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Delhi hospital treats 41-year-old man with extremely rare tumour-induced Bone condition

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Operating theatre in India, Wikimedia Commons
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New Delhi, March 5, 2017: Doctors here have successfully treated a 41-year-old man with an extremely rare tumour-induced condition that caused bone fragility, fractures and left him wheelchair-bound.

Tumour-induced osteomalacia is an extremely rare disorder where benign small soft tissue or bone tumours develop in the body and start secreting a substance that inhibits the absorption of phosphates, causing a cascade of biochemical abnormalities including extremely fragile bones.

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“So rare is this condition that many doctors fail to get to the root of it. A majority of these tumours are located in the extremities (skin, muscles, and bones) or around the head, but they may occur in almost any part of the body. These tumours are slow growing and often remain hidden or undetected until clinical features reach a fairly advanced stage,” Endocrinologist at Venkateshwar Hospital in Dwarka Deep Dutta said in a statement on Saturday.

Progressive weakness in legs over three years coupled with a fracture had left Ravi Sharma (name changed) wheelchair-bound.

Doctors found that he had extremely low serum levels of phosphorus (1mg/dl) — key structural component of bone apart from calcium — in urine, which led to skeletal weakness and fractures.

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An FDG (fluorodeoxyglucose)-PET scan confirmed the presence of tumour-induced osteomalacia at the lower end of the femur bone and later a CT-scan revealed an extremely small lesion of 1 cm diameter, and was successfully removed by the doctors.

“Within 24 hours of surgery, we found the patient’s phosphorus levels improved to 3.3mg/dl, and he regained his physical strength and was able to start walking with support. We have reduced Ravi’s oral phosphate replacement dose significantly and we expect he will be totally off phosphate replacement in the next few days. All biochemical and clinical features reverted to normal when the tumour was removed,” Dutta said. (IANS)

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From Radio Signals A Pill Could Tell About Gut Health And Help Doctors

Scientists developed a swallowable capsule to detect bleeding in the digestive tract.

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MIT engineers have designed an ingestable sensor with bacteria programmed to sense environmental conditions and relay the information to an electronic circuit.
MIT engineers have designed an ingestable sensor with bacteria programmed to sense environmental conditions and relay the information to an electronic circuit. VOA

A pill could soon radio signals from inside your gut to help doctors diagnose diseases from ulcers to cancer to inflammation, according to a new study.

Scientists have developed a small, swallowable capsule that mixes synthetic biology and electronics to detect bleeding in the digestive tract.

The system can be adapted for a wide range of medical, environmental and other uses, the researchers say.

The biological part of the pill uses bacteria engineered to glow when exposed to heme, the iron-containing molecule in blood.

The electronic side includes a tiny light detector, computer, chip, battery, and a transmitter that sends data to a cell phone or computer.

“A major challenge for sensing in the GI tract is, the space available for a device is very limited,” said Massachusetts Institute of Technology electrical engineer Phillip Nadeau.

Using very low-power electronics they designed, Nadeau and colleagues fit all the components into a capsule about 3 centimeters long by 1 centimeter wide.

A Microbiologist scientist
A Microbiologist scientist, Pixabay

It’s still a bit big to swallow. But Nadeau says with engineering work it can likely be made about a third that size.

The engineered bacteria are contained in chambers covered by a membrane that lets small molecules in but does not let the organisms out. The researchers say the bacteria can be engineered to die if they accidentally leak from the capsule. Or future models may just use the key enzymes, rather than whole bacteria.

In laboratory tests, the pill successfully distinguished pigs fed small amounts of blood from those not given blood. The capsule has not yet been tested on humans. The team aims to do so in the next year or two.

Since the components are all fairly cheap to manufacture, the researchers speculate that the cost would be in the range of tens to hundreds of dollars.

And they say the same platform could be used to detect markers of a range of illnesses. Or, it could be used to sense chemicals in the environment.

“It’s really exciting, and I think it’s got a lot of legs,” said Rice University bioengineer Jeff Tabor, who was not part of the research team.

But Tabor notes that the sensors may need to be much more sensitive than what was used in the pig tests. He says there may be much less blood in the guts of actual patients than what the pigs were given. Other conditions may have the same limitations.

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“For many actual diseases, you might have far less of the molecule that you need to sense available to you,” he added. (VOA)