Monday, March 24, 2008
We may all be getting tattoos in the future— tattooed vaccinations against disease, that is. German researchers have shown that tattooing is a more effective way of delivering DNA vaccines than intramuscular injection.
Martin Mueller and his team at the Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum (German Cancer Research Centre) in Heidelberg published their findings in the online open access journal, Genetic Vaccines and Therapy.
Using a coat protein from the human papillomavirus (HPV the cause of cervical cancer) as a model DNA vaccine antigen, they compared delivery by tattooing the skin of mice with standard intramuscular injection with and without the molecular adjuvants that are often given to boost immune response.
The tattoo method gave a stronger humoral (antibody) response and cellular response than intramuscular injection, even when adjuvants were included in the latter. Three doses of DNA vaccine given by tattooing produced at least 16 times higher antibody levels than three intramuscular injections with adjuvant. The adjuvants enhanced the effect of intramuscular injection, but not of tattooing.
Tattooing is an invasive procedure done with a solid vibrating needle, causing a wound and sufficient inflammation to "prime" the immune system. It also covers a bigger area of the skin than an injection, so the DNA vaccine can enter more cells. These effects may account for the stronger immune response arising from introducing a DNA vaccine into the body by tattooing.
Of course, the tattooing approach may not be to everyone's taste - as it is likely to hurt - but the researchers believe that it could have a role in, for instance, routine vaccination of cattle or in delivering therapeutic (rather than prophylactic) vaccines to humans.
"Vaccination with naked DNA has been hampered by its low efficiency" says Mueller. "Delivery of DNA via tattooing could be a way for a more widespread commercial application of DNA vaccines."
This adds another reason for those who want to wear tattoo as a fashion acceessory because if you are planning to get a tattoo done, you are on your way to protect yourself from any number of diseases, including some cancers.
| Eye test peers into heat-related multiple sclerosis symptoms
News-Medical-Net Mon, 24 Mar 2008 5:28 PM PDT
A bodysuit that heats or cools a patient, combined with painless measurements of eye movements, is providing multiple sclerosis researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center with a new tool to study the mysterious link between body temperature and severity of MS symptoms.
| Merrill Goozner: The Social Determinants of Health
HuffingtonPost Tue, 25 Mar 2008 1:38 PM PDT
>From GoozNews.com: This morning, let's consider the case of Fay Derricote, an obese, 44-year-old former government contract worker confined to a wheelchair with multiple sclerosis....
| The dose of worms that could cure MS
Daily Mail Tue, 25 Mar 2008 2:19 AM PDT
Could drinking a cocktail of worm eggs help patients with multiple sclerosis? It sounds like medieval witchcraft, but the Food and Drug Administration, which vets all drug trials in the U.S., has just sanctioned a study to see if the gruesome mixture can ease the symptoms of the disease
| Diagnosis: MS
The Charlotte Observer Tue, 25 Mar 2008 0:12 AM PDT
Q&A FROM PAGE 1E She still remembers the denial, fear, anger and depression that followed her diagnosis of multiple sclerosis in 2000. "When you're told you have MS and you're 34, that's a big deal," said Dr. Kym Orsetti Furney, of Charlotte. Eight years later, she has a more hopeful outlook, and she shares that with other newly diagnosed patients in a book that mixes her personal story with ...
| Loss of Mobility Found to Impact Quality of Life and Emotional and Financial Health of Most People Living with ...
Business Wire via Yahoo! Finance Tue, 25 Mar 2008 7:00 AM PDT
NEW YORK & HAWTHORNE, N.Y.----The symptoms of multiple sclerosis that affect mobility have a significant impact on quality of life, safety, and financial and emotional health among many people living with MS, according to the results of two 2008 surveys conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Acorda Therapeutics, Inc. and the National MS Society.
The Charlotte Observer Mon, 24 Mar 2008 5:10 PM PDT
She still remembers the denial, fear, anger and depression that followed her diagnosis of multiple sclerosis in 2000. "When you're told you have MS and you're 34, that's a big deal," said Dr. Kym Orsetti Furney, of Charlotte. Eight years later, she has a more hopeful outlook, and she shares that with other newly diagnosed patients in a book that mixes her personal story with medical advice. ...
Stem Cell Research News
BioMed Central Awards Dinner Celebrated Excellence In Open Access Research
The winners of the 2007 BioMed Central Research Awards were announced at an awards ceremony at the Royal Society of Medicine. The event was attended by shortlisted authors, eminent researchers from around the world, open access advocates and science journalists.
