New compounds show promise against hepatitis C infection

ScienceDaily (Apr. 12, 2011) — Approximately 270-300 million people worldwide are infected with hepatitis C, and about 1%-2% of the U.S. population is infected. This infectious disease can lead to scarring of the liver, cirrhosis, and eventually liver failure. A significant number of infected patients develop liver disease or cancer. The current standard treatment is … Continue reading “New compounds show promise against hepatitis C infection”

ScienceDaily (Apr. 12, 2011) — Approximately 270-300 million people worldwide are infected with hepatitis C, and about 1%-2% of the U.S. population is infected. This infectious disease can lead to scarring of the liver, cirrhosis, and eventually liver failure. A significant number of infected patients develop liver disease or cancer. The current standard treatment is interferon, which has only a 50% success rate. Compounding the 50% failure rate are severe side effects which lead many people to discontinue treatment.

Dr. Samuel Wheeler French Jr., MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at UCLA and researcher at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, is a liver pathologist who is currently developing a proteomic-based program to study the development of liver cancer from hepatitis C viral infection. His most recent study results, to be presented in an American Society for Investigative Pathology (ASIP) symposium on “Pathobiology of Liver Injury and Fibrosis” on April 12 at Experimental Biology 2011, evaluate the effects of several flavonoids on hepatitis C viral infection.

Previously, Dr. French has shown that quercetin, a plant-derived bioflavonoid used by some as a nutritional supplement, attenuates Hepatitis C virus production with no cell toxicity. In his most recent research, French and colleagues found that two other bioflavonoids, catechin and naringenin, displayed antiviral activity on tissue culture. The next step is to determine through a Phase I Clinical Trial that they are safe for patients with chronic hepatitis C infection.

“We now have several new compounds we can test to see if they reduce virus infection,” said Dr. French. “The positive thing about this family of compounds is that they are nontoxic, and can be taken at high doses. Bioflavonoids represent a very promising therapy with very few side effects that could help millions of people.”


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The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by ScienceDaily staff) from materials provided by Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.


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Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.

Physicians recommend different treatments for patients than they choose for themselves, study finds

ScienceDaily (Apr. 11, 2011) — The act of making a recommendation appears to change the way physicians think regarding medical choices, and they often make different choices for themselves than what they recommend to patients, according to a survey study published in the April 11 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

“Patients facing difficult decisions often ask physicians for recommendations,” the authors write as background information in the study. “However, little is known regarding the ways that physicians’ decisions are influenced by the act of making a recommendation.”

Peter A. Ubel, M.D., of Duke University, Durham, N.C., and colleagues tested whether making a treatment recommendation changes the way physicians think about medical decisions. The authors surveyed two samples of U.S. primary care physicians, and presented each with one of two clinical scenarios.

In the first scenario, 500 physicians were asked to imagine that either they or one of their patients had just received a diagnosis of colon cancer and faced a choice of one of two operations to treat the cancer. Both surgeries cured the colon cancer in 80 percent of patients, however one surgery had a higher mortality (death) rate, but fewer adverse effects, whereas the second surgery had a lower death rate but a small percentage of patients experienced colostomy, chronic diarrhea, intermittent bowel obstruction or a wound infection.

A total of 242 physicians returned the colon cancer questionnaire (response rate of 48.4 percent), and when asked to imagine they had received the cancer diagnosis, 37.8 percent of physicians chose the surgical procedure with a higher rate of death, but a lower rate of adverse effects. Conversely, when asked to make a recommendation for a patient, only 24.5 percent of physicians chose this option.

The second scenario asked 1,600 physicians to imagine that a new strain of avian influenza had just arrived in the U.S. One group of physicians were asked to imagine they had been infected, and the other group was asked to imagine that his or her patient was infected. One treatment was available for this strain of influenza: an immunoglobulin treatment, without which persons who contract flu have a 10 percent death rate and a 30 percent hospitalization rate with an average stay of one week. The treatment would reduce the rate of adverse events by half, however it also causes death in 1 percent of patients and permanent neurological paralysis in 4 percent of patients.

