Medical breakthroughs for cancer, MS, autoimmune diseases and stem cells

Studies conducted on mice revealed that when the gene HACE1 was inactivated, spontaneous late-stage cancer developed and when active it stopped cancer

“If we can learn how to reactivate HACE1 or block cancer cells from inactivating this gene, it may be possible to improve treatments for many cancer patients.”

Cancer is the number two killer disease after cardiovascular disease, worldwide. Approximately 20 million people have cancer in Japan, Europe and N. America and 10 million new cases of cancer are diagnosed each year worldwide. According to the American Cancer Society, the second-leading cause of death by disease in the US cancer imposes a heavy economic burden on the country¹s healthcare system. In 1999, the estimated total cost of cancer was $107 billion, including approximately $37 billion in direct healthcare spending.

Cancer rates could further increase by 50% to 15 million new cases in the year 2020, according to the World Cancer Report, the most comprehensive global examination of the disease to date.

the report also provides clear evidence that healthy lifestyles and public health action by governments [getting rid or massively cleaning up coal and oil particulates and pollution and reducing smoking] and health practitioners could stem this trend, and prevent as many as one third of cancers worldwide.

In the year 2000, malignant tumours were responsible for 12 per cent of the nearly 56 million deaths worldwide from all causes [saving one third would be 4% or 2.24 million per year] . In many countries, more than a quarter of deaths are attributable to cancer. In 2000, 5.3 million men and 4.7 million women developed a malignant tumour and altogether 6.2 million died from the disease. The report also reveals that cancer has emerged as a major public health problem in developing countries, matching its effect in industrialized nations.

A DNA vaccine had a successful early trial against multiple sclerosis.

In the trial, the researchers saw the number of lesions fall by 18% to 64% in patients who were given the DNA vaccine alone. The size of the lesions also dropped, by between 38% and 83%. The statin drug did not seem to improve the vaccine’s effectiveness.

The researchers were excited by the results, but cautioned against reading too much into the trial’s findings. “We have demonstrated in this first, to our knowledge, in-human trial of a DNA vaccine for autoimmune disease that the approach is safe and well-tolerated. We describe evidence for induction of favourable trends on brain MRI, indicating a reduction in the inflammatory response in the central nervous system,” they wrote.

The team has now begun a 12-month trial of 290 patients. If that is a success, it could pave the way for DNA vaccines for a range of other diseases caused by an over-active immune system, such as type I diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.

Multiple sclerosis strikes women twice as often as men and afflicts about 400000 Americans and 2.5 million people worldwide. 2 genes have been linked to MS and 2 contribute. It has been identified as an autoimmune disease.

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