WEDNESDAY, Aug. 31 — A new type of cancer treatment that uses a virus to infect and destroy tumor cells without harming normal cells is showing promise in early clinical trials.
The small, Phase 1 trial involved 23 patients with advanced cancers that had spread to multiple organs and who had exhausted other treatment options.
Each received an intravenous infusion of a virus called JX-594 at one of several dose levels. The virus was genetically engineered to contain an immune-stimulating gene to enhance its cancer-fighting properties, explained study co-senior author John Bell, a senior scientist at Ottawa Hospital Research Institution in Ontario, Canada.
Patients underwent biopsies eight to 10 days later. In seven of eight patients (87 percent) who received the highest two doses, researchers found evidence that the virus had not only infected the tumor cells while sparing healthy cells, but that the virus was replicating. Replication means that the virus is reproducing and infecting neighboring cancer cells, rather than just infecting tumor cells it directly came into contact with.
There was also evidence that the foreign immune-stimulating gene was expressed inside the tumor cells.
“This is a landmark observation in that it shows it’s possible that a virus can find tumors, specifically grow in tumors but not in regular tissues, replicate and destroy them,” Bell said.
The current trial was designed primarily to prove that it was both possible and safe to use a virus to infect tumor cells, and that the virus would then replicate. Side effects were minimal, with the main being brief and mild flu-like symptoms, researchers said.
Though larger trials are needed to determine efficacy, about 75 percent of patients in the two highest dose groups also saw a shrinking or stabilization of their tumor, while those in lower dose groups were less likely to experience this effect, according to the study.
“We didn’t measure how well that specific immune-stimulating gene worked,” Bell said. “But we definitely demonstrated the virus can go into the tumor, replicate only in the tumor and express a specific gene within the tumor.”
The findings are published in the September issue of Nature.
One of the challenges in treating cancer is that cancer cells can spread into hard to find areas of the body, as well as in areas that can’t be reached by a surgeon.
“The holy grail is a virus that could travel through the blood, find the tumors where they may be hiding, infect them and kill them,” Bell explained.
Bell and his colleagues have been investigating cancer-fighting viruses for more than a decade. The virus, JX-594, is a distant relative of the smallpox virus; it’s derived from a strain of vaccinia virus that has been used as a live vaccine in millions of people to vaccinate against small pox, Bell said.
In another bit of good news, the virus still infected the tumor cells even though all of the people in the study had previously been exposed to it as part of their child vaccinations, according to the study.
People in the study had several types of inoperable, advanced cancers, including lung, colorectal, melanoma, thyroid, pancreatic and ovarian. The virus can infect any type of epithelial, or surface cell, which are found throughout the digestive, reproductive, respiratory and urinary systems.
Researchers are currently planning a larger randomized clinical trial for patients with liver cancer.
William Phelps, director of preclinical and translational cancer research for the American Cancer Society, characterized the research as “preliminary, but really exciting.”
“Viruses have a great capacity for finding cells in certain parts of the body. They often tend to infect only certain types of cells,” Phelps said. “If we can manipulate that and take advantage of the natural capacity of the virus to spread throughout the body and to very selectively infect only certain types of cells, that could be very promising.”
In this case, the virus contains “payload,” or an extra gene that stimulates the immune system. “When the virus expresses that gene, it causes the immune system to kill the cell,” he added. “It’s very clever.”
This sort of a strategy has shown lots of promise in animal models, Phelps said, but making it work in people has proven more difficult.
“The key here is they have shown you can inject virus into patients that’s getting to the tumor cells, replicating and expressing this payload protein,” Phelps said. “It seems to be exactly what you’d hope it would do. The next step is to go to a more defined group of cancer patients to see if it can really have anti-tumor effects.”
How Chiang Kai-shek’s defeated Koumintang army secretly dominated the Asian drug tradeBased on recently declassified government documents, this book reveals the shocking true story of what happened after the Chinese Nationalists lost the revolution. Supported by Taiwan, the CIA, and the Thai government, the Koumintang reinvented itself as an anti-communist mercenary army fighting into the 1980s, before eventually becoming the drug lords who would make the Golden Triangle a household name.
It’s been a few years since Mike Tyson took the world of boxing by storm. In his retirement, Iron Mike is doing the same thing to the entertainment industry.
According to Variety, HBO has ordered a pilot called ‘Da Brick,’ based based on Tyson’s rough and tumble early years when he was coming up as a young boxer. It will be directed by Spike Lee and co-produced by ‘Entourage’ creator Doug Ellin and Tyson. The script was written by ‘Three Kings’ writer John Ridley, and will be set in Newark, NJ.
Tyson has been on a TV roll in recent months. Comedy Central announced this week he will be a guest-roaster in the highly-anticipated skewering of Charlie Sheen. Tyson also appeared on an episode of the CBS life-swapping reality show ‘Same Name.’ All of those appearances, however, were dwarfed by his Animal Planet reality show ‘Tyson on Tyson,’ about pigeons.
The idea for ‘Da Brick’ was reportedly sparked when Tyson was on the ‘Entourage’ set filming a cameo for Season 7, and suggested to Ellin that he do the same thing with Tyson’s life story that he did with Mark Wahlberg’s on ‘Entourage.’
“The initial idea was ‘Entourage’ meets ‘The Wire’,” Doug Ellin told Deadline in June. “An edgy story about an up-and-coming boxer and his crew that is much more dramatic than ‘Entourage.’”
by Jeff Cummings, Edmonton Sun, (Source:Edmonton Sun) 28 Aug 2011
Alberta ——- Sorry Cheech and Chong. There’s no room for you at this seminar.
