Tag Archives: oxford

New discovery on early immune system development

The immune system is complex and a number of genetic diseases are attributed to defects in the cells that form its origins. The study from Lund and Oxford University presents unique findings on the formation of these cells. We know that the first blood stem cells are formed in the aorta region and then travel to the liver, which is the body’s major blood-forming organ during the fetal stage…

New technique allows anti-breast cancer drugs to cross blood-brain barrier

To facilitate drug delivery to brain metastases, John Connell of the CRUK/MRC Gray Institute for Radiation Oncology and Biology, Churchill Hospital, Oxford, UK, and colleagues utilized the human pro-inflammatory cytokine, tumor necrosis factor (TNF), which they had previously shown could disrupt the BBB in rat brains. The researchers first verified the expression of TNF receptors in mouse as well as human brain metastases by immunohistochemistry. They then induced brain metastases in mice by injection of mouse breast carcinoma cells labeled with green fluorescent protein…

Breakthrough discovery into the regulation of a key cancer drug target

Scientists used a powerful technique called protein crystallography to look at 3D structures of protein complexes purified from cultured human cells. They discovered that a family of complexes, that switch off gene expression, is regulated by small signalling molecules called inositol phosphates. This latest study shows that this mode of regulation is conserved from yeast right through to man and is a fundamental process for life…

Screening fails to affect breast cancer mortality statistics, UK study finds

Researchers from the Department of Public Health at the University of Oxford sought evidence of a decline in population-based breast cancer mortality that could be attributed to the implementation of mammographic screening programmes. They concluded that population-based mortality statistics for England do not show a past benefit of breast cancer screening…

Quit-smoking treatments safe, effective, review says

Popular smoking cessation treatments - such as nicotine replacements and antidepressants - improve people's chances of kicking the habit without much risk, according to a review of past research. “It seems very clear that medications can help. They're not the magic bullet but you do improve your chances of quitting - generally - if you try them. And as far as we can tell, they're safe to use,” said Kate Cahill, who led the study. Several reviews have looked at the effectiveness of smoking cessation treatments, but the researchers wanted to put those results into a single large review to help people who want to use medical treatments to stop smoking, Cahill, a senior researcher for the Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group at the University of Oxford, UK, said. About one fifth of the U.S. and UK populations are current smokers, according to the researchers. Previous studies have found between 70 percent and 75 percent want to quit, but only about 3 percent accomplish that every year. For the new study, the researchers pulled data from 12 reviews published by the Cochrane Collaboration, an international research organization that evaluates medical evidence. Those analyses, which were conducted between 2008 and 2012, included data from 267 studies of more than 101,000 smokers. The studies typically compared smokers trying to quit without the help of a smoking cessation treatment to smokers using nicotine replacement therapies, such as nicotine gum and patches, or prescription drugs. The medications include varenicline (marketed by Pfizer as Chantix or Champix) and bupropion (marketed by GlaxoSmithKline as Zyban or Wellbutrin, but available as a generic). The researchers found that the nicotine replacement therapies and the antidepressant bupropion led about eighteen people to successfully give up smoking for every 10 people who quit without treatments. Varenicline performed even better and led to about 28 people quitting for every 10 who did so without medication. What's more, Cahill and her colleagues found that lesser-known smoking cessation treatments were also effective. Those include the antidepressant nortriptyline and cytisine, a plant-derived supplement available in Eastern Europe. All of the treatments also appeared to be reasonably safe, according to the researchers who published their results on Thursday in The Cochrane Library. Previous reports have found that about 1 in every 1,000 people taking bupropion has a seizure, but the researchers found a lower rate of 1 in 1,500. Also, despite conflicting reports over the safety of varenicline, the researchers didn't find evidence that the drug increased the risk of neuropsychiatric or heart problems. Judith Prochaska, who researches tobacco treatment but was not involved in the new study, said not all smokers will use smoking cessation tools but it's important for them to know they're available. Nicotine replacement therapy is available over the counter in the U.S. and varenicline and bupropion are available with a prescription for about $4 per day - less than a pack of cigarettes, said Prochaska, associate professor of medicine at the Stanford Prevention Research Center in California. “They have been shown to pretty much double the likelihood that somebody will quit,” she added. Cahill cautioned, however, that smoking cessation tools won't work for everyone, but “they certainly help some people.”source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/05/31/quit-smoking-treatments-safe-effective-review-says/

