June 14, 2016
Scientists are working on new therapies of pancreatic cancer. This is one of the deadliest cancers that impacts both men and women.
This is a disease that usually produces no symptoms at all until it’s in advanced stages. The only chance for a cure is with surgery, but most people aren’t candidates for surgery because the tumors that are relocated in the pancreas have spread. Most people that do have surgery will relapse and die from the disease.
In the past 20 years the FDA have approved three treatments for pancreatic cancer so patients can live longer. They are the drugs erlotinib in combination with gemcitabine, nab-paclitaxel in combination with gemcitabine, and plain gemcitabine
Abhilasha Nair, M.D., is an oncologist for the FDA who works on cancers of the colon, stomach, and digestive system. He says that the cancer starts in the pancreatic ducts. The KRAS gene found in tumor samples is mutated when examines in patients with pancreatic cancers.
Evasive and Deadly
The fourth leading cause of death in the United States is pancreatic cancer. On a yearly basis about 46,420 people are diagnosed with it and 39,590 die of pancreatic cancer according to the national Cancer Institute.
The cancer accounts for less than 3 percent of all new cancer diagnosis each year, but it’s deadly and aggressive. The survival rate after 5 years is only about 5%. If it’s not treated, a patient can die quickly. Surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy are the common options for treatments.
Jaundice, back pain, and unexplained weight loss are the symptoms that bring patients to a doctor’s office. Worsening diabetes, onset diabetes, vomiting, nausea, weakness, changes in appetite, and tiredness are other symptoms.
Targeting the Mutations
Scientists are looking at risk factors for pancreatic cancer. They look at pancreatitis, which is chronic inflammation of the pancreas as well as smoking. Pancreatitis causes chronic pain, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and loss of weight. They also look at genetic changes like BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, and longstanding diabetes. They also examine Lynch syndrome which is an inherited syndrome that increases risk for various cancers.
Scientists are working on drugs that target the KRAS mutation which is found in pancreatic tumors. KRAS is very evasive so finding the right drug to target the mutation would be a breakthrough in the treatment. More needs to be learned about the mutation so it can be overcome. Scientists are looking at the cells deep in tumors to see why pancreatic cancer is so resistant to chemotherapy drugs.
June 10, 2016
Tourette syndrome is a problem with the nervous system that causes people to make sudden movements or sounds, called tics, that they can’t control. For example, someone with Tourette’s might blink or clear their throat over and over again. Some people may blurt out words they don’t intend to say.
Treatments can control tics, but some people don’t need any unless their symptoms really bother them.
Tourette Syndrome has been linked to different parts of the brain, including an area called the basal ganglia, which helps control body movements. Differences there may affect nerve cells and the chemicals that carry messages between them. Researchers think the trouble in this brain network may play a role in Tourette’s. Doctors don’t know exactly what causes these problems in the brain, but genes probably play a role. It’s likely that there is more than one cause.
Dietary changes as well as certain supplements can be used to treat the condition. Eliminating trigger foods and ingredients as well as natural treatment for Tourette syndrome can nearly eliminate the presence of tics and other symptoms of the condition.
June 5, 2016
For those that have an overactive bladder, there are FDA treatments to make things easier for you and control the symptoms.
Those that have an overactive bladder have muscles in the bladder that squeeze without warning ort too often which leads to urinary problems such as:
- Frequent urination which is defines as more than eight times per day or two times per night
- There a need to urinate immediately
- Since there’s a need to urinate immediately, there can be involuntary leakage of urine
About 33 million Americans have these types of symptoms. Most people don’t go for any treatment since they are embarrassed or simply don’t know about the treatment options available to them. In the U.S., 40 perfect of women and 30 percent of men live with the symptoms of an overactive bladder.
There are therapies for overactive bladder such as patches, gels, oral medications, OTC medications and bladder injections for those that have severe symptoms.
The main cause of an overactive bladder are spinal cord injury, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and neurological disorders, but often the cause isn’t known.
Conditions such as bladder tumors, early pregnancy, urinary tract infection, prostate disease, and uncontrolled diabetes mellitus, have symptoms which are like overactive bladder. These need to be excluded before a proper diagnosis is given according to medical team leader for urology in FDA’s Division of Bone, Reproductive and Urologic Products, Suresh Kaul, M.D, M.P.H.
As you age, the risk of developing overactive bladder increases. Elderly women are one of the groups which is impacted greatly by the condition.
For the treatment of overactive bladder, there are several treatment options available. The treatment helps the muscles to relax so there’s no contracting at the wrong times. One class of medications that are widely used are called anticholinergics. These drugs contain fesoterodine, oxybutynin, tolterodine, or solifenacin. They work to inhibit involuntary contractions of the bladder.
Another drug approved recently by the FDA is Myrbetriq (mirabegron). This drug improves the bladder’s ability to store your urine. It relaxes the bladder muscle as its being filled. Some of the side effects of using the drug include urinary tract infection or increased blood pressure. In some cases, Myrbetriq increase the chances that you can’t empty the bladder on your own. This may be the case if you’re taking other types of medication to treat overactive bladder.
Women that are 18 years or older can take Oxytrol for Women which is a patch. This is applied to the skin every four days. The OTC patch can be bought without any prescription and provides the drug oxybutynin. Men can get a oxybutynin patch by prescription which is called Oxytrol. This patch has side effects like dizziness, skin irritation, sleepiness, hallucinations, confusion, and blurry vision.
Adults that don’t adequately respond to anticholinergic can take Botox injections. This is injected into the bladder muscle under a general or a local anesthesia. The urologist uses a small camera to see the inside wall of the bladder.
The bladder relaxes when injected by Botox. This helps it store urine and reduce the instances of urinary incontinence. When the Botox wears off, more injections can be given, but not sooner than three months since the last injections were given.