Pill camera to screen for colon cancer approved in U.S.

An ingestible pill camera to help screen for polyps and early signs of colon cancer has been approved for use in the U.S.

Given Imaging Ltd.’s PillCam Colon was originally touted as an alternative to traditional colonoscopy procedures, but the company’s research found images taken by the mini-camera aren’t as clear as those taken during the more invasive procedure.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the device for patients who have experienced an incomplete colonoscopy. The company estimates 750,000 U.S. patients are not able to complete the procedure each year, due to anatomy issues, previous surgery or various colon diseases.

“Colonoscopy is the most comprehensive option, but for up to 10 per cent of individuals, achieving a complete colonoscopy may not be possible,” Eric Hargis, CEO of the Colon Cancer Alliance, said in a release.

In 2001, Given Imaging received FDA approval for a similar device that images the small intestine.

The newly approved capsule has two miniature colour video cameras, a battery and light source. Once the patient ingests the capsule, it is designed to transmit images for about 10 hours.

Data is transferred from the device to a computer to be compiled. A doctor later reviews and reports the results.

Risks of the procedure include capsule retention, aspiration and skin irritation. Before the capsule is excreted, patients should not be near powerful electromagnetic fields, such as those created by an MRI device.

The PillCam Colon is commercially available in Canada, Japan, Europe, Latin America, Australia and parts of Asia and Africa.

Given Imaging also develops technology to visualize, diagnose and monitor the digestive system, including with its PillCam, a swallowed capsule endoscope.

A report by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer suggested that in 2011, half of Canadians aged 50 to 74 surveyed said they were up to date with their colorectal cancer screening — a fecal occult blood test in the past two years and colonoscopy in the past five years.

Last month, Alberta Health Services announced a new at-home, non-invasive screening test called “fit” – a fecal immunochemical test – for people aged of 50 to 74 at average risk of colorectal cancer.

A review of 19 studies published in Monday’s online issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine concluded FITs have high overall diagnostic accuracy for colorectal cancers.

Like the traditional fecal occult stool test, FIT involves collecting a stool sample at home to look for traces of blood. People using FIT don’t need to restrict their diet or stop taking medications.

Source: CBC news

Oral insulin capsule trial a success, company says

Israel’s Oramed, which is racing Novo Nordisk of Denmark to develop the world’s first insulin pill, moved a step closer to its goal on Thursday by announcing successful results from a small mid-stage test.

The oral drug delivery specialist said its insulin capsule had met all primary and secondary endpoints in a Phase IIa clinical trial and it now plans to launch a larger mid-stage study in the third quarter.

Shares in the Nasdaq-listed company opened 10 percent higher at $28.50 on the news. The stock has surged from around $4 since the end of 2012 on rising hopes for its insulin pill.

The concept of oral insulin as a way to relieve diabetics of several daily injections has been around since the 1930s, but making it a reality is extremely difficult because insulin is destroyed by enzymes in the digestive system.

Oramed believes that it has now found a solution to allow enough insulin to survive the onslaught of digestive juices to still do some good.

At least 90 percent of the more than 382 million diabetes sufferers worldwide are in the type 2 category, according to the International Diabetes Foundation, which expects the number of diabetes patients to near 600 million by 2035.

Consensus analyst forecasts suggest that the overall diabetes drug market, worth $37 billion a year at present, will reach more than $57 billion by 2018, according to Thomson Reuters Pharma.

Oral insulin could make it easier for sufferers to start early treatment, slow progression of the disease and delay the need for injections, Oramed said. Unlike injections, the ingested form passes first into the liver, which regulates the secretion of insulin into the bloodstream.

The new year-long Phase IIb study in the United States will study 150 type 2 diabetes patients and mainly test for the drug’s effectiveness, Chief Executive Nadav Kidron told Reuters after the company issued results of the Phase IIa trial.

During the Phase IIa trial, conducted under a new U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) drug protocol, 30 patients with type 2 diabetes entered an in-patient setting for one week.

“The FDA wanted us to show one thing – that it was safe so they will let us do a IIb trial,” Kidron said.

While Oramed was not checking for efficacy, Kidron said the IIa trial revealed that it was effective, though the sample size was too small for FDA purposes.

Oramed will also need to conduct a final large-scale Phase III trial before the drug is licensed for sale, so the capsule is still years away from hitting the market.

The company is, however, ahead of Novo Nordisk, which has yet to start Phase II testing.

Oramed is hoping to partner with large pharmaceutical firms for development and sales of the drug. But Kidron said that only preliminary discussions have taken place so far.

The company also plans to initiate a Phase IIa FDA study for type 1 diabetes in the near term.