High doses of common painkillers increase heart attack risks

Long-term high-dose use of painkillers such as ibuprofen or diclofenac is “equally hazardous” in terms of heart attack risk as use of the drug Vioxx, which was withdrawn due to its potential dangers, researchers said on Thursday. Presenting the results of a large international study into a class of painkillers called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), the researchers said high doses of them increase the risk of a major vascular event - a heart attack, stroke or dying from cardiovascular disease - by around a third. This means that for every 1,000 people with an average risk of heart disease who take high-dose diclofenac or ibuprofen for a year, about three extra would have an avoidable heart attack, of which one would be fatal, the researchers said. This puts the heart risks of generic NSAIDs on a par with a newer class of NSAIDs known as COX-2 inhibitors or coxibs, which includes Vioxx - a painkiller that U.S. drugmaker Merck pulled from sale in 2004 because of links to heart risks. Other drugs in the coxib class include cerecoxib, sold by Pfizer under the brand name Celebrex, and etoricoxib, sold by Merck under the brand name Arcoxia. “What we are saying is that they (coxibs, ibuprofen and diclofenac) have similar risks, but they also have similar benefits,” said Colin Baigent of the clinical trial service unit at Britain's Oxford University, who led the study published in The Lancet medical journal on Thursday. He stressed that the risks are mainly relevant to people who suffer chronic pain, such as patients with arthritis who need to take high doses of painkillers - such as 150mg of diclofenac or 2400mg of ibuprofen a day - for long periods. “A short course of lower dose tablets purchased without a prescription, for example, for a muscle sprain, is not likely to be hazardous,” he said. BALANCING RISKS AND BENEFITS The study team gathered data, including on admissions to hospital for cardiovascular or gastrointestinal disease, from all randomized trials that have previously tested NSAIDs. This allowed them to pool results of 639 randomized trials involving more than 300,000 people and re-analyze the data to establish the risks of NSAIDs in certain types of patients. In contrast to the findings on ibuprofen and diclofenac, the study found that high doses of naproxen, another NSAID, did not appear to increase the risk of heart attacks. The researchers said this may be because naproxen also has protective effects that balance out any extra heart risks. Baigent said it was important patients should not make hasty decisions or change their treatment without consulting a doctor. “For many arthritis patients, NSAIDs reduce joint pain and swelling effectively and help them to enjoy a reasonable quality of life,” he said. “We really must be careful about the way we present the risks of these drugs. “They do have risks, but they also have benefits, and patients should be presented with all those bits of information and allowed to make choices for themselves.” Donald Singer, a professor of clinical pharmacology and therapeutics at Britain's Warwick University, who was not involved in the study, said its findings “underscore a key point for patients and prescribers: powerful drugs may have serious harmful effects”. “It is therefore important for prescribers to take into account these risks and ensure patients are fully informed about the medicines they are taking,” he said in an emailed comment.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/05/30/high-doses-common-painkillers-increase-heart-attack-risks/

Is there a hidden scandal lurking in ObamaCare?

America, we are in trouble – and we better wake up and act.   Just look at the state of affairs in our country today.  We are seeing scandal after scandal, with the Benghazi controversy, the IRS targeting of conservative groups, and the freedom of the press being challenged by the Department of Justice. The word scandal is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “an action or event regarded as morally or legally wrong and causing general public outrage.”  I think the implementation of ObamaCare fulfills that definition. I remember back in 2010 when then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi made her infamous remark about the Affordable Care Act, saying “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what’s in it....” Well the bill has been passed, and now we see what’s in it: An utter mess with incomprehensible rules. If we compare the assertions the president made about ObamaCare when it was first introduced to the current bill as it has been passed today, we find that all the president’s guarantees regarding ObamaCare are not there.   The truth of the matter is that we were not fully informed.  For example, President Obama maintained that this bill would lower the cost of health care, especially in regards to insurance premiums.  That is simply not true.  Many different analyses clearly show that in some markets, insurance premiums can increase as high as 30 to 40 percent. One of the main reasons for this increase can be attributed to all the hidden taxes that this bill contains, which the insurance industry will likely pass on to consumers.   Another false guarantee given by the administration was that individuals would be able to keep their doctors and current level of service through ObamaCare.  Again, this is not true. The so-called insurance exchanges being set up in many states by the federal government will most likely create a non-competitive environment, meaning patients who cannot afford other types of insurance will be forced to buy insurance from the government.  And if their current doctors are not willing to participate in that single-payer health care system, these patients will ultimately lose the guarantee of keeping their own doctors. So what does this all mean? It means that if everything goes according to the president’s plan, the health care landscape is going to completely change over the next decade. A potential scenario is that private doctors will be employees of one large health care system. Health standards such as maintaining an ideal weight and eliminating habits like drinking alcohol and soda will be placed on families so that they can qualify for health care.  So in other words, your individual freedom will be targeted. I know many people argue that it’s better if everyone has health insurance and maintains a healthy lifestyle.  Yes it is, but I still believe that an individual’s health care should not be dictated by the government. Instead it should be a choice made by the individual and his or her health provider. Many senior politicians and consultants have found as of late that ObamaCare is a train wreck.  And yet, the person in charge of implementing ObamaCare, United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, continues to drive the train forward.  Rather than work with leaders who are suggesting changes ,she has decided to enlist the help of the private sector in getting donations to help fund ObamaCare.   Many have questioned this move, but one thing Secretary Sebelius knows is how to organize her community of followers.  Recently, she has teamed up with Nancy-Ann DeParle, former director of the White House Office of Health Reform, placing her in charge of asking insurance companies to donate $1 million or more to Enroll America, a non-profit organization promoting enrollment in the subsidized insurance markets, according to a report from Politico. You see, folks, ObamaCare is all about politics and control, and to me, that is a formula for disaster.  This is something that should not be taken for granted but rather openly evaluated by the American public.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/05/29/is-there-hidden-scandal-lurking-in-obamacare/