Wednesday April 25, 2018

Immunotherapy Drug Pembrolizumab May Treat Rare Pregnancy Cancer, Says Research

An immunotherapy drug - Pembrolizumab- has the potential to treat a rare pregnancy cancer belonging to a group of diseases called gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD), results of a clinical trial show

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Immunotherapy Drug May Treat Rare Pregnancy Cancer. Pixabay.
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London, Nov 27: An immunotherapy drug has the potential to treat a rare pregnancy cancer belonging to a group of diseases called gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD), results of a clinical trial show.

Three out of four patients with the cancerous forms of GTD went into remission after receiving the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab in a clinical trial carried out by researchers at London’s Imperial College.

The findings, published in the journal Lancet, suggest that immunotherapy could be used as a a safer alternative to conventional treatment for the disease.

Pembrolizumab is the trial drug/ immunotherapeutic agent:

The trial, which took place at Charing Cross Hospital, is the first to show that Pembrolizumab can be used to successfully treat women with GTD, according to the study

The researchers hope that this small early stage study could provide another treatment option for women who have drug-resistant GTD and lead to a 100 per cent cure rate.

“We have been able to show for the first time that immunotherapy may be used to cure patients of cancerous GTD,” said Professor Michael Seckl, lead author of the study.

The current treatments to tackle GTD cure most cases of the disease. However, there are a small number of women whose cancers are resistant to conventional therapies and as a result have a fatal outcome,” Seckl added.

“Immunotherapy may be a life-saving treatment and can be used as an alternative to the much more toxic high dose chemotherapy that is currently used,” Seckl said.

GTD is the term used to describe abnormal cells or tumors that start in the womb from cells that normally give rise to the placenta. They are extremely rare but can happen during or after pregnancy.

Globally, 18,000 women are diagnosed annually with cancerous forms of GTD, most of whom are cured with chemotherapy or surgery.

However, up to five per cent of these women’s outcomes are fatal due to factors such as chemotherapy resistance and rare forms of the cancer such as placental site trophoblastic tumours (PSTT) that develop four or more years after the causative pregnancy has ended. (IANS)

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Prolonged paracetamol use in pregnancy may up autism, ADHD risk

While there is also a 20 percent increase in relative risk for ASD, compared to those who did not take the medications

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Long-term use of paracetamol during pregnancy is associated with the risk of neurodevelopmental disorders like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), a study has found.

Previous studies showed that long-term administration of low doses of paracetamol also known as acetaminophen may affect the development of the fetal nervous system. This effect is often seen years after exposure during childhood.

Protein responsible for postpartum depression in pregnancy found
Paracetamol can harm infants. IANS

The new study, appearing in the American Journal of Epidemiology, showed that prolonged exposure to acetaminophen found in the commonly used drug for the treatment of pain and fever, during pregnancy is associated with a 30 per cent increase in relative risk for ADHD.

While there is also a 20 per cent increase in relative risk for ASD, compared to those who did not take the medications. “The findings suggest an association between prolonged acetaminophen use and an increase in the risk of autism and ADHD,” said Ilan Matok, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel.

Also Read: 5 Healthy Ways To Get Back In Shape After Pregnancy

For the new research, the team conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis 1,32,738 mother and child pairs with a follow-up period of three to 11 years.

The researchers believe that it is important to understand that pain and fever during pregnancy can have a detrimental effect on the developing foetus, but acetaminophen is still considered a safe drug for use during pregnancy.

Paracetamol can cause ADHD in children. Pixabay

Therefore, if a pregnant woman has fever and/or pain, acetaminophen can be taken for a short period, and if the fever or pain continues beyond that, she should consult her physician regarding further treatment.

“While the unnecessary use of any medication should be avoided in pregnancy, we believe our findings should not alter current practice and women should not avoid the use of short-term acetaminophen when clinically needed,” Matok said. IANS