Posts tagged ‘health’

A special issue of the European Journal of Cancer commented on the increased incidence of cancer despite the mortality rate from cancer being reduced considerably. The figures show an increase from 2.1 million cases in 2002 to a staggering 2.8 million in 2008. The economic recession will also affect the amount of money going into cancer research, feels Dr. José M. Martin-Moreno and his colleagues of the University of Valencia, Spain. The donations from public organizations have gone down, along with substantial cut backs in cancer research projects by various pharmaceutical companies.

The researchers also point to the fact that the safety guards against exposure to deadly carcinogens are likely to be reduced as well, especially for those who work in smaller companies and in developing countries. A Korean study, conducted back in the 90s, hints that incurring a recurring expenditure for health safeguards are not considered to be mandatory, especially when it can help to avoid bankruptcy. The effect thus gets compounded in industries where the contamination by carcinogens tends to be high, like the mining industry.

Dr. Martin-Moreno further elaborates that the prevention of cancer is also dependent on a number of other factors. Life style habits, occupation, environment, and genetics, all play a part in proper prevention of cancer. Being exposed to infections as well as access to the preventive measures are also influencing factors.

The editors of the publication go on to emphasize the importance of four of the most important risk factors; smoking, alcohol, obesity, and an inactive life, physically.  A paper by Dr. Esther de Vries and fellow researchers also describes the impact that weight gain and physical inactivity have on colon cancer. The data was retrieved from the cancer registries of seven European countries, namely, The Netherlands, Spain, Latvia, Czech Republic, UK, France, and Denmark.

Colon cancer is the second most common incidence of cancer in Europe, as well as the second most common cause of cancer related deaths. Dr. Renehan states that adopting weight reduction measures would prove to be more effective for men while increased levels of physical activity works better for women in preventing colon cancer.

The ECCO President, Professor Michael Baumann, hopes that this special issue will help the policy makers to reflect on the dangers of the rising incidence of cancer and take effective preventive measures, instead of being concerned with short term cost cutting strategies.

Source: European Journal of Cancer, volume 46, issue 14 (September 2010), “Implementing Cancer Prevention in Europe”.

Kim J, Paek D. Safety and health in small-scale enterprises and bankruptcy during economic depression in Korea. J Occupational Health 2000; 42(5): 270-5.

A partnership between the U.S. company Jennerex Inc. known for developing cancer drugs and the French biotech firm called Transgene SA (TNG.FR) was announced on Wednesday (8th Sept 2010). Both the companies entered into a treaty which will allow them to sell cancer specific drugs across Russia, Europe and the Middle East. The drugs will accomplish to target and destroy the cancerous cells of the body.

The joint statement issued by them states that they will join forces to develop JX-594, which had been developed by Jennerex Inc. initially and had seemed promising as far as the treatment of cancers affecting the liver, colon, kidney, and lungs are concerned.  The malignant Melanoma had also responded well to the treatment.

The French company has an equity stake in Jennerex Inc. now. The new arrangement will enable the US based company to earn handsomely from royalty figures as well as milestone payments. The payments are expected to be upwards of $116 million whereas the royalties are likely to be in double digits. It will also get a share in the profits gained from the five major countries of Europe and will have a stake in the promotion as well. The USA rights are also expected to be retained by Jennerex Inc.

David Kirn, the chief executive for Jennerex Inc. said that the company hopes to achieve much by making use of Transgene’s knowledge and experience, especially when it comes to immunotherapies. JX-594 can also be marketed properly all across the major nations by exploiting the latter’s established relationships with all the regulatory bodies of Europe.

The future plans will focus on containing the colorectal cancer as well as the Hepatocellular Carcinoma. JX-594 will address both the  first- as well as the second- line of treatment of the liver cells.  The companies have also planned a series of studies which aim at colorectal cancer patients including those who are immune or intolerant to the drug Erbitux.

The drug JX-594  is expected to attack the cancerous cells in a threefold manner. It will seek to destroy the cells by viral replication, cut off the blood supply to the malignant tumors as well as help to stimulate the immune system of the body


Cancer patients go through a harrowing time especially when the dreaded disease reaches its terminal stage. The psychological effect on the patients range from anxiety to acute depression and no amount of drugs can actually negate the effects.

The results of a recent study published by the Archives of General Psychiatry hinted that patients suffering from cancer can hope to benefit if administered with the hallucinogen Psilocybin or ‘magic mushrooms’ as commonly known. This LSD like drug is believed to ease anxiety to a great extent, especially during the last stages of cancer.

The study was conducted by Dr. Charles Grob, associated with the Harbor-University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center, as well as the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute.  Twelve patients were subjected to a dosage of 0.2 milligrams/kg of active Psilocybin or 250 mgs of Niacin, which acts as a placebo, in a random manner. It consisted of two, six hour sessions with a gap of several weeks in between. Both the physiological aspects, like blood pressure, rate of heart beat, etc. as well as psychological ones like depression, anxiety and mood swings were noted carefully.  The results were assessed before and after the tests and were also monitored week by week initially. The participants were then monitored on a monthly basis for a period of six months.

The researchers observed an improvement of mood with no associated bouts of depression. They say, “We also observed no adverse psychological effects from the treatment. All subjects tolerated the treatment sessions well, with no indication of severe anxiety or a ‘bad trip.’”  The results revealed that the mood enhancement commenced from the second week itself and reached a satisfactory point at the end of six months.

Despite the study results being promising, no follow up studies have been initiated as yet. Similar studies by researchers had to be abandoned in the 70s when the rampant use of LSD on the streets caused the federal agencies to put a stop to it.


Archives of General Psychiatry. Published online September 6, 2010. doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2010.116. Available at