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					                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ARAB TIMES, FRIDAY, JUNE 10, 2011
HEALTH                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    31


       Cells might help fix heart damage

‘Silent’ strokes less
likely in fit people
NEW YORK, June 9, (Agencies): People who participate in vigorous activity
are less likely to experience “silent” strokes — strokes which, while without
symptoms, leave victims more at risk of other problems in the future, a study
   Specifically, older adults who got the most exercise — equivalent to swim-
ming or biking more than once a week — were 40 percent less likely to expe-
rience such an asymptomatic stroke, said study author Joshua Willey, at
Columbia University.
   Even though these strokes have no symptoms, people who suffer them have
a higher risk for future problems, such as trouble with walking or mental func-
tioning, as well as more typical strokes, he added.
   But the study, published in Neurology, did not prove whether physical activ-
ity actually prevents strokes, he
warned, noting that people who took
part in such activity might have other            ‘Highest dose’
habits that lowered their risk.
   “We know that light to moderate
exercise helps with many other con-
                                              FDA recommends
ditions, and we don’t want our results
to discourage our patients from doing         limits on ‘Zocor’
exercise,” Willey told Reuters                BANGALORE,            June       9,
Health.                                       (RTRS): US health regulators
   “Any is better than none, just in          recommended limiting the
general, for overall health. And it           use of the highest dose of
seems to be, the more the better.”            Merck & Co’s cholesterol
   People who engaged in less physi-          drug     Zocor,      citing     an
cal exercise, such as vigorous activi-        increased risk of muscle
ty less frequently, or low-impact             damage.
exercise such as golf or bowling,                Zocor, also known as sim-
were no less likely to experience             vastatin, is widely available
silent strokes — which Willey                 as a generic drug and is also
described as a bit of a surprise.             sold in combination with eze-           This handout image made available by the ‘Helmholtz-Zentrum fur Infektionsforschung (HZI) recently shows the E. coli (EHEC) bacteria. Germany expressed hope
   The study, conducted by Willey             timibe as Merck’s Vytorin and           that the ‘worst’ of the highly virulent strain of E. coli (EHEC) outbreak was over as national and European Union health and consumer affairs officials met for urgent
and his team at Columbia and the              niacin as Abbott’s Simcor.                                                                                 talks on the crisis. (AFP) See Page 32
                                                 The highest approved dose
University of Miami, interviewed
more than 1,200 people aged 55 and
                                              of 80 mg should be used only
                                              by patients who have been
                                                                                                                                                                                     ‘Cancer treatment’
older who had no symptoms of                  taking it for 12 months or
stroke and were already participating

                                                                                                                                     Targeted drugs offer ‘options’
                                              more without any evidence of
in a study on the risk of stroke on           muscle injury, the US Food
physical activity.                            and Drug Administration said
   They then performed brain scans            on its website.
to check for brain infarcts, or tissue           “We do not see much
damage due to blockage of an artery           impact here given the fact                                                             CHICAGO, June 9, (Agencies): In the          ogy at the Roche’s Genentech unit.             and healthcare insurance providers
supplying that tissue.                        that relatively few patients                                                           future fight against cancer, doctors are        She declined to talk about market           need to sit down and figure out how to
   Among the participants, who aver-          were being started at this                                                             looking beyond afflicted organs —            expectations for the drug, but did say         make these types of treatments more
aged 70 years of age at the time of           high dose,” Merck Chief                                                                whether lung, brain or stomach — and         Roche would launch it with a compan-           affordable.”
their brain scan, 16 percent had expe-        Medical      Officer      Michael                                                      finding new answers by disrupting the        ion test for diagnosing the BRAF                  Also fueling the cost issue, major
rienced silent brain infarcts. Only           Rosenblatt said.                                                                       genetic mechanisms of specific tumor         mutation.                                      drugmakers are looking at ways to
those who engaged in the most activ-             “Most doctors were already           Demonstrators cheer at a rally out-                                                                                                        combine targeted therapies. They say it
                                              aware that there was a dis-                                                            cells.                                          Another study presented at ASCO
ity had a reduced risk.                                                               side the United Nations’ High Level               Novel cancer drugs at the center of a     found that matching therapies, most            will lead to an even more effective
                                              proportionate number of                 Meeting on HIV & AIDS at UN head-
   Previous studies have shown that           muscle side effects at this                                                            major medical meeting this week point        still experimental, to the genetic mark-       treatment by blocking multiple path-
only moderate or heavy exercise                                                       quarters June 8, in New York City.
