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In response to: Can we protect the brain against tumor metastasis?

Paul [Visitor] ·
This isn’t the only interesting cancer research news this week, the BBC reports that scientists from the University of Heidelberg have made an important discovery about the role played by signalling proteins granulocyte- and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating
factors (G-CSF ans GM-CSF) in the often severe pain associated with many cancers. Cancer pain has long been known to be different to other kinds of pain, and is difficult to treat

G-CSF and GM-CSF are known to play a role in the development of blood cells, but Dr. Matthias Schweizerhof and colleagues were surprised to find high levels of these proteins in the pancreas of pancreatic cancer patients, and that nerves in this tissue had the receptors that bind them.

To examine this further they used a mouse model of bone tumor–induced pain that closely mimics that seen in human patients, and again found high levels of G-CSF. GM-CSF and their receptors. In vitro studies on nerve tissue from mice showed that G-CSF and GM-CSF made nerves associated with pain (nociceptive nerves) more sensitive. They then found that mice whose paw was injected with G-CSF and GM-CSF withrdrew it more quickly from a painful mechanical or heat stimulus, indicating that they were more sensitive to pain and quickly took action to avoid it, and observed the same in mice with bone tumours.

Having demonstrated a role for G-CSF and GM-CSF in pain they sought to see whether they could block it, and did so by injecting antibodies against G-CSF and GM-CSF in the mouse bone tumour model. But these injections also slowed the growth of the tumours, something that had been observed before, so they wanted to make sure that the lower pain levels were not just due to the tumours being smaller. To do this they injected a viral vector into the nerves adjecent to the tumour that expressed short hairpin RNAs that block the production of the receptors for G-CSF and GM-CSF, which if their theory was correct would stop the signalling peptides from increasing sensitivity to pain. The pain levels were again reduced, even though tumour growth was unaffected, proving that G-CSF and GM-CSF directly increase sensitivity to pain.

This is a discovery that will hopefully allow us to treat cancer pain by local injection of drugs or antibodies that block G-CSF and GM-CSF, something that would help tens of thousands of cancer patients. It also provides an explanation of why some patients who are given GM-CSF and G-CSF to encourage blood cell growth after chemotherapy or before donating stem cells suffer serious bone pain, and may lead to the development of procedures and treatments that might reduce such painful side effects.

Schweizerhof M. et al. “Hematopoietic colony–stimulating factors mediate tumor-nerve interactions and bone cancer pain” Nat Med. published online June 7 2009 DOI:10.1038/nm.1976
PermalinkPermalink 26/06/09 @ 14:29

In response to: A passive defence against the flu?

I think we are already so far in fighting against flu, I trust vaccines are the best solution we have right now. As for medical research I am also very optimistic because we are going further ever year.
PermalinkPermalink 27/05/09 @ 18:36

In response to: A passive defence against the flu?

They found that when these antibodies were given to mice that had previously been infected with highly pathogenic strains of the H5N1 and H1N1 virus subtypes the mice remained healthy and the spread of the virus through their organs greatly reduced, while mice that were not given the antibodies died.
PermalinkPermalink 20/05/09 @ 13:36

In response to: Stem Cells in Scotland

Salas de ruleta [Visitor] ·
I admit, I have not been on this webpage in a long time... however it was another joy to see It is such an important topic and ignored by so many, even professionals.,
Also I want to know that how can we remove no follow tag from the blogger,
PermalinkPermalink 06/04/09 @ 07:36

In response to: Progress towards a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

Jon D. Moulton [Visitor] ·
The peptide-conjugated Morpholinos, with their potential to ameliorate cardiac pathology, are the most exciting of the exon-skipping technologies for DMD therapeutics. Here is a link to an open-access review.

Moulton JD, Jiang S. Gene Knockdowns in Adult Animals: PPMOs and Vivo-Morpholinos. Molecules. 2009; 14(3):1304-1323.
PermalinkPermalink 25/03/09 @ 21:01

In response to: Progress towards a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

Paul [Visitor] ·
I forgot to mention that the preliminary results of the first clinical trial in DMD sufferers of the exon skipping antisense oligonucleotide by the MDEX consortium led by Prof. Francesco Muntoni in partnership with AVI BioPharma that I blogged about in October 2007 were announced last month.

