by 2018, according to Thomson Reuters data. Ariad reported net sales of $13.9 million for the drug for the quarter ended June 30.

The decision to suspend Iclusig sales was taken in response to a request by the FDA, Ariad said.

“At this time, FDA cannot identify a […]

By |October 31st, 2013|blogs|0 Comments

The Hallmarks of Cancer 6: Tissue Invasion and Metastasis

The Hallmarks of Cancer are 10 underlying principles shared by all cancers. You can read the first five Hallmarks of Cancer articles here. The Sixth Hallmark of Cancer is defined as “Tissue Invasion and Metastasis.”

A growing tumor will eventually spawn pioneer cells; these move out of the original clump of mutant cells to invade adjacent tissues and then travel to distant sites where they form new colonies. These distant settlements of cancer cells are named metastases and, with the exception of leukemias and some brain tumors, cause the majority of cancer deaths. Metastasis is bad news, with significantly reduced survival rates and prognosis for patients. The ability to metastasize allows cancer cells to find new areas of the body where space and nutrients are not limiting. How do cancer cells do this?

The Extra Cellular Matrix

In biology, a tissue is an aggregation of cells that performs a specific function. Tissues combine to form organs; organs combine to form a body. Our tissues are composed primarily of two types of cells; epithelial and mesenchymal cells. Epithelial cells adhere to one another to form cell layers, which act as barriers to protect our bodies and organs from the environment. In contrast, mesenchymal cells are solitary and capable of migrating. Our tissues are not made up solely of cells. A large proportion of tissue consists of extracellular space, which is filled with a mixture of carbohydrate and protein molecules; this space is known as the Extracellular […]

By |October 31st, 2013|blogs|0 Comments

New two-hormone Roche drug shows promise in diabetes, obesity

By Ben Hirschler

LONDON (Reuters) – An experimental drug that mimics the effects of two naturally occurring hormones appears to work significantly better than existing single-hormone medicines against diabetes and obesity, scientists said on Wednesday.

A team of German and U.S.-based researchers said they are using “mother nature’s toolkit” to seek a breakthrough for treating type 2 diabetes and related obesity which is affecting rapidly growing numbers of people in the West and many developing nations.

The new dual-action molecule, which is being developed by Swiss drugmaker Roche, targets receptors for hormones known as GLP-1 and GIP that play a critical role in regulating the body’s metabolism.

Currently approved injectable drugs such as Novo Nordisk’s Victoza and Byetta from Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca mimic only GLP-1.

By addressing two hormones at once, researchers said the new molecule was more potent and could be administered at lower doses, reducing side effects such as nausea and vomiting that are associated with GLP-1 drugs and can limit their use.

The new drug was assessed in a short clinical study involving 53 obese patients with type 2 diabetes, as well as in laboratory studies on mice, rats and monkeys.

In all these cases the scientists found a synergistic effect from combining the GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) and GIP (glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide).

“We are using mother nature’s toolkit and we’re hoping to find the right combination that will produce a breakthrough,” researcher Matthias Tschoep of the Institute for Diabetes and Obesity at the Helmholtz Zentrum in Munich […]

By |October 30th, 2013|blogs|0 Comments