First Study To Investigate The Effect Of Father's Diet On Chromosomal Abnormalities In Sperm Reveals Link With Folate A Vitamin B
Researchers have found an association between a vitamin found in leafy green vegetables, fruit and pulses  and levels of chromosomal abnormalities in men's sperm. Men who consumed high levels of folate (a water-soluble B vitamin that occurs naturally in food) and folic acid (the synthetic form of the vitamin) tended to have lower levels of abnormal sperm where a chromosome had been lost or gained (known as aneuploidy).
From the PharmaLive.com News Archive - Mar. 20, 2008
LONDON, March 20, 2008-The European Medicines Agency (EMEA) has concluded that warnings about liver injury should be added to the product information for Tysabri (natalizumab).
Tysabri is used to treat relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) in patients with high disease activity despite treatment with a beta-interferon or whose disease is severe and evolving rapidly.
Following a review of reports of liver injury in patients treated with Tysabri, the EMEA’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) concluded that there is a need to update the product information for Tysabri to warn patients and prescribers that liver injury may occur.
Doctors should monitor the liver function of patients receiving Tysabri. Patients who observe any signs of liver injury, such as yellowing of the skin or the whites of the eyes, or unusual darkening of the urine should see their doctor.
The CHMP has requested that Elan, the marketing authorisation holder for Tysabri, submits a variation to the marketing authorisation to implement these changes.
As with all medicinal products, the EMEA will continue to monitor Tysabri closely to ensure that the benefits of the medicine continue to outweigh its risks.
-- ENDS --
1. More information about the EMEA recommendation is available in a question-and-answer document.
2. More information about Tysabri, including the currently approved information to prescribers and patients can be found in the European Public Assessment Report: http://www.emea.europa.eu/humandocs/Humans/EPAR/tysabri/tysabri.htm
3. This press release, together with other information on the work of the EMEA, can be found on the EMEA website: www.emea.europa.eu
Media enquiries only to:
Martin Harvey Allchurch or Monika Benstetter
Tel. (44-20) 74 18 84 27, E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Genetic-testing consumers have tools but little guidance - Los Angeles Times
Thinking about shoring up your personal health future? The signs say these are the tools you'll need.
But don't count on finding an employee to help you figure out how to use these intriguing new products, what to make of their results or whether you should have them to begin with. This is largely a DIY marketplace, and patients intent on detecting cracks and flaws in their personal genetic foundation and acting to patch them up are finding they're pretty much on their own.
That's the finding of a new study by researchers at the Rand Corp. and the Veterans Administration, published as the centerpiece of a special edition of the Journal of the American Medical Assn. devoted to genomics and genetic testing. After reviewing the findings of 68 studies on genetic testing -- its practice, its meaning as understood by healthcare professionals and patients, and its effect -- the authors concluded that a "wide gap" exists "between what knowledge is available and what health systems need to know" if genetic testing is to improve the nation's health.
"This is such an exciting time right now," said Dr. Maren Scheuner, an internal and genetic medicine specialist and lead author of the JAMA article, "Delivery of Genomic Medicine for Common Chronic Adult Diseases." But, she added, "lots of different things will need to change as we adopt this new information and technology."
Detailed advice lacking
Today, genetic tests can identify and characterize 1,550 genes linked to health outcomes -- a more than 15-fold increase in the last 15 years. As the 20th century came to a close, genetic tests were in wide use to identify carriers of single-gene mutations -- patients who, as a result, had a greatly increased likelihood of developing devastating diseases such as sickle-cell anemia or Huntington's disease. Among the best known and most widely used are those that test for the BRCA1 and BRCA 2 genetic mutations, which raise a woman's risk of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer to as high as 80%.
Many of the new assays, however, reveal health prospects more subtle and complex. They can ferret out the genes -- in some cases, whole suites of genes that interact with each other and the environment -- that raise a patient's risk of developing chronic disorders such as depression, diabetes, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. But how they interact with each other and the environment, and how powerfully or marginally each of many genes contributes to a patient's increased disease risk, is poorly understood.
For patients, a finding of increased genetic risk for these chronic conditions could have the positive effect of encouraging lifestyle choices aimed at prevention. But genomic research remains short on specific advice that physicians could use to motivate patients, such as how much maintaining a healthy weight or a regular schedule of exercise could counteract the risk increase from a given genetic mutation.
