By Guest Indiana
Orlando, Fla. (April 6, 2019) - Findings from a new study show that the compound responsible for chili peppers' heat could help slow the spread of lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women. Most cancer-related deaths occur when cancer spreads to distant sites, a process called metastasis.
"Lung cancer and other cancers commonly metastasize to secondary locations like the brain, liver or bone, making them difficult to treat," said Jamie Friedman, a doctoral candidate who performed the research in the laboratory of Piyali Dasgupta, PhD, at Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine. "Our study suggests that the natural compound capsaicin from chili peppers could represent a novel therapy to combat metastasis in lung cancer patients."
Friedman will present the research at the American Society for Investigative Pathology annual meeting during the 2019 Experimental Biology meeting to be held April 6-9 in Orlando, Fla.
In experiments involving three lines of cultured human non-small cell lung cancer cells, the researchers observed that capsaicin inhibited invasion, the first step of the metastatic process. They also found that mice with metastatic cancer that consumed capsaicin showed smaller areas of metastatic cancer cells in the lung compared to mice not receiving the treatment.
Additional experiments revealed that capsaicin suppresses lung cancer metastasis by inhibiting activation of the protein Src. This protein plays a role in the signaling that controls cellular processes such as proliferation, differentiation, motility and adhesion.
"We hope that one day capsaicin can be used in combination with other chemotherapeutics to treat a variety of lung cancers," said Friedman. "However, using capsaicin clinically will require overcoming its unpleasant side effects, which include gastrointestinal irritation, stomach cramps and a burning sensation."
No, that's not your doctor playing Red Dead Redemption 2 on his lunch break...he's using equipment from Auris Health, a surgical robotics company Johnson & Johnson (+0.22%) will acquire for about $3.4 billion in cash.
The deal gives J&J (the world’s largest health care products manufacturer) a leg up in diagnostic and early-intervention tools for lung cancer—an area where Auris has developed high-tech surgical scopes that can quickly identify cancerous tumors.
At this point, J&J can basically field a footbag net team of surgical robots. It already has a robot surgery company called Verb Surgical, which it formed with Google-owned Verily Life Sciences in 2015. Zoom out: J&J’s deal shows there’s strong appetite among medical companies for developing tech to make surgery 1) less invasive and 2) much safer.
+ This is pretty funny: Auris Medical Holding AG, not to be confused with Auris Health, was...confused with Auris Health. Investors mistakenly bought its stock, which rose as much as 30% early in the day.
via Morning Brew
By Bible Speaks
Holy Smoke! Pope Francis Bans Sale of Cigarettes in Vatican
By Guest Nicole
Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged his support on Wednesday to a series of initiatives to cut tobacco use, proposing to raise the minimum price of a pack of cigarettes in New York City to $13 and vowing to sharply reduce, over time, the number of stores that may sell tobacco products.
Raising the minimum price of a pack to $13, from the current $10.50 minimum, would make New York the most expensive place in the nation to buy cigarettes, city officials said.
The goal, Mr. de Blasio said, is to persuade or coerce 160,000 of the 900,000 New York City residents who smoke to stop doing so by 2020.
In pushing the anti-tobacco measures, the mayor, more than three years into his term, has come to embrace a major public health movement that was closely associated with his predecessor, Michael R. Bloomberg, who made the city a leader in efforts to reduce tobacco use.
A doctor’s poem is going viral in China and raising awareness that smog (surprise!) is a cause of cancerBy Guest Nicole
As toxic clouds of smog continue to cover much of China, more and more Chinese are turning to vent their anger online at the airpocalypse—even turning to poetry.
A poem written by a Chinese chest surgeon has gone viral for pointing out the obvious: there is a link between smog and lung cancer. But in China, where many writers and scholars are punished for speaking out about serious problems, people are hailing the poem as a bold move to raise awareness. Many websites have reproduced the poem in the past week, with the articles racking up thousands of shares and comments on domestic social media (link in Chinese, registration required).
Titled I Long to be King, the verses are told through the viewpoint of a “ground-glass opacity,” the term for a CT scan image showing fluid in the lungs that is an early indicator of lung cancer.
I long to be king,
With my fellows swimming in every vessel.
My people crawl in your organs and body,
Holding the rights for life or death, I tremble with excitement…
From tiny to strong,
From humble to arrogant.
No one cared when I was young,
But all fear me we when full grown.
I’ve been nourished on the delicious mist and haze,
That sweetly warmed my heart,
Always loving when you were heavy drunk and smoking,
Creating me a cozy home.
