Tuesday November 20, 2018

Arthritis drug could cure blood cancer: Researchers

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London: A drug given to arthritis sufferers could be used to treat patients with blood cancer, say researchers from University of Sheffield in Britain.

The discovery may open up cost effective treatment options for people suffering from the blood cancer myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) across the world as the anti-inflammatory medicine is one thousandth of the cost of a promising drug which has been shown to work in the same way.

“We have the potential to revolutionise the treatment of this group of chronic diseases – a breakthrough that may represent a new treatment option able to bring relief to both patients and health funders,” said one of the researchers Martin Zeidler.

Most often diagnosed in people in their 50s and 60s, MPN cause an overproduction of blood cells creating a significant impact on quality-of-life, with symptoms such as night sweats, itching and tiredness.

Currently, MPN treatment is limited to aspirin, removal of excess blood and mild chemotherapy.

Recently, the drug Ruxolitinib was shown to provide relief, but at a cost of over 40,000 pounds per year per patient, it has not been approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in Britain.

The study has discovered that Methotrexate (MTX) can work in the same way. It is commonly used at low doses to treat inflammatory diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and psoriasis and has few side effects.

medical research

“Given that a year’s course of low-dose MTX costs around 30 pounds, the potential to repurpose MTX could provide thousands of patients with a much needed treatment option and also generate substantial savings for health care systems,” Zeidler said.

In this study, the scientists tested the effectiveness of the drug in treating MPN in fruit fly and human cells.

The researchers are now looking to undertake clinical trials to examine the possibility of repurposing low-dose MTX for the treatment of MPNs.

The results of the study appeared in the journal PLOS ONE.

 

(IANS)

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Growth Hormone Deficiency May Also Hit Healthy Children

Since he started getting these injections two years ago, Spencer has grown about 15 centimeters.

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FILE - UNICEF staff measure a girl's height to see if she is stunted in a village health clinic of South Hamgyong province, North Korea. VOA

Most healthy children between the ages of four and 10 grow about five centimeters (two inches) a year. So, one family knew something was wrong when their son fit into the same clothes, season after season. Doctors were able to get him growing once again after testing for a growth hormone.

Eleven year-old Spencer Baehman is passionate about baseball.

“My goal is to play college baseball,” Spencer said.

There was only one problem. Spencer was the shortest player on his team. It didn’t stop him from playing, but the height difference was noticeable. And it made Spencer feel different.

“I want to be as tall as these kids,” Spencer said.

At first, Spencer’s parents thought their son was just small, but gradually, they suspected something was wrong. His mom, Stephanie Baehman, became worried.

“It really set in one year coming out of winter into spring when he got out his cleats for spring baseball and he put them on, and they fit. And they never should have fit. Those were from the spring prior,” Baehman said.

Spencer’s parents set up an appointment with Dr. Bert Bachrach, the chief of pediatric endocrinology at University of Missouri Health Care. Nurses measured Spencer’s height.

After careful testing, Dr. Bachrach determined a growth hormone deficiency was causing Spencer’s growth failure. Hormones are basically chemicals that send messages from one cell to another.

“Growth hormone just doesn’t affect your growth, it affects your muscle mass and fat distribution, so that affects your cholesterol, that affects you overall, it also affects your overall sense of wellbeing,” Bachrach said.

Young Kids learning
Young Kids learning. pixabay

Growth hormone insufficiency is a disorder involving the pituitary gland which is a small, pea-sized gland located at the base of the brain. It’s this gland that produces human growth hormone, among others.

Also Read: Poor Aerobic Fitness Increases Risk of Diabetes in Kids

Every day, Spencer’s mother gives him a daily hormone injection. Since he started getting these injections two years ago, Spencer has grown about 15 centimeters (six inches). But just in case he doesn’t grow tall, he has a reminder written in each of his baseball caps.

“It says HDMH, which means height doesn’t measure heart,” Spencer read.

And heart is something Spencer has plenty of. (VOA)