Mar 23 2011
BOSTON (Reuters) – Gilead Sciences Inc said on Wednesday that its experimental HIV drug elvitegravir met the main goal of a late-stage clinical trial.
The goal was to demonstrate that the drug is as effective after 48 weeks of treatment, dosed once daily, as Isentress, a drug made by Merck & Co which is dosed twice daily in combination with other antiretroviral drugs.
Discontinuation rates caused by adverse events were comparable in both arms of the study, the company said. Gilead plans to submit the data for presentation at a scientific conference later this year.
Elvitegravir is designed to block the ability of the HIV virus to integrate into the genetic material of human cells. Gilead licensed the drug from Japan Tobacco Inc in March 2005. Gilead has exclusive rights to develop and commercialize the drug everywhere except Japan.
Mar 23 2011
After taking a second look at the tree of life, researchers are rethinking the asexuality of amoebas, considered the epitome of chastity. They now have evidence of amoeboid sex lives, suggesting the act didn't evolve, it has always been there.
Amoebas are blob-like creatures about a billion years old — the oldest members of the domain of life called the eukaryotes. This group is fundamentally different in appearance and various other features from the two other domains of life. Amoeba species are spread throughout this tree on every branch, interspersed with familiar lineages like animals and plants. They are known for how they move, slowly extending foot-like portions of their cell membranes.
"It changes how we interpret the evolution of organisms," study researcher Daniel Lahr, of the University of Massachusetts, told LiveScience. "If the last common ancestor of eukaryotes was sexual, then there is in practice no evolution of sex."
By taking a sweeping look at what we know about them by searching through the scientific literature, the researchers say those amoebas are more sexually active than we think.
"When discussing the sex of amoeboid protists, the existing evidence does not evoke chastity but rather Kama Sutra," Lahr writes in the paper, published in the March 23 issue of the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. [Why We Have Sex: 237 Reasons Revealed]
Amoeba sex might have been missed because when grown in the lab, many of them don't show any signs of engaging in sex — they have the ability to reproduce themselves by cloning, or copying themselves, indefinitely. And when they did show signs of sex, researchers may have mistaken it for a rare exception to the no-sex rule.
This is why most researchers believe that ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
TUESDAY, March 22 (HealthDay News) -- Obesity often saddles teenagers with a wide variety of conditions that boost the risk of heart disease, such as inflammation, insulin resistance and signs of trouble in the metabolic system, a small new study suggests.
"The metabolic abnormalities suggest that the process of developing heart disease has already started in these children, making it critical for them to make definitive lifestyle and diet changes," said study senior author Dr. Ashutosh Lal, a pediatric hematologist at the Children's Hospital and Research Center Oakland in California, in a news release provided by the American Heart Association.
The findings were scheduled to be released Tuesday at the American Heart Association scientific sessions, held in Atlanta.
The researchers compared the diets of 33 young obese people (aged 11 to 19 years) to 19 people in the same age group who were of normal weight. The participants' weight category was determined using the body mass index score, which takes into account a person's height and weight.
The researchers also examined blood test results for each of the participants, all of whom received health care at an inner-city clinic in Oakland. Two-thirds the participants in each group were female, and both groups were racially diverse.
The obese teens showed signs of inflammation, insulin resistance (a precursor to diabetes) and oxidative stress (which can lead to blood vessel damage), the investigators found.
"Looking at the numbers you would think these children might feel sick, but they did not," Lal said. "They are apparently feeling well, but there is a lot going on beneath the surface."
The problems could be related to poor diets that are low in fruit and vegetables, fiber and dairy products. The researchers found that teens in ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
The New York State Health Department approved a blood test for colon cancer screening this past week. Administered by Quest Diagnostics, ColoVantage is a blood test which screens patients for the presence of colorectal cancer.
What is ColoVantage?
ColoVantage is a blood test to detect colorectal cancer. The other name of the test is methylated Septin 9. The test requires a venous blood specimen from a patient, with no advance preparation by the patient. Upon laboratory analysis of the blood, circulating methylated DNA is detected from the SPT 9 gene in the presence of cancer cells. Quest Diagnostics reports this test has 70 percent sensitivity and 89 percent specificity for colorectal cancer detection.
Some statistics about colorectal cancer
According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer ranks third as the most common cancer in the U.S. In 2011, there were over 100,000 new cases of colon cancer and almost 40,000 new cases of rectal cancer. Although the death rate for colorectal cancer has been decreasing in the past few years, almost 50,000 deaths will be attributed to colorectal cancer this year in the U.S. alone.
With increasing numbers of people getting screened, colorectal cancers are found earlier and are treated, causing the death rates to drop. Currently in the U.S. there are over a million colorectal cancer survivors.
