вторник, 25 января 2011 г.

Testosterone May Help Men With Multiple Sclerosis

Men With Multiple Sclerosis
Clinical trial now underway to confirm that the female hormone estriol combats the effects of multiple sclerosis in women, a recently completed UCLA pilot study shows promise for the use of testosterone to combat the effects of the disease in men.
Reporting in the May issue of the journal Archives of Neurology, Dr. Rhonda Voskuhl, director of UCLA's Multiple Sclerosis Program, and her colleagues found that the application of a testosterone gel reduced symptoms, slowed brain degeneration and increased muscle mass in men with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, the most common form of the disease. Testosterone also has been shown to protect against an MS-like condition in animals.
Multiple sclerosis is a progressive disease involving the immune and central nervous systems. Like many other autoimmune diseases, in which the body attacks its own systems or tissues, MS is less common in men than in women, said Voskuhl, with a ratio of about three women to one man. Voskuhl has long thought that sex hormones and/or sex chromosomes may be responsible for this enhanced susceptibility.
Voskuhl and Dr. Nancy L. Sicotte, UCLA assistant professor of neurology, conducted a study of testosterone treatment in 10 men with relapsing-remitting MS, which is characterized by periods of neurologic symptoms, such as numbness or difficulty walking, followed by periods of remission. After enrollment in the study, the men, whose average age was 46, entered a six-month pre-treatment phase, during which symptoms were monitored but no therapies were administered. After that, each man applied 10 grams of a gel containing 100 milligrams of testosterone to his upper arms once daily for 12 months.
"After a year, we saw an improvement in cognitive performance and a slowing of brain deterioration," Voskuhl said. In fact, during the final nine months of gel application, the rate of brain deterioration in the men slowed by 67 percent.
In addition, the men's muscle mass increased an average of 1.7 kilograms, about 3.74 pounds, during the treatment phase. There were no reported adverse effects.
"The other optimistic thing about this study was that the protective effect of testosterone treatment on brain atrophy was observed in the absence of an appreciable anti-inflammatory effect," said Voskuhl, "which suggests the protection the testosterone provided may not be limited to MS but may be applicable to other non-inflammatory neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's or Alzheimer's disease."
Four years ago, Voskuhl conducted a pilot study in which 10 women with MS were given the female hormone estriol, which yielded what she described as "pretty remarkable" results --- an 80 percent drop in inflammatory lesions in the brain, which are a hallmark of the disease. That led to the much larger trial now underway. Her goal now is to expand the testosterone pilot study into a much larger clinical trial.
"Overall, the use of the testosterone gel treatment in men with MS was shown to be safe and well-tolerated," she said. "In addition, our exploratory findings suggest there's a possible neuroprotective effect of testosterone treatment in men, which we feel warrants a larger study."

четверг, 20 января 2011 г.

Promising Cancer Drug Target In Prostate Tumors Identified

Scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute report they have blocked the development of prostate tumors in cancer-prone mice by knocking out a molecular unit they described as a “powerhouse” that drives runaway cell growth.
In an article that is being published as an advanced online publication by the journal Nature, the researchers said the growth-stimulating molecule called p110beta – part of a cellular signaling network disrupted in several common cancers – is a promising target for novel cancer therapies designed to shut it down. Lead authors of the report are Shidong Jia, MD, PhD, Zhenning Liu, PhD, Sen Zhang PhD, and Pixu Liu, MD, PhD.
The p110beta molecule and a counterpart, p110alpha, are “isoforms” – slightly different forms – of an enzyme called PI(3)K that is an intense focus of cancer research and drug development. PI(3)K is the linchpin of a cell-signal pathway that responds to growth factor signals from outside the cell.
When activated by growth factor receptors, PI(3)K turns on a cascade of genes and proteins that drives cells to divide and grow. The molecular accelerator is normally kept under control by a tumor-suppressor protein, PTEN, which acts like a brake to curb excess cell growth that could lead to cancer.
Mutations that inactivate PTEN – in effect releasing the brake on growth signals – are found in a significant proportion of prostate, breast and brain tumors. The senior authors of the new report, Jean Zhao, PhD, and Thomas Roberts, PhD, previously showed that blocking p110alpha protein inhibits cancerous growth induced by various cancer-causing proteins, such as Her2 and EGFR. With that knowledge in hand, the researchers, in collaboration with pharmaceutical companies, are developing p110alpha blockers.
P110beta, by contrast, was thought to be a relatively insignificant player in tumors. However, “the surprise in this paper is that p110beta has been found to be a bigger player than p110alpha in tumors that result from PTEN loss,” noted Zhao. “Now the drug companies, which have been focusing on p110alpha, will have to think about making p110beta inhibitors as well.”
Both forms of the p110 molecule have dual tasks: they are involved in responding to insulin signals – a metabolic function – as well as relaying growth signals from outside the cell. But the importance of 110beta had been vastly underestimated, the researchers said, for reasons they don’t entirely understand.
“We knew that when cells are stimulated with growth factor signals, the activity of p110alpha, but not p110beta, rises rapidly and sharply in triggering excess cell growth,” Zhao said. “We speculate that 110beta may be providing a low-level but steady growth stimulus and when PTEN is lost, it becomes an important source of cell proliferation signals.”
The new findings stem from experiments in which the scientists disabled the p110beta protein in mice as a way of exploring its normal functions. In one of the experiments, the researchers “knocked out” p110beta in mice that also lacked the PTEN tumor suppressor protein and were therefore highly prone to prostate cancer. Mice that lacked PTEN but had functioning p110beta proteins all developed early prostate cancers by 12 weeks of age. In contrast, the “knockout” mice with no p110beta function remained free of prostate cancer even though the PTEN “brake” had been disabled.
The scientists concluded, as a result, that p110beta becomes a “powerhouse” to drive cancerous cell growth when PTEN function is missing.
In light of the new findings, there is likely to be great interest in finding drugs or other tools to block the p110beta protein in cancers where mutations in PTEN have unleashed the overactive growth signals, said Zhao, who is also an assistant professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School.
The task is made somewhat easier, said Roberts, by the fact that “we know what the inhibitor should look like because of our work on p110alpha inhibitors.”
Roberts, who is also a professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School, said that drugs designed to block the p110alpha form are on their way to clinical testing, but he could not predict when p110beta inhibitors might become available for clinical testing.
The research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense for Cancer Research.

