Cancer Drug Can Activate HIV Reservoirs To Target For Eradication

Dr. Satya Dandekar PhD Professor and Chair Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology UC DavisMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Satya Dandekar PhD
Professor and Chair
Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology
UC Davis

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Dandekar: Current anti-retroviral therapy is effective in suppressing HIV replication and enhancing immune functions in HIV infected individuals. However, it fails to eradicate the latent HIV reservoirs. Therapy interruption leads to a rapid viral rebound in these patients.  Eradication of latent HIV reservoirs is essential to achieve HIV cure. A “shock and kill” strategy for HIV cure has been proposed that involves reactivation of latent viral reservoirs using latency reversal agents (LRA) and eradication by the immune response. This highlights the need to identify potent LRAs to optimally activate latent HIV reservoirs so that immune surveillance and clearance mechanisms can be effectively engaged in the process of viral eradication. We have found that ingenol-3-angelate (PEP005), an anti-cancer drug can effectively reactivate latent HIV. It is a protein kinase C agonist that activates NF-kB and stimulates HIV expression. In combination with another compound, JQ1, a previously known p-TEFb agonist, the efficacy of PEP005 for HIV reactivation is markedly increased. In addition, ingenol-3-angelate decreases the expression of HIV co-receptors on immune cells, which potentially will help preventing further spread of the virus. The use of ingenol-3-angelate in combination with other latency reversal agents provides an excellent opportunity to optimally activate latent HIV reservoirs and target them for eradication.

Continue reading

Modern Wireless Devices May Cause Excessive Oxidative Stress In Humans

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Prof. Igor Yakymenko

Laboratory of Biophysics, Institute of Experimental Pathology, Oncology and Radiobiology NAS of Ukraine

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Prof. Yakymenko: We know a lot about both health effects and metabolic effects of radiofrequency radiation (RFR) today, including mutagenic and carcinogenic effects. For example, epidemiological studies over the world indicate that 5 years of cell phone use 20 min per day increase risk of acoustic neuroma 3 times. Or, for example, 4 years of cell phone use 1 hour or more per day increase risk of some kinds of brain tumors, including glioma, 3-5 times. But it was not understandable the primary mechanisms of such effects. In our study we had analyzed about 100 recent studies on metabolic effects of radiofrequency radiation, including our own experimental data, and demonstrated that oxidative/free radical effects are mandatory feature of RFR exposure of living cells. Moreover, the chronic radiofrequency radiation exposure can produce chronic oxidative stress in living cells as a first step for possible development of bulk of hazardous health effects.

Continue reading

Biomarker S100B Can Help Rule Out Hemorrhage After Minor Head Injury

Dr. Heinrich Thaler Trauma Hospital Meidling Vienna AustriaMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Heinrich Thaler
Trauma Hospital Meidling
Vienna Austria

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Thaler:  An increased prevalence of minor head injuries in elderly patients combined with the frequent use of platelet aggregation inhibitors resulted in increased hospital admissions and cranial computed tomography. We undertook the study with the aim to reduce the workload of medical staff and costs as well as the radiation burden in the management of patients with mild head injuries.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Dr. Thaler:  S 100B is a reliable negative predictor in elderly patients and/or in patients on platelet aggregation inhibitors to rule out an intracranial hemorrhage after minor head injury (S100B is an astroglial derived protein detectable in serum in the case of cerebral tissue damage). The negative predictive value of S100B is 99,6%. We conclude that S100B levels below 0.105 µg/L can accurately predict a normal cranial computed tomography after minor head injury in older patients and those on antiplatelet medication. Additionally we found no increased risk for intracranial hemorrhage in older patients or in patients receiving antiplatelet therapy.