Don Schultz, a Kelowna man who will be holding a “medical marijuana educational seminar” in Edmonton next month, says he is only looking for those who are serious about helping patients suffering from immense pain by growing and supplying them with medicinal pot.
“We are not looking for pot smokers,” said Schultz about the seminar. “We are only looking for people who want to take care of patients, medicine wise.”
The course — to be held at Concordia University College Sept. 24 and 25 — will give students a chance to learn about laws surrounding the medical marijuana business, along with understanding how to become a licensed grower with Health Canada.
There are only a few hundred seats available for the $ 330 seminar. Schultz says every person who takes the course will get a certificate from Greenline Acadamy, the marijuana educational school Schultz founded last April.
“This has nothing to do with illegal drugs,” said Schultz, a former real estate agent in the United States. “We are educating people so they don’t run into enforcement issues.”
The two-day program also offers information for patients. That’s where they can be connected with doctors to learn about the “benefits” the plant has. Greenline Acadamy will also match those patients with local growers.
Growing medicinal marijuana can also be lucrative for those who are looking for a part-time job, said Schultz, as growers could make $ 3,000 to $ 6,000 a month.
Under Canadian laws, patients who are using medical marijuana are only allowed five-grams of the drug a day.
That’s about $ 100 a day, said Schultz who has so far helped 40 people become certified growers with Health Canada in British Columbia.
“This is a really good way of making some extra income,” said Schultz who adds every grower must be screened for criminal records by the RCMP after they get a certificate from the academy.
“This is all about teaching compliance to people so they know exactly where they stand with the law.”
Schultz, who calls himself an avid gardener, says he left his failed real estate business to kick start Greenline Acadamy.
“This has been around for a long time — we all grew up in the 60s and 70s and we all know what that was like,” said Schultz.
“But patients have tried conventional medicines and medical marijuana. Eighty per cent of them like the use of medical marijuana.”
A Portland-area medical marijuana club got busted primarily for charging street prices for a product that is supposed to be donated from grower to patient. But membership fees required by the Wake ’n Bake Cannabis Lounge were also singled out by prosecutors, and that has other clubs worried they could be next.
The owner of Wake ’n Bake pleaded guilty to two counts of distribution of marijuana last week. An undercover Washington County Sheriff’s Office investigation used a hidden camera to film a whiteboard listing prices for different strains — charging up to $ 180 an ounce.
During plea negotiations, prosecutors maintained that membership fees charged by the club in Aloha were also a violation of the law, a part of the umbrella “distribution of a controlled substance” charges filed against club owner Kathleen Cambron, who was sentenced to probation.
Some Oregon law enforcement officers argue that charging membership fees to belong to a medical marijuana club is the equivalent of selling the drug, and say more busts like this one are likely to come.
“It’s just the tip of the iceberg,” said Clatsop County Sheriff Thomas Bergin, president of the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association.
Bergin said time and resources are the only obstacles to shutting down more cannabis clubs and he doesn’t mind using the membership fees as a springboard.
“I’d like to see them all shut down today. We’ll get there,” Bergin said.
Under Oregon law, growers are allowed to charge their patients for the costs of cultivating pot but not for anything else. Those who operate cannabis clubs, such as Don Morse of Portland’s Human Collective, charge membership fees to help them pay for overhead and expenses unrelated to marijuana.
“The only way for us to pay the rent, pay the phone bill, is to charge a membership fee,” Morse said. “That’s how we can survive. We’re all volunteers. How do they expect us to be able to provide safe access (to marijuana) if we’re not able to pay our bills?”
Now, Oregon cannabis club owners are worried the Wake ’n Bake case could prompt further crackdowns on operations that charge membership fees.
“It is a concern,” said Curtis Shimmin of the cannabis club Kannabosm in Eugene, who maintained that his operation was within the law. “Our program has been picked apart by several attorneys, and they have all assured me that what I am doing is 100 percent legal within state guidelines.”
Morse, of Human Collective, is critical of operations that are out to make money from Oregon’s medical marijuana law rather than help holders of medical marijuana cards.
“You’re not helping us, you’re hurting us,” he said.
Last year, Oregon voters rejected a ballot measure that would have legalized California-style dispensaries in Oregon. Bergin and others in law enforcement argue that cannabis clubs are in fact dispensaries.
“They’re acting like it did pass,” said Bergin. “(The ballot measure) was to start up these dispensaries, it failed, and they started them anyway.”
Cannabis club owners say their properties aren’t dispensaries but safe havens for cannabis users to obtain and use the medicine they would otherwise have to grow themselves, have grown for them or buy on the black market. Marijuana available at cannabis clubs often comes from authorized growers who donate it.
Source: Associated Press (Wire) Author: Nigel Duara, The Associated Press Published: August 30, 2011 Copyright: 2011 The Associated Press
Your guess is as good as mine as to what Cowon is trying to convey with the iAudio 10 teaser website. It plays Korean pop music in various degrees of cheesiness, smacks some random English words in your face, shows off some hip and beautiful people, and lets you adjust the site background and spot colors.
To me it seems Cowon is following up here on their C2‘s “Daily Life” user interface – which basically is a nag-screen/screensaver that gets in the way of the real user interface. Well, let’s wait and see how the new i10?s “Therapy Music” interface turns out to change the life of narrow-minded Europeans like me.
The i6 was a tiny, chubby 0.85? HDD player, the i7 was the same with flash memory, the i8 existed only in my imagination, and the i9 is the slimmest Cowon player to date. What those players have in common is a diagonal touch-strip control system, paired with some tactile buttons. Place your bets on what the i10 is going to look like, and if you truly need “Therapy Music” or not after it has been unveiled for good.