понедельник, 17 января 2011 г.

Hong Kong Urges Not To Consume Sexual Dysfunction Managing Products

Hong Kong Department Of Health appealed to members of the public not to buy or use a product named "Chong Cao Ju Wang" as it was found to contain an undeclared drug which is known to link with serious side effects.
A DH spokesman said a 69-year-old man was admitted to United Christian Hospital on July 23 after he was found unconscious at home. His blood glucose level was very low on admission.
Investigation revealed that he had a history of taking the above mentioned product purchased at a drug shop in Shenzhen. The urine of the patient was found to have contained glibenclamide (a diabetic drug) and sildenafil (a drug used for treating male sexual dysfunction).
Today, laboratory tests on one remaining capsule of the product provided by the patient showed the presence of sildenafil.
The spokesman said glibenclamide could cause nausea and gastro-intestinal upset. Improper use may cause a significant fall in blood sugar level with serious health consequence and even death.
The side effects of sildenafil include low blood pressure, headache, vomiting, dizziness, and transient vision disturbances. It may interact with nitrates found in some prescription drugs (such as nitroglycerin for treatment of angina) and may lower blood pressure of patients to dangerous levels. Improper use of sildenafil may pose serious health risks, especially for patients with heart problems.
Under the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance of Hong Kong, products containing either sildenafil or glibenclamide must be registered before sale and can only be sold on a doctor's prescription and under supervision of a pharmacist.
Members of the public who have bought the product are advised not to take it. Moreover, they are urged to seek advice from their doctors if feeling unwell after consuming the product.
They should destroy and dispose of the products or submit them to the Department's Pharmaceutical Service at 3/F, Public Health Laboratory Centre, 382 Nam Cheong Street, Kowloon, during office hours.
"People who have problems of sexual dysfunction should consult medical professionals for appropriate advice or medication," the spokesman said.

вторник, 11 января 2011 г.

NYC Genital Herpes Rates High

More than fourth of New Yorkers gave genital herpes, which are much higher than the national average rates.
A report from NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene examined data of 1999 New Yorkers. The starting age was 20 years. The data was collected in 2004, and 1784 participants passed herpes simplex virus 2 tests. The report shows that about 29% of NYC adults have genital herpes, which is a very high rate compared to 19% national average rate.
Genital herpes is more common among 39% of women, about 19% of men also suffer from infection. Only 14% of white people cary the virus, compared to 49% of the black people. Only 18% of men having sex with women carry the virus, compared to 32% of men having sex with men.
Herpes simplex virus 2 is a virus causing genital herpes. It is being transmitted sexually and have common symptoms of ulcers or sores, sometimes pain, but some infected patients may have no symptoms at all. The virus can lead to brain damage, it can affect brain of newborns, and it doubles the risk for HIV.
In 2007 NYC Health Department had 65000 cases of sexually transmitted diseases, with HIV infection rates rising among men having sex with men. This report urges the need of more effort to cut sexually transmitted disease rates, provide better sex education and information about how dangerous these diseases are. NYC Health Department mentions that the best way to protect from the diseases is condom use. Condoms are available free of charge in NYC STD clinics.

суббота, 8 января 2011 г.

Topical cream studied for erectile dysfunction

Scientists from Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University are working on a cream to rub on and treat erectile dysfunction (ED). The cream could prove to be safer than oral medications used to deliver nitric oxide to the cells that improves blood flow to treat impotency. Using encapsulated nanoparticles, the scientists have found a way to deliver nitric oxide and prescription drugs that penetrate the tissues to treat erectile dysfunction that affects tens of millions of men.
The study, published online in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, was performed on eighteen rats with age related erectile dysfunction. The cream, when applied topically, delivers drugs to treat erectile dysfunction in a controlled release fashion that eliminates the potential side effects when erectile dysfunction drugs are delivered systemically.
The researchers treated three groups of rats – one group received the topical nanoparticles erectile treatment with encapsulated nitric oxide. A second group received nanoparticles encapsulated with nitric oxide, plus an experimental erectile dysfunction drug called sialorphin. Sialorphin acts differently than PDE5 inhibitors currently on the market such as Viagra and Cialis. The third group was given the topical erectile dysfunction cream plus tadalafil (Cialis).
The nanoparticle, nitric oxide system, applied topically, combined with either sialorphin or tadalafil, significantly improved erectile dysfunction in five out of seven rats treated. Developer of the topical erectile dysfunction treatment and study co-author Joel M. Friedman, M.D., PhDs says, "Most of the animals, nearly 90 percent, showed a response to treatment with the nanoparticles.”
It only took thirty minutes for the rats to respond to the treatment says senior author Kelvin P. Davies, Ph.D., associate professor of urology at Einstein. “In both rats and humans, it can take 30 minutes to one hour for oral ED medications to take effect."
Using a topical treatment for erectile dysfunction could prove safer for men with existing heart disease, and could also provide a more effective treatment for diabetics who have high rates of erectile dysfunction. So far, the erectile dysfunction cream looks safe. The scientists found no signs of systemic toxicity, local inflammation, or other undesirable side effects.