A new type of drug was successful in helping patients with cancer cachexia regain muscle and strength, and counting circulating tumor cells helped predict survival for people with advanced colorectal cancer.
Free colonoscopies are available through a Connecticut program, the FDA and FTC warn the public to be wary of websites or ads promising treatments for 2009 H1N1 influenza, and people in remote areas of Arizona were able to have CT colonoscopy screening with teleradiology.
- Ostarine or GTx-024, the first of a new drug class called selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMS) increased lean muscle mass in patients with cancer cachexia. Patients were also stronger, as shown by improved performance on a stair climbing task. They didn’t gain weight because fat tissue was replaced with muscle. Cancer cachexia or wasting causes significant weight loss and reduced lean muscle leaving patients tired, weak, and with little appetite. Merely eating more — or trying to eat more — doesn’t help patients gain weight or strength. In the study, nearly 160 patients were randomized to a placebo or two different strengths of ostarine. Before beginning the trial, patients with a number of different cancers had lost an average of almost ten percent of their body weight. There was no difference in serious side effects among the three groups. Read more about the study in a news release from GTx, the company developing the drug.
- The number of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) can predict both how long it will take for colorectal cancer to get worse (progression-free interval) and overall survival time. Both progression-free interval (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were shorter when three or more CTCs were found in the blood. Those with fewer than three CTC had median PFS of 7.8 months compared to 4.4 months for those with three or more. Overall survival was 20.6 months with fewer than three CTCs compared to 9.4 months for three or more. The study, led by Dr. S.J. Cohen, was published in Annals of Oncology in advance online March 26,2009.
- Connecticut has a free screening colonoscopy program for the uninsured and people whose insurance doesn’t cover screening colonoscopy. Working with the Community Health Center Association of Connecticut, the University of Connecticut, and gastroenterologists statewide, the program refers Connecticut residents, ages 50 through 64, for colonoscopy screening and follow-up. Find telephone numbers of participating community health centers.
- Teleradiology is helping bring virtual colonoscopy to remote areas of Arizona. While physicians and equipment for optical colonoscopy screening often is not available in rural areas, CT colonography can be performed by technologists and information be uploaded to a workstation and interpreted by an off-site radiologist. During a study at the University of Arizona, 86 patients were screened with CT colonography in two rural health centers. Radiologist Arnold Friedman, MD, FACR, who led the study, reported its results at the American Roentgen Ray Society meeting in Boston
- The FDA and the Federal Trade Commission warn consumers against websites or products that offer to prevent, treat, or cure the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus. FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said, “The last thing any consumer needs right now is to be conned by someone selling fraudulent flu remedies. The FTC will act swiftly against companies that resort to deceptive advertising.” The FDA provides information about buying medicine online and has a web page dedicated to influenza information, including H1N1 updates.