                                              dose. And most of it is gener-          Activists from Doctors Without                 to a future in which patients are more       ers led to higher rates of tumor shrink-       ways needed by cancer cells.
appears to ward off strokes, Willey           ic any way for simvastatin,”                                                           routinely tested for gene mutations          age and survival for patients with                The combination of two experimen-
said. He also noted that only 36 per-                                                 Borders and other organizations ral-
                                              he added.                               lied to call for full funding for world-       underlying their cancer to match them        advanced cancer.                               tal       pills      developed         by
cent of the participants took part in            The FDA also requires                wide treatment and prevention of               with a targeted treatment.                      And while there is still a high corre-      GlaxoSmithKline PLC — one BRAF-
light exercise, perhaps not enough to         changes to the drug label to                       HIV/AIDS. (AFP)                        That would represent a major shift        lation between genetic mutations and           blocker and another designed to inhib-
show a real impact.                           add new contraindications                                                                                                                                                          it a gene known as MEK — were
   Physical activity had no relation-         and dose limitations for using                        See Page 32                      from the current medical paradigm, in        specific types of cancer as we know
ship to the risk of another silent brain      the drug with certain medi-                                                            which a patient’s disease is more close-     them, researchers are also finding links       shown in an early-stage trial to shrink
event, white matter hyperintensities          cines.                                                                                 ly identified with an area of the body to    between the different categories, open-        tumors in a majority of patients with
(WMHs), which are linked to later                Patients taking Zocor 80                                                            determine what battery of chemothera-        ing up new possibilities for treatment.        advanced melanoma. Roche has
problems, such as dementia and trou-          mg daily have an increased                                                             py or other one-size-fits-all regimen is        “What we are finding out is that the        teamed with Bristol-Myers Squibb to
ble walking, as well as typical               risk of muscle injury com-                                                             needed.                                      molecular abnormalities cross tumor            test vemurafenib in combination with
strokes. Their cause is unclear.              pared to patients taking lower                                                            “We are not waging a single war           types,” said Dr Razelle Kurzrock, pro-         Bristol’s ipilimumab, an antibody
                                              doses of the drug or other                                                             against a single enemy,” said Dr             fessor and chair of MD Anderson’s              designed to spur the body’s immune
   Willey noted that he and his col-          drugs in the same class, the
leagues only measured physical                                                                                                       Harold Varmus, director of the               Department of Investigational Cancer           system to fight off the cancer.
                                              FDA said.
activity by asking people what they              The risk appears to be                                                              National Cancer Institute. “It is literal-   Therapeutics, which conducted the                 Since most tumors eventually find a
did over the previous two weeks, and          higher during the first year of                                                        ly hundreds of different diseases ... in     study.                                         way to get around blocked pathways,
the brain scans occurred several              treatment, is often the result                                                         every domain of cancer there is a puz-                      Interfering                     “there is widespread understanding
years after the exercise interview,           of interactions with certain                                                           zle to be figured out.”                                                                     that we are going to need to learn how
which could have affected findings.           medicines and is frequently                                                                                                            Unlike traditional chemotherapy             to combine two or more targeted thera-
   They plan to look into the relation-       associated with a genetic                    Armitage                  Gates                         Sequencing                     drugs, which work by interfering with          pies to block the main road and the side
ship between brain scans and exer-            predisposition toward sim-                                                                Advances in genetic sequencing are        the entire body’s system of cell replica-      road and the dirt road,” said ASCO
cise in people who report their activ-        vastatin-related      myopathy,                                                        helping scientists to solve some of          tion, newer targeted drugs aim to block        Chief Executive Dr Allen Lichter.
