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New organ donor law raise ethics concerns

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            HEALTH TIPS - Monday, April 9, 2007
               "News That Keeps You Healthy"   

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       New organ donor law raise ethics concerns

WASHINGTON, -- A model law updating U.S. organ donation pro-
cedures that is being circulated among states is raising 
ethics concerns about dying patients' rights and wishes. The
Revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act updates 1968 legislation
that was adopted by every state to make organ donation pro-
cedures uniform, and the National Conference of Commission-
ers on Uniform State Laws issued the revision. Among changes
to the 1968 version is that the law is emphatic a person's 
decision to be an organ donor cannot be revoked by anyone 
else, but expands the list of people who can consent to an 
unconscious patient becoming a donor, the Washington Post 
reported. Critics are concerned the law could make doctors 
more reluctant to administer morphine or other drugs to a 
dying person for fear making their organs unusable. "My 
concern is that the dying patient is going to be neglected 
or even harmed for the benefit of someone else," said Gail 
Van Norman, a professor of anesthesiology and bioethics at 
the University of Washington in Seattle. Virginia, Idaho, 
Utah and South Dakota have adopted the new bill and it is 
awaiting governors' signatures in Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa 
and New Mexico, the Post said.

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    Major clinical breast cancer study begins

JACKSONVILLE,(UPI) -- U.S. medical researchers have found 
combining two drugs targeted against HER2-positive breast 
cancer might offer more benefit than just using one. 
Dr. Edith Perez, director of the Mayo Clinic's Jackson-
ville, Fla., Breast Clinic., is leading a national trial 
with 109 participants that will look at the safety and 
benefit of adding lapatinib (Tykerb) to trastuzumab 
(Herceptin) for the treatment of early stage HER2-positive 
breast cancer. The study -- the first major clinical res-
earch of its kind -- started March 16 with patient recruit-
ment. "Worldwide, no more than 100 patients have been 
tested with this combination treatment, so we are pleased 
that we now offer a comprehensive study in the United States
to assess the possible benefit of this therapy," said Perez.
She will lead a consortium of 35 investigators who will 
enroll 109 participants at up to 100 different cancer treat-
ment centers across the nation. "We are finding that the 
best way to treat a cancer is to understand the biological 
characteristics of the cancer and then use therapies dir-
ected at those specific biological or molecular abnormal-
ities," she added. 

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     Protein is identified in type 2 diabetes

NEW YORK, -- U.S. scientists have identified a protein as an
important partner in the insulin-mediated uptake of glucose 
by cells, advancing type 2 diabetes research. The discovery 
by Weill Cornell Medical College researchers opens the way 
to potential new drug targets for the prevention and treat-
ment of type 2 diabetes. "Glucose gets into muscle and fat 
cells assisted by a special transporter called GLUT4," 
explained senior researcher Dr. Timothy McGraw. "In our 
study, when the protein (Rab10) was eliminated or its 
activity switched off, insulin was no longer able to 
properly trigger the recruitment of the GLUT4 glucose 
transporter to the surface of cells. "The recruitment of 
GLUT4 to the cell surface increases glucose movement from 
the blood into cells, where the glucose is stored for future
use," he added. "Thus, Rab10 is involved in the insulin 
regulation of blood glucose levels. A disruption in the reg-
ulation of blood glucose levels, a condition called 'insulin
insensitivity,' is a hallmark of type 2 diabetes, a disease 
that affects nearly 20 million Americans." The research is 
detailed in the April issue of the journal Cell Metabolism.

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