Egypt Independent: Science-Main news en Approved Pfizer breast cancer drug impresses in latest study <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Pfizer Inc said on Wednesday the first formal late-stage trial of its approved treatment for advanced breast cancer, Ibrance, was stopped early after the medicine met its goal of delaying progression of the disease in previously treated patients.</p><p>J.P.Morgan analyst Chris Schott said in a research note that the successful trial results should boost demand for the recently approved treatment, which works differently than approved medicines and has blockbuster sales potential. Some analysts have predicted the drug could eventually generate annual sales of more than $5 billion.</p><p>Pfizer said the Phase 3 study, called Paloma 3, was halted after an independent data monitoring board determined that Ibrance, also known as palbociclib, had proven its effectiveness among patients with advanced disease who had previously been treated with anti-estrogen drugs. Data from the study will be presented at an upcoming medical meeting, the largest U.S. drugmaker said.</p><p>Patients taking Ibrance in combination with AstraZeneca Plc&#39;s Faslodex (fulvestrant), a widely used treatment to block estrogen, were deemed to have fared better in terms of disease progression than those taking Faslodex alone.</p><p>The trial enrolled patients whose breast cancer was classified as estrogen-receptor positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative (ER+/HER2-).&nbsp;</p><p>Ibrance was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in February for such patients, but only ones who had not previously been treated for advanced disease.</p><p>The accelerated approval was based on results of a study that showed Ibrance delayed progression of disease significantly longer than&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow">Novartis</a>&nbsp;AG&#39;s Femara(letrozole), a member of another class of breast cancer treatments called aromatase inhibitors.</p><p>Pfizer is conducting a large trial called Paloma-2, which ithopes will confirm the benefits of Ibrance as a first-line treatment, in combination with Femara.</p><p>Ibrance works by blocking two enzymes, cyclin-dependent kinase 4 and 6, that are involved in cell growth.</p><p>A number of other drugmakers, including Eli Lilly and Co, are testing drugs that block the same or similar enzymes, as potential treatments for various cancers.&nbsp;</p><p>Pfizer shares were up 0.9 percent at $35.34 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.</p> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 21:36:00 +0000 Reuters 2448183 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/04/16/43/ghjsahgg.jpg Ebola vaccine trial begins in Sierra Leona <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Thousands of healthcare workers in areas of Sierra Leone that are grappling with Ebola will now begin receiving an experimental vaccine against the often deadly virus, officials said Tuesday.</p><div><div><div id="mediacontentrelatedstory_container">&nbsp;</div></div></div><p id="yui_3_16_0_1_1429216220127_576">The vaccine candidate, rVSV-ZEBOV, was developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada and licensed to NewLink Genetics and Merck pharmaceuticals.</p><p id="yui_3_16_0_1_1429216220127_577">It will be given to 6,000 healthcare workers and other frontline personnel in the fight against Ebola over the coming months, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a statement.</p><p id="yui_3_16_0_1_1429216220127_578">The vaccine trial, known as STRIVE (Sierra Leone Trial to Introduce a Vaccine against Ebola), is being conducted in Freetown, the Western Area Rural district and certain chiefdoms in Bombali, Port Loko, and Tonkolili districts.</p><p>&quot;These study locations were selected because they have been heavily affected by the Ebola outbreak in the past few months,&quot; the CDC said.</p><p>As of late March, the vaccine has already been studied in more than 800 people as part of ongoing vaccine trials in Africa, Canada, Europe, and the United States.</p><p>So far, the vaccine appears safe and those who take it show an immune response to Ebola.</p><p>&quot;The vaccine cannot cause Ebola virus disease but can potentially stimulate an immune response to protect against the disease,&quot; the CDC said.</p><p>However, it remains unclear if the vaccine can prevent Ebola, and if it does, how much protection it may provide. Therefore those who take it must still follow all precautionary measures to avoid Ebola infection, such as covering their skin, mouth, nose and eyes and not coming in direct contact with the bodily fluids of those who are ill.</p><p>Those in the trial have two choices -&ndash; either they can get the vaccine right away or they can get it six months later. Researchers will follow the subjects in the trial for six months to compare rates of Ebola infection.</p><p id="yui_3_16_0_1_1429216220127_579">&quot;We don&#39;t know whether this vaccine will be the Ebola prevention tool we&#39;re all eager for, but we hope that what we learn from STRIVE will help us save lives during this and future Ebola outbreaks,&quot; said Anne Schuchat, director of CDC&#39;s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.</p><p id="yui_3_16_0_1_1429216220127_580">The deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history began in late 2013 and has killed more than 10,000 people, mainly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.</p> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 20:29:00 +0000 Reuters 2448175 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/12/02/500202/_c_afp__health_workers_from_guineas_red_cross_carry_the_body_of_a_victim_of_ebola_in_momo_kanedou_in_guinea_on_november_19_2014_.jpg Mid-pregnancy maternal diabetes tied to child’s autism risk <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>When mothers develop diabetes during the first 26 weeks of pregnancy, the child they&rsquo;re carrying may be at increased risk of autism, according to a new study.</p><p>Kids exposed to so-called gestational diabetes before the third trimester were at higher risk compared to those whose mothers did not develop diabetes during pregnancy, developed it later in pregnancy or had type 2 diabetes before pregnancy, researchers found.</p><p>Many factors have been associated with autism, so it is not surprising that gestational diabetes may be added to the list, lead author Anny H. Xiang of Kaiser Permanente Southern California in Pasadena told Reuters Health by phone.</p><p>&ldquo;Clearly this was an observational study and you really cannot draw a causal association,&rdquo; she added.</p><p>Gestational diabetes, but not preexisting type 2 diabetes, was tied to autism risk, which is a new finding, Xiang said.</p><p>Gestational diabetes usually emerges in the middle of pregnancy for women who did not have diabetes before becoming pregnant. It can often be managed with diet and exercise and will go away soon after delivery, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.</p><p>Xiang and her co-authors studied data on more than 322,000 children born in Kaiser Permanente Southern California hospitals between 1995 and 2009.