Who should consider ColoVantage?
It is important to note that ColoVantage is not a replacement for colonoscopy, which is considered the gold standard in colorectal cancer screening for patients over the age of 50. Jay G. Wohlgemuth, M.D., vice president, science and innovation, Quest Diagnostics, stated that "ColoVantage cannot replace colonoscopy, and it has yet to be validated for colon cancer screening." The American Cancer Society reports that only half of the people over ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
TUESDAY, March 22 (HealthDay News) -- The death rate of patients with chronic myeloid leukemia who took Gleevec and were in remission two years after treatment was similar to the death rate in the general population, a new study shows.
Italian researchers collected data on 832 patients who were taking Gleevec (imatinib) for up to eight years and found that 20 patients died during the follow-up period. That death rate of 4.8 percent, however, is similar to what would be expected in the general population.
Only six deaths were related to chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), the researchers noted.
Serious adverse events such as cardiovascular and digestive problems were reported in 139 patents, but only 27 cases (19 percent) were considered to be related to Gleevec, according to the study.
Other adverse events frequently connected to Gleevec included muscle cramps, weakness, edema, skin fragility, diarrhea, and tendon or ligament lesions. Nineteen patients (2.3 percent) stopped taking Gleevec due to side effects, with half switching to another drug.
Patients taking Gleevec "frequently suffer from side effects that are non-serious but can nonetheless reduce their quality of life," the researchers wrote.
The study authors disclosed no conflicts of interest, noting that their independence from pharmaceutical interests was a major strength of the study.
The researchers also noted the "importance of a good patient-provider relationship, in which side effects are easily communicated and addressed to reduce/avoid non-compliance."
In an accompanying editorial, Dr. B. Douglas Smith of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, noted "the astounding effect [imatinib] has had on the clinical course of this disease."
However, he wrote that many patients in the study had been treated first with interferon, which may have been a factor in their ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
TUESDAY, March 22 (HealthDay News) -- Taking the breast cancer drug tamoxifen for the recommended five years protects women from breast cancer recurrence better than a two-year course of the drug and it also shields some women from cardiovascular disease, new research finds.
The cancer protection and heart-disease risk reduction were noted 15 years after starting treatment, according to the study published online March 21 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
The findings may surprise many women on the medication, said Allan Hackshaw, deputy director of Cancer Research and the University College London Cancer Trials Center. "I think many women don't realize the benefits [reduced cancer recurrence] last a long time if they can complete the five-year course, and particularly also the CV [cardiovascular] disease benefit," he said.
Hackshaw and his colleagues studied follow-up data for 3,449 participants in the Cancer Research UK "Over 50s" trial comparing tamoxifen use of five years and two years by women with early beast cancer. The women were between 50 and 81 at the start.
During the initial study period, 1987 to 1997, the women took 20 milligrams of tamoxifen a day for two years. After that, they were assigned randomly to stop taking the drug or to continue taking tamoxifen for three more years, if they were recurrence-free.
The researchers then tracked cancer recurrences, new tumors, death and cardiovascular events through April 2010.
There were 1,103 recurrences, 755 deaths from breast cancer, 621 cardiovascular events and 236 deaths from cardiovascular events. They found that 15 years after the women first began taking tamoxifen, for every 100 who took it for five years, nearly six fewer women suffered a recurrence compared to those on the two-year regimen.
The longer treatment reduced the risk of breast cancer developing ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
CHICAGO – Sex and exercise can trigger heart attacks in older people who don't get much of either, a new analysis finds. The risk is low, but it's a good reminder that slackers should change their exercise habits gradually, especially in middle age.
People who exercise regularly have a much smaller risk of having a heart attack immediately after sexual or physical activity, said lead author Dr. Issa Dahabreh of Tufts Medical Center in Boston.
"It would be really bad if someone thought our paper means people should not exercise," Dahabreh said. "If anything, it's the opposite."
The analysis, appearing in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association, combined results from 14 studies involving more than 6,000 patients.
The studies involved only people who'd had heart attacks or had died suddenly from a heart problem. The studies looked at what the people were doing during the hour or two before their heart attacks and compared that to the same people's activity on normal days with no major heart problems.
That study design is used to try to answer the question, "Why did the heart attack occur now?"
Physical activity and sex increased the risk of heart attack by a factor of about three, according to the analysis of the pooled results. Exercise increased the risk of sudden cardiac death by nearly five times. The researchers didn't find a triggering relationship between sex and sudden cardiac death, that is, a sudden death from a heart problem.
The risk for any one person is extremely low.
"If you were to follow 10,000 people for a year and if they all decided to increase their physical activity by an hour a week, you could expect to see two to three more heart attacks," Dahabreh said.
(article cut to save bandwidth)