Majority of recent cancer drugs approved for use in UK show no survival benefits, study finds

Majority of recent cancer drugs approved for use in UK show no survival benefits, study finds

The majority of cancer drugs approved for use in the UK in recent years are not proven to extend life, research has found.
The study published in the BMJ examined 48 medications approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to treat 68 separate cancers from 2009 to 2013.
It found that in two thirds of cases, drugs came into the market without clear evdience they could improve survival.
Dr Deborah Cohen, associate editor at The BMJ, said: “The fact so many of the new drugs on the market lack good evidence that they improve patient outcomes puts governments in a difficult position when it comes to deciding which treatments to fund. “But regulatory sanctioning of a comparator that lacks robust evidence of efficacy means the cycle of weak evidence and uncertainty continues.” “While the European Medicines Agency (EMA) decides which new drugs are safe to be sold in Europe, it’s national bodies like Nice (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) that decide which drugs should be made available to patients. “Nice makes these decisions based on the clinical effectiveness and the cost of a drug to determine whether it will bring value to patients and the NHS.

Dementia: Study helps to unravel the cause of brain cell death

Dementia: Study helps to unravel the cause of brain cell death

Researchers found that lack of a gene called lysine specific histone demethylase 1 (LSD1) triggers brain cell death, leading to cognitive abnormalities comparable to those seen in people with Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia (FTD).
In Alzheimer’s, brain cell death has been partly attributed to a protein called tau.
FTD is a rarer form of dementia characterized by nerve cell loss in the frontal lobes of the brain.
As with Alzheimer’s disease, nerve cell loss in FTD has been attributed, in part, to tau accumulation.
The new research from Dr. Katz and colleagues furthers our understanding of the mechanisms underlying nerve cell death in Alzheimer’s disease and FTD, after uncovering a crucial role for LSD1, which is also known as KDM1A.
How might LSD1 cause brain cell death? “In both diseases, the LSD1 protein was aberrantly localized in the cytoplasm, along with these pathologies,” says Dr. Katz.
Taken together, the researchers say that their results “indicate a potential link between the loss of LSD1 and these human dementia cases.”
This results in neuronal cell death and dementia.”

Researchers seek blood test to determine cancer risk

Researchers seek blood test to determine cancer risk

Proteins produced by these genes serve as safeguards to ensure that cells with damaged DNA do not divide.
The inherited mutations are present in every cell and only a few may affect risk for cancer. The mutations that we collect over time occur only in certain cells because of unrepaired DNA damage.
While some inherited mutations can contribute to the risk of cancer if present in a cancer-related gene, additional mutations must also occur in a cell to overcome our genetic safeguards.
If a single cell collects multiple mutations that destroy these safeguards, that cell will divide more than it should.
For example, among lung cancers that are diagnosed through screening, 85 percent are in an early stage and can be cured with surgery.
The research in our lab is focused on developing tests to diagnose cancer as early as possible and to identify people who may be at increased risk later in life because of a combination of factors.
My research focuses on developing a blood test that allows us to identify both the mutations that we inherit and those that we collect over our lifetime.
This information is important because it allows us to look at inherited and environmental factors that contribute to cancer at the same time in a simple blood test.

Good moods may boost flu shot efficacy for seniors

Good moods may boost flu shot efficacy for seniors

A new study suggests that seniors who get their flu shots while in a good mood have a better response to the vaccine.
Still, the CDC urge adults aged 65 and over to keep getting their flu shots, since influenza viruses can have much more serious effects on seniors, possibly leading to hospitalization and a higher mortality risk. “So,” she adds, “people with less effective immune systems, such as the elderly, may find vaccines don’t work as well for them as they do in the young.”
This is why she and her team decided to investigate which additional factors may be responsible for good – or poor – outcomes following vaccination in the elderly.
The researchers then tested the effectiveness of the flu shot at 4 weeks and 16 weeks after inoculation, by testing the levels of antibodies in the participants’ blood.
Good mood, the scientists explain, was responsible for between 8 and 14 percent of the difference in antibody levels between participants. “We have known for many years that a number of psychological and behavioral factors such as stress, physical activity, and diet influence how well the immune system works,” says Prof. Vedhara, “and these factors have also been shown to influence how well vaccines protect against disease.”
As a consequence, Prof. Vedhara and colleagues focused on the response to the third viral strain, A H1N1, to which the participants had not previously developed significant antibody levels.

Rheumatoid arthritis could be treated with a novel hydrogel

Rheumatoid arthritis could be treated with a novel hydrogel

A simple yet effective new treatment for rheumatoid arthritis may be in sight; researchers have now created a hydrogel that could absorb the excess joint fluid that arises with disease, as well as deliver medications to affected joints.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, rheumatoid arthritis is almost three times more common among women than men, and women are likely to develop the condition at an earlier age.
While synovial fluid normally helps to lubricate the joints and make it easier for us to move, an excess of this fluid can cause swelling and pain. “It regulates inflammation and protects our body by killing external pathogens. “However,” he adds, “when in excess, it is toxic and may cause RA [rheumatoid arthritis], as well as other autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer.”
Targeting nitric oxide with a hydrogel With this in mind, Kim and colleagues sought to develop a new rheumatoid arthritis treatment strategy that targets nitric oxide, setting it apart from current treatments for the disease, which primarily consist of anti-inflammatory drugs.
The researchers explain that NOCCL forms connections between acrylamide molecules, producing “nets” that can catch and hold drug molecules.
In response to nitric oxide, the nets change shape, which enables them to release the drug molecules and absorb liquid.
In this way, the team suggests that the hydrogel could help to treat rheumatoid arthritis; it could deliver drugs to affected sites and absorb synovial liquid, thereby reducing swelling and pain.
If their results show success, we could be one step closer to a topical treatment for the condition.