ONCOLOGY: Platinum-based drugs: double trouble for tumors One of the reasons that tumors are able to grow rapidly is that they actively prevent immune cells from generating effective antitumor immune responses. Researchers are developing approaches to combat the mechanisms used by tumors to inhibit immune responses, but such approaches don't kill tumor cells directly. A team of researchers, led by Jolanda de Vries and Joost Lesterhuis, at Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Netherlands, has identified a mechanism by which some tumor cell-killing chemotherapeutic drugs currently in use (specifically, platinum-based drugs such as cisplatin) oppose the immune inhibitory mechanisms employed by tumors and thereby promote anticancer immune responses. The authors therefore suggest that their data provide rationale for the use of platinum-based anticancer chemotherapeutic drugs together with immune-modulating approaches to increase the effectiveness of cancer treatment.
New Invasive Diagnostic Procedure Seems To Be Of No Advantage Over Current Standard Procedure In Infants With Cystic Fibrosis
A comparative study published in July 13 issue of JAMA noticed, treatment based on a new invasive diagnostic procedure for treating cystic fibrosis in infants that involves obtaining and culturing fluid samples from the lungs, when compared with standard diagnostic procedure, did not have a lower prevalence of lung-damaging infection or structural lung injury at 5 years of age. Early age cystic fibrosis in children especially with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, attributes to increased morbidity and mortality. It is often difficult to diagnose P aeruginosa infection in patients with cystic fibrosis; especially in non-expectorating (cannot discharge sputum) cases. An alternative diagnostic tool used in case of non-expectorating cystic fibrosis in young children is Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), but according to background information mentioned in the article, evidence available in favor of its clinical benefit is limited.
An imbalance of salt and water in patients with cystic fibrosis makes their lungs clog up with sticky mucus that is prone to infection. The cause of the offending imbalance is a well-known genetic error, one that blocks the molecular expressway for tiny chloride ions to move across the surface of the lungs. But how does that same gene mutation upset a parallel roadway controlling the flow of the other component of salt, sodium ions? Now, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine have found the answer, demonstrating that the gene mutated in cystic fibrosis not only controls traffic on the chloride highway, but also keeps the sodium highway from being overused. The finding suggests that the infamous mutation - in a gene called CFTR - is a double whammy, affecting the flow of two different ions that are important to keep the mucus on the surfaces of the airways hydrated.
Ataluren Phase 2 Data In Nonsense Mutation Cystic Fibrosis Published In The European Respiratory Journal
PTC Therapeutics, Inc. (PTC) announced the publication of data from a Phase 2 study of ataluren, an investigational new drug, in adults with nonsense mutation cystic fibrosis (nmCF) in the European Respiratory Journal. The published three-month data showed that treatment with ataluren resulted in statistically significant improvements in chloride channel activity, CF-related cough and positive trends in lung function. "These encouraging data demonstrating statistically significant pharmacodynamic activity support the potential of ataluren for a significant subset of severely affected CF patients, " stated Professor Michael Wilschanski, Director, Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hadassah University Hospital. "The results are important because they suggest that ataluren promotes the production of full-length, functional cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) protein and addresses the underlying cause of the disorder.
Astra Biotech GmbH is in the pre-launch phase of its newly developed test, based on microarray technology, for rapid simultaneous detection of 25 of the most common mutations causing cystic fibrosis in pan-European populations. This initiative supports Astra Biotech's aim of facilitating early diagnosis of individuals' risk factors through innovative assays. In this way long-term effects of a disease can be minimised and patient healthcare standards can be improved. Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a life-threatening recessive genetic disease which causes severe malfunctioning of the exocrine glands, respiratory system and gastrointestinal tract. Diagnosis frequently takes place only once symptoms are already obvious, thereby delaying disease management and risking irreversible damage to the vital organs.