Medical breakthrough! Help for chemo side effects

By Bob Unruh
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

Logo for Pro-Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

A research and development company has announced a new treatment for cancer patients that has been shown in trials to reduce dramatically the hardship from side effects of chemotherapy, allowing a more normal life while the body engages cancer in a war.

Officials for Pro-Pharmaceuticals Inc. told WND that some patients given their Davanat product have seen significant improvements even during treatments that otherwise had been marred by side effects such as weakness, mucositis, low blood counts and other typical secondary problems.

"Our goal is to improve the clinical benefit for patients by extending their survival, improving their quality of life and reducing the rising costs of health care. The data from the cancer patients in our clinical trials indicates Davanat improves efficacy and reduces the side effects associated with chemotherapy regimens," company CEO Theodore Zucconi said in a recent statement about a clinical trials update.

George Macricostas, a businessman and company investor, told WND his wife benefitted greatly from the treatment before she eventually succumbed to cancer last year.

Macricostas, whose financial involvement with the company started before his wife began treatments with Davanat and expanded later, said she had had difficulties with traditional chemotherapy treatments because they caused her blood count to plummet.

She discontinued a low dose of chemotherapy in late 2007 because her blood work was so bad, he reported.

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Another attempt at the treatment was begun in February 2008, but after two days at a 20 percent dose of the Insulin Potentiated Therapy his wife, Beth, needed two units of blood.

Then permission was obtained to use the Davanat in combination with chemo, and he reported on the sudden change.

"Beth did not need any more blood transfusions after March 2008, and she was able to discontinue her Procrit shots in June 2008, as her body was able to tolerate the treatment thanks to the Davanat protecting her health cells," he said in a report.

She also was able to discontinue use of painkillers, and even though one tumor had caused a hairline fracture in her hip socket, creating considerable pain and requiring her to use a walker, the fracture healed. She was able to walk without even a cane within weeks of beginning the treatment.

The hospital bed was returned to the rental company, and "Beth was able to take Advil for slight pain and discomfort," Macricostas reported.

She even drove to go shopping and to visit relatives 120 miles away, he said.

Beth eventually succumbed to a new cancer in her liver that had been undetected earlier, he said.

The company says Davanat works by using carbohydrates to bind to lectins on tumor cells, but not lectins on surrounding healthy tissue, and carry with it the lethal chemicals that attack the cancer in chemotherapy.

"Proteins on the surface of all cells, including cancer cells, are able to attach to certain kinds of carbohydrates. These carbohydrate receptors, known technically as 'lectins,' are very specific: a given lectin will bind only a particular kind of carbohydrate," the company explains.

"Davanat is formulated to attach to lectins on tumor cells rather than the lectins on surrounding healthy tissue," it says.

Since 2007, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted permission for some patients to use the investigational drug under special cases.

Macricostas told WND as a result of the chemotherapy treatment, possible because of the minimization of the side effects, he and his wife saw "the scans all going in the right directions. … Anything visible was shrinking, a number of them had disappeared completely."

In a company announcement just days ago, Pro-Pharmaceuticals said a review of data from Phase One and Two clinical trials revealed no mucositis or serious adverse events from among 100 patients treated with Davanat in combination with chemo.

Up to 40 percent of cancer patients being treated with the 5-FU type of chemotherapy get the side effect, which is characterized by intestinal tissue destruction throughout the GI tract, including painful mouth ulcerations and severe gastrointestinal symptoms interfering with nutrition and treatment.

Since there are no currently effective treatments, patients suffering debilitating mouth sores may need morphine or other narcotics to deal with it.

But with Davanat, there were no "events," even in patients with more than 100 cycles of treatments with 5-FU and Davanat.

A statement a month earlier from the company said a trial revealed that the combination of treatments for end-stage colorectal cancer patients extended median survival by 29 weeks after all other treatments were exhausted.

Board chairman Jim Czirr told WND the basic procedure of the treatment puts more of the treatment chemicals in the tumor and less in the liver, kidney or lungs.

"The incredible irony here is after keeping a hideously toxic chemical in a patient's blood three times longer, there are huge decreases in side effects," he said.

