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Dutch and Belgian researchers reported they had found clear evidence linking Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia, with clogged arteries. They said Alzheimer's patients were more likely to have atherosclerosis. They also tested the DNA from most of the patients and found those who suffered dementia were more likely to carry a certain gene controlling production of apolipoprotein-E, which is known to be associated with Alzheimer's.
A group from Osaka University has combined genetic engineering
with artificial organ technologies to develop an artificial
lung which can re-oxygenate the blood for extended periods
of time without triggering blood clotting and inflammation reactions.
The prototype hybrid artificial lung comprises a tube filled
with a bundle of polyethylene hollow fibers, each of which is
surface-coated with blood vessel cells that have been genetically
engineered to carry the genes for a nitrogen oxide synthesizing
enzyme and interleukin-10, two substances which inhibit the formation
of blood clots. The ultimate goal is to develop an artificial
lung in which a person can use for as long as several months.
Source: Nikkei Industrial Daily, Jan. 22, 1997, p-5
Dr. Michelle B. French and associates at The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Victoria, Australia, have discovered that insulin and proinsulin could key autoantigens in the autoimmune destruction of beta-cells that leads to in IDDM in both humans and non obese diabetic mice. The scientists designed an experiment in which proinsulin was transgenically expressed in major histocompatibility complex class II bearing cells, including those in the thymus, to induce tolerance to proinsulin in non obese diabetic mice. Mice that expressed the transgenic proinsulin did not develop diabetes, whereas 9 of 10 nontransgenic littermates became diabetic.
Colorectal cancer guidelines developed by the US Agency for Health Care Policy and Research recommended that all individuals over the age of 50 take an annual fecal occult blood testing and have a screening sigmoidoscopy every five years.
Researchers at the Pacific Northwest Research Foundation, Seattle
have discovered that DNA of the prostate undergoes a dramatic
structural change when the tissue becomes cancerous. According
to the lead investigator, Dr. Donald C. Malins, they were able
to distinguish the DNA of healthy men from the DNA of men with
prostate cancer using sophisticated mathematical models based
on infrared spectroscopy. The technique requires a minute amount
of DNA that can be obtained by biopsy of the prostate and involves
correlations of over a million facets of atomic and molecular
structure. Using computer projections of DNA from healthy men
and those with prostate cancer, the researchers were able to clearly
distinguish the normal DNA from the cancer DNA. Also, when the
normal DNA and the cancer DNA were compared to the DNA of BPH
(benign prostatic hyperplasia), a cellular condition that often
precedes prostate cancer, the researchers showed that each of
the three types of DNA is unique-- that is, they can be readily
Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, January 7, 1997
Researchers in Spain lead by Dr. Jose Castillo of Hospital General
de Galicia, Santiago de Compostela have found an association between
excitatory amino acids and neuronal death in focal cerebral ischemia.
They therefore evaluated levels of glutamate and glycine in the
plasma and CSF of 128 patients admitted to the emergency department
with ischemic stroke. They found that plasma and CSF concentrations
of glutamate were higher in patients with progressing stroke
than in those with stable cerebral infarcts.
Source: The Lancet 1997;349:79-83.
GeneMedicine Inc. is beginning Phase I clinical trial for its insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I).The factor has potential broad application in the treatment of muscle disorders and neuropathies that afflict large patient diabetic populations and are not adequately addressed by current therapies. The IGF-I Gene Medicine incorporates the human IGF-I gene with one of our proprietary gene delivery systems, a polymeric PINC (Protective, Interactive, Non-Condensing) system that enables gene delivery to skeletal muscle, and a proprietary muscle-specific gene expression system. This product is designed to provide sustained, localized expression of the IGF-I protein after direct intramuscular injection to repair nerves and restore muscle mass and strength
Low levels of p27 expression in tumors predicts a shortened
disease-free survival and increased mortality. Research done
at Sunnybrook Health Science Center in Toronto by Dr. Charles
Catzavelos and colleagues showed that p27 protein levels are reduced
in primary breast cancers and are associated with tumor progression
in both in situ and invasive lesions with reduced disease-free
survival. They analyzed 168 primary breast tumors removed from
patients at the Center between 1986 and 1992.
Source: Nature Medicine 1997;3:152-154,222-234.
A British Research team at the University of Manchester have discovered
that in breast cancer patients with bone metastases, serum levels
of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D fall in those in whom disease
progresses. They found that serum 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D levels
were highest in patients with early disease and fell in normocalcemic
patients with bone metastases.
Source: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology Metabolism 1997;82:118-122.
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