HEALTH

Cancer center may have found link between GIST, targeted therapy

BY Michael Johnsen

ORLANDO, Fla. Researchers at Fox Chase Cancer Center uncovered a genetic pattern that may help predict how gastrointestinal stromal tumor patients respond to the targeted therapy Gleevec (imatinib mesylate). Moreover, their findings point to genes that could be suppressed in order to make these tumors respond more readily to imatinib.

“Imatinib has been the first drug that has really made a dent in GIST progression – up to 80% response – yet some GIST patients have little or no response to the drug,” commented Lori Rink, a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Andrew Godwin at Fox Chase. “We are looking to see how we can help clinicians make better decisions in applying imatinib or additional therapies to their GIST patients,” she said. “Our data indicate that if we can alter the activity of some of these KRAB-zinc finger proteins, we may be able to enhance the effectiveness of imatinib therapy.”

Rink presented their findings at the 2009 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

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CRN adds seven new companies to its roster

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON The Council for Responsible Nutrition on Friday announced the addition of the following seven members to its roster.

Kansas City, Mo.-based CardioTabs specializes in manufacturing supplements designed specifically for cardiovascular health. The company regularly modifies its product formulations in response to the most current research on supplements and health resulting in products that are safe and effective.

Martek Biosciences Corp. develops nutritional products that promote health and wellness through every stage of life. Martek, based in Columbia, Md., has become a leader in fermentation technology and is an innovator in the research and development of products derived from microalgae.

Istanbul, Turkey-based Eczacibasi Ilac Pazarlama is a pharmaceutical company in Turkey that has recently expanded to develop dietary supplements.  Although the company has a contract manufacturing agreement with Nutritional Laboratories International, they are not currently selling any products in the United States.

Accelovance is a clinical services company with a proven approach to accelerating clinical development by delivering optimal results through greater control and productivity.  The Rockville, Md.-based company tailors its offerings of full CRO services, wholly owned clinical sites, patient recruitment and a clinical call center for a customized clinical solution.

NutraGenetics is a science-based developer of nutritional supplements, functional foods and nutraceuticals. NutraGenetics, based in Redondo Beach, Calif., also provides business consulting services in the healthcare field relating to new product development, product distribution, logistics and supply chain solutions.

NutrIQ of Alexandria, Va. is a consulting firm that works with suppliers and manufacturers of dietary supplements, conventional foods, functional foods and other over-the-counter products.  The company specializes in nutrition marketing, communications, scientific, technical and regulatory services.

New York-based Sawaya Segalas provides investment banking services to brand-based businesses in the consumer industry.

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Study: Ginger reduces nausea associated with chemotherapy

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCHESTER, N.Y. People with cancer can reduce post-chemotherapy nausea by as much as 40% by using ginger supplements, along with standard antivomiting drugs, before undergoing treatment, according to scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

About 70% of cancer patients who receive chemotherapy complain of nausea and vomiting.

“There are effective drugs to control vomiting, but the nausea is often worse because it lingers,” stated lead author Julie Ryan, assistant professor of dermatology and radiation oncology at Rochester’s James P. Wilmot Cancer Center. “Nausea is a major problem for people who undergo chemotherapy and it’s been a challenge for scientists and doctors to understand how to control it,” Ryan said.

The Phase II/III placebo-controlled, double-blind study included 644 cancer patients who would receive at least three chemotherapy treatments. They were divided into four arms that received placebos, 0.5 gram of ginger, 1 gram of ginger or 1.5 grams of ginger along with antiemetics (anti-vomiting drugs such as Zofran, Kytril, Novaban and Anzemet).

Patients took the ginger supplements three days prior to chemotherapy and three days following treatment. Patients reported nausea levels at various times of day during following their chemotherapy and those who took the lower doses had a 40% reduction.

Ginger is readily absorbed in the body and has long been considered a remedy for stomach aches. “By taking the ginger prior to chemotherapy treatment, the National Cancer Institute-funded study suggests its earlier absorption into the body may have anti-inflammatory properties,” Ryan said.

The research will be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in the Patient and Survivor Care Session on Saturday, May 30, in Orlando, Fla.

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