Dr. Peter Traber, president emeritus of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, told WND he joined the board of Pro-Pharmaceuticals only recently, at least partly because of the potential he sees for the treatment.

Since chemo treatments address rapidly dividing cells, they frequently attack the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, which is lined with the cells. The result is side effects ranging from mouth sores to nausea to vomiting and diarrhea.

"It's a significant problem in cancer patients," he told WND. "There's a lot of discomfort."

A treatment that reduces the impact on the GI tract, he said, "can be very beneficial with more chemo targeting the cancer while protecting the tissues."

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Bob Unruh is a news editor for

Long-Acting Byetta Tops Two Other Diabetes Drugs in Direct Comparison

Results from DURATION-2, a 26-week test comparing the diabetic drugs Januvia, Actos, and experimental long-acting Byetta (Byetta LAR) show that Byetta produced lower A1c's and more weight loss than the other two drugs.

Sponsored by Byetta's co-manufacturers, Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Eli Lilly and Co., the randomized, double-blind study tracked 491 type 2 patients over a six-month period. Patients received either Byetta LAR (exenatide), Januvia (the brand name for Merck & Co., Inc.'s sitagliptin), or Actos (the brand name for Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd's pioglitazone).

Patients taking Byetta LAR reduced their baseline A1c by 1.7%, compared to 1.4% for patients on Actos and 1.0% for those on Januvia.

Over the 26 weeks, Byetta LAR recipients lost an average of 6.2 pounds, versus a 1.9-pound loss for Januvia patients. Those on Actos experienced a weight gain that averaged 7.4 pounds.

Researchers conducting the study said that in general, the patients were not obese, a factor that made the weight loss associated with Byetta impressive.

The most common adverse responses for both Byetta LAR and Januvia patients were nausea and diarrhea. Actos users reported upper respiratory tract infection and peripheral edema as the most common side effects.

One crucial result was that there were no reported cases of pancreatitis or inflammation of the pancreas among Byetta LAR patients in the study. Among the estimated 700,000 users of the current version of Byetta, a twice-daily drug that has been on the market for four years, there have been 30 reported incidents of pancreatitis, including six fatalities. Although there is no evidence that the drug caused the disease, the FDA made Amylin and Lilly rewrite the warning labels on the drug.

The possible connection between Byetta use and pancreatitis has also made FDA scrutiny of Byetta LAR more intense. The drug, which is now before the agency for marketing approval, uses injectable time-release capsules to provide a continuous does of the drug over a seven-day period.

Byetta's makers are hoping that the long-acting form of the drug will nudge sales, which have been flat over the past year, by appealing to users who want the convenience of once-a-week injections instead of having to remember to inject the drug every morning and evening at mealtimes.

Sex and Diabetes

Welcome to Diabetes Health's new column on sex and diabetes, by David Spero RN and Aisha Kassahoun. Once a month, we'll publish questions submitted by our readers, along with David and Aisha's responses. Send your questions to and watch for their answers to appear in this column.

Dear David and Aisha,

My husband was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes seven years ago and put on oral medication. We've had some sexual problems since then, and lately there has been no sex at all. He says that he doesn't want it or need it. We had a very good sex life before this. What can I do? I think we all need intimacy in our lives. At least I do. I don't feel that it is fair to me to be left high and dry, and I want to do something to help him.

High and Dry in Tennessee

Dear H and D,

Yours is a sad and very common story. Diabetes can impact our sex and love lives physically and emotionally. But there are ways of maintaining and even improving sex and intimacy with diabetes.

Here are some possibilities to consider:

  • How good is your husband's diabetes control? High sugars can drag a person down so he doesn't feel like doing anything physical, including sex. If his glucose is up, he probably won't be down for loving.
  • How physically active is he otherwise? Maybe he needs to get his body moving. Exercise can make him feel more positive, improve his blood sugar control, and increase his sexual desire.
  • He might be depressed. Is he being treated for that, and if so, how? Depression kills desire, and sometimes antidepressant medicines (especially the SSRIs) can knock out sex drive. Blood pressure medicines can also have sexual side effects.
  • Quite possibly he is reacting to erection problems by withdrawing, without admitting that's the reason. Diabetes can make erections (and lubrication in women) more difficult. Some men will say "I don't want to" when they really mean "I'm afraid I can't."
  • His testosterone level may be low. Many men and women with diabetes are low in testosterone and consequently have low sex drive.
  • Other relationship issues and other emotions might be involved. There may be anger, grief, fear, or disagreements in your lives that interfere with his wanting you. These feelings could be his, yours, or both of yours.
Read More....

