Friday, July 31, 2015

Researchers identify new cancer marker and possible therapeutic target for breast cancer

Researchers identify new cancer marker and possible therapeutic target for breast cancer

July 31, 2015
A new way to detect - and perhaps treat - one of the deadliest types of breast cancer has been found. Led by researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), the study appears online in Breast Cancer Research.
Basal-like breast cancer (BLBC) is an aggressive form of breast cancer and is often referred to as "triple negative," which means it is not responsive to the common medical therapeutics. BLBC is more likely to metastasize - or spread to different areas of the body - quicker and earlier, and is associated with a poor prognosis. Women younger than 40 and African-American women are more likely to have this type, but so far there has been limited success in treating it, especially once it has metastasized.

One of the challenges has been to identify specific markers for metastatic BLBC, which would allow development of drugs and prediction of survival. Researchers from BUSM and the University of Cyprus compared the markers on the surface of the cancer cells to gene expression profile of deposited by researchers in international public databases and found that a molecule named IL13RA2 (IL13R alpha2) was abundant in metastatic or late-stage BLBC. When they looked at publically available data on patients, they were able to predict the likelihood of progression-free survival based on whether the cancer cells had high levels of IL13RA2. The group also discovered that a subtype of BLBC that tended to spread to the lungs quickly had high IL13RA2 levels.   ...

IDIBELL licenses a tool to Oxford Immunotec to improve efficiency of kidney transplants, prevent graft rejection

IDIBELL licenses a tool to Oxford Immunotec to improve efficiency of kidney transplants, prevent graft rejection


Published on July 31, 2015 
The Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) has licensed to the company Oxford Immunotec, a technology to measure the secretion of anti-HLA antibodies from memory B cells to improve the efficiency of kidney transplants and prevent rejection of graft.
Oxford Immunotec is a biotechnology company focused on the development and commercialization of innovative tests in the field of immunology enabling better patient care and improve their quality of life.
The licensed technology was developed by the team of Oriol Bestard, nephrology research group IDIBELL and kidney transplantation, head of the Kidney Transplant Unit at the University Hospital of Bellvitge and professor at the University of Barcelona. The researchers have published a study in the journal Kidney International which demonstratesthe effectiveness of this technique in patients on the waiting list for a kidney transplant as well as in patients who have undergone transplant rejection antibodies.
People have their own major histocompatibility (HLA), only identical twins have the same HLA. In the field of renal transplantation is important to find donors who are as compatible as possible with the patient and are not sensitized, ie having no preformed antibodies directed against the HLA antigens foreign organ to prevent graft rejection and to minimize the side effects of immunosuppressive treatments.
Currently the only way to evaluate this immunological sensitization is to measure anti-HLA antibodies in blood but this approach can not fully evaluate the response of memory. That is, memory B cells are able to develop into antibody secreting cells against the donor but not continuously secreted.  ...

New Drug Lowers Levels of Triglyceride Blood Fats: Study

New Drug Lowers Levels of Triglyceride Blood Fats: Study

(HealthDay News) -- An experimental drug dramatically lowers blood levels of potentially harmful triglycerides, a new study finds.
Triglycerides are a type of blood fat created by the food you eat. At very high levels, they can cause heart problems and pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas.
"Current treatment for elevated triglyceride [levels] leaves a lot to be desired," said researcher Dr. Joseph Witztum, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego. "This drug holds the promise that it will be the most effective therapy we have."
The new drug -- called ISIS 304801 for now -- lowers triglyceride levels by as much as 71 percent without unpleasant side effects, the study found.
Elevated triglycerides can be caused by genetics as well as obesity, smoking, drinking too much alcohol and a diet very high in carbohydrates, the American Heart Association says.

Normal triglyceride levels are less than 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). But some people have much higher levels, which is associated with insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, inherited high cholesterol and certain other disorders, the researchers explained. Metabolic syndrome is a combination of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar and excess body fat.  ...

Implanted Defibrillators Restore Healthy Heart Function to Many: Study

Implanted Defibrillators Restore Healthy Heart Function to Many: Study

News Picture: Implanted Defibrillators Restore Healthy Heart Function to Many: Study
 (HealthDay News) -- Many heart patients are advised to receive an implanted cardiac defibrillator to keep their heart functioning properly.
Now, a new study of 1,200 people shows that, in many cases, these devices do their job very well.
Within a few years of receiving a defibrillator, heart function in one in four patients improved to the point that they were over the medical threshold that qualified them for a defibrillator in the first place, the study authors found.
These patients also had a much lower risk of death, the researchers said, so their defibrillators were now far less likely to have to deliver electrical shocks to correct heart rhythm problems.

