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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Type 2 diabetes on the rise in children, experts say

BY Alaric DeArment

HOUSTON Despite its “adult-onset” designation, Type 2 diabetes has risen at a high rate among children, and this has experts worried.

Physicians gathered in Houston Saturday to discuss strategies for preventing and treating the disease among children and adolescents at the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists’ 18th Annual Meeting & Clinical Congress.

“Type 2 diabetes is extremely complex,” pediatric endocrinologist and session monitor A. Jay Cohen said. “The rapid rise in obesity, physical inactivity and the consumption of excess calories seems to have led to the epidemic of children with Type 2 diabetes.”

The National Institutes of Health is conducting two clinical trials to identify children at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes and demonstrate the effectiveness of lifestyle intervention. In the first trial, researchers are tracking 6,400 children from sixth to eighth grade to determine if modifications in exercise programs and nutrition in the school environment can reduce the risk of the disease, measuring the children’s body mass indices, fasting glucose levels and fasting insulin levels. In the second trial, the researchers will explore the best treatment options.

“It is imperative to expose the social, behavioral and environmental factors which have led to this epidemic,” pediatric endocrinologist and study chairwoman Francine Kaufman said.

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FMI postpones, reschedules annual events due to flu outbreak

BY Michael Johnsen

ARLINGTON, Va. The Food Marketing Institute last week rescheduled its date for Future Connect in Dallas, which will now be held Oct. 12 to 14, and postponed its Marketechnics to the FMI 2010 event in Las Vegas.

“FMI appreciates the support and positive reinforcement we have received from the industry as we addressed the myriad issues resulting from the postponement of two events due to the influenza outbreak,” stated Leslie Sarasin, president, CEO of FMI. “We are thrilled to announce new plans to provide the industry with the essential education and insight provided by these events.”

Future Connect will now occur Oct.12 to 14 at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Dallas. All attendee registrations from the previously scheduled May dates for this event are automatically transferred to the October event. Companies may make substitutions on existing attendee registrations as needed.

Attendees should make new hotel reservations at www.fmifutureconnect.com. Registration for the event will re-open and new attendees may register online at the same Web site.

Marketechnics is postponed and will be included in the FMI 2010 event in Las Vegas. Attendees of the postponed May 2009 event will receive a credit for attendance at FMI 2010 or any other FMI event valid through May 31, 2010. FMI 2010 is scheduled for May 10 to 13, 2010 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

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