Health Buzz: Fitness Ball Recall and Other Health News

Balls Recalled
Because of Risk of Injury

New York-based EB Brands has recalled about 3 million fitness balls because they may suddenly burst while being used after overinflation, and that can cause people using a ball to fall and injure themselves, the Associated Press reports. Forty-seven incidents have been logged so far of the balls bursting unexpectedly, resulting in one fracture and many bruises. The balls are 55, 65, and 75 centimeters in diameter and come in various colors. They are labeled with a Bally Total Fitness, Everlast, or Valeo logo, according to the AP. The balls were sold by department stores and fitness retailers from May 2000 to February 2009 for between $15 and $30. Consumers who own the balls can get updated safe inflation instructions online or can call EB Brands at (800) 624-5671 in order to have a copy of the instructions sent to them.

Read More.........

OPINION: Health care in the offing

Of all President Barack Obama's transformative domestic policy proposals, none is more far-reaching and less transparent than health care. What most Washington policy people mean when they talk about his health care proposal was described in the first two paragraphs of Robert Pear's meticulous article in The New York Times on April 1:

Read More...........

When Doctors Opt Out

Here's something that has gotten lost in the drive to institute universal health insurance: Health insurance doesn't automatically lead to health care. And with more and more doctors dropping out of one insurance plan or another, especially government plans, there is no guarantee that you will be able to see a physician no matter what coverage you have.

Consider that the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission reported in 2008 that 28% of Medicare beneficiaries looking for a primary care physician had trouble finding one, up from 24% the year before. The reasons are clear: A 2008 survey by the Texas Medical Association, for example, found that only 38% of primary-care doctors in Texas took new Medicare patients. The statistics are similar in New York state, where I practice medicine.

Read More..........

Vitamin D Deficiency Increases Inflammation

Vitamin D deficiency, already blamed for retarding immune function and cardiovascular health and increasing cancer risk, also may be tied to inflammation, a negative response of the immune system, in healthy women.

Increased concentrations of serum TNF-?, an inflammatory marker, were found in women who had insufficient vitamin D levels, according to a University of Missouri nutritional sciences researcher has found that vitamin D deficiency. This study is the first to find an inverse relationship between vitamin D levels and concentrations of TNF-? in a healthy, non-diseased population. This may explain the vitamin's role in the prevention and treatment of inflammatory diseases, including heart disease, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.


Spray for 'six times longer' sex

A spray can help men with premature ejaculation problems prolong the length of time they have sex by six times.

Men who used the treatment five minutes before having intercourse extended their love-making from half a minute to almost four minutes, trials showed.

The spray, developed at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, contains local anaesthetics that numb the penis.

A British Journal of Urology International study says it could be available in the next couple of years.

Up to 40% of men experience premature ejaculation at some time in their lives, experts estimate.

Read More..........

Researchers suspect oral sex to blame for rise in tonsil cancer

The incidence of tonsil cancer has tripled in the city of Stockholm since the 1970s and doctors at the world-famous Karolinska Institute there think they know why.

Oral sex. Or perhaps French kissing. And changes in sexual behavior that took place 20 or 30 years ago, says Tina Dalianis, a professor of tumor virology at Karolinska.

Her research has directly linked the increase in tonsil cancers to the human papillomavirus (HPV). There are more than 100 different types of HPV, some of which cause cancer. One, for example, is responsible for 99.7% of all cervical cancers.

The study found that patients with HPV in their mouths are much more likely to get tonsil cancer than patients who don’t have it. In fact for patients who are HPV-positive, the rate of tonsil cancer has gone up seven times since the '70s, Dalianis says. It takes between 20 and 30 years for an HPV infection to result in cancer, so the people getting sick now were infected in the '70s and '80s.

“It’s an epidemic,” she says.