While this was a small trial which sought to evaluate the safety of the technique rather than its ability to stop muscle degeneration the results were still promising. The treatment appeared to be safe, with no significant drug–related adverse events, and induced the production of dystrophin in the muscle into which it was injected. A second trial using intravenous injection in order to treat many muscles is now underway.
PermalinkPermalink 25/03/09 @ 14:23

In response to: Mice show the way to safer stem cells!

Christina [Visitor] ·
It seems to me that these studies are very important for all of humanity, perhaps in a few years will no longer be incurable diseases.
PermalinkPermalink 16/03/09 @ 13:49

In response to: A promising start for new prostate cancer drug

cancer prostate [Visitor] ·
thanks for sharing me good links about prostate cancer.
PermalinkPermalink 02/03/09 @ 15:20

In response to: A passive defence against the flu?

Paul [Visitor] ·
While I remember I'd also like to mention work on a flu vaccine that is being undertaken by Dr. Sarah Gilbert and colleagues at the Jenner Institute in Oxford. This vaccine against influenza A recently started phase I clinical trials

Dr Gilbert's vaccine differs from that developed by Acambis or the team led by Wayne Marasco by stimulating the T-cells of the immunse system to target the nucleoprotein and matrix protein M1 within the virus, which they hope will provide broad and long lasting protection against influenza.

It's another approach to the problem, but like the other two targets parts of the virus that vary less between virus strains.
PermalinkPermalink 26/02/09 @ 12:46

In response to: Shedding some light on the dark side of stem cells

Tom [Member]
Dear Robin,

Where do you think veterinary medicine comes from - medicines used to help animals - they come from animal research. Every time you take your dog to the vet it will get medicines or undergo a procedure made possible by research on other animals.

Animal research involves 3 million animals every year in the UK. There are hundreds of trillions of animals in the UK of which far less than 0.00000001% are being tested on. How is this torturing 99% of animals. Furthermore lab animals are treated with the utmost care. Most experiments would be little different to something you might expect if you went to hospital - a simple injection, or surgery under anaesthetic (painkillers).

p.s - My dogs spend 95% of their time at home curled up in front of the fire.

p.p.s Your email address isn't showing (it never was) and there is no Children's Online Privacy Act that applies in the UK.
PermalinkPermalink 23/02/09 @ 18:20

In response to: Shedding some light on the dark side of stem cells

Robin [Visitor]
Caring about humans, who are like 1% of the animal population on this earth, and condoning the torturing of the other 99%, isn't exactly what I would call compassionate. You're probably one of those people who's dog has never seen the inside of ther house... but whatever, I have better things to do then this.

P.S. What the heck?!?! Why are you showing people my personal email address?! You said it would not be displayed!! Okay, this is in direct violation of the children's online privacy act!!!!!!
PermalinkPermalink 23/02/09 @ 17:02

In response to: Shedding some light on the dark side of stem cells

Tom [Member]
Yes, the aim of trying to develop modern medicines that save lives is "uncompassionate"?! Animals are neither innocent nor guilty (they have no capacity for moral choice).

Polls in the UK show support for animal-based research is the highest its ever been.
PermalinkPermalink 23/02/09 @ 15:26

In response to: Shedding some light on the dark side of stem cells

Robin [Visitor]
Wow... you guys are sick, twisted, umcompassionate, biased jerks. You're not "standing up for science", you're "standing up for torturing and killing innocent animals for the good of people". There are more and more people against animal testing every day, and there are way more people who support things like PETA, then people who support your stuid little pro-killing group. And in the end, you KNOW it's just plain wrong to cause any living, breating creature that much pain and suffering. So get over it, and stop trying to justify your this crime.
Main idea of this comment: ANIMALS HAVE FEELINGS, TOO, YOU INSENSITIVE JERK!!!!!!!!!!!!
Main idea of the
PermalinkPermalink 23/02/09 @ 15:02

In response to: Stem Cells in Scotland

Eileen murphy [Visitor] · http://permalink
Having been in pain for many years in my lower back i welcome stem cell research, I think it really is the way forward in medicine, I would love to be on a program for this, I have spondylitis in my low spine and in constant pain. Am under Mr Pigott at the Walton clinic in Liverpool U.K. KIND REAGARDS Eileen.
PermalinkPermalink 17/02/09 @ 15:28

In response to: Stem Cells in Scotland

Eileen murphy [Visitor] · http://permalink
I am so pleased to see so much stem cell research happening, i have spondylitis in my lower spine in costant pain i would give anything to be on a program for your research into spinal problems, i am under MR Pigott at the Walton hospital in Liverpool U.K. my age is 65 years and have been in constant pain for the last 15 years.
PermalinkPermalink 17/02/09 @ 15:19

In response to: Stem Cells in Scotland

Paul [Visitor] ·
More stem cell news just in!