Continue reading

Insulin Resistance Linked to Poor Memory Performance

Auriel A. Willette, M.S., Ph.D. Food Science and Human Nutrition Neuroscience Interdepartmental Graduate Program Gerontology Interdepartmental Graduate Program Iowa State University, AmesMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Auriel A. Willette, M.S., Ph.D.
Food Science and Human Nutrition
Neuroscience Interdepartmental Graduate Program
Gerontology Interdepartmental Graduate Program
Iowa State University, Ames

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Obesity is a major health concern around the world. Obesity causes insulin resistance, defined in this case as the inability of insulin to bind to its receptor and mediate glucose metabolism. Other researchers and I have recently found that higher insulin resistance is associated with less glucose metabolism in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. This relationship is found primarily in medial temporal lobe, an area necessary for generating new memories of facts and events. This is important because Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by progressive decreases in glucose metabolism over time, and partly drives worse memory performance. Insulin resistance in midlife also increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

We wanted to determine if insulin resistance is linked to similar effects in cognitively normal, late middle-aged participants decades before Alzheimer’s disease typically occurs. If so, insulin resistance might be an important biological marker to track from middle-age onwards. Thus, we examined the association between insulin resistance, regional glucose metabolism using FDG-PET, and memory function in 150 middle-aged participants, many of whom had a mother or father with Alzheimer’s disease.

We found that higher insulin resistance was strongly associated with less glucose metabolism throughout many brain regions, predominantly in areas that are affected by Alzheimer’s disease. The strongest statistical effects were found in left medial temporal lobe, which again is important for generating new memories. This relationship, in turn, predicted worse memory performance, both immediately after learning a list of words and a 20-minute delay thereafter.

The take-home message is that insulin resistance has an Alzheimer’s-like association with glucose metabolism in middle-aged, cognitively normal people at risk for Alzheimer’s, an association which is related to worse memory.

Continue reading

Mild Increase in Daily Sodium Increases Risk of Hypertension

Salt-SodiumMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Tomonori Sugiura, MD, PhD
Department of Cardio‐Renal Medicine and Hypertension
Nagoya City University Graduate School of Medical Sciences
Nagoya  Japan

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Sugiura: Although there is a close relationship between dietary sodium and hypertension, the concept that individuals with relatively high dietary sodium are at increased risk of developing hypertension compared to those with relatively low dietary sodium, has not been intensively studied in a cohort. Therefore, the present observational study was designed to investigate whether individual levels of dietary sodium critically affect future increases in blood pressure in the general population.

The main findings of this study were that a relatively high level of dietary sodium intake and also a gradual increase in dietary sodium, estimated by urinary sodium excretion, are associated with a future increase in blood pressure and the incidence of hypertension in the general population.

Continue reading

How To Handle ICD If Patient’s Heart Function Improves?

Alan Cheng, MD, FACC, FAHA, FHRS Associate Professor of Medicine Associate Professor of Pediatrics Director, Arrhythmia Device Service Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Baltimore, MD 21287MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Alan Cheng, MD, FACC, FAHA, FHRS
Associate Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics
Director, Arrhythmia Device Service
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Baltimore, MD

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Cheng: Sudden cardiac death (SCD) has been the most common way in which people in the United States die. While it’s hard to accurately identify who is a higher risk for SCD, we have learned from a number of studies over the past 30-40 years that people with significant reductions in their heart function (measured as the ejection fraction (EF)) is one group of individuals at high risk for Sudden cardiac death. In fact, the current American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association guidelines state that people with an EF below 35% are at high enough risk for Sudden cardiac death that these patients should undergo implantation of an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (or ICD for short), a device capable of monitoring the heart 24/7 and shocking the heart out of any arrhythmias that could lead to Sudden cardiac death. The data they cite for this recommendation are so compelling that they currently recommend implanting ICDs in patients not only among those who already experienced an Sudden cardiac death event, but also those who have not. Implanting an ICD to prevent Sudden cardiac death before they have had Sudden cardiac death is known as primary prevention and this accounts for about 70-80% of all ICD implants in the United States.

