Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hepatitis C; Marijuana Chemical Improves Senses in Cancer Patients

Regenerative Medicine Provides the Gift of Life
The End of the Organ Donor List
By Steve Christ

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011
In the end, Walter Payton's toughest foe was an organ donor waiting list.
Diagnosed with a rare liver disease, the body of the legendary tailback gave out long before his will ever did. Less than a year after revealing his plight to the public, Payton ended up on the short end of the toughest run of his life.
At age 45, 'Sweetness', as he was known, eventually succumbed to cancer while waiting with 12,000 others on the transplant list before a suitable liver donor could be found......
Guest Column: The Conser
The specter of a ruinous budget shortfall has darkened the mood of the current Texas Legislature. In a climate with a mandate to slash spending, bills that seek new or increased funding — no matter how valid the need — seem doomed from the start.vative Case for Needle Exchange
Published 22 February 2011

Medivir has reported positive results from the Phase 2b study of TMC435 in treatment-naïve patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype-1.
The study results showed that TMC435 was safe and well-tolerated with no clinically relevant differences in adverse events between treatment groups and standard of care.
In the treatment arm, 83% of patients were able to stop all therapy at week 24.
Patients in the treatment arm demonstrated potent and consistent antiviral efficacy, with sustained virologic response (SVR) rates of up to 84%
The phase 2b response guided study enrolled 386 treatment-naïve patients who were grouped into treatment arm or placebo arm.
Patients in the treatment arm received TMC435, 75mg or 150mg, in combination with ribavirin and pegIFNalpha-2A, the current standard of care (SoC), while patients in the placebo arm received SoC plus placebo.

HUDDINGE, Sweden, February 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Medivir AB (OMX: MVIR), the emerging research-based specialty pharmaceutical company focused on infectious diseases, today announces the start of a phase 1a clinical trial with TMC649128 intended for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus infection.

(RTTNews) - Dynavax Technologies Corp. (DVAX) said that the Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) has allowed the company to proceed with its two ongoing phase 3 trials for Heplisav, an investigational adult hepatitis B vaccine.
The DSMB reviewed safety data from two ongoing multi-center Phase 3 trials evaluating Heplisav, the first a lot-to-lot consistency trial in adults 40 years and older, and the second a trial in chronic kidney disease patients.
After completing the safety assessment, the DSMB determined that the studies may continue without protocol modification, and that no other formal meetings of the DSMB are required.
The company noted that it is planning to complete the two trials as planned, and file the BLA by the end of 2011.

Lombard Investments is very proud to share the news of the first successful pediatric liver transplant surgery performed in the Philippines by an all-Filipino team at The Medical City, one of the country's premier healthcare organizations..

By John Gever, Senior Editor, MedPage TodayPublished:
February 23, 2011

Although FDA inspectors had reported a host of quality-control problems at Triad Group long before it recalled millions of contaminated alcohol-based prep pads, swabs, and jellies, the agency mysteriously took no corrective action, according an report.Citing FDA inspection reports provided by an anonymous source, the website alleged that the agency knew about "shoddy sterilization practices" at Triad Group's plant in 2009, yet did not issue a warning letter or alert customers or physicians.

The US Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning to users of four injectable drugs that may be used by people with HIV and/or hepatitis C regarding microbial contamination of alcohol

