Wednesday December 19, 2018

New Approach for Treating Diseases Like Diabetes and Cancer

Enhanced activation of Vitamin D by protecting beta cells may be a potential new approach for treating diabetes as well as other diseases, including cancer, researchers have suggested.

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The researchers found that Vitamin D in cells and mouse models can be beneficial in treating these damaged beta cells.
Representational image, pixabay
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Enhanced activation of Vitamin D by protecting beta cells may be a potential new approach for treating diabetes as well as other diseases, including cancer, researchers have suggested.

When beta cells — the cells in the pancreas that produce, store and release the hormone insulin — become dysfunctional, the body cannot make insulin to control blood sugar (glucose) and levels of glucose can rise to dangerous and even fatal levels.

The researchers found that Vitamin D in cells and mouse models can be beneficial in treating these damaged beta cells.

They also provided new insights about gene regulation that could be applied to developing treatments for other diseases, including cancer.

“We know that diabetes is a disease caused by inflammation. We identified the Vitamin D receptor as an important modulator of both inflammation and beta cell survival,” said Ronald Evans, from Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California, US.

Combining the new compound with vitamin D allowed certain protective genes to be expressed at much higher levels than they are in diseased cells.
Representational image, pixabay

Using beta cells created from embryonic stem cells, the team was able to identify a compound — iBRD9 — that appeared to enhance the activation of the Vitamin D receptor when it was combined with Vitamin D to improve the survival of beta cells.

In the paper, published in the journal Cell, the team conducted a screening test to look for compounds that improved the survival of beta cells in a dish. They then tested the combination in a mouse model of diabetes and showed that it could bring glucose back to normal levels in the animals.

Combining the new compound with vitamin D allowed certain protective genes to be expressed at much higher levels than they are in diseased cells.

“Activating the vitamin D receptor can trigger the anti-inflammatory function of genes to help cells survive under stressed conditions,” explained Michael Downes, from the institute.

Also Read: A Drug That Can Potentially Cure Hair Loss

The researchers noted that although the new compound did not appear to cause any side effects in the mice, further testing is needed before clinical trials can begin. (IANS)

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New Drug to Give Hopes to Bone Marrow Cancer Patients

It reduced the risk of progression or death by more than 50 per cent in both groups

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Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

A therapeutic drug has been found to improve outcomes and survival rates for patients with a serious type of bone marrow cancer.

In a clinical trial by researchers at Newcastle University in Britain, patients with newly diagnosed myeloma were treated with a drug called lenalidomide.

The results, published in the journal The Lancet Oncology, showed an improvement for those who received lenalidomide drug, compared to those not receiving it.

“This is a major breakthrough as it shows that the long-term use of lenalidomide significantly improves the time myeloma patients stay in remission after initial therapy,” said Professor Graham Jackson from the Northern Institute for Cancer Research at Newcastle.

Myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells and it can affect several areas of the body, such as the spine, skull, pelvis and ribs. Current treatment usually involves chemotherapy and a stem-cell transplant.

cancer
New drug offers hope for bone marrow cancer patients. Pixabay

“It is a huge step and, importantly, identifies that for younger patients lenalidomide improves their overall survival for this difficult-to-treat bone marrow cancer,” Jackson said.

“Our research highlights that lenalidomide should be considered for newly diagnosed patients following stem-cell transplantation,” he added.

As part of the study, a total of 1,137 newly diagnosed patients were randomly assigned to lenalidomide maintenance therapy and 834 patients to observation – this was after they completed their initial treatment.

Also Read- Narendra Modi Accuses Congress of Aiding Those Who Want to Weaken Army

The results show that lenalidomide can prolong the average remission time by more than two years in younger patients and by well over a year in older, less fit patients.

It reduced the risk of progression or death by more than 50 per cent in both groups. (IANS)