STUDY: Back to glycoproteins, What we are all about !
JOURNAL: Lancet 2003;362:869-875.
AUTHORS: Dr. Admin Altevogt
ABSTRACT: Expression of L1, a glycoprotein adhesion molecule, in ovarian and uterine tumors is strongly associated with a poor prognosis.
COMMENTARY: Dr. Admin Altevogt, from the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg, and colleagues assessed L1 expression in tumor specimens from 58 women with ovarian cancer and 72 with uterine cancer. They also determined if soluble L1 could be detected in serum samples of these patients.
In both patient groups, L1 expression was associated with poorly differentiated tumors and with advanced disease stage, the researchers note. Moreover, such expression was a very strong predictor of poor prognosis (p > 0.00001).
L1 expression was tied to disease progression even when a histologic type with a usually good prognosis, such as endometrioid-type, was present.
A soluble form of L1 was found in serum samples from patients with stage III/IV disease, the researchers note. Although further studies are needed, soluble L1 could represent a useful marker for the detection or follow-up of patients with ovarian and uterine malignancies, they add.
"L1-based diagnosis and prognosis could make an important contribution towards a better management and treatment of this disease," the authors state.
STUDY: Safety agency warns on use of play sets by children
JOURNAL: Consumer Product Safety Commission
AUTHORS: Paul Bogart
ABSTRACT: Playing on arsenic-treated wooden playground equipment can slightly increase children’s risk of getting lung or bladder cancer later in life, according to a report released by U.S. safety regulators.
COMMENTARY: Contact with equipment treated with an arsenic compound called chromated copper arsenate can increase the risk of the types of cancer by anywhere from two to 100 per million, a staff report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission concluded.
“It confirms what people outside the CPSC have suspected and some studies have shown — that arsenic does leach from this wood and there’s a risk associated with it for people who use it,” said Paul Bogart, a spokesman for an environmentalist group called the Healthy Building Network, which has petitioned the commission to ban the sale of arsenic-treated wood.
The increased risk is mostly due to arsenic residue that children get on their hands, then ingest because of hand-to-mouth contact, the commission staff concluded.
The amount of added risk varies depending on how much contact children have with the treated-wood equipment, the agency staff said. “While exposure to arsenic from (other) sources could be much higher than the exposure from playgrounds for some children, exposure to arsenic from CCA-treated playgrounds could be a significant source of arsenic for other children on those days that include a playground visit,” the agency’s chairman, Hal Stratton, said in a statement.
Chromated copper arsenate, or CCA, has been used to protect wood from leaching, erosion and pests for more than 70 years. Pressure-treated wood, as it is commonly known, is most often used outdoors in decks and playgrounds.
STUDY: Results of in vitro experimentation that demonstrated the ability of sulforaphane to kill H pylori both inside or outside of the cell.
JOURNAL: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
AUTHORS: Jed Fahey
ABSTRACT: Sulforaphane, a compound found in broccoli that is believed to be responsible for many of the vegetable's health benefits, has been found by researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine to help kill helicobacter pylori, or H pylori, the bacterium responsible for stomach ulcers and most stomach cancers. The researchers discovered that the compound can even kill H pylori that has become antibiotic-resistant.
COMMENTARY: The report, published in the May 28 2002 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences ( http://www.pnas.org/ ) presented the results of in vitro experimentation that demonstrated the ability of sulforaphane to kill H pylori both inside or outside of the cell.
Cells lining the stomach act as reservoirs for the bacteria, rendering it more challenging to eliminate. Sulforaphane also helps prevent cancer by boosting the production of phase 2 enzymes within cells, which detoxify carcinogens and free radicals. When a carcinogen was administered to mice, sulforaphane blocked the formation of stomach tumors. Mice lacking the gene regulating phase 2 enzymes were not protected by the compound.