Feb 23
Three percent of the world's population is currently infected by hepatitis C. The virus hides in the liver and can cause cirrhosis and liver cancer, and it's the most frequent cause of liver transplants in Denmark. Since the virus mutates strongly, we have no traditional vaccine, but researchers at the University of Copenhagen are now the first to succeed in developing a vaccine, which provides future hope for medical protection from this type of hepatitis."The hepatitis C virus (HCV) has the same infection pathways as HIV," says Jan Pravsgaard Christensen, Associate Professor of Infection Immunology at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen. "Approximately one newly infected patient in five has an immune system capable of defeating an acute HCV infection in the first six months. But most cases do not present any symptoms at all and the virus becomes a chronic infection of the liver."
Liver Cancer
Christina Jewett, California February 23, 2011 04:00 AM
A researcher examining cancer rates among California Latinos and Asians who were born in and out of the United States reached conclusions that reveal two very different versions of the American dream
Trends in incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma after diagnosis of hepatitis B or C infection: a population-based cohort study, 1992–2007 H.-H. Thein1,2,3, S. R. Walter1, H. F. Gidding1, J. Amin1, M. G. Law1, J. George4, G. J. Dore1,5
Article first published online: 17 FEB 2011 DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2893.2011.01440.x © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd Issue Journal of Viral Hepatitis Early View (Articles online in advance of print)
Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections are the major risk factors for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We examined trends in the incidence of HCC among a population-based cohort of people infected with HBV or HCV. HBV and HCV cases notified to the New South Wales Health Department between 1992 and 2007 were linked to the Central Cancer Registry, Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, and National HIV/AIDS Registries. Crude HCC incidence rates were estimated using person-time methodology.
Age-standardized incidence rates were calculated using the 2001 Australian population.
Trends in incidence were examined using join point regression models.
Between 1992 and 2007, 1201 people had a linked HCC record: 556 of those with HBV; 592 with HCV; 45 with HBV/HCV co-infection; and 8 with HIV co-infection.
The overall age-standardized HCC incidence rates declined non-significantly from 148.0 (95% confidence intervals (CI) 63.7, 287.4) per 100 000 population in 1995 to 101.2 (95% CI 67.3, 144.6) in 2007 among the HBV monoinfected group and significantly from 151.8 (95% CI 62.4, 299.8) per 100 000 population to 75.3 (95% CI 50.8, 105.5) among the HCV monoinfected group.
However, incidence rates in the HCV monoinfected group progressively increased from the period 1992–1997 to 2004–2007 when adjusted for age, sex, and birth cohort, and the total number of cases per annum continued to increase.
Despite declines in the age-adjusted incidence rates of HCC over time, the absolute number of cases increased likely due to the ageing cohort and an increasing prevalence of both hepatitis B and C in Australia.
Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery DOI: 10.1007/s11605-011-1452-7 Online First™
Original Article Prognostic Factors and 10-Year Survival in Patients with Hepatocellular
Carcinoma After Curative Hepatectomy Sung Hoon Kim, Sae Byeol Choi, Jae Gil Lee, Seung Up Kim, Mi-Suk Park, Do Young Kim, Jin Sub Choi and Kyung Sik Kim
Abstract Purpose
There were contrary results about the effects of hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) positivity on the long-term survival in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) after curative resection.
Patients and Methods
Medical records of 170 HCC patients who underwent curative liver resections were retrospectively reviewed. The 10-year survival rate and correlations among clinical, laboratory, and pathological data, especially HBeAg, were analyzed. Results Fifty-two patients survived more than 10 years.
The 10-year actual overall survival (OS) rate was 30.6%, and the actual disease-free survival (DFS) rate was 24.1%. The median OS and DFS were 76 and 35 months, respectively. In multivariate analysis, HBeAg positivity (P = 0.032; hazard ratio [HR], 3.041), presence of a satellite nodule (P = 0.007; HR, 4.166), and elevated ICG R15 (P = 0.003; HR, 4.915) had a significant negative correlation with the 10-year DFS rate. In addition, HBeAg positivity (P = 0.044; HR, 3.725) and recurrence (recur within 1 year, P less then  0.001; HR, 41.296; recur after 1 year, P = 0.03; HR, 4.848) were found as independent factors which were negatively correlated to the 10-year OS.
The presence of HBeAg was significantly correlated to DFS and OS after curative resection for HCC. Active treatment of B viral hepatitis before and after surgery should be provided to prolong survival in patients with 5–10-cm HCC.
Healthy You
Filtering the News About Coffee
Tea is the most popular beverage worldwide (after water), but coffee is close behind it in industrialized countries. While caffeine is a natural component of both tea and coffee, coffee contains more of it: anywhere from 60 to 120 milligrams in six ounces, depending on brewing methods and other factors. Caffeine is a mild psychoactive substance—it stimulates the central nervous system and improves alertness. It also boosts the analgesic effect of aspirin and other pain relievers, which is why it's added to some of these drugs. In large enough amounts, it can cause heart palpitations, stomach upset, and insomnia.

Coffee, derived from a bean, contains many other phyto-chemicals besides caffeine, and some of them may have beneficial effects in the body, as do those in tea, though this aspect of coffee is only beginning to be studied. Coffee itself has been extensively studied for years, generally to see if it causes disease. While many people believe decaf is more healthful than regular, there's no proof that it is.

Coffee has been blamed for causing many ailments, but in nearly every instance, it has been declared not guilty.
• It was linked to heart disease, as well as pancreatic cancer—but then exonerated. Research suggesting such links hasn't been supported by subsequent studies. Some researchers still worry that coffee drinking may promote hypertension—but many studies have failed to show that it does. When risk factors like cigarette smoking and heavy alcohol consumption are taken into account, any apparent link between coffee and heart attacks disappears.
• Coffee was blamed for fibrocystic breast disease (lumpy, painful breasts), but there proved to be no connection.
• Coffee was a suspected risk factor for osteoporosis, but it does not appear to increase the risk, even in heavy coffee drinkers—though there is still some controversy about this. (It's true that heavy coffee consumers are more likely to eat poorly and smoke, which boosts the risk of osteoporosis.)
• Coffee was suspected of raising the risk of miscarriage and birth defects, but—again—studies haven't supported this, except perhaps for high intakes. Some researchers are still not willing to let coffee off the hook. Pregnant women should probably drink no more than a cup or two a day.
Research on coffee continues. Here are the latest news tidbits:
• According to one well-designed study in Honolulu, coffee may reduce the risk of Parkinson's disease. Men who drank no coffee were two to three times more likely to develop the disease than those who drank one to four cups a day, and five times more likely than those who drank more than four cups a day. The caffeine was identified as the protective substance. No one can adequately explain this, and it's only a single study, with many limitations. But it's worth investigating further.

