Sunday June 16, 2019

Wireless Device to Detect Heart Dysfunction in Cancer Survivors

Another alternative is cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging, which is expensive and is not widely accessible

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Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

Scientists have designed a novel wireless device which may accurately detect heart dysfunction in children who have survived cancer.

Childhood cancer survivors are advised to undergo screening for the detection of heart dysfunction because of known anthracycline-induced cardiotoxicity.

However, screening with echocardiography — the standard of care for monitoring heart function — can be highly variable and limited.

Another alternative is cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging, which is expensive and is not widely accessible.

In the study, the team tested Vivio — a prototype handheld instrument which collects pulse waves and phonocardiogram data from the carotid artery. The results showed that the device was accurate and it displayed a low false-negative rate as compared to CMR imaging.

Cancer
Representational image. Pixabay

“This study is the first step in thinking about new paradigms of long-term monitoring and care delivery for cancer survivors who are at risk for severe and life-threatening health conditions,” said Saro Armenian, Director at City of Hope National Medical Centre in California.

The study, published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research, involved data from 191 patients exposed to anthracycline chemotherapy.

The data of the participants was collected using Vivio which then streamed wirelessly to a compatible device such as a smart phone or e-tablet.

This mobile health platform negates the need for result interpretation and allows for real-time monitoring of heart health, explained Armenian.

Also Read: Overweight in Middle Age Linked to Low Breast Cancer Risk

Using a specialised algorithm, Vivio measures the left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), which is commonly used to assess heart function and measures the percentage of blood ejected from the left ventricle of the heart, Armenian added.

However, the author said that Vivio is not currently intended to replace echocardiography or CMR imaging.

“One possible implementation of Vivio could be for preliminary screening,” Armenian explained. (IANS)

Next Story

This Tiny Cell is Good News for Cancer Survivors

This approach to fertility restoration is safe," says Bhartiya pointing out to earlier studies carried out in her laboratory in mice which had shown that this method restored the role of non-functional ovaries and resulted in the birth of fertile offsprings

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Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

A scientist at the National Institute for Research in Reproductive Health (NIRRH) in Mumbai — an institute under the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) — says a new type of stem cell identified by her team can help restore fertility in men and women who have undergone treatment for cancer.

Cancer treatment, or “oncotherapy”, that involves use of radiation and chemicals, renders patients infertile as an unwanted side effect and, while cured of cancer, they cannot beget children.

Though women are born with a lifetime reserve of “oocytes” ( immature eggs), these are wiped out by oncotherapy. In males, the testes responsible for the production of sperms, stop making them following cancer treatment.

Currently accepted approaches for fertility preservation require male patients to deposit their sperm in “cryo-banks” before beginning cancer treatment for later use. Similarly women, wanting to have children, must have their eggs or embryos “cryopreserved” for use after oncotherapy.

“Such approaches are invasive, expensive, technically challenging and depend on assisted reproductive technologies,” reports NIRRH cell biologist Deepa Bhartiya in the latest issue of the Indian Journal of Medical Research, the flagship journal of ICMR.

According to the report, there is now a way out. Bhartiya says research by her team over the years led to identification of a novel population of “Very Small Embryonic-Like stem cells (VSELs)”, in testis (in males) and ovaries (in females).

Being “quiescent” by nature, these primitive stem cells (VSELs) survive cancer therapy and therefore can offer young cancer survivors options to have children without having to bank their sperms or embryos prior to oncotherapy, says the report.

“The VSELs have remained elusive over decades due to their small size and presence in very few numbers,” says Bhartiya.

Cancer patient
Cancer patient.

The discovery of these unique VSELs (in testes and ovaries) that do not succumb to oncotherapy “opens up an alternative strategy to regenerate non-functional gonads and ovaries in cancer survivors”, says Bhartiya.

While VSELs survive cancer treatment, their original “habitat” (or niche) however gets destroyed by oncotherapy. To make the VSELs functional, their “niche” should be re-created by transplanting “mesenchymal cells” — another type of stem cells taken from the bone marrow — into the testes, says the report.

A simple and direct transplantation of “mesenchymal cells in the non-functional gonads may suffice to regenerate them,” says Bhartiya. “Similarly, transplantation of “ovarian surface epithelial cells” may allow the VSELs to regenerate nonfunctional ovaries.”

“This approach to fertility restoration is safe,” says Bhartiya pointing out to earlier studies carried out in her laboratory in mice which had shown that this method restored the role of non-functional ovaries and resulted in the birth of fertile offsprings.

“Our group also successfully restored spermatogenesis (sperm production) in non-functional mouse testis by transplanting niche (mesenchymal) cells, into the testis,” Bhartiya said.

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In the light of these findings, she says the field of oncofertility may undergo a sea-change and existing strategies of cryopreservation of gametes and gonadal tissue for fertility preservation in cancer patients will have to be revised. “Pilot clinical studies (in humans) need to be undertaken.”

“VSELs may be an alternative cell source for induced Pluripotent Stem (iPS) clls,” Balu Manohar, managing director of Stempeutics Research, a Bengaluru-based stem cell company told this correspondent. “But it is still far away from the clinic as isolation and large scale expansion of these cells has to be standardised.” (IANS)