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Inhaled c-steroids best for child asthma

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          HEALTH TIPS - Monday. January 29, 2007
               "News That Keeps You Healthy"


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      Inhaled c-steroids best for child asthma

BETHESDA, Md., -- A U.S. study has found inhaled corti-
costeroids are the most effective initial daily therapy 
for children with mild to moderate persistent asthma.
Although several medications are available to help 
children maintain asthma control, clinical trials direct-
ly comparing them had not been conducted. In what's call-
ed the first study of its kind, scientists at the 
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in Bethesda, 
Md., compared the effectiveness and safety of three dif-
ferent asthma medicines for initial daily therapy for 
school-aged children with mild to moderate persistent 
asthma. The therapies were a low dose inhaled corti-
costeroid, a combination of a lower dose inhaled corti-
costeroid and an inhaled long acting beta2 agonist, and 
a leukotriene receptor antagonist. Researchers studying 
285 children ages 6 to 14 years found that after 48 
weeks, inhaled corticosteroids were the most effective 
initial daily therapy. They also found no significant 
adverse growth effects among any of the medicines 
studied. The research appears in this month's issue of 
the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

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         New estrogen breast cancer role discovered

CHAMPAIGN, Ill., -- U.S. scientists have found estrogen 
not only enhances the growth and migration of breast 
cancer cells, but also shields the cells from immune 
cells. The University of Illinois medical researchers, 
in what's described as the first study of its kind, dis-
covered the hormone estrogen induces the expression of 
an inhibitor that blocks immune cells' ability to kill 
tumor cells. The scientists analyzed estrogen's role in 
the cascade of events that occurs when immune cells, 
called natural killer cells, encounter a tumor cell. 
Normally, natural killer cells release granules that 
contain enzymes called granzymes, which enter and kill 
the tumor cell. But the researchers found when estrogen 
binds with an estrogen receptor the complex promotes 
production of a granzyme inhibitor, proteinase inhibitor 
9 (PI-9). That inhibitor binds the granzyme, preventing 
it from initiating the molecular cascade that kills tumor 
cells. "It wasn't known estrogen could do this in breast 
cancer cells," said principal investigator David Shapiro, 
a UI professor of biochemistry. "The amounts of estrogen 
required to do this are quite small." The study conducted 
by Shapiro, graduate student Xinguo Jiang and collabora-
tors from the University of Wisconsin, is detailed online 
in the journal Oncogene.

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             New treatment found for GVH disease

SEATTLE,  -- U.S. medical scientists have devised a treat-
ment modification for gastrointestinal graft-versus-host 
disease that keeps the illness in remission. Scientists 
from Seattle's The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center 
say GVHD is a common and potentially deadly side effect 
for patients who undergo an allogeneic stem-cell trans-
plant to treat certain blood cancers. Now, the researchers
have demonstrated adding a widely used topical cortico-
steroid to the standard GVHD treatment kept the disease 
in remission and significantly reduced deaths one year 
after therapy. The reformulation of beclomethasone dipro-
pionate into two different pills was designed to specifi-
cally release the drug into the stomach and mid-small 
intestine. That allowed patients to be on a shorter treat-
ment course of high-dose prednisone. That resulted in 
mortality being reduced by 46 percent a year following 
the start of treatment in a multi-center Phase III clin-
ical trial. The study, led by Dr. David Hockenbery, a 
professor of medicine and gastroenterology at the 
University of Washington School of Medicine, appears in 
the current issue of the journal Blood.

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