By: lovingitall0
14 Jul 2004, 08:57 AM EDT
Msg. 160870 of 160900
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Patients anticipate high number of side effects to cancer treatment

13 Jul 2004

A new study finds patients about to undergo chemotherapy or radiation expect a high number of side effects, and that age, gender, educational background, and the type of cancer all influence how many side effects a patient expects. The authors of the study, published July 12, 2004 in the online edition of CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, say it may help identify patients who may benefit from early side effect management and pretreatment information preparation. A free abstract of the study will be available via Wiley InterScience.

Side effects from chemotherapy or radiation therapy can contribute to diminished quality of life for patients at best and to treatment failures at worst. More and more literature has found that patients who expect a side effect, such as nausea, are more likely to develop the symptom. While much time and effort is expended characterizing the side effects of cancer therapies, little is known about what side effects patients expect to experience and what type of patient is most likely to anticipate them.

Mr. Maarten Hofman from the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center at the University of Rochester was part of a team of investigators to characterize the side effect expectations of 938 cancer patients prior to treatment.

Patients anticipated an average 8.7 symptoms. Even after accounting for patients with existing similar symptoms, the most common expected side effects were fatigue, nausea, hair loss, skin problems, weight loss, pain, and sleep problems.

In identifying characteristics of those who anticipated more side effects, age, gender, educational background and the type of cancer influenced expectations. Patients under age 60 expected more side effects than patients over 60, and women expected more symptoms than men. Patients with a college education anticipated more side effects than those who had only a high school education. Furthermore, patients with hematologic cancers, such as leukemia, and lung cancer expected the greatest number of side effects while those with prostate cancer expected the fewest.

One question left unanswered by the study is whether expectation plays a role in the development of some symptoms. While prior studies have shown patients who expect nausea are more likely to experience it, it remains unclear whether the same holds true for other symptoms, like fatigue.

Clearly, patients expect a "high number of side effects prior to cancer treatment with either chemotherapy or radiotherapy," conclude the authors, adding: "A potential clinical application of these results is to identify, before treatment begins, a group of people for whom extra attention in terms of side effect management and informational preparation may be quite beneficial," pointing to studies that show educating patients can help limit side effects.

Article: "Cancer Patients' Expectations of Experiencing Treatment-Related Side Effects: A University of Rochester Cancer Center-Community Clinical Oncology Program Study of 938 Patients from Community Practices," Maarten Hofman, Gary R. Morrow, Joseph A. Roscoe, Jane T. Hickok, Karen M. Mustian, Dennis F. Moore, James L. Wade, Tom R. Fitch, CANCER; Published Online: July 12, 2004 (DOI: 10.1002/cncr.20423); Print Issue Date: August 15, 2004.

By: lovingitall0
14 Jul 2004, 09:23 AM EDT
Msg. 160875 of 160900
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'Tidal wave' of AIDS orphans rising

13:52 13 July 04
News Scientist

The world is facing a “mind-boggling” crisis of children orphaned as a result of AIDS, reveals a major international report.

The most comprehensive analysis of orphans to date suggests that by 2010 sub-Saharan Africa will be home to 50 million orphans due to AIDS. Currently 12.3 million children have been orphaned by the virus in this region.

“Parts of sub-Saharan Africa are undergoing a tidal wave of orphaning, in varying degrees due to AIDS,” said Carol Bellamy, executive director of UNICEF, at the launch of the report on Tuesday.

“The most striking finding of this report is that the overall number of orphans worldwide would be falling were it not for the pandemic of HIV/AIDS. Overall, orphan numbers have dropped by a tenth since 1990,” she says.

However, in some African countries as many as 20 per cent of all children are now orphans. In countries like Botswana and Zimbabwe, this is mainly due to AIDS. But in others like Rwanda, other causes like conflict, are mainly to blame.

Bellamy says the enormous scale of orphaning in Africa will have huge consequences. “Unfortunately, we are talking about something truly destabilising societies, even more than the pandemic itself,” says Bellamy.

Vast gaps

“These children are the forgotten victims of this epidemic,” said Peter Piot, executive director of UNAIDS. The new study, based on estimates of orphans in 93 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, is a joint report by UNAIDS, UNICEF and USAID. It was launched at the XV International AIDS conference in Bangkok, Thailand.

The document, endorsed by all UN agencies urges action to pull orphans and other vulnerable children “back from the brink”. Bellamy says there are “vast gaps” in what is being done for vulnerable children. Only 17 countries made the first step, in 2003, of producing national policies to help these children.

Piot says that support for orphans must be an integral part of any AIDS programme. Another report, released at the conference on Monday, reveals that just 700,000 orphans worldwide received some kind of support from AIDS resources.

Tuesday's report recommends a framework for supporting orphans, including community based approaches to strengthen the caring capacity of extended families, access to education, and improved legal and policy changes – for example, to ensure they do not lose their inheritances.

Piot notes that studies show children orphaned by AIDS are more likely to contract the disease themselves later in life. Bellamy adds that these children are more likely to be malnourished and to suffer a loss of knowledge from parents, such as how to farm crops.

Labour force

A previous World Bank report on South Africa suggests the orphan crisis will have a major economic impact, as these children may be less able to contribute to the labour force.

The new orphans report uses a different methodology from previous “Children on the Brink” reports. Children under 18 are included instead of only those under 15. The term orphan due to AIDS refers to “a child who has at least one parent dead from AIDS”.

