Researchers find genetic clues for arthritis
Researchers have found 42 new areas in DNA that increase the risk of rheumatoid arthritis, and that could lead to new drugs that target these areas and one day provide a cure, according to a study published in the journal Nature.
The research involved 30,000 patients, and is the largest genetic study ever conducted. Researchers compared the DNA of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and found 42 ‘faulty’ areas that were linked with the disease. The goal is to eventually develop drugs to compensate for these faults.
In fact, one drug, which was developed by trial and error rather than made to specifically correct the genetic problem, is already an effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, which gives researchers hope that other drugs could be effective by targeting DNA weaknesses.
Other experts contend that identifying genetic weak areas for complex diseases–also known as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)–is not an effective approach. But this team of researchers argues that the established rheumatoid arthritis drug that treats symptoms arising from a particular SNP validates the approach.
The study also found that SNPs in the rheumatoid arthritis patients also occur in patients with certain types of blood cancer, which could mean that drugs developed to treat these cancers may also be effective for treating rheumatoid arthritis.
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Sourced from: BBC, New genetic clues for rheumatoid arthritis ‘cure’
Published On: Dec 27th 2013
Acupuncture eases cancer drugs side effects in study
Acupuncture has been performed as a healing treatment for generations by cultures around the world. Now, a small randomized trial found this practice may help ease side effects in women being treated for breast cancer.
Published in the journal Cancer, women treated for breast cancer through estrogen-lowering drugs like aromatase inhibitors saw their menopausal side effects improve through acupuncture.
In the trial, 47 random breast cancer patients underwent eight weekly rounds of either sham or real acupuncture. For the real acupuncture, people had needles placed in their bodies at certain target points believed to aid menopause symptoms. The controls had non-penetrating needles placed in sham acupuncture points. No one knew which patients received the real treatments or sham treatments.
Throughout the trial, patients kept daily diaries and answered a series of questionnaires on the frequency and severity of their menopausal symptoms. The results showed symptoms improved for both sets of patients, especially hot flashes.
How could the symptoms improve for the control group as well? Researchers noted it may have been the placebo effect, or suggest the slight pricking of the skin could trigger physiological differences.
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Sourced from: nytimes.com, Acupuncture, Real or Not, Eases Side Effects of Cancer Drugs
Published On: Dec 27th 2013