While the EF is the best metric out there to determine if a patient should get an ICD, it has its limitations. Because of these limitations, we have been interested for a long time in better understanding how the EF and other metrics affect a patient’s risk for Sudden cardiac death.

In this study, we followed 538 patients who were recipients of a primary prevention ICD who underwent repeat assessment of their EF during followup in order to determine if changes in their EF over time altered their risk for ICD shocks for ventricular arrhythmias or death. Over a median of almost 5 years of followup, we found that 40% of the cohort had improvements in their EF. And when the EF does improve, the risk goes down for ICD shocks for ventricular arrhythmias as well as for death.

Continue reading

7 Cancers May Occur More Frequently In LGBTQ Community

Gwendolyn P. Quinn, Ph.D. Moffitt Cancer Center University of South FloridaMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Gwendolyn P. Quinn, Ph.D.
Moffitt Cancer Center
University of South Florida

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Quinn: Our research group has been conducting studies of the LGBTQ community and their healthcare experiences combined with providers knowledge and attitudes about LGBTQ and cancer care. This led us to examine the literature on cancer and LGBTQ. The main findings point to the lack of rigorous data about cancer in the LGBTQ community. Our review revealed that 7 cancers (anal, breast, cervical, colorectal, colon and rectal, endometrial, lung and prostate cancers) may occur more frequently in the community due to elevated prevalence of risk factors and behaviors such as obesity and substance use; however, there are limited data on outcomes, morbidity and mortality. The lack of data makes it difficult for providers to fully inform patients about early detection, prevention, and treatment options and outcomes. Further, the lack of psychosocial data makes it difficult to provide supportive care recommendations and other forms of support Continue reading

Plasma Biomarker May Be Independent Risk Predictor of Breast Cancer In Women Without Family History

Karla M. Gonye, MBA President, sphingotec LLC Cambridge, MassachusettsMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Karla M. Gonye, MBA
President, sphingotec LLC
Cambridge, Massachusetts

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study?
Response:

  • Met- and Leu-Enkephalin: are endogenous pentapeptides of the family of opioid peptides known as opiod-growth factors (OGF)
  • Enkephalins have been widely studied and play a major role in a variety of physiological processes
    • Perception of pain
    • Regulation of stress
    • Regulation of cardiovascular function
    • Regulation of bone formation
    • Regulation of immune responses
  • Alcohol and pain relievers reduce synthesis of Enkephalins
  • Met-Enkephalin (opioid growth factor) inhibits tumor progression and metastasis and enhances natural killer cell activity1,2
  • Mechanisms3-7:
    • Opioids can directly interact with tumor cells to cause a cytotoxic or antiproliferative effect
    • Opioids can modulate host antitumor immune mechanisms
  • Opiods can also induce apoptosis
  • We need enkephalins to help inhibit tumor progression
  • At sphingotec, it was hypothesized that disease progression begins earlier than symptoms are present and that reduced enkephalins in the blood would be an indicator of future breast cancer; measurement of this hormone peptide was possible with the company’s expertise, and that test could be developed to precisely measure enkephalin.
  • This method is published in a separate publication by Ernst et al (2006) in Peptides.
  • To test this hypothesis, Sphingotec measured enkephalin levels in the MDC and MPP study populations to determine if an association could be made between lower enkephalins and risk of breast cancer: We related proenkephalin (P-ENK) in fasting plasma from 1929 healthy women (mean age 58±5.9 years) of the population based Malmö Diet and Cancer Study (MDCS) to incidence of breast cancer (n=123) using multivariate Cox proportional hazards models during 14.8 years of follow-up. For replication, P-ENK was related to risk of breast cancer (n=130) in an older independent sample from the Malmö Preventive Project (MPP) consisting of 1569 women (mean age 70.0±4.4 years), using multivariate logistic regression.

