Saturday January 25, 2020

Novel Treatment Offers Promise to Stop Parkinson’s

After nine months, there was no change in the PET scans of those who received placebo. On the other hand, the group who received GDNF showed an improvement of 100 per cent in a key area of the brain affected in the condition

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10 million people living worldwide suffer from Parkinson;s disease Pixabay
10 million people living worldwide suffer from Parkinson;s disease Pixabay

An experimental treatment that delivers a drug directly to the brain has shown promise for slowing, stopping, or even reversing Parkinson’s disease, say researchers.

The study, by a team led by University of Bristol researchers, in a clinical trial investigated whether the treatment called Glial Cell Line Derived Neurotrophic Factor (GDNF) — a natural protein, found in the brain — can regenerate dying dopamine brain cells in patients with Parkinson’s and reverse their condition, something no existing treatment can do.

The results potentially demonstrated that the new treatment was starting to reawaken and restore damaged brain cells and that repeated brain infusion is clinically feasible and tolerable, according in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease.

The study “represents some of the most compelling evidence yet that we may have a means to possibly reawaken and restore the dopamine brain cells that are gradually destroyed in Parkinson’s”, said principal investigator Alan L. Whone, from the University of Bristol in the UK.

After an initial safety study of six people, 35 individuals were enrolled in the nine-month double blind trial, in which half were randomly assigned to receive monthly infusions of GDNF and the other half placebo infusions.

Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson’s Disease Gets Awareness From Various Events. Flickr

All participants underwent robot-assisted surgery to have four tubes placed into their brains, which allowed GDNF or placebo to be infused directly to the affected areas with pinpoint accuracy, via a port in their head.

After implantation the team administered, more than 1,000 brain infusions, once every four weeks.

After nine months, there was no change in the PET scans of those who received placebo. On the other hand, the group who received GDNF showed an improvement of 100 per cent in a key area of the brain affected in the condition.

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“This trial has shown that we can safely and repeatedly infuse drugs directly into patients’ brains over months or years,” said Steven Gill, lead neurosurgeon at North Bristol NHS Trust, Bristol, UK

“This is a significant breakthrough in our ability to treat neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s, because most drugs that might work cannot cross from the blood stream into the brain due to a natural protective barrier.” (IANS)

Next Story

Here’s Everything you Need to Know About Male Breast Cancer

Know about the rarely seen breast cancer in men

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Breast Cancer
Male breast cancer is rarely seen and that is people are not aware about it. Pixabay

Breast cancer in men is rarely seen. It shares many similarities with cancer of the breast in women but there are some important differences too.

Male breast cancer represents between 0.5 and 1 per cent of all breast cancers diagnosed each year. Higher rates of male cancer in central and eastern Africa may be related to higher liver infectious diseases that lead to hypoestrogenism.

Dr Kumardeep Dutta Choudhury, Senior Consultant & Head of Department, Dept of Medical Oncology (IOSPL), Fortis Hospital, Noida, shares the facts you need to know about it.

Risk factors associated with breast cancer in men:

Genetics and family history

Breast Cancer
Higher rates of male breast cancer in central and eastern Africa may be related to higher liver infectious diseases that lead to hypoestrogenism. IANS

Family history of cancer in a first-degree relative is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer among men. Approximately 15 to 20 per cent of men with breast cancer have a family history of the disease compared with only 7 per cent of the general male population.

The risk is higher with inherited BRCA2 rather than BRCA1 mutations. Other genes which have been associated with an increased risk of breast cancer in men are PTEN tumor suppressor gene (Cowden syndrome), tumor protein p53 (TP53; Li-Fraumeni syndrome), partner and localizer of BRCA2 (PALB2), and mismatch repair genes (Lynch syndrome).

Alterations of the estrogen to androgen ratio

Excessive estrogen stimulation may be due to hormonal therapies (e.g., estrogen-containing compounds or testosterone), hepatic dysfunction, obesity, marijuana use, thyroid disease, or an inherited condition, such as Klinefelter syndrome may increase risk of male breast cancer.

Primary testicular conditions

Testicular conditions may increase risk of breast cancer in men include orchitis, undescended testes (cryptorchidism), and testicular injury.

PRESENTATION:

Male breast cancer has been diagnosed at a more advanced stage than female breast cancer, due to a lack of awareness. They generally present with a painless, firm mass that is usually subareolar, with nipple involvement in 40 to 50 percent of cases. The left breast is involved slightly more often than the right, and less than 1 percent of cases are bilateral. There may be associated skin changes, including nipple retraction, ulceration, or fixation of the mass to the skin or underlying tissues. Axillary nodes are typically palpable in advanced cases.

Breast Cancer
Excessive estrogen stimulation may be due to hormonal therapies can lead to breast cancer. Pixabay

Most histologic subtypes of that cancer seen in women are also present in men, men with breast cancer are rarely diagnosed with lobular carcinomas is due to lack of acini and lobules in the normal male breast, although these can be induced in the context of estrogenic stimulation.

TREATMENT:

Approach to treatment in men is same as that for women. However, role of breast conserving surgery is limited because of small volume of breast tissue. In hormone receptor-positive disease, we give adjuvant tamoxifen rather than an aromatase inhibitor (AI), because of insufficient evidence to support AI monotherapy for men. If there are contraindications to tamoxifen (e.g., hypercoagulable state), an AI with GnRHa may be administered. AIs do not reduce testicular production of estrogens, that’s why GnRHa is administered concurrently with AI. They are treated with mastectomy, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and hormone therapy.

SURVEILLANCE:

Limited data suggest these patients are at an increased risk of a contralateral breast cancer, but absolute risk is low. They are also at risk for secondary malignancies and 12.5 percent may develop a second primary cancer. The most common types were gastrointestinal, pancreas, non-melanoma skin, and prostate cancer.

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PROGNOSIS:

Ten-year disease-specific survival rates for histologically negative nodes – 77 and 84 per cent, one to three positive nodes – 50 and 44 per cent and four or more histologically positive nodes – 24 and 14 per cent. (IANS)