ity every year.                               the regulator said.                               Health                               those puzzles, and the number of             specific pathways that cancer cells use           Targeted cancer therapies are drugs
             ❑ ❑ ❑                               In March 2010, FDA said it                                                          experimental compounds has mush-             to grow and reproduce. The targeted
                                              was reviewing the safety of                                                                                                                                                        or other substances that block the
Cardiac cells: Scientists say                 simvastatin based on review             Court denies Amylin request: A US              roomed.                                      therapies ideally cause fewer harsh            growth and spread of cancer by inter-
they’ve found cells in the hearts of          of data from a large clinical           federal court declined to prevent Eli Lilly       pNew data on several targeted drugs       side effects, but they also work only in       fering with specific molecules
mice that can make new muscle after           trial and other sources.                & Co’s diabetes sales force from marketing     released this week at the annual meet-       patients with the specific gene muta-          involved in tumor growth and progres-
a heart attack, raising hopes that doc-          While muscle injury, also            a potential rival to a drug it already sells   ing of the American Society of Clinical      tion.                                          sion. Because scientists often call these
tors can one day help the human               called myopathy, is a known             with Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc.               Oncology showed the progress made in            Cancer drug sales — which doubled           molecules “molecular targets,” target-
heart repair itself.                          side effect with all statin med-           The US District Court for the Southern      making this mode of treatment a reali-       between 2005 and 2010 — are expect-            ed cancer therapies are sometimes
   In an embryo the cells help build          ications, higher doses usually          District of California vacated a temporary     ty after many years of research.             ed to continue leading pharmaceutical          called “molecularly targeted drugs,”
                                              pose a greater risk.                    restraining order and denied a request by         “We have proof of principle in some       industry growth. The sector will grow
the heart, but in adulthood they gen-            Patients with myopathy               Amylin for a preliminary injunction, Lilly                                                                                                 “molecularly targeted therapies,” or
erally go dormant, said researcher            experience muscle pain, ten-            said on Wednesday.                             tumors where we have identified a tar-       8 percent a year, reaching $93 billion         other similar names. By focusing on
Paul Riley of the Institute of Child          derness or weakness, and an                At the heart of the dispute is a Lilly      get ... we can actually make an enor-        in 2016, according to Natixis. Much of         molecular and cellular changes that are
Health in London. The new study               elevation of a muscle enzyme            agreement with German drugmaker                mous difference in the outcome,” said        that growth is expected to come from           specific to cancer, targeted cancer ther-
found a way to reactivate them, he            in the blood.                           Boehringer Ingelheim to co-develop five        ASCO President Dr Michael Link.              such targeted therapies, which have            apies may be more effective than other
said.                                            The FDA said an estimated            diabetes medicines, including one that            In one of the most talked-about stud-     already revolutionized the treatment of        types     of    treatment,     including
   The findings suggest that someday          2.1 million patients in the             could become a competitor to Byetta, a         ies, advanced melanoma patients given        a few specific cancers, such as                chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and
it might be possible to develop a drug        United States were pre-                 medicine Lilly co-markets with Amylin.         an experimental pill, vemurafenib,           leukemia, certain stomach tumors and           less harmful to normal cells.
for at-risk people to keep those dor-         scribed a product containing               Amylin last month sued its much larger      developed by Roche and Daiichi               a subset of breast cancers.