The report did not include numbers other vulnerable children – such as those caring for a parent dying of AIDS.

Data on AIDS orphans were used only for sub-Saharan Africa as the low prevalence in other regions of the world meant the data was not as reliable.

Shaoni Bhattacharya, Bangkok
By: tadly
14 Jul 2004, 10:40 AM EDT
Msg. 160884 of 160900
(This msg. is a reply to 160816 by Ourobouros.)
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Clinical Results of RETICULOSE in Patients With AIDS
NEW YORK, Dec. 10, 1996 -- Advanced Viral Research Corp (Nasdaq Bulletin Board: ADVR) today announced preliminary results of a clinical trial of its peptide nucleic acid drug RETICULOSE in patients with AIDS. The double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial is being conducted at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, University of the West Indies School of Medicine, Barbados, by Henry Fraser, M.D., Timothy Roach, M.D., and Paul Levett, Ph.D.

According to a written summary of the trial by Dr. Levett, forty-three patients never previously treated with HIV anti-retroviral therapy, were enrolled in the study. Twenty-one patients received RETICULOSE and twenty-two patients received placebo, administered daily, every other week, for a sixty-day period. Patients were observed for another sixty days following the conclusion of treatment.

The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays for viral load were performed by LabCorp (Roche), and the CD4 counts were performed by SmithKline Beecham Clinical Laboratories.

At the end of the sixty-day treatment period, the key results of this preliminary report were:

-- A 37 percent increase in the mean CD4 positive T-cell lymphocytes counts in patients receiving RETICULOSE as compared with a 7 percent decrease in the control group that received placebo, and

-- A 21 percent average decrease in HIV viral load, as measured by quantitative RNA PCR, in the RETICULOSE-treated patients, in contrast to a 33 percent increase in HIV viral load in the control group.

At the end of the sixty-day observation period the mean HIV viral load of the treated group was less than half (42 percent) of the control group.

Eighty-three percent of the patients who received RETICULOSE had a rise in blood hemoglobin and 61 percent had a rise in hemoglobin equal to or greater than one gram per deciliter (gm/dl). In contrast, 44 percent of patients who received placebo had a rise in blood hemoglobin during the study period, and in only 25 percent was the increase equal to or greater than 1 gm/dl.

Clinically, 72 percent of patients who were given RETICULOSE maintained or increased their body weight. This occurred in only 30 percent of the placebo-treated patients.

There was zero toxicity and no side effects were observed by physicians or reported by patients as a result of RETICULOSE therapy.

"In view of the encouraging preliminary results of this clinical study in AIDS patients and the absence of any toxic side effects, we are eager to move forward to the next stage of this clinical trial with RETICULOSE," said Shalom Z. Hirschman, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Advanced Viral Research Corp. "Drs. Fraser, Roach and Levett plan to submit the results for publication upon completion of the trial."

The study is being supported by Advanced Viral Research Corp ADVR is developing RETICULOSE, a non-toxic peptide nucleic acid preparation, that in the past was used to treat a number of viral infections. The company has neither monitored nor observed this clinical trial.

NOTE: This news release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, including risks associated with clinical development, regulatory approvals, including application to the FDA, product commercialization and other risks described from time to time in the SEC reports filed by ADVR. RETICULOSE is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or any comparable agencies of any other countries.

(Voluntary Disclosure: Position- Long; ST Rating- Buy; LT Rating- Strong Buy)

By: lovingitall0
14 Jul 2004, 10:57 AM EDT
Msg. 160890 of 160901
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Virus tied to breast cancer: study


A virus may play a role in causing breast cancer, say American researchers, suggesting that the disease could be spread through populations.

They found traces of the virus, which is similar to one known to cause breast cancer in mice, in up to three-quarters of tumour samples taken from women worldwide.

Nine out of 10 of the samples that contained the virus were from aggressive breast cancers, suggesting it may cause a more virulent form of the disease.

Paul Levine and colleagues from the George Washington University School of Public Health say in the online edition of the journal Cancer: "These findings provide increasing evidence for a human breast cancer virus with geographic differences in prevalence".

But the findings were dismissed by British expert Rob Newton, of the Cancer Research UK epidemiology unit at Oxford, who said the virus that caused breast cancer in mice had been identified in 1936, and researchers had spent decades looking unsuccessfully for a human equivalent.

"The evidence [for a human equivalent] remains deeply unconvincing and deeply contentious," he said.

The American research involved analysis of 38 tissue samples taken from Tunisian women with breast cancer. The tissue samples were tested in two independent US laboratories.

The results showed 74 per cent of the samples tested positive for viral sequences from the mouse mammary tumour virus (MMTV), a much higher proportion than found in tissue samples from breast cancer patients in other parts of the world.

Previous studies have shown MMTV virus present in 36 per cent of American women with breast cancer, in 38 per cent from Italy, 42 per cent from Australia and 31 per cent from Argentina.

The researchers say: "MMTV may be spread by a species of house mouse that is extremely common in North Africa but less so in the US. Studies show that some colonies of these mice are commonly infected with MMTV."

Cancer experts believe the study of viruses is one of the most important areas of research because infections are second only to tobacco as a cause of cancer and, once identified, vaccines can be developed.

But Dr Newton said the geographical variations in breast cancer could be due to differences in the average age of first birth, start of menstruation and menopause.

Last year, University of New South Wales researchers said men who developed breast cancer could also carry the MMTV virus.

New Zealand Herald