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Diabetes drug may offer treatment for breast cancer

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New York, March 14: Repurposing a common diabetes drug as well as another used for treating a group of inherited and acquired disorders may also help in the fight against resistant breast cancers that currently have no targeted therapy, finds a study.

The study, led by the University of Chicago, showed that the two existing drugs named metformin and haemin suppress tumour growth in mice, Xinhua reported.

“This is the first joint use of these two drugs. We think we have elucidated a new mechanism, something basic and fundamental, and found ways to use it,” said Marsha Rosner, Professor at the varsity.

The researchers found that the primary anti-cancer target for haemin is a transcription factor known as BACH1 (BTB and CNC homology1). This protein is often highly expressed in triple negative breast cancers and is required for metastasis.

BACH1 targets mitochondrial metabolism and can suppress a key source of cellular energy. When BACH1 is high, this energy source is shut down, the report said.

However, when cancer cells were treated with haemin, BACH1 was reduced, causing BACH1-depleted cancer cells to change metabolic pathways. This caused cancers that are vulnerable to metformin to suppress mitochondrial respiration.

“We found that this novel combination, haemin plus metformin, can suppress tumour growth, and we validated this in mouse tumour models,” explained Jiyoung Lee from the varsity.

The findings can extend beyond breast cancer. BACH1 expression is enriched not only in triple negative breast cancers, but is also seen in many other cancers including lung, kidney, uterus, prostate and acute myeloid leukemia, the researchers noted.

However, neither of the drugs were originally designed to treat cancer.

Metformin, discovered in 1922 and used clinically since 1957, was developed to treat Type-2 diabetes. It decreases glucose production by the liver and increases insulin sensitivity.

Haemin, marketed as panhematin, was first crystallised from blood in 1853. It is now used to treat defects of haemin synthesis. These defects can cause porphyrias, a group of inherited and acquired disorders.

(IANS)

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Advisory issued to Indians visiting China after virus outbreak

According to the WHO, the situation is still evolving and preliminary investigations suggest a link to the seafood market.

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Japan China Pneumonia

New Delhi, Jan 17 : The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Friday issued an advisory for travellers visiting China in the wake of the Novel Coronavirus outbreak in the neighbouring country.

The advisory said: “Travellers to China should follow simple public health measures at all times. They should observe good personal hygiene, practice frequent hand washing with soap, follow respiratory etiquette, cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing. Avoid close contact with people who are unwell or showing symptoms of illness, such as cough, runny nose etc. Avoid contact with live animals and consumption of raw/undercooked meat. Avoid travel to farms, live animal markets or where animals are slaughtered. Wear a mask if you have respiratory symptoms such as cough or runny nose.”

As on January 11, 41 Novel Coronavirus (nCoV) confirmed infection case have been reported from China, of which one has died. One travel related case each has been reported in Thailand and Japan.

The clinical signs and symptoms are mainly fever with a few patients having difficulty in breathing. The mode of transmission is unclear as of now. However, so far there is little evidence of significant human-to-human transmission.

The advisory also said: “All travellers to China, Wuhan city in particular, to monitor their health closely. Cover your mouth while coughing or sneezing, Don’t plan travel if sick. Seek medical attention promptly.”

The travellers were also advised to inform the airlines crew about illness and seek a mask from the crew and avoid close contact with family members or fellow travellers if they feel sick on flight, while travelling back to India.

The ministry confirmed that they are closely monitoring the situation after the reports of 41 confirmed cases of the nCoV including one death from Wuhan, China on January 5.

According to the WHO, the situation is still evolving and preliminary investigations suggest a link to the seafood market.

Health Secretary Preeti Sudan said: “We are regularly reviewing the public health preparedness in the country since the news broke out. The public health preparedness is being reviewed on day-to-day basis and the core capacities to timely detect and manage importation of the nCoV into the country are being strengthened further.”

She added: “The situation is being monitored in consultation with WHO and keeping in view the limited human to human transmission the risk at global level is perceived to be low.”

In view of precautionary measures, the Ministry of Health has ordered screening of international travellers from China at designated airports namely, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata through thermal scanners.

State governments have also been advised to take necessary precautions. The Ministry is also in touch with the Ministry of External Affairs, and the immigration officers at the airports have been sensitised.

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Next-gen radiation therapy for cancer patients now in India

The best outcomes are for treatment of bilateral breast cancer, paediatric oncology and all other forms of cancer.

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Radixact X9 Tomotherapy

New Delhi, Jan 17 : Indraprastha Apollo Hospital in New Delhi on Friday launched the most advanced version of TomoTherapy Radixact X9– the smartest radiation therapy to treat the most complicated cancer tumours.

Tomotherapy comes as a boon for cancer treatment since it has a higher degree of precision, speed and accuracy.

Patients find it more comfortable to be treated under this technology owing to the rotational helical mechanism, also the set-up time is lesser as compared to other therapies.

“The launch of the most advanced version of the Tomotherapy technology is truly a remarkable development in the field of Radiation Oncology. This will be a revolutionary step in the treatment of cancer. With this system we can deliver both fractionated radiotherapy as well as SBRT and Radiosurgery,” said Suneeta Reddy, Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals Group.

“The new generation radiation machine and our highly experienced team enables us to move ahead towards precise and personalised care, therefore improving the quality of life of cancer patients and ensure better clinical outcomes,” Reddy added.

Tomotherapy is effective in treating cancer, irrespective of the stage, especially multiple metastasis.

The best outcomes are for treatment of bilateral breast cancer, paediatric oncology and all other forms of cancer.

“We are taking precision and excellence to the next level with the revolutionary Radixact-X9: Tomotherapy, system powered by state-of-the-art 3D CT imaging. It uses a linear accelerator to deliver high-dose radiation to the tumour with sub-millimetre precision,” said P ShivaKumar, Managing Director, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals.

“With the most recent introduction of Radixact X9, radiation oncology has reached a new horizon in the race of effective curative treatment for cancer. Large field size can be targeted at once. 1.35 cms of length can be targeted without repositioning the machine,” ShivaKumar added.

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Rajasthan govt hospital makes history by successful heart transplant

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Jaipur, Jan 16 : Sawai Man Singh Hospital (SMS Hospital) in Jaipur became the first government hospital of the state to undertake a successful heart transplantation.

The first successful heart transplant in the state was reported on Thursday from Rajasthan’s biggest government hospital.

A person, Sanwarlal recently met with an accident and was later declared brain dead. He was undergoing treatment in hospital since December. His relatives were counselled by the hospital team and gave their consent on Wednesday night for donating his heart, two kidneys and liver.

The hospital doctors made preparations for the transplant the same night and made history by becoming the first government hospital in the state to successfully complete the heart transplantation in the early hours of Thursday.

Medical college principal Dr Sudhir Bhandari said, “As per the guidelines we can’t share the details of the operation until the patient recovers after 48 hours.”

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot congratulated the hospital and wished a quick recovery to the patient.

“Happy to know that first ever heart transplant has been performed in SMS government hospital, #Jaipur today. I pray to God for it to be successful and may the patient regain health soon. #Rajasthan,” Gehlot tweeted.

State Health Minister Raghu Sharma also congratulated the medical team involved in the transplant and expressed his gratitude to the family who donated the organ. He said that by donating organs, the life of a needy person can be saved. He appealed to the people of the state to make the campaign of organ donation successful.

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