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The following is a review of diagnostics related medical research worldwide

The information is updated the first week of every month - so ... make this a regular stop in your information gathering activities.

The following information has been compiled from publicly available sources, StratCom does not assume any responsibility for the accuracy or the authenticity of the information and StratCom cannot be held liable for errors.

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Research News for January 1997

Amgen has initiated the first human clinical trials with Novel Erythropoiesis Stimulating Protein (NESP), a recombinant protein which stimulates the production of red blood cells. The clinical trials are designed to evaluate safety and efficacy of NESP for the treatment of anemia in patients with chronic renal failure. Amgen anticipates that initial clinical results will be available within a year. The company has also announced positive results of a Phase 3 clinical trial of Stem Cell Factor, the early-acting blood cell growth factor discovered by Amgen scientists. Stem Cell Factor reduced the number of blood cell collection procedures required to help cancer patients overcome potentially toxic doses of chemotherapy.

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 distinguished.
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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* Research News - December 1996
* Research News - November 1996
* Research News - October 1996
* Research News - September 1996
* Research News - August 1996
* Research News - July 1996
* Research News - June 1996

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