Researchers identify cancer-causing agent in cigarette smoke
BETHESDA, Md. Researchers at the University of California, Davis, have discovered that, while tobacco smoke contains more than 4,000 chemical compounds, it is the hydrogen peroxide that actually causes healthy lung tissue to turn cancerous.
This is good news, both for the oncology profession and the cigarette industry. Scientists may be able to use the information to develop new treatments for smoking-related lung cancer and tobacco companies may be able to start producing “safe” cigarettes.
“With the five-year survival rate for people with lung cancer at a dismally low 15.5 percent, we hope this study will provide better insight into the identification of new therapeutic targets,” senior author Tzipora Goldkorn stated.
The results of the study were published by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology in its March journal. In the study, different sets of human lung tissue were exposed to cigarette smoke or hydrogen peroxide and then compared to each other and to unexposed tissue. The researchers found the same molecular signatures of cancer development on both sets of exposed cells, but none on the unexposed airway tissue.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 400,000 deaths per year in the United States can be traced to smoking, which causes 90 percent of male lung cancer deaths and 80 percent of those for women. In theory, aside from the medical benefits, the tobacco industry may even be able to market a hydrogen peroxide-free formulation that could eventually significantly decrease the CDC’s numbers.
“Guns kill, bombs kill and cigarettes kill,” stated Gerald Weissmann, editor-in-chief of the FASEB Journal. “While biologists can’t do much about the first two, studies like this will help in the fight against tobacco-related death and disease. These experiments not only pinpoint new molecular targets for cancer treatment, but also identify culprits in cigarette smoke that eventually will do the smoker in.”
Mylan contemplates selling Dey due to Q3 loss
PITTSBURGH Mylan, a generic drug maker, has experienced a fiscal third-quarter-loss due to the $1.27 billion write off of acquired research and development related to acquisitions.
Shares for the company fell $1.41, or 11 percent, to $11.74 during aftermarket electronic trading, after closing down 12 cents at $13.15.
According to published reports, the loss for the quarter ended Dec. 31 totaled $1.38 billion. The company is said to possibly sell specialty business Dey LP. Selling Dey; however, will delay the launch of Perforomist, a treatment for emphysema and chronic bronchitis. This delay is predicted to hurt their earnings by 20 to 25 cents per share in 2008 to 2010.
The company is also planning to discontinue manufacturing and research at its facility in Canada, and stop manufacturing products in Puerto Rico. According to published reports, it will also stop research and development at Gerard Laboratories in Ireland and Spain.
Federal advisory panel recommends flu shot be given to all children
ATLANTA A federal advisory panel said Wednesday that all children up to age 18 should get vaccinated against the flu. The only exception was children under six months and those that have serious egg allergies.
Flu shots have usually been recommended to those that are at the highest risk of detrimental effects from the flu, such as children ages 6 months to 5 years, adults 50 and older, and those that have a weak immune system. This year, however, experts suggest that a way to prevent those at risk from being infected, all children, very effective carriers of the influenza virus, should be inoculated.
According to published reports, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices says this year that all children should get vaccinated as soon as possible. Offering flu shots to all children would add about 30 million more children than usual. FluMist, a nasal spray vaccine is also approved for ages 2 to 49, as an alternative to the shot.
The new advisory for flu shots has caused arguments among doctors as to when the vaccines should be available. Some doctors feel that the vaccine should be offered universally, while others are unsure of how every child will get covered with the vaccine.
“We probably will need to have low expectations for coverage in the first few years of implementation” of the ages 5-through-18 recommendation, said Tony Fiore, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Conrol and Prevention.