Scientists at Geron in the USA have announced that the first trials in humans of embryonic stem cell therapy for serious spinal injury are set to begin.

Perhaps 2009 will be the year when stem cell medicine grows up; for the sake of the thousands waiting for it to fulfill its promise I certainly hope so.
PermalinkPermalink 23/01/09 @ 13:16

In response to: Facts about Animal Research

Sarah [Visitor]
thank you , this informating helped me for my debate in school .

thanks again .
PermalinkPermalink 18/01/09 @ 20:39

In response to: Discworld author calls for more funding of Alzheimer's research

Paul Browne [Visitor]
Actually several treatments for Alzheimer's disease have been developed
Hansen R.A. et al "Efficacy and safety of donepezil, galantamine, and rivastigmine for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis." Clin Interv Aging. Volume 3(2), pages 211-225 (2008)

Animal research played a key role in the development of these drugs, for example see these papers.

Sugimoto H. et al. "Discovery and development of donepezil hydrochloride for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease" Yakugaku Zasshi. Volume 119(2), pages 101-113 (1999)

Fulton B. and Benfield P. "Galanthamine" Drugs Aging. volume 9(1), pages 60-65 (1996)

These drugs do help people with Alzheimer's, but they only have modest benefits and are far from being a cure, which is why more research is necessary. Alzheimer's disease is not yet a well understood disease, which is not surprising since the technologies (both animal and clinical) required to study it in detail have only become available over the last 10-15 years. Now through a combination of animal and clinical research scientists are beginning to get to grips with what is happening during the course of the disease, and to work out what treatments will be effective at the different stages of the disease. As I mentioned in an earlier blog post there have been some interesting results in the past year.
PermalinkPermalink 03/12/08 @ 10:16

In response to: Discworld author calls for more funding of Alzheimer's research

Jule [Visitor]
And who do you think you are to encourage the vile use of helpless, imprisoned animals for research - and after decades of torture, maiming, subjecting animals to atrocious experiments - there is no help or reversal for these diseases. Lavish grants wasted on legalized animal cruelty - disgusting.
PermalinkPermalink 02/12/08 @ 14:36

In response to: Trachea Transplant Makes History

Paul Browne [Visitor]
This is excellent news, and has certainly generated a lot of interest in the press.

In the Lancet article Prof. Macchiarini and colleagues describe how animal research contributed to their breakthrough:

"Tissue bioengineering already has provided functional human organ replacements elsewhere.(5,6) Previous preclinical airway experiments have been too lengthy and complex for routine clinical application,(7) or relied on non-biological matrices.(4) We have used mouse and pig models to develop a streamlined process in which autologous epithelial and mesenchymal stem-cell-derived chondrocytes are seeded onto a decellularised donor tracheal scaffold and matured in a novel bioreactor system. Encouraged by the in-vitro generation of short but vital tracheal matrices (8) and by the absence of an immunological response to allografted and xenografted tracheal constructs in animals,(9) we aimed to bioengineer tubular tracheal matrices longer than 6 cm, and to assess the application of this technology in a patient with end-stage airway disease."

This work will soon be reported in more detail in another paper that is currently in press. Later in the Lancet article when they are discussing the success of their procedure the authors note that their results extend those of a study published earlier this year (1) which reports that when 2 cell types were used in a tracheal implant in rabbits it was not necessary to organize the cells in precise locations corresponding to those in the usual tracheal architecture. The cells appear to be capable of organizing themselves during in vitro culture and following implantation. This is an important observation that makes such implants easier to design and manufacture than was previously thought.

All in all a great result for animal research!

1) Zani B.G. et al. "Tissue-engineered endothelial and epithelial implants differentially and synergistically regulate airway repair." Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Volume 105(19), pages 7046-7051 (2008), PubMed: 18458330.
PermalinkPermalink 20/11/08 @ 13:34

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