Posted by: Viktor Mar | 2010 June 24

Science articles

Drug trial shows promise in ovarian cancer

INDIANAPOLIS (UPI) — U.S. cancer investigators say they’ve found combining two drugs — decitabine and carboplatin — appears to help women who have late-stage ovarian cancer.
The Indiana University researchers said four of 10 patients who participated in a phase I clinical trial had no disease progression after six months of treatment with the drugs and one patient experienced complete resolution of tumor tissue for a period of time.
Advanced ovarian cancer is often diagnosed too late for treatment to be effective. Patients are often told they have virtually no chance of recovery and only months to live.
The trial was designed to increase the patients’ sensitivity to the commonly prescribed ovarian cancer drug, platinum-based carboplatin.
"Carboplatin is the most efficient drug therapy for ovarian cancer," said Dr. Daniela Matei, an associate professor of medicine who led the study at the Indiana University School of Medicine. "Unfortunately, patients with recurrent disease become resistant to the drug after one or two rounds."
In the trial, Decitabine was first used intravenously daily for five days followed on the eighth day with carboplatin. After a month, the regimen begins again.
Six months after the trial began, four of the patients had no disease progression. At 8 1/2 months, seven patients were alive and are still alive. Cancerous tissue in one of the patients shrank completely.
The study appears online ahead of print in the journal Cancer

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

Enzyme found to aid spinal nerve regrowth

BALTIMORE (UPI) — U.S. medical scientists at Johns Hopkins University have discovered an enzyme that helps nerve regrowth in damaged spinal cord nerves.
Researchers at the university’s school of medicine said once damaged, nerves in the spinal cord normally cannot grow back and the only drug approved for treating these injuries does not enable nerve regrowth.
But in their study, the scientists discovered treating injured rat spinal cords with the enzyme sialidase not only improved nerve regrowth, it also aided motor recovery and nervous system function.
"This is the first functional study showing behavioral improvement below a spinal cord injury by the delivery of sialidase," says Professor Ronald Schnaar, who led the study. "Sialidase has properties that are appealing from the human drug development point of view."
Sialidase is a bacterial enzyme that removes specific chemical groups found on the surface of nerve cells, the researchers said.
"The positive is that we have shown functional recovery in a relevant animal model of spinal cord injury," says Schnaar. "That being said, we haven’t done full toxicity studies on these rats, which definitely needs to be done before we think about taking the long road into using this as a drug in people; efficacy in animals also doesn’t necessarily translate to humans."
The study appears in the early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, prior to print.

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

 

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