The study included heart patients aged 18 to 80 with implanted defibrillators -- devices meant to prevent sudden cardiac death from abnormal heart rhythm. None of them had suffered a cardiac arrest.  ...

Thursday, July 30, 2015

FDA Approves Praluent (alirocumab) to Treat Certain Patients with High Cholesterol

FDA Approves Praluent (alirocumab) to Treat Certain Patients with High 
Cholesterol

 The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Praluent (alirocumab) injection, the first cholesterol-lowering treatment approved in a new class of drugs known as proprotein convertase subtilisin kexin type 9 (PCSK9) inhibitors.
Praluent is approved for use in addition to diet and maximally tolerated statin therapy in adult patients with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HeFH) or patients with clinical atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease such as heart attacks or strokes, who require additional lowering of LDL cholesterol.

HeFH is an inherited condition that causes high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. A high level of LDL cholesterol (known as “bad” cholesterol) in the blood is linked to cardiovascular disease. Heart disease is the number one cause of death for Americans, both men and women. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year– that equals one in every four deaths.  ...

Finding by UCSF researchers could increase availability of kidneys for transplant

Finding by UCSF researchers could increase availability of kidneys for transplant

Mild hypothermia in deceased organ donors significantly reduces delayed graft function in kidney transplant recipients when compared to normal body temperature, according to UC San Francisco researchers and collaborators, a finding that could lead to an increase in the availability of kidneys for transplant.
Their study appears in the July 30 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
By passively cooling deceased organ donor body temperature by approximately two degrees from normal body temperature, researchers saw an overall nearly 40 percent increase in the successful function of donated kidneys after surgery. In particular, kidneys especially at risk of poor post-surgical functional were protected.
"This is a free intervention that can be done at any hospital in the world, and tens of thousands of patients worldwide can benefit from it," said lead author Claus Niemann, MD, professor of anesthesia and surgery at UCSF.

"It could have a major impact on global health, especially in resource-limited countries, and provide significant cost savings in the United States through less dialysis, shorter hospital stays and potentially less need for expensive interventions," Niemann continued. "In addition, it may allow us to consider organs we may otherwise reject, especially at the extremes of age, which would result in more patients benefiting from kidney transplantation. This is of critical importance given we have a complete mismatch of transplant need and organ supply in the United States."  ...

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

New computer-based technology may lead to improvements in facial transplantation

New computer-based technology may lead to improvements in facial transplantation

Following several years of research and collaboration, physicians and engineers at Johns Hopkins and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center say they have developed a computer platform that provides rapid, real-time feedback before and during facial transplant surgery, which may someday improve face-jaw-teeth alignment between donor and recipient.
Surgeons performed the first successful transplant of facial features, including the jaw and teeth, in 2008, mainly relying on visual judgment. Since then, approximately 30 facial transplants have been done worldwide, costing an estimated $250,000 to $500,000. These transplants have led to the improvement of patient survival and enhancement of physical appearances. However, current surgical methods often leave patients with some undesired residual deformities and abnormalities in function.
The new computer-assisted development should make it less likely to misalign the new set of bones, jaw and teeth, and prevent other reconstructive abnormalities for patients with severe craniofacial trauma, the researchers report.
Use of the new platform in mock surgeries performed on plastic and cadaveric human donor/recipient pairs is described in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, published in August.

Called the computer-assisted planning and execution (CAPE) system, the platform is first used to help plan once a donor has been identified for transplantation. Using information from CT scans, the donor's anatomy is matched to the recipient's anatomy in an effort to optimize form, or appearance, and function, such as chewing and breathing, according senior author Chad Gordon, D.O., an assistant professor of plastic and at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and co-director of the Multidisciplinary Adult Cranioplasty Center at Johns Hopkins.  ...

Heart Disease, Alzheimer's Linked by Common Risk Factors

Heart Disease, Alzheimer's Linked by Common Risk Factors

News Picture: Heart Disease, Alzheimer's Linked by Common Risk Factors
(HealthDay News) -- Some risk factors for heart disease may also be linked with Alzheimer's and other types of dementia, a new study reports.
"We already know that vascular risk factors damage the brain and can result in cognitive [mental] impairment," study lead author Dr. Kevin King said in a news release from the journal Radiology.

"Our findings give us a more concrete idea about the relationship between specific vascular risk factors and brain health," said King, an assistant professor of radiology at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.   ...