• In another study, those who drank two or three cups of coffee daily cut their risk of gallstones by 40%. Again, there's no explanation for this—and it's only one study. It's far too early to recommend coffee for this purpose.

The studies continue, occasionally raising a few worries. As we've reported, studies have shown that drinking five to eight cups a day of unfiltered coffee—European-style coffee, made in a French press (a pot with a plunger)—raises blood cholesterol. The great majority of coffee consumed in the U.S. and Canada is filtered. And anyway, that's a lot of coffee.
Another study found that drinking lots of coffee may increase the risk of urinary incontinence.

The solution: cut down.
The bottom line is still this: If you're healthy it's fine to drink coffee in moderation (no more than three or four cups a day). If you like the lift it gives, and the sociability it affords, there's no health reason to deprive yourself of coffee. If you overindulge and get coffee nerves, the remedy is simple—cut back. If it keeps you awake, stick to decaf in the evening.

Related-The Good News About Coffee

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha have reported that markedly higher intake of vitamin D is needed to reach blood levels that can....

February 23, 2011
Alcohol is "the world's third largest risk factor for disease and disability," and is responsible for nearly four percent of deaths worldwide -- more than AIDS, violence or tuberculosis, according to the World Health Organization's (WHO) Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health 2011.
More must be done worldwide to combat alcohol's negative impact on health, WHO said in the press release.

Emily Sohn(Los Angeles Times,
When something hurts, most Americans open their medicine cabinets and pop a few capsules, tablets or gel-caps…Used correctly, over-the-counter analgesics can help with acute aches and pains. Even more enticing, growing evidence suggests that some of them might also help fight Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, as well as heart attacks and some cancers. But there are real risks."

Off The Cuff

If you live in the US and search Google for a prescription drug, you’re likely to be directed to the web site run by the National Library of Medicine. But Canadians will be directed to Wikipedia for generic meds or sites run by drugmakers when scouring for a brand-name treatment, according to a study published in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy (here is the abstract).
Why? One reason is a partnership between Google and the.......
Upcoming Events: Phase 2 human growth hormone (hGH-CTP) results Q3 2011 (interim results could come sooner).
Competitive Landscape: Prolor is by no means the first pharmaceutical firm to take a look at long-lasting versions of recombinant proteins. A survey of the field reveals PEGylation (attachment of polyethylene glycol polymers to the protein of interest) and glycosylation (alterations of the structure generally required) as the preferred techniques. Schering-Plough’s (SGP) PEGIntron and Roche’s (RHHBY.PK) Pegasys are both PEGylated forms of interferon alpha for the treatment of Hepatitis C. Amgen’s (AMGN) Neulasta is a PEGylated form of G-CSF for the treatment of neutropenia and Amgen’s Aranesp is a glycosylated form of erythropoietin for the treatment of anemia
A synthetic form of THC -- the main active chemical in marijuana -- may help patients with advanced cancer overcome problems with their senses of taste and smell and regain their enjoyment in eating, a pilot study showed.

Today's contributor at Scope is Michelle Brandt who writes on the topic of rare disease, including a link into the world of chronic illness. A world that anyone living with chronic HCV is all too familiar with.....

Salina Journal
The owner of The Grind was formally charged Tuesday with three felony counts of distribution, sale or delivery of JWH-081, a substance authorities allege has a similar chemical structure and effect on the human body to an illegal drug.

The criminal complaint against Srack asserts that JWH-081 is an analog, or substance with a similar chemical makeup, to the controlled substance JWH-018, an ingredient in early versions of synthetic marijuana that has been banned.

Cannabinoids, Huffman explained, include THC -- the active ingredient in the cannabis plant, commonly called marijuana -- but also numerous other chemicals that interact with the cannabinoid receptors in the brain and other organs.
"These receptors don't exist so that people can smoke marijuana and get high," Huffman said. "They play a role in regulating appetite, nausea, mood, pain and inflammation. They may also be involved in the development of conditions such as osteoporosis, liver disease and some kinds of cancer."

Journal of Pediatrics
Because of rising rates of childhood obesity, more attention is being given to testing children for diabetes. But what's the right test for kids? A study by the University of Michigan's C.S. Mott Childrens Hospital shows an increasing popular, convenient blood test is not reliable for finding cases of diabetes and pre-diabetes in children.

Canadian Medical Association Journal

Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are at greater risk of shingles compared with the general population, according to a study published in Canadian Medical Association Journal. The risk is greatest for patients taking oral steroids to treat COPD. Taipei Medical University Hospital

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