The global expense for diabetes is about $500 billion and an oral version could bring a large drop in costs.

Oramed noted that the pill would not eliminate the eventual need for injections but could delay the shift to needles by many years.

Source: Yahoo news

Faster way to catch food poisoning microbes

A team of scientists, led by an Indian-origin researcher Sibani Lisa Biswal, has developed a faster method to catch unwanted microbes before they can make people sick with food poisoning.

The Rice University scientists used an array of tiny ‘nanomechanical cantilevers’, anchored at one end, kind of like little diving boards.

The cantilevers have peptides attached to them that bind to Salmonella – one of the pathogens most commonly associated with foodborne illness which can cause fever, diarrhoea and abdominal cramps.

When the bacteria bind to the peptides, the cantilever arm bends, creating a signal.

The screening system rapidly distinguished Salmonella from other types of bacteria in a sample.

One of the peptides could tell eight different types of Salmonella apart from each other.

The researchers stated that the technique could be applied to other common food pathogens.

“The new approach for pathogen screening is far faster than current commercial methods,” said Biswal, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Rice University.

Conventional methods to detect harmful bacteria in food are reliable and inexpensive, but they can be complicated, time consuming and thus allow contamination to go undetected.

The findings are reported in the ACS journal Analytical Chemistry.

Source: sify


Breath Test May Detect Signs of Lung Cancer: Study

Examining breath samples from patients with suspicious growths might help determine who needs surgery

Researchers tested the exhaled breath of people with suspicious lung lesions that were detected on CT scans. The breath was tested for levels of four cancer-specific substances, called “carbonyls.”

The breath samples were analyzed using a special device developed at the University of Louisville.

Having elevated levels of three of the four carbonyls was predictive of lung cancer in 95 percent of patients, while having normal levels of these substances was predictive of a noncancerous growth in 80 percent of patients, the researchers found.
Elevated carbonyl levels returned to normal after lung cancer patients had surgery to remove the cancer, according to the study, which was to be presented Tuesday at the Society of Thoracic Surgeons annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.

“Instead of sending patients for invasive biopsy procedures when a suspicious lung mass is identified, our study suggests that exhaled breath could identify which patients” may be referred for immediate surgery, study author Dr. Michael Bousamra, of the University of Louisville, said in a society news release.

This approach offers something new, he said, including “the simplicity of sample collection and ease for the patient.”

The data and conclusions of research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Source: webmd

World’s tallest woman recovering after operation to remove tumour

The world’s tallest woman has been saved from being paralyzed and going blind after doctors removed a huge tumor from her brain.

Siddiqa Parveen, who is estimated to be 7ft 8in tall, had a spine on the ‘verge of breaking’ and was feared to be losing her sight.

The 28-year-old suffered from gigantism brought on by a tumour on the pituitary gland, producing excess growth hormone.

She had already suffered fractures to her spine and was unable to stand up straight .

Doctors in India feared her back would “snap” if she went untreated and put weight on.

They also feared the massive tumour would cause her to go blind.

She was forced to travel 1,000 miles from her remote village in West Bengal to Delhi for the life-saving operation.

Neurosurgeon Dr Ashish Suri, of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, said the operation had been a success.

“The tumour had to be taken out through the nose by inserting an endoscope through the nostrils,” he said.

“She suffered significant blood-loss during the operation as the tumour was a vascular one. But she coped well.”

Siddiqa’s unbelievable size saw her recently crowned the world’s tallest woman by Guinness Book of Records – but it caused significant medical challenges.

Her frame was so large doctors were forced to use a large operating table, as well as additional trolleys to cope.

Dr PK Bithal, head of neuroanaesthesiology said: “Our maximum bed size is six feet, both in the operating theatre and intensive care unit

“Positioning her appropriately for surgery was a big problem. Her head size was enlarged, which made access of the tumour with our instruments, like endoscopes, extremely difficult.

“Anaesthetising her was a problem with her head size, since we did not have endotracheal tubes of her size, and she had difficulty lying down with the multiple fractures in her spine.”


But hospital authorities say it is only “the first of multiple steps in her road to complete recovery”.

Siddiqa, who weighs 130kg and has enlarged hands and feet, has been released from the intensive care unit but remains in hospital.

However, her problems are not just physical and doctors say she will need to be treated for a ‘psychosocial crisis’ – having been isolated for much of her life.

Dr Suri said: “She has been confined to her house for the major part of her life. An old teacher from her area is the only one she communicates with and only speaks Bengali.

“She has been silent for so long, it will take us a long time to ensure her complete recovery,” said Dr Tandon.