</p><p>About two percent of the children were born to mothers diagnosed with type 2 diabetes before pregnancy, almost eight percent were exposed to gestational diabetes and 90 percent were not exposed to any maternal diabetes.</p><p>More than half of mothers with type 2 diabetes and a quarter of those with gestational diabetes used antidiabetic medications during pregnancy.</p><p>Overall, through early childhood, nearly 3,400 of the children were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).</p><p>Gestational diabetes diagnosed before six and a half months of pregnancy was tied to later autism risk, even after accounting for family history of ASD and maternal smoking, pre-pregnancy height and weight and gestational weight gain, the authors reported in JAMA.</p><p>Kids whose mothers had gestational diabetes earlier in pregnancy were about 42 percent more likely to be diagnosed with autism than those who whose mothers had no form of diabetes.</p><p>Type 2 diabetes also seemed to be linked to a higher risk of autism, but the association was explained by factors like maternal age and other health problems, the authors write.</p><p>&ldquo;If you know you have diabetes already, then you are already under the care of a doctor and you may be more constantly monitored,&rdquo; Xiang said.</p><p>But a woman who is diagnosed with gestational diabetes, especially earlier in pregnancy, may have had high blood sugar to begin with and not realized it, she said.</p><p>The authors suspect that some children in the gestational diabetes group may have been exposed to untreated high blood sugar during early critical brain development.</p><p>&ldquo;I think we are starting to learn more and more about the potential effects of the intrauterine environment on long term outcomes in the offspring,&rdquo; said Linda Dodds of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Dodds studies the impact of environmental, genetic and medical factors during pregnancy.</p><p>Polycystic ovary syndrome, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and older maternal age are all risk factors for gestational diabetes, she said.</p><p>&ldquo;Future studies directly linking maternal glucose levels during early and late pregnancy with (autism) risk, including imaging studies of infant and childhood brain development by MRI are needed to provide evidence for a true causal relationship,&rdquo; said Dr. Dana Dabelea of the University of Colorado Denver, who also was not part of the new study.</p><p>&ldquo;No matter whether we found this or not, the overall advice to pregnant women is go see doctor, check your blood sugar, make sure it&rsquo;s normal,&rdquo; Xiang said. &ldquo;Studies have also shown that a mother who had gestational diabetes is more likely to have increased risk for obesity and diabetes in the future.&rdquo;</p><p>Encouraging a healthy pregnancy is always good advice, but there can be no direct recommendations based on this study, Dodds told Reuters Health by email.</p><p>&ldquo;Since we do not know whether there is a causal relationship between gestational diabetes and autism, we don&rsquo;t know if earlier, or more aggressive management, would have any effect on autism risk,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>&ldquo;This is one study, we need more studies to confirm it,&rdquo; Xiang said.</p><p>&nbsp;</p> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 20:25:00 +0000 Reuters 2448174 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/04/15/501184/pregnancy.jpg Living for 1,000 years no longer a dream <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Living to the age of 500 or 1,000 once seemed out of reach, but now biomedical theorists say new research could make it a reality. Aubrey de Grey believes that the first person who will live to be 1,000 has already been born, and it could even be you!&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>De Grey, an English Harrow School and Cambridge-educated theoretician in the field of gerontology (the study of aging), claims that it only takes the right &ldquo;therapies&rdquo; to &ldquo;crack the biological code&rdquo; and live to 1,000 years.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>He argues, according to <a href=""><span style="color:#0000ff;"><u>Mail Online</u></span></a>, that an encouraging progress taking place in technologies and inventions could solve the root problem of aging and illness in the future through repairing cellular decay.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;Aging is a disease that can and should be cured,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;I&#39;ve been ridiculed but finally people are starting to come round to my way of thinking. Anyone who has ever wanted to change the world has been attacked. Gandhi said first they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you and then they say, &lsquo;We were with you all along&rsquo;.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>De Grey&rsquo;s theory has drawn a lot of criticism by many academics. However, his beliefs obviously have a magic effect on some of the sagacious figures in the world.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin and Larry Ellison, of Oracle, are getting behind the controversial theory of gerontology providing considerable funds.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Not to mention PayPal boss Peter Thiel who showed a great deal of support donating 2.4 million British pounds to help build de Grey&#39;s anti-aging institute Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS). Senescence is a scientific terminology for aging.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>According to De Grey&rsquo;s thesis, the sky is the limit when it comes to science: he does not only believe there is a way to make aging clock stop ticking, but also push time backwards by &ldquo;replacing damaged body parts at a cellular level.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>De Grey was brought up by well-off mother from whom he inherited 11 million British pounds after she passed away in 2011. He invested 9 million British pounds in his company SENS and the rest was spent on a luxurious house in his homeland.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>De Grey&rsquo;s theory has come under fire for his mere theoretical assumptions that haven&rsquo;t been proven yet with practical lab work.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>However, he fired back citing research that has succeeded in prolonging the lives of worms, mice and fruit flies. This scientific proof allegedly goes parallel with his theory that can be applied to human beings as well. &nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;I have no idea if I will live to 100. I do know I&#39;d like to have the chance to live to 100 when I am 99 rather than having that choice removed from me by declining health,&rdquo; he concludes.</div> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 17:34:00 +0000 Heba Helmy 2448168 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/04/16/43/aubrey_de_grey.jpg