Dr. Zhao Xiaogang, deputy chief of thoracic surgery at the Shanghai Pulmonary Hospital of Tongji University, said the Chinese public has a low level of understanding about how lung disease develops.
“I see many cancer patients everyday and I feel their pain. I wrote this poem to bring some common knowledge of lung cancer to ordinary people,” he said in an interview by phone. “Lung cancer is the leading form of cancer in China. Stress, smoking and lack of sleep are all factors that can cause cancer, while environmental pollution is also a factor that cannot be ignored.”
The poem originally ran in English in the American medical journal Chest in October. Zhao then allowed the publication of a Chinese translation of the poem in The Paper (link in Chinese), a Chinese state-funded news website, last week. He said he has long enjoyed writing poetry and finds it is a way to express his emotions.
“The intense rise in lung cancer [in China],” Zhao told the Global Times, a state-backed tabloid, “is intimately related to smog.” According to official statistics from 2012, 569,000 people in China die from lung cancer annually. Researchers at the University of California found in 2015 that air pollution kills about 1.6 million people in China each year.
Expatriates and wealthier Chinese commonly use air purifiers at home and wear masks outside to protect themselves, but air purifying machines and effective facemasks are expensive. The poor are also more likely to work outdoors in jobs such as security guards, taxi drivers, and food stall operators.
China may have declared a “war” on pollution and shut down the worst polluting factories, but it is unclear whether the country will ultimately prioritize public health over economic growth. Manufacturing is still the backbone of China’s economy, though the country’s energy agency said last week it plans to invest 2.5 trillion yuan ($361 billion) into renewable power generation by 2020 in a bid to reduce reliance on burning coal.
However, authorities have sent mixed signals about whether it condones open discussion about pollution. State-run media outlets regularly air in-depth stories about pollution, but they tend to highlight steps the government is taking rather than investigate short-term or long-term health effects. Some Chinese artists have had leeway to protest against the smog, but online comments from citizens criticizing the government’s handling of the crisis have been swiftly removed. Last year, censors pulled an independent journalist’s blistering anti-pollution documentary, Under the Dome, from websites after it racked up hundreds of millions of views.
So it is unsurprising that Zhao was careful to stress that environmental factors are not the only causes of lung cancer. There are many things people can do to lower their risk, such as exercising, eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, avoiding cigarette smoke, and managing stress, he said.
As for the toxic air? “Wearing masks helps of course, but it is best to avoid pollution altogether,” said Zhao. “But just as the haze in Los Angeles was solved eventually, I have faith that the Chinese government will tackle the serious pollution and that it won’t take too long.”
By Guest Nicole
Quitting cold turkey was 25% more effective than gradually cutting down on cigarettes
Researchers have long sought for answers on the best way to help people quit smoking. Often, it comes down to two options: quitting cold turkey or gradually tapering a smoking habit. But which one works better?
“A lot of people think that the common sense way to give up smoking is to reduce the amount they smoke before quitting,” says Nicola Lindson-Hawley of the University of Oxford, who led a new study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.
But the results suggested just the opposite: quitting cold turkey is best.
Lindson-Hawley and her colleagues looked at almost 700 people in England who smoked at least 15 cigarettes a day but who were planning to quit. They all set a quit date for two weeks. Half of them were randomly assigned to smoke normally until their quit date, then to stop abruptly. The other half gradually reduced their smoking over the two weeks leading up to the appointed day. Both groups had behavioral counseling, nicotine patches and nicotine replacement therapy from products like gum, lozenges and mouth spray.
The way the researchers measured success was by looking at smoking abstinence for four weeks after the quit date, and then six months later.
Those who quit abruptly stuck to it the best—about 25% better than the gradual-cessation group. And 49% of the abrupt group were successful, while 39% of the gradual group were.
At the half-year mark, 22% of the cold-turkey group were still smoke-free, while 15% of the gradual group were.
Interestingly, more people said they preferred to quit gradually rather than abruptly. But a person’s preferences didn’t make much of a difference in their success. “Even if people wanted to quit gradually, they were more likely to quit if they used the abrupt method,” Lindson-Hawley says.
The research didn’t look at other potential forms of smoking cessation, including e-cigarettes, which have yet to be definitively proven as an effective smoking cessation tool. And even though quitting cold was better, Lindson-Hawley says, “the quit rates we found in the gradual group were still quite good.” In future research, she plans to explore the methods of gradual quitting to see if they can be made more effective. “If there are people who really feel they can’t quit abruptly, and they want to quit gradually—otherwise they won’t try to quit at all—we still need to support them to do that.”
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