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Study considers measles as a cancer killer.

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           HEALTH TIPS - Wednesday, March 7, 2007
               "News That Keeps You Healthy"   

Free Health Tips and Info Videos From: www.EVTV1.com

        Scientists study history of bird flu virus

DAVIS, Calif., -- U.S. scientists have reconstructed the 
history of the avian flu virus, providing information 
that might help health officials develop interventions. 
University of California-Davis researchers combined genetic 
and geographic data of the H5N1 avian flu virus to 
reconstruct its history during the past decade. They found 
multiple strains of the virus originated in the Chinese 
province of Guangdong, and also identified many of the 
migration routes through which the strains spread regionally 
and internationally. The researchers said by knowing where 
H5N1 strains develop and how they migrate, health officials 
can better limit the spread of the virus. "If you can 
control the virus at its source, you can control it more 
efficiently," said Professor Walter Fitch, a co-author 
of the study. "With a road map of where the strain has 
migrated, you're more likely to isolate the strain that 
you should be using to make the vaccine." The study, which 
also involved researchers Robert Wallace, Hoang-Minh Ho-Dac 
and Richard Lathrop, appears in the online early edition of 
the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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         Prescription-painkiller abuse on the rise

BETHESDA, Md., -- Teenagers and young adults are abusing pre-
scription drugs in staggering numbers, and the crippling 
effects of this addiction must be addressed head-on, experts 
said.  "(We must) maximize the treating of severe pain and 
minimize the risk of overdose," Nora Volkow, director of the 
National Institute on Drug Abuse, told a conference on pain, 
opioids and addiction at NIH headquarters in Bethesda, Md.
The conference focused on opioids, the most powerful kind of 
treatment prescribed to treat nearly every type of pain. 
Examples of opioids include morphine, codeine, oxycodone 
(OxyContin) and hydrocodone (Vicodin). Though opioids are 
effective when properly taken, the abuse of opioids and even 
extended treatment with them can result in intoxication and 
addictions. The dangers increase when people take opioids 
in combination with over-the-counter medications such as 
allergy and cold medication, as well as drugs and alcohol. 
Such hazardous combinations can cause respiratory depression 
and, in some cases, lead to death.  Approximately 48 million 
people 12 and older have used prescription drugs for non-
medical reasons, according to the NIDA, and researchers 
are still trying to figure out why. For one thing, the in-
creasingly easy access to prescription medications may be 
one of the reasons for the escalation of prescription-drug 
use in youth. The number of drug overdoses leading to death 
has doubled between 1999 and 2004 in people 15 to 24, 
according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

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        Study considers measles as a cancer killer

ROCHESTER, Minn., -- U.S. researchers are testing an 
engineered measles virus against multiple myeloma, an 
incurable cancer of the bone marrow.  The start of the Mayo 
Clinic's Phase 1 clinical trial marks the third of a series 
of molecular medicine studies in patients testing the 
potential of measles to kill cancer.  The Mayo Clinic Cancer 
Center is the only institution in the world currently 
pursuing using engineered measles viruses for cancer treat-
ment. The therapies now being tested involve several tumor 
types, including glioblastoma multiforme (a brain tumor), 
recurrent ovarian cancer and now multiple myeloma.  Dr. 
Angela Dispenzieri, the lead researcher, said the current 
study differs from two other open trials in that researchers 
are administering the measles virus strain intravenously, 
rather than directly to the tumor site.  The researchers are 
also looking at ways to use the measles virus to combat other 
tumors, including those involved in breast, pancreatic and 
liver cancer.

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Copyright 2007 by UPI. All rights reserved. 

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