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Breast cancer research is studied

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          HEALTH TIPS - Thursday, March 1, 2007
               "News That Keeps You Healthy"


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            Pigs arrive in bio-secure facility

MINNEAPOLIS, -- U.S. scientists say they've taken an impor-
tant step toward finding a cure for diabetes with the open-
ing of a bio-secure facility for "medical-grade" pigs. Re-
searchers with the Spring Point Project, an organization 
created to expedite the widespread availability of islet 
tissue for diabetes care, say the new $6.2 million, 21,000-
square-foot Islet Resource Facility in Minneapolis will be 
dedicated to finding and funding the cure for diabetes.
"Populating the Islet Resource Facility marks a major mile-
stone in our ability to offer islet transplants to all 
patients with diabetes who meet medical criteria," said Dr. 
Bernhard Hering, scientific director of the Diabetes 
Institute for Immunology & Transplantation at the 
University of Minnesota, which may run pre-clinical and 
clinical trials with Spring Point Project. "Human islet 
cell transplants have reversed diabetes in 90 percent of 
our recipients," said Hering. "However, the shortage of 
human donor organs greatly limits the applicability of 
islet transplants. Pig islets will solve this demand issue 
and are at the forefront of a far-reaching cure for 
patients with diabetes." Pancreatic islet cells from the 
approximately 100 pathogen-free pigs at the facility will 
be used for transplantation into diabetes patients in 
clinical trials.

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         Safety of prostate cancer therapy pondered

BOSTON, -- U.S. scientists are questioning the safety of 
androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer, saying 
it might increase the risk of heart disease. The study by 
researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham 
and Women's Hospital and other institutions say the ther-
apy might increase the risk of death from heart disease 
in patients over age 65. Although the findings need to be 
confirmed in clinical trials, the researchers say oncolo-
gists should weigh the benefits of androgen deprivation 
therapy against the risk of heart problems in older pros-
tate cancer patients. "Androgen deprivation therapy is 
associated with elevated body mass index, increased body 
fat deposits and diabetes, all of which raise the risk of 
death from heart disease," said the study's lead author, 
Dr. Henry Tsai. The researchers presented their study dur-
ing the weekend at the Prostate Cancer Symposium in 
Orlando, Fla., sponsored by the American Society of 
Clinical Oncology, the American Society for Therapeutic 
Radiology and Oncology and the Society of Urologic 
Oncology.

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            Breast cancer research is studied

CHAPEL HILL, N.C., -- A U.S. study suggests industry-fund-
ed breast cancer therapy research is more likely to report 
positive results than non-pharmaceutical funded studies.
In addition, researchers from the University of North 
Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Dana Farber Cancer Insti-
tute found significant differences in the design and nature 
of clinical trials supported by the pharmaceutical industry, 
as compared with trials without industry involvement. "Our 
study shines a flashlight on the issue of the rising role 
and potential impact of the pharmaceutical industry on 
breast cancer research and highlights important questions 
that need to be addressed through further research," said 
Dr. Jeffrey Peppercorn, assistant professor of medicine in 
University of North Carolina's school of medicine. "The 
significance of our study is not to say that the drug 
industry does anything wrong ... but if more and more 
research is funded by drug companies, then the limited 
amount of funding coming from other sources may need to 
be directed to address other questions." The study is 
available online at the Web site of Cancer, the journal 
of the American Cancer Society.

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Copyright 2007 by UPI. All rights reserved.

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