- Procedure May Reduce Reliance on Anti-Rejection Drugs
- Scientists Grow Rare Brain Cancer Cells
- Researchers Achieve Higher Cure Rate for Drug-Resistant TB
- Study: HIV Drug Abacavir Doesn't Raise Heart Attack Risk
- Enzyme Overproduction May Cause Endometriosis
- New Parkinson's Test Shows Promise
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:
Procedure May Reduce Reliance on Anti-Rejection Drugs
A procedure that may limit transplant patients' reliance on powerful anti-rejection drugs has been developed by German researchers. Anti-rejection drugs can cause side effects and may not prevent the slow rejection of the new organ over time.
The new procedure involves mixing a patient's infection-fighting white blood cells with cells from the organ donor, in order to create specialized transplant acceptance-inducing cells (TAICs), which are injected into the transplant patient, BBC News reported.
Tests on 17 kidney transplant patients yielded promising results. In the first stage of clinical trials, 12 patients who received kidneys from deceased donors were given TAICs in addition to traditional anti-rejection drugs. Ten of the patients were gradually taken off a mix of anti-rejection drugs, and six eventually took only a low dose of a single drug.
In the second stage, five patients who received kidneys from live donors received TAICs before their transplant. One patient went eight months without any anti-rejection drugs and three others were successfully taken down to single low-dose therapy, BBC News reported.
The study appears in the journal Transplant International.
Scientists Grow Rare Brain Cancer Cells
Canadian researchers who have cultivated cells from a rare and aggressive childhood brain cancer say this success may improve the chances of finding a treatment for atypical teratoid/rhaboid tumors (AT/RT). Until now, scientists hadn't been able to grow AT/RT cells in a petri dish.
"To do [drug] tests we need to have cancer cells in cultures. We take the cancer cells, add the targeted therapy [drug] agent and show whether it can kill or not kill," explained Dr. Aru Narendran, CBC News reported.
But, for an unknown reason, it had been impossible to grow AT/RT tumors outside the body. Narendran and colleagues were able to grow AT/RT cells by adding a small amount of brain fluid from an infant with the disease.
The University of Calgary researchers have already used cultivated AT/RT cells to test a drug that blocks a receptor that helps the tumor grow. The drug killed all the cancer cells, CBC News reported.
The findings were published in the Journal of Neuro-Oncology.
Researchers Achieve Higher Cure Rate for Drug-Resistant TB
Aggressive drug treatment cured more than 60 percent of 48 patients in Peru with extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) -- a success rate higher than that achieved in American and European hospitals. XDR-TB is resistant to the most effective drugs, CBC News reported.
Treatment of the patients in this study included a structured, comprehensive, community-based approach and aggressive use of TB drugs (an average of five or six medications per patient).
"It's essential that the world know that XDR-TB is not a death sentence. As or even more importantly, our study shows that effective treatment does not require hospitalization or indefinite confinement of patients," lead author Carole Mitnick, an instructor in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, said in a new release, CBC News reported.
The study appears in Thursday's issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
HIV Drug Abacavir Doesn't Increase Heart Attack Risk: Study
The HIV drug abacavir doesn't increase the risk of heart attack, according to an analysis of data from more than 14,600 patients in 54 clinical trials. The review was conducted by drug maker GlaxoSmithKline after a previous analysis suggested a potential association between highly active retroviral therapy (HAART) regimens containing abacavir and increased risk of heart attack.