As a result, a patient deliberating whether to get tested for these gene variations is likely to do so amid huge uncertainty. Researchers and scientists are still working to unlock these mysteries. In studies and surveys assessed by Scheuner and her colleagues, majorities of physicians acknowledged they feel poorly equipped to advise patients on whether to get these tests -- or, if they do, how to interpret their meaning. Medical geneticists and genetic counselors -- all but 7% of whom are clustered in pediatric and obstetric specialties -- are scarce and poorly trained in chronic disease and adult medicine. Insurance companies have no means of assessing the therapeutic value of the tests and therefore are disinclined to pay for them.
And patients, though excited by the promise of the new genomic medicine, worry that the results of genetic tests, when they suggest a heightened risk of disease, could be used against them by insurance companies, employers and even marital prospects. In studies reviewed by Scheuner, 30% to 50% of patients surveyed said concerns about privacy and insurance coverage would influence their decision about undergoing gene testing.
Finally, researchers acknowledge that there's substantial uncertainty about the effect genetic tests will have on patients. Amid abundant evidence that obesity and sedentary lifestyle contribute strongly to chronic diseases, large numbers of Americans remain overweight and don't exercise.
Whether a finding of increased genetic risk will prompt a patient to take action is equally uncertain, Scheuner said. One study in which overweight patients got dietary recommendations informed by genetic tests found improved weight loss compared with those who did not. But a 2002 study of longtime smokers found that those who received a positive finding for increased genetic risk of lung cancer were no more likely to stop smoking than were those whose genetic test found no such genetic predisposition.
Thriving market for tests
But ready or not, said UCLA cancer and genetic specialist Dr. Patricia Ganz, the age of genomic medicine is on its way. Scientists are finding significant associations between genes and diseases, and those are quickly finding their way into a thriving market for medical screening. Physicians and genetic counselors, Ganz said, will need to be trained in greater numbers to prepare for the increased use of such tests. And, he added, federal legislation -- such as a bill passed by the House but now stalled in the Senate -- will be needed to protect patients from genetic discrimination.
"We're going to have people who are willing to pay for genetic tests -- we know that because they already pay for full-body CT scans," Ganz said. "They'll have this done and no one will know how to present this information. That's the thing we really need to guard against."
Designer t-cells suppress multiple sclerosis in mice: study
AFP via Yahoo! News Mon, 24 Mar 2008 2:35 PM PDT
A new drug currently being tested in humans has been found to suppress multiple sclerosis and other auto immune diseases in mice, according to a study published Monday.
| EMEA Concludes New Advice To Doctors And Patients For Tysabri (natalizumab) Needed, Europe
Medical News Today Mon, 24 Mar 2008 9:11 AM PDT
The European Medicines Agency (EMEA) has concluded that warnings aboutliver injury should be added to the product information for Tysabri(natalizumab). Tysabri is used to treat relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) inpatients with high disease activity despite treatment with abeta-interferon or whose disease is severe and evolving rapidly.
They tried to put me in a wheelchair but I said no, no, no ... Amy Winehouse's mother reveals her secret 30-year ...
Daily Mail Mon, 24 Mar 2008 1:49 AM PDT
For nearly 30 years, Janis Winehouse was plagued with illness, but refused to acknowledge the mysterious symptoms that appeared from nowhere then vanished. Then, seven years ago, she suffered a total collapse and after a barrage of tests was finally diagnosed with multiple sclerosis
Activists for the disabled take aim at Golden Gate National
Marin Independent-Journal - San Rafael,CA,USA
Sieck, who loved hiking before multiple sclerosis confined her to a wheelchair, has joined a lawsuit over access at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area ...
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'Therapeutic cloning' could help treat Parkinson's disease
Daily Mail - UK
The cells were successfully used to treat animals with the disease for the first time. The experiment marked the first time that cloned stem cells had been ...
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Hybrid cells - monsters or miracles?
Scotsman - United Kingdom
Supporters of the legislation say creating hybrid embryos will allow more research into how diseases like multiple sclerosis work. As stem cells have the ...
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Ghost of Reagan Urges Bush to Change Misering Ways
Second Supper (satire) - La Crosse,WI,USA
... stem cells and their division patterns could lead to advances in treatment for many degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis, ...
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Opexa Therapeutics Announces Retirement of CEO David McWilliams
Trading Markets (press release) - Los Angeles,CA,USA
... especially as we approach completion of the Tovaxin(R) Phase IIb trial." Opexa Therapeutics develops and commercializes cell therapies to treat ...
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Opexa Therapeutics to Present at the Cambria Capital Investor Meeting
InfoBolsa - Spain
The Company s lead product, Tovaxin, a T-cell therapy for multiple sclerosis is in Phase IIb trials. The Company holds the exclusive worldwide license for ...
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