mant cells ready in case of a heart           80-mg simvastatin in year               long-time diabetes drug partner, asserting                                                                                                    Many targeted cancer therapies have
attack, said Riley, an author of the          2010.                                   that the Lilly deal with Boehringer violated   Sankyo were 63 percent less likely to           Close to 900 more cancer medicines          been approved by the US Food and
report in Thursday’s issue of the                According to IMS Health              contractual agreements. Amylin said it         die than patients given chemotherapy.        are currently being tested in humans,          Drug Administration (FDA) for the
journal Nature. But that would be at          data, simvastatin, including            wanted to keep Lilly from using the same          Vemurafenib is designed for use in        according to the NCI.                          treatment of specific types of cancer
least 10 years away, he stressed.             all dose strengths, was the             sales force to sell both Byetta and the        patients with tumors that have a muta-          But the new drugs are also expen-           .Others are being studied in clinical tri-
   The cells are found in the outer           second-most prescribed drug             potential rival drug, linaglipton.             tion in a gene known as BRAF that            sive, with a course of treatment typi-         als (research studies with people), and
                                              in the United States last year.            Amylin said it was disappointed with        allows melanoma cells to grow. About         cally priced at tens of thousands of dol-      many more are in preclinical testing
layer of the mouse heart. Researchers                                                 the ruling but noted that the court decision
found that if they injected mice with                                                                                                half of all melanomas have the genetic       lars.                                          (research studies with animals).
                                                                                      does not address the merits of its claims,
a particular substance and gave the                                                   which it intends to pursue through its law-    aberration.                                     “The cost issue is tremendously                Targeted cancer therapies are being
animals a heart attack, the cells          ated with obesity at 5.5 years of age,”    suit against Lilly.                               “This agent is producing responses        important,” said Dr Robert Burger,             studied for use alone, in combination
migrated to the site of injury and         wrote study leader Rachel Gooze, a            “Amylin continues to believe that Lilly’s   that have really been unheard of with        director of Fox Chase’s Women’s                with other targeted therapies, and in
made new muscle. They also found           doctoral candidate in public health at     conduct violates our diabetes collaboration    chemotherapy,” said Sandra Horning,          Cancer Center in Philadelphia. “The            combination with other cancer treat-
several indicators that the heart then     Temple University.                         agreements, is anti-competitive and limits     head of global development for oncol-        political lobby, the pharma industry,          ments, such as chemotherapy.
worked better, although they said it’s        “Avoiding this behavior may help        patients’ treatment options,” the company
not clear whether that’s due to the        prevent early childhood obesity.”          said in a statement.
new muscle or other known effects             Pediatricians already advise par-          Amylin and Lilly became partners on         Immunisation (GAVI) and the Results for      poor countries. The Gates Foundation is        set aside for the scheme to match business
of the injected substance.                 ents to wean children from the bottle      Byetta through a deal struck in 2002. The      Developmental Institute, found that poor     also a major funder of GAVI.                   donations up to that amount, the
   Steve Houser, director of the           to toddler-friendly cups when they are     companies would also co-market                 countries would be hard-pressed to pay for      Meanwhile, the British government said      Department for International Development
Cardiovascular Research Center at          about 12 to 14 months old, or even         Bydureon, a longer acting version of           expanded vaccine programmes without          on Thursday it would match millions of         said.
Temple University, who wasn’t                                                         Byetta currently being reviewed by the US      help from outside donors. The Health         pounds in donations by companies to help          “It is an international disgrace that three
                                           earlier — mainly because extended          Food and Drug Administration, which had        Affairs series was funded by the Bill &      fund vaccination programmes against ill-       children die every minute from diseases
involved in the study, said other          bottle-feeding, especially overnight,                                                     Melinda Gates Foundation, a $34 billion      nesses in children in developing countries.    that children in Britain are immunised
                                                                                      previously delayed an approval decision on
teams have also reported potential         is thought to boost the risk of cavities   the medicine.                                  fund devoted largely to health projects in      Up to £50 million ($82 million) will be     against as a matter of course,” said Andrew
repair cells in the heart, including       and may contribute to iron deficiency.        “We have complied with our contractual                                                                                                  Mitchell, Britain’s international develop-
some cells being tested in humans.            Gooze said their findings might         obligations under our agreements with                                                                                                      ment minister.