Siddiqa was mentioned in the 2014 Guinness Book of World Records as the new record holder after the 2012 death of Yao Defen from China who, at 233.3 cm -7 feet 7 inches – was the tallest woman on earth.

Siddiqa’s entry in the latest book states: “The tallest woman living is Siddiqa Parveen of South Dinajpur, India, who in December 2012 was measured by Doctor Debasis Saha from Fortis Hospitals to be at least 222.25 cm (7 feet 3.5 inches).

“Dr Saha estimates her standing height to be at least 233.6 cm (7 ft 8 in).”

Source: healcon


Rare surgery saves newborn girl

rare surgery2

A baby girl, who was diagnosed with a life threatening congenital heart disease in the womb, got a new lease of life as doctors at a city hospital performed a corrective surgery on her two hours after she was born.

Doctors at Care Hospital said the girl was suffering from a rare disorder wherein the oxygen-rich blood returned from the pulmonary veins was abnormally getting diverted to the liver instead of heart.

“A foetus is dependent on mother’s blood and hence the baby was normal in the womb. But after birth, babies suffering from this rare malformation, referred as Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR), die without a reconstructive surgery,” said Dr K Nageshwar Rao, paediatric cardiologist, Care Hospital, and part of the team that performed the first-of-its-kind surgery.

Source: Healcon

How vitamin D controls blood pressure

A research team has decrypted the one of the biological mechanisms about Vitamin D deficiency triggering a range of diseases.

Vitamin D regulates the elasticity of blood vessels and thus also affects blood pressure amplitude.

The two primary authors, molecular biologist Olena Andrukhova and medical doctor Svetlana Slavic, of the Institute of Physiology, Pathophysiology and Biophysics at the Vetmeduni Vienna, found that prolonged vitamin D deficiency can stiffen blood vessels.

Examining the aorta, an elastic blood vessel that expands with each pulse of blood and then constricts again, the researchers showed that vitamin D deficiency makes the vessel less flexible.

Andrukhova explained that Vitamin D enhances the production of the enzyme eNOS (endothelial nitric oxide synthase) in the inner layer of blood vessels, the endothelium. This is critical for the regulation of blood pressure.

She said that the enzyme produces a molecule called nitric oxide (NO), an important factor for the relaxation of smooth muscles in the blood vessels.

Andrukhova explained added that when too little NO is formed, the vessels become less flexible, which ultimately leads to higher blood pressure which can give rise to other circulatory diseases, asserting that indirectly, vitamin D controls blood pressure.

The results have been published in the journal Molecular Endocrinology.

Source: sify

Multiple vaccines associated with increased infant mortality

As pentavalent vaccine has already created widespread controversy with reports linking increased morbidity and mortality to multiple vaccines in low-income countries, including Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and India, a new study published in the journal Vaccine has diametrically opposed to the extensively held conviction that more vaccines administered to infants the better.

The new observational study titled, ‘Co-administration of live measles and yellow fever vaccines and inactivated pentavalent vaccines is associated with increased mortality compared with measles and yellow fever vaccines only’ is a result of randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial conducted during 2007-2011 in the West African country Guinea-Bissau. The study has questioned the belief that vaccination is always a life-saving intervention.

Sayer Ji, “My personal belief about the expanding vaccination schedule, as well as increasing the number of vaccine antigens per vaccine, is we are engaging in unprecedented mass experimentation on our children, as there are simply far too many variables to control and understand now in order to make the determination that they are effective, much less safe. It is likely — and research bears this out — that the ultimate result of employing so vaccines, along with the known dangers of excipients and adjuvants, is increased morbidity and mortality in exposed populations.”

As the finding hold importance when one considers that pentavalent vaccines, with the efforts of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), aims to reach millions of children in several developing countries, he said, “Global vaccination campaigns are based upon a fundamental error in thinking. You can’t vaccinate away undernourishment, poor living conditions, or lack of water sanitation. Let these charitable programmes and the wealthy nations and corporations put their money where their mouths are and provide ‘first world’ solutions for third world problems.”

“India stands today as the mother to one of the most advanced, while also ancient, medical systems in the world, Ayurveda, and must consider the implications of casting its inheritance to the wind in favour of strictly Western medical interventions, many of which are being aggressively championed for reasons that are as much political and economic as they are humanitarian in nature,” he said.

“The primary suggestion I would give is to not ignore the significant body of peer-reviewed research that now exists showing the unintended, adverse health effects of vaccination which may in some cases far outweigh their purported benefit. Also, these are not strictly academic matters but the lives of our children and future generations are on the line,” Sayer Ji opined.