Continue reading

Socially Isolated Women Have Greater Risk of Suicide

Alexander C. Tsai, MD, PhD Center for Global Health, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, Cambridge, MassachusettsMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Alexander C. Tsai, MD, PhD
Center for Global Health
Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston

Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Tsai: Suicide is one of the leading causes of death among middle aged women, and the rates have been climbing over the past decade. At the same time, we know that Americans are becoming more and more isolated. As one example, over the past two decades, there has been a tripling in the number of people who say they don’t have anyone to confide in about important matters. In our study, we tracked more than 70,000 American women over two decades and found that the most socially isolated women had a threefold increased risk of suicide.

Continue reading

Single Use Sharps Recycling Many Reduce C. diff Infections

Dr. Monika Pogorzelska-Maziarz PhD MPH Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson School of Nursing Philadelphia, PA 19107MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Monika Pogorzelska-Maziarz PhD MPH

Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson School of Nursing
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?


Dr.
Pogorzelska-Maziarz: Sharps disposal containers are ubiquitous in healthcare facilities and there is a growing trend toward hospitals using reusable sharps containers. Several research studies have raised concerns about the potential for sharps containers to become a source of pathogen transmission within the healthcare setting but this issue that has not been systematically studied. This is an important issue given that contamination of the hospital environment has been shown to be an important component of pathogen transmission.

To examine whether the use of reusable versus single use sharps containers was associated with rates of Clostridium difficile, we conducted a cross-sectional study of acute care hospitals. Survey data on the different types of sharps containers used were collected from over 600 hospitals and this data was linked to the Medicare Provider Analysis and Review (MedPAR) dataset, which contains facility characteristics and C. diff infections data. We found that hospitals using single-use containers had significantly lower rates of C. diff versus hospitals using reusable containers after controlling for hospital characteristics such as geographic region, teaching status, ownership type, hospital size and urbanicity. This is an important finding giving the ubiquitous nature of sharps containers in the health care setting, the growing trend toward hospitals using reusable sharps containers and the high burden of C. diff in the hospital setting. Continue reading

Topical and Injected Placebos More Effective Than Pills

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Raveendhara R Bannuru MD, PhD, FAGE
Director, Center for Treatment Comparison and Integrative Analysis (CTCIA)
Asst Professor of Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine
Special & Scientific Staff, Center for Arthritis and Rheumatic Diseases
Tufts Medical Center Boston, MA

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Bannuru: Placebos are used to determine the efficacy of a wide variety of treatments for medical conditions such as osteoarthritis. A sound understanding of potential differences among placebos is essential for determining the relative efficacy of such treatments.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Dr. Bannuru: Our results indicate that different types of placebos do in fact differ in efficacy. Placebo injections and topical placebos were both found to be more effective than orally administered placebos for reducing knee osteoarthritis pain.

Continue reading

Patients With Health Insurance Receive Up To Triple Amount Of Preventive Care

Jared Fox, PhD CDC Office of the Associate Director for PolicyMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jared Fox, PhD
CDC Office of the Associate Director for Policy

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Fox:  Increasing the number of people who get preventive care is important to keep people healthier, avoid complications from illnesses, reduce long-term health care costs, and prevent premature deaths. By one estimate, over 100,000 lives could be saved each year if more people got their recommended preventive care.

By providing access to affordable insurance coverage and eliminating out-of-pocket costs for recommended preventive care in most health plans, the Affordable Care Act has reduced cost as a barrier to preventive care. This report could serve as a baseline for tracking the effects of some of the ACA’s preventive care provisions that might occur after 2012.

The services in this study are recommended by the US Preventive Services Task Force and the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices. The nine preventive services that were part of this study were:  screenings for blood pressure, breast cancer, cervical cancer, cholesterol, colon cancer, and diabetes; healthy diet counseling; and vaccination for hepatitis A and B. The data is from the 2011 and 2012 National Health Interview Survey.

In 2011 and 2012, people with health insurance received needed preventive care at up to three times the rate of those without insurance. People with higher household incomes also got more recommended preventive care than those with lower incomes.

Continue reading