Study: Pioglitazone halts progression to type 2 diabetes

In a new study, pioglitazone reduced the risk for progression from impaired glucose tolerance to type 2 diabetes by 72% as compared with placebo. However, the drug was linked to significant edema and weight gain.

Ralph A. DeFronzo, MD, and colleagues recruited 602 adults with IGT to study whether pioglitazone (Actos, Takeda) could reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes. Patients were randomly assigned to pioglitazone, at 30 mg per day and increased to 45 mg per day after 1 month, or placebo for a mean 2.4 years.

After follow-up, the pioglitazone group had an annual incidence rate for type 2 diabetes of 2.1% vs. the placebo group’s 7.6%. The researchers calculated a hazard Continue reading

Lab Grown Sperm Could Cure Male Infertility, Experts Say

Sperm penetrating an ovum during fertilization.

Wikipedia Sperm penetrating an ovum during fertilization.

Sperm has been successfully grown in a test tube for the first time, a breakthrough technology that could eventually help cure male infertility, Japanese scientists said Thursday.

In the experiment, researchers at Yokohama City University were able to produce healthy, fertile offspring using the laboratory created sperm. Their findings can be found in the journal Nature.

“Until now, none of the attempts have been wholly successful, and when the sperm have been used, the pups born have not been healthy and have soon died,” said Dr. Allan Pacey, senior lecturer in andrology at the University of Sheffield, in northern England.

The next step is to reproduce the technique in humans as the technology will give new hope to men with low sperm counts or abnormal sperm.

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Best Places to Work Postdocs, 2011

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Epigenetic Changes in Cancer

Lung cancer close-up MOREDUN ANIMAL HEALTH LTD/SPL / Gettyimages

The study of how covalent marks on DNA and histones are involved in the origin and spread of cancer cells
is also leading to new therapeutic strategies.

Much of the current hype in epigenetics stems from the recognition of its role in human cancer. Yet, intriguingly, the first epigenetic change in human tumors—global genomic DNA hypomethylation—was reported way back in the early 1980s, at about the same time the first genetic mutation in an oncogene was discovered.1 So why the delay in recognizing the importance of epigenetics in cancer?

In the 1980s epigenetics was a fledgling discipline, hampered by methodological limitations, while genetic knowledge of Continue reading

Should premature babies born at 23 weeks be resuscitated?

Premature babies born at 23 weeks should not be resuscitated because their chances of surviving are so slim, according to an NHS official.

Dr Daphne Austin explains her logic on BBC Radio 5 live: “There is sufficient evidence to suggest that we’re [currently] doing more harm than good.

“Are we confident that we are providing the care that they need right through?” Dr Austin asks presenter Victoria Derbyshire.

“We need to have a better debate about this.”

Big Human Genome lupus drug nears market

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Human Genome Sciences Inc’s lupus drug is poised to win clearance this week, offering patients the first approved treatment option in a half-century and setting the company up for blockbuster sales.

Industry analysts widely expect Benlysta, one the most closely watched medicines of the year, to secure the Food and Drug Administration’s blessing by Thursday.

Annual global sales may top $3 billion in 2015, according to Thomson Reuters consensus forecasts. The company will split Benlysta profits with British partner GlaxoSmithKline Plc.

The drug’s approval will turn Human Genome from money-losing biotech to an industry star and takeover target.

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Scientists link 13 new gene regions to heart disease risk

In what may be the largest global investigation of its kind, scientists have implicated 13 new gene regions in the onset of heart vessel plaque build-up, a condition that often leads to fatal heart attacks.

The discovery doubles the number of gene regions linked to the development of coronary atherosclerosis, which the authors note is the most common cause of death globally.

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