Sunday November 17, 2019

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
Immunotherapy Drug May Treat Rare Pregnancy Cancer. Pixabay.

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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Impaired Liver Function During Pregnancy Leads To Obese Kids

Impaired liver function during pregnancy increases the risks of obesity in kids

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Pregnancy
Impaired liver function during pregnancy may increase the risk of obesity in children. PIxabay

Impaired liver function during pregnancy may alter gut bacteria composition and increase the risk of obesity in children, according to a new study.

In a rodent of model of the most common liver disease in pregnancy, the composition of gut bacteria in offspring was altered and liver function impaired, particularly when they were fed a Western-style, high-fat diet.

“These findings further suggest that health during pregnancy can have long-term effects on children. In this case they suggest that gut microbiome alterations, may increase the risk of obesity in children, when fed a western style, high-fat diet, ” said study researcher Caroline Ovadia from King’s College London.

The most common liver disease in pregnancy, intrahepatic cholestasis (ICP), reduces the release of digestive fluid bile from the liver causing bile acids to build up in the blood, impairing liver function. This causes severe itching in the mother and increases risks of stillbirth and preterm birth for the baby.

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In a rodent of model of the most common liver disease in pregnancy, the composition of gut bacteria in offspring was altered and liver function impaired. Pixabay

Previous studies suggest that children of women with ICP are more likely to develop childhood obesity.

For the findings, the research team investigated how gut microbiota are affected in the offspring of a mouse model of ICP.

The results reported that the offspring had a different gut microbiome composition and liver function, particularly when fed a high-fat diet, which could contribute to impaired metabolism and increase risk of obesity.

The results suggest that mice born to mothers with ICP, or other liver diseases, may benefit from maintaining a healthy diet and should avoid fatty foods.

These findings also suggest that targeting microbiome composition with treatment strategies in pregnant women, such as using pre-biotics or pro-biotics, could help prevent the risk of child obesity.

Also Read- Parents With Only Child More Likely To Tackle Obese Kids

“Understanding changes in composition of the gut microbiome and their effects may provide new ways of diagnosing patients at particular risk of obesity before it occurs. We could then develop personalised medicine and target appropriate treatments to alter gut bacteria accordingly,” Ovadia added.

The study was presented at The Society for Endocrinology Annual Conference in the UK. (IANS)