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Young people with cancer studied

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       HEALTH TIPS WEEKLY - Thursday, May 15, 2008 
             "News That Keeps You Healthy"   
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         Compound might stop cancer progression

OKLAHOMA CITY, -- U.S. medical scientists say they have 
discovered a compound that, in laboratory tests, has shown
success in preventing cancer. University of Oklahoma Health 
Sciences Center researchers said the compound, which still 
faces several rounds of clinical trials, successfully stop-
ped normal cells from turning into cancer cells and inhib-
ited the ability of tumors to grow and form blood vessels.
If successful tests continue, researchers eventually hope 
to create a daily pill that would be taken as a cancer 
preventive. "This compound was effective against the 12 
types of cancers that it was tested on," said Doris Ben-
brook, the study's principle investigator. "Even more prom-
ising for health care is that it prevents the transformation
of normal cells into cancer cells and is therefore now being
developed by the National Cancer Institute as a cancer prev-
ention drug." The synthetic compound directly targets abnor-
malities in cancer cell components without damaging normal 
cells, researchers said. The disruption causes cancer cells 
to die and keeps tumors from forming. Benbrook and her team 
have patented the discovery and hope to start clinical tri-
als for the compound within 5 years.

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          FDA still reviewing cefepime safety risk

WASHINGTON, -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it
has not completed a review of safety data concerning increa-
sed mortality in patients being treated with cefepime. The 
FDA announced Nov. 14, 2007, it was reviewing safety data 
that raised concerns about a potential increased mortality 
in patients treated with the drug, which is marketed as Max-
ipime. The FDA said it has not yet received all the data it 
requested from the manufacturer, Bristol-Meyers Squibb. Off-
icials had expected the preliminary review to take about 
four months, but the FDA said it has not reached a definit-
ive conclusion as to whether the increased mortality seen 
with cefepime, compared with that of similar antibiotics 
observed in the original meta-analysis, is due to cefepime.
Cefepime is a broad spectrum cephalosporin antibiotic and 
is the only anti-bacterial approved as empiric monotherapy 
for febrile neutropenia. The FDA urged healthcare professio-
nals and patients to report side effects from the use of 
cefepime to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting pro-
gram either online at www.fda.gov/medwatch/report.htm or by
telephone at 800-332-1088.
        
        
           Lasers are used to align molecules

ARGONNE, Ill., -- U.S. scientists say difficulties involved
with crystallizing molecules for synchrotron X-ray diffract-
ion can be resolved by using lasers. "Strong laser fields 
can be used to control the behavior of atoms and molecules,"
said Argonne National Laboratory scientist Linda Young. "Us-
ing X-rays, we can investigate their properties in a totally
new way." Crystallization allows scientists to create a 
periodic structure that will strongly diffract in specific 
directions when bombarded with X-rays. From the resulting 
diffraction pattern, a real-space image can be reconstruct-
ed. However, without crystallization, it is impossible to 
create a composite diffraction image, Argonne Physicist 
Robin Santra said. "Understanding the structure of the app-
roximately 1 million human proteins that cannot be crystal-
lized is perhaps the most important challenge facing struct-
ural biology," Young said. "A method for structure determin-
ation at atomic resolution without the need to crystallize 
would be revolutionary." Young and her team have success-
fully aligned molecules using a laser, probed the aligned 
ensemble with X-rays and shown theoretically that the tech-
nique could be used for X-ray imaging. However, they said 
an upgrade to the lab's Advanced Photon Source facility is 
needed before X-ray diffraction can be done experimentally.
The study appears in the journal Applied Physics Letters.
          
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       Change needed in end-of-life dementia care

MILTON KEYNES, England, -- British researchers say many im-
provements are needed in the care provided to people in the 
final stages of dementia. Open University Professor Jan 
Draper and Clinical Nurse Specialist Deborah Birch reached 
that conclusion after reviewing 29 published studies conduc-
ted in nine nations during the past 10 years. "We must act 
now to stop people with dementia from suffering from protr-
acted, potentially uncomfortable and undignified deaths" 
said Draper. "Our review has reinforced the importance of 
providing appropriate palliative care to individuals suffer-
ing from end-stage dementia and clearly identified some of 
the barriers to extending such provision." The recommenda-
tion includes: communicating the diagnosis of dementia in 
a sensitive way, acknowledging the potential influence on 
treatment decisions on the beliefs and values of members of 
the healthcare team and reconsidering aggressive medical 
treatments that have limited benefits and might cause fur-
ther discomfort to dying patients. The review appears in 
the Journal of Clinical Nursing.
        
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           Young people with cancer studied

COLUMBUS, Ohio, -- A U.S. study is trying to understand what
makes young people vulnerable to cancer and how it changes 
their life. The Lance Armstrong Foundation has partnered 
with the National Cancer Institute to create a national bank
of tissue samples from young cancer patients, The Columbus 
Dispatch reported Tuesday. They said they hope the study 
leads to better treatment and prevention of cancer. Dr. -
Michael Caligiuri, chief executive officer of the Arthur G. 
James Cancer Hospital, said scientists want to know if the 
tumors in young cancer patients are biologically different 
from those who develop cancer when they are older, the news-
paper said. Data from the National Cancer Institute said 
68,000 people ages 15 to 39 were diagnosed with cancer in 
the United States in 2002,
             
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