In the light of the study, Dr Jacob Puliyel, head of paediatrics at St Stephen’s Hospital, New Delhi, told , “I do not think international agencies will do anything till we highlight every death as unacceptable.”

Source; Green med info

Roche immunotherapy drug may be ‘game changer’ in lung cancer

An experimental Roche drug that seems to work particularly well against lung cancer in smokers may be a “game changer” for these normally difficult-to-treat patients, researchers said on Sunday.

Presenting detailed data from an early-stage trial of the drug, called MPDL3280A, in patients with a form of the disease called non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), investigators said what they had found was “great news for lung cancer patients”.

Of 53 patients with NSCLC tumors treated with the drug, 23 percent saw their tumors shrink, according to results presented at the European Cancer Congress (ECC) in Amsterdam.

But the most encouraging numbers were among smokers, where the response rate was 26 percent compared with 10 percent of patients who had never smoked, said Professor Jean-Charles Soria of France’s Institute Gustave Roussy, who led the study.

Lung cancer, which is usually caused by smoking, is extremely difficult to treat successfully and once it has started to spread to other parts of the body, it is incurable.

Roche’s MPDL3280A is an engineered antibody that targets a protein called PD-L1 – a defense mechanism that tumors use to trick the immune system’s T-cells into being inactive.

By blocking PD-L1, the drug allows the T-cells to wake up and recognize the cancer, and then grow and multiply to attack it more efficiently.

Rival drug makers including Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb are developing immunotherapy drugs in a similar class of drugs known as PD-1 inhibitors, also designed to mobilize the body’s own immune system to fight cancer.

Soria’s team suspected that because lung tumors in smokers have a higher rate of genetic mutations than tumors of lung cancer patients who have never smoked, their immune systems may be more likely to respond vigorously when PD-L1 is blocked.

So they drilled down into the data more closely, separating out the 81 percent of the 53 patients who were smokers or former smokers, and the 19 percent of them who were not.

“And bingo, this is the first targeted agent (drug) that shows more activity in smokers than in non-smokers,” Soria told reporters in a briefing at the ECC.

Cora Sternberg, co-chair of the ECC’s scientific committee and an oncologist at the San Camillo and Forlanini hospitals in Rome who was not involved in the study, said that although the results were from very early-stage trials, they suggested the drug was “definitely a game changer” in lung cancer.

Roche is also investigating MPDL3280A’s potential for treating a range of other cancers, including melanoma skin cancer and kidney cancer, where it has already shown some promise in early trials.

Cornelis van de Velde, an oncologist at Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands and president of the European Cancer Organization, said Soria’s was an extremely important study for NSCLC patients, who currently have very few treatment options that make much impact on their disease.

“Hundreds of millions of euros have been spent chasing the dream of immunotherapy for lung cancer patients, but with zero results.” he said. “These early findings..Suggest that it has the potential to open new therapeutic approaches.”


Do weight loss pills actually work?

Q: Hi my name is Rohan and I am obese. I want to lose weight quickly. Tell me do weight loss pills work? Are they safe?

Rohan we are sorry to disappoint you but there’s no shortcut to losing weight. The only way to do it is a proper diet and exercise. While weight loss pills do work to a certain extent by either suppressing your appetite or loading your system with caffeine so that you work out for a longer period of time. The bad thing about them is that once you stop taking them, there’s a tendency for the lost weight to come back.

In the true sense they’re catalysts rather than miracle pills, and unless you watch what you eat and workout, they won’t work. In the long run, people who use them, develop tolerance and the drug stops being of any effect.

You also need to watch out for the side-effects of weight loss pills. Expert nutritionist Shilpa Mittal has seen many clients scammed into using these products, ‘Most pills are either suppressants or stimulants that hinder the absorption of fat into your body. Subsequently, they can also hinder the absorption of other essential nutrients and vitamins. They’ve also been known to increase the heart rate, blood pressure and cause other gastrointestinal side-effects like constipation,’ she said. They can also cause heavy sweating, insomnia, mood swings, headaches and anxiety.

Recently, one sort of weight loss pills called DNP 2,4 was in the news after it caused two deaths in the UK. One of them was an 18-year-old Indian student who was an avid bodybuilder and another one was a 23-year-old medical student who suffered from bulimia – an eating disorder. These pills though banned in 1938 continue to be available underground in the bodybuilding community or otherwise despite wide-ranging side-effects like nausea, vomiting, restlessness, flushed skin, sweating, dizziness, headaches, palpitations and could even lead to coma and death.

The matter of the fact is that there is no shortcut to losing weight and having lost 37 kg I can assure you that it is something that’s extremely doable with a little effort.

Source: Zee News