Volume 9 Issue 144
Published - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 25-May-2007 
Next Update - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 26-May-2007

Editor: Susan K. Boyer, RN
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Adult stem cells from human cord umbilical cord blood succesfully engineered to make insulin

In a fundamental discovery that someday may help cure type 1 diabetes by allowing people to grow their own insulin-producing cells for a damaged or defective pancreas, medical researchers here have reported that they have engineered adult stem cells derived from human umbilical cord blood to produce insulin. more  

ECP may be effective in treating Crohn's disease

Results from an international multi-center Phase II clinical trial suggest that extracorporeal photopheresis (ECP) may be effective in treating patients with clinically active (OR symptomatic) Crohn’s disease who cannot tolerate or are refractory to immunosuppressants and/or anti-TNF agents. A 50% response rate after 3 months of ECP treatment was noted in the study, using standard disease activity criteria, as presented this afternoon at a scientific research session of Digestive Disease Week (DDW). The majority of patients who responded to ECP therapy had a notable improvement in their disease symptoms and signs after only six weeks of treatment. more

Experimental gene therapy 'abolishes' arthritis pain and lessens joint damage

Early-stage research has found that a new gene therapy can nearly eliminate arthritis pain, and significantly reduce long-term damage to the affected joints, according to a study published today in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism. While the study was done in mice, they are the first genetically engineered to develop osteoarthritis like humans, with the same genetic predisposition that makes some more likely to develop the disease, the authors said. If all goes well with a follow-up study currently underway, researchers will apply to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for permission to begin human trials next year. more  

Possible new breast cancer gene

Researchers at the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute of the University of Pennsylvania and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute describe in this week’s issue of Science a new candidate breast-cancer susceptibility gene. The Rap80 gene is required for the normal DNA-repair function of the well-known breast cancer gene BRCA1. more

Coffee consumption may lower blood uric acid levels -- the precursor of gout  

High uric acid levels in the blood are a precursor of gout, the most common inflammatory arthritis in adult men. It is believed that coffee and tea consumption may affect uric acid levels but only one study has been conducted to date. A new large-scale study published in the June 2007 issue of Arthritis Care & Research examined the relationship between coffee, tea, caffeine intake, and uric acid levels and found that coffee consumption is associated with lower uric acid levels but that this appears to be due to components other than caffeine. more

Jefferson scientists use gene therapy to reverse heart failure in animals 

Heart researchers at the Center for Translational Medicine at Jefferson Medical College have used gene therapy to reverse heart failure in animals. In addition, they found that this gene therapy strategy had "unique and additive effects" to currently used, standard heart failure drugs called beta-blockers. more

Small infants have greater survival rate in high level intensive care facilities

Very low birth weight infants are significantly more likely to survive when delivered in hospitals with high-level neonatal intensive care units that care for more than 100 such newborns annually than are those delivered in comparable facilities that provide care to fewer than 100 such children every year. more

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Coffee is a major source of chlorogenic acid, a strong antioxidant, which may improve insulin sensitivity.