Research team leader and plant physiologist in the Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Jed Fahey, stated, "In some parts of Central and South America, Africa and Asia, as much as 80 percent to 90 percent of the population is infected with helicobacter, likely linked to poverty and conditions of poor sanitation. If future clinical studies show that a food can relieve or prevent diseases associated with this bacterium in people, it could have significant public health implications in the United States and around the world . . . We've known for some time that sulforaphane had modest antibiotic activity. However, its potency against helicobacter, even those strains resistant to conventional antibiotics, was a pleasant surprise."
These latest findings may lead to trials in humans to determine if sulforaphane-containing vegetables can help combat H pylori infection
For more information about sprouted greens:
STUDY: Heart possesses a population of cardiac stem cells
JOURNAL: The New England Journal of Medicine 2002;346:5-15, 55-56
AUTHORS: Dr. Piero Anversa
ABSTRACT: In a study that turns on its head the traditional view that the heart cannot help heal itself, scientists have found evidence that the organ may indeed harbor stem-cell reserves capable of regenerating damaged tissue.
COMMENTARY: The study of men who received heart transplants from female donors revealed that primitive cells from the recipients migrated into the donor hearts, after which new muscle cells and small blood vessels formed. The researchers were able to pin down the phenomenon by finding a considerable number of cells in the donor heart that bore the Y chromosome--the "male" sex chromosome, which could only have come from the transplant recipients themselves.
Dr. Piero Anversa of New York Medical College in Valhalla said his team believes primitive cells moved to the donor hearts from the remaining portions of the transplant recipients' own hearts, although the study does not prove this. Anversa explained that his team could not rule out the possibility that the cells traveled to the heart from the bone marrow, which contains the stem cells that give rise to blood.
The study indicates that the heart possesses a population of cardiac stem cells...implying that the heart has the capacity to regenerate itself.
And that idea is at odds with the cardiology "dogma" that there is no such thing as cardiac stem cells--populations of immature cells within the heart that have the potential to divide, proliferate and replace mature cells killed off by heart attack and disease.
Now that there is strong evidence of the heart's regenerative capacity, scientists can study the possibility of harnessing this self-healing potential to treat damaged heart.
The study looked at autopsied tissue from eight men who died sometime after receiving a heart from a female donor. The patients had lived with their new hearts for anywhere from 4 to 552 days.
Anversa's team found that up to 20% of the cells in the men's heart muscle and small blood vessels called arterioles and capillaries bore the Y chromosome. Even the patient who died 4 days after his transplant had Y-bearing cells in the donor heart.
According to the researchers, this suggests that the recipients' own primitive cells moved into the foreign heart and matured to aid in the "remodeling" of the organ. In addition, when they looked at a small group of autopsied normal hearts, the investigators found small populations of immature cells. And if heart stem cells can indeed form new heart tissue, it is still unclear what "mobilizes" them into action. His team is currently using animal models to study what signaling mechanisms--such as growth factors--are needed.
If researchers can figure out how to mobilize self-repair cells in the heart, they could become an important weapon against a "host of disorders" including coronary artery disease and heart muscle conditions.
The therapeutic implications would be enormous since at least 600,000 Americans develop heart failure every year and many of them die within 2 to 3 years.
STUDY: Despite dangers,infants placed in front seats
JOURNAL: National Highway Transportation Safety Administration
AUTHORS: Dr. Jeffrey Runge
ABSTRACT: Seat belt use for children is at a record high, but too many infants and young children still are being placed at risk by riding in front seats.
COMMENTARY: A survey by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration found 15 percent of infants were riding in the front seat, where they are at increased risk of injury from crashes or deploying air bags even if they are in infant seats.
The survey found 10 percent of 1- to 3-year-olds and 29 percent of 4- to 7-year-olds also were riding in the front seat. NHTSA and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children 12 and under ride in the back seat.
“There are new parents every day, and even those old parents who need to be reminded: The only way to keep these children safe is to put them in a child safety seat appropriate to their age in the back seat,” said Dr. Jeffrey Runge, NHTSA’s chief.