   He also cautioned that “very little     provide an added incentive for wean-       Amylin, and done so in a manner fully                                                                                                         The funds will go to GAVI, the donor-
in the cardiac world has translated        ing, and that it may be needed, since      consistent with all applicable laws,”                                                                                                      funded Global Alliance for Vaccines and
from mice to man.”                         many two-year-olds appear to still be      Robert Armitage, general counsel for Eli                                                                                                   Immunisation, which funds bulk-buy vac-
             ❑ ❑ ❑                         using bottles.                             Lilly, said in a statement announcing the                                                                                                  cination programmes for countries that
                                              Of the 6,750 children studied by        court ruling.                                                                                                                              cannot afford Western prices and which is
Bottle-feeding:          Two-year-olds     Gooze and her colleagues, 1 in 5 was          “We believe that Amylin’s allegations                                                                                                   currently seeking to raise an extra $3.7 bil-
who are still using bottles are more       still using a bottle at the age of 24      against Lilly are entirely without merit and                                                                                               lion to keep its programmes going through
likely to be obese by kindergarten, a      months, either at night or all the time.   we fully expect to prevail in this litiga-                                                                                                 to 2015.
US study said, raising the possibility     And of those long-term bottle users,       tion,” Armitage added. (RTRS)                                                                                                                 The scheme is a three-way matching
that weaning babies from the bottle        roughly 1 in 5 was obese at the age of                      ❑     ❑     ❑                                                                                                             programme that to attract funding from
at an earlier age may help prevent         5.                                                                                                                                                                                    companies, their customers or employees.
excessive weight gain.                                                                Vaccines could save 6.4M lives:                                                                                                            It could raise up to 100 million pounds
                                              That compared to about 1 in 6 chil-     Millions of children’s lives and billions of
   The study of nearly 7,000 US chil-                                                                                                                                                                                            over five years to vaccinate children
                                           dren who had been weaned earlier.          dollars could be saved if vaccines were                                                                                                    against diseases including pneumonia,
dren, published in the Journal of             Gooze and her team then looked at       more widely available in 72 of the world’s
Pediatrics, found that toddlers who                                                                                                                                                                                              Hepatitis B and rotavirus, which causes
                                           other factors that could affect a          poorest countries, according to research                                                                                                   potentially fatal diarrhoea.
still drank from bottles at age two        child’s risk of obesity, including the     published on Thursday.
were one-third more likely than other                                                                                                                                                                                               Mining firm Anglo American, which has
                                           mother’s weight, family income and            In a series of studies in the Health                                                                                                    around 95 percent of its operations in
children to be obese at the age of         education, and whether the child had       Affairs journal, public health experts and                                                                                                 developing countries, was one of the first
five.                                      ever been breastfed.                       scientists projected that if 90 percent of                                                                                                 companies to pledge funds under the
   While researchers said they didn’t         They found that prolonged bottle-       children in those countries were immu-                                                                                                     scheme, announcing on Monday it would
know if long-term bottle-feeding was       feeding by itself was linked to a 33       nised, more than $151 billion in treatment                                                                                                 give $1 million a year for three years.
directly to blame, they said their         percent increase in children’s risk of     costs and lost productivity could be saved                                                                                                    Several leading drugmakers, including
findings suggested that weaning            obesity.                                   over 10 years, producing economic bene-        A little girl operates her cuddly toy helped by a medical student at the ‘Teddy             GlaxoSmithKline , Merck, Johnson &
babies around their first birthday            “The bottle may be providing a          fits of $231 billion.                          Bear Hospital’ on June 8, during the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the            Johnson’s Crucell and Sanofi-Aventis’s
could help fight weight gain.              source of comfort, rather than meet-          Some 6.4 million children could be          Children’s Hospital of Lausanne (HEL). The Children’s Hospital of Lausanne                  Sanofi Pasteur this week offered to cut
   “Prolonged bottle use was associ-                                                  saved, they found.                             was Switzerland’s first hospital entirely dedicated to infants. The “Teddy Bear             some of their vaccine prices for developing
                                           ing nutritional needs,” Gooze said.           Yet one study, conducted by the donor-      Hospital” is an initiative organised by medical students for children of aiming to          countries to try to sustain supplies via
                                                                                      funded Global Alliance for Vaccines and                         alleviate their fear of doctors and hospitals. (AFP)                       GAVI. (RTRS)