Perchlorate found in infant formula -- CDC

Samples of powdered infant formula contain trace levels of a rocket fuel ingredient, a federal study has found.

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tested infant formula for traces of perchlorate because of concerns that the chemical can damage thyroid function. Their findings were published last month in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology.

Perchlorate has been found in the drinking water of at least 35 states and the District of Columbia. The chemical can inhibit the thyroid gland's iodine uptake, interfering with fetal development.
Read More....

Doctors say kidney stones in kids are on the rise

CHICAGO – Doctors are puzzling over what seems to be an increase in the number of children with kidney stones, a condition some blame on kids' love of cheeseburgers, fries and other salty foods.

Kidney stones are usually an adult malady, one that is notorious for causing excruciating pain — pain worse than childbirth. But while the number of affected children isn't huge, kids with kidney stones have been turning up in rising numbers at hospitals around the country.

At Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, the number of children treated for kidney stones since 2005 has climbed from about 10 a year to five patients a week now, said Dr. Pasquale Casale.

Johns Hopkins Children Center in Baltimore, a referral center for children with stones, used to treat one or two youngsters a year 15 or so years ago. Now it gets calls about new cases every week, said kidney specialist Dr. Alicia Neu.

Read More..

The Dark Side of Vegetarianism

WEDNESDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) -- Despite its proven health benefits, a vegetarian diet might in fact be masking an underlying eating disorder, new research suggests.

The study, in the April issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, found that twice as many teens and nearly double the number of young adults who had been vegetarians reported having used unhealthy means to control their weight, compared with those who had never been vegetarians. Those means included using diet pills, laxatives and diuretics and inducing vomiting to control weight.

There's a dark side to vegetarianism, said Dr. David L. Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine. He had no role in the research.

"Adolescent vegetarians [in the study] were more prone to disordered eating and outright eating disorders," Katz said. "This is not due to vegetarianism but the other way around: Adolescents struggling to control their diets and weight might opt for vegetarianism among other, less-healthful efforts."

Vegetarianism, or a mostly plant-based diet, can be recommended to all adolescents, Katz said. "But when adolescents opt for vegetarianism on their own, it is important to find out why because it may signal a cry for help, rather than the pursuit of health," he said.

Read More....

ADHD Drugs Don't Help Children Long Term

Stimulant drugs like Ritalin that are used to treat ADHD don't improve children's symptoms long term, according to new research published online in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. That may come as a surprise to parents, but ADHD researchers have been arguing for the past 10 years over the findings of the Multimodal Treatment Study of Children with ADHD. Called the MTA study, it is the largest study conducted to compare the benefits of medication to behavioral interventions.

This latest report from the MTA study tracked 485 children for eight years and found those still taking stimulant medication fared no better in the reduction of symptoms such as inattention and hyperactivity or in social functioning than those who hadn't. Most of the children who had taken medication for the first 14 months were no longer taking it. This, the researchers wrote, raises "questions about whether medication treatment beyond two years continues to be beneficial or needed at all." Earlier reports found that children taking stimulants alone or combined with behavioral treatment did better in the first year than children who got no special care or who got behavioral treatment alone.


How safe is the cervical cancer jab? Five teenagers reveal their alarming stories

t has been hailed as the wonder jab that will prevent thousands of young women suffering the same terrible fate as Jade Goody. But as parents across Britain rush to have their daughters vaccinated, others are adamant that it has triggered alarming side-effects...

Amanda Steel is flicking through last year's diary, trying to pinpoint when this nightmare began. It was the summer holidays when she first noticed that Carly, her eldest daughter, was seriously out of sorts.

'Anyone who knew Carly before will tell you what a chatterbox she was. She had so much energy she drove us mad. But suddenly, she was a different girl. It was heartbreaking to watch,' says Amanda.

'I struggled to wake her in the mornings and she barely spoke all day.'

Carly Steel

Carly Steel, 13, has aching joints and suffers from blackouts. She has not attended school since September

By August, 13-year-old Carly, was barely ever awake. Consumed with exhaustion and complaining of dizziness, she was confined to the bed or the sofa, and had to grip the furniture to steady herself whenever she took a few steps.

Read More