The avian influenza scenario was returned by 698 patients (response rate of 43.6 percent), and 62.9 percent of physicians chose to forgo immunoglobulin treatment when imagining they had been infected, to avoid its adverse effects. However, when imagining that a patient had been infected, only 48.5 percent of physicians recommended not getting the treatment.

“In conclusion, when physicians make treatment recommendations, they think differently than when making decisions for themselves,” the authors conclude. “In some circumstances, making recommendations could reduce the quality of medical decisions. In at least some circumstances, however, such as when emotions interfere with optimal decision making, this change in thinking could lead to more optimal decisions. In debating when it is appropriate for physicians to make treatment recommendations to their patients, we must now recognize that the very act of making a recommendation changes the way physicians weigh medical alternatives.”


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The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by ScienceDaily staff) from materials provided by JAMA and Archives Journals.


Journal Reference:

  1. Peter A. Ubel; Andrea M. Angott; Brian J. Zikmund-Fisher. Physicians Recommend Different Treatments for Patients Than They Would Choose for Themselves. Archives of Internal Medicine, 2011; 171 (7): 630-634 DOI: 10.1001/archinternmed.2011.91

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Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.

New drug shows potential for treatment-resistant leukemia

ScienceDaily (Apr. 11, 2011) — A study from Tufts Medical Center researchers published today finds that a novel drug shows promise for treating leukemia patients who have few other options because their disease has developed resistance to standard treatment.

Appearing in the journal Cancer Cell, the study is the first published report showing that the drug, DCC-2036, fights chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) in a mouse model of the disease and is effective against human leukemia cells.

“These findings demonstrate that DCC-2036 is an excellent candidate for clinical development as a treatment for resistant CML. Not all drugs that work in a test tube will actually be effective in a living organism such as our mouse model,” said Richard Van Etten, MD, PhD, Director of Tuft’s Medical Center’s Cancer Center and senior author of the study.

Other authors of the study are scientists with Deciphera Pharmaceuticals LLC of Lawrence, Kansas, and Emerald Biostructures of Bainbridge Island, WA.

DCC-2036 is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI), a class of drugs that block the action of an abnormal enzyme, BCR-ABL1, that sends chemical messenges that tell CML cells to grow. The development of TKI drugs such as imatinib (Gleevec®) dramatically improved the prognosis for patients with CML, which strikes about 5,000 new patients each year in the United States. But about a third of patients will eventually relapse, principally because of mutations that render BCR-ABL1 resistant to the TKI. Such patients are left with few treatment options other than bone marrow transplantation.

The study showed that in human cells taken from treatment-resistant patients who had received the new drug, DCC-2036 tamped down the mutant enzyme that led to their relapse. The study also found that the drug killed malignant cells and prolonged survival in a mouse model of CML developed by Van Etten’s team.

Deciphera Pharmaceuticals, LLC used crystal structures of BCR-ABL1 to custom-design the novel drug to inhibit the mutant enzyme that leads to treatment resistance in CML patients. “The study illustrates the power of designing drugs based upon structures of the target and initial testing of these drugs in mouse models before proceeding to the clinic. This type of targeted design is a paradigm for how cancer treatments will be developed in the 21st century,” Van Etten said.

DCC-2036 is currently being tested in a phase 1 clinical trial in patients who have failed therapy with two other TKIs. The trial is actively enrolling patients at Tufts Medical Center, MD Anderson Cancer Center, and University of Michigan Cancer Center.


Story Source:

The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by ScienceDaily staff) from materials provided by Tufts Medical Center, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.


Journal Reference:

  1. Wayne W. Chan, Scott C. Wise, Michael D. Kaufman, Yu Mi Ahn, Carol L. Ensinger, Torsten Haack, Molly M. Hood, Jennifer Jones, John W. Lord, Wei Ping Lu et al. Conformational Control Inhibition of the BCR-ABL1 Tyrosine Kinase, Including the Gatekeeper T315I Mutant, by the Switch-Control Inhibitor DCC-2036. Cancer Cell, Volume 19, Issue 4, 556-568, 12 April 2011 DOI: 10.1016/j.ccr.2011.03.003

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.