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Archive for the ‘ORGANS’ Category

Why Liver Cancer Numbers Continue to Increase

Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

The five-year survival rate for people with liver cancer remains at only 20 percent. Diabetes, hepatitis C, smoking, and alcohol are all factors.

Between 2009 and 2013, doctors diagnosed liver cancer in 7.7 people out of every 100,000.

That number has been increasing since the mid-1970s.

In addition, the death rate is rising faster than for any other cancer — it is one of America’s leading causes of cancer death.

Between 2010 and 2014, it stood at 6.3 people per 100,000.

The five-year survival rate is only about 20 percent.

Healthline spoke with Dr. Jack Jacoub, medical oncologist and director of thoracic oncology at MemorialCare Cancer Institute at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in California.

He stated that liver cancer is “the second most common cancer killer in the world.”

This month, researchers at the American Cancer Society (ACS) published a groundbreaking study in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

During the study, researchers uncovered trends in liver cancer incidence, survival, and mortality rates.

Researchers used Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program data obtained from the National Center for Health Statistics.

Read more: Get the facts on liver cancer »

Risk factors

The following risk factors contribute to liver cancer:

Dr. Anton Bilchik, professor of surgery and chief of gastrointestinal research at John Wayne Cancer Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in California, also spoke with Healthline.

Bilchik said “the reason for the increase in primary liver cancer is largely related to the obesity epidemic that we have going on in this country.”

“Whereas hepatitis C used to be the most common cause of liver cancer, the most common cause now is related to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease,” he noted.

Jacoub, meanwhile, believes that hepatitis still poses the greatest risk.

“There is a very big spiking in hepatitis C infection over the past few decades. And that is the predominant risk factor in the United States for liver cancer,” he said.

Jacoub also suggested another risk factor. He cautioned that “anyone who has hereditary iron overload symptoms,” such as hemochromatosis, is at risk.

“[This] iron scenario causes iron overloading of the liver and [that] causes inflammation and scarring and then … cirrhosis,” he said.

“Whenever cirrhosis develops, you’re immediately at risk for liver cancer,” Jacoub explained.

Read more: Symptoms and warning signs of hepatitis C »

The influx of hepatitis C

“The incidence of hepatitis C in the baby boomer population [those born between 1945 and 1965] is as high as 2 to 3 percent,” reported Bilchik. “And it’s been recommended that all baby boomers should be at least checked for hepatitis C, particularly since recently we [now] have drugs that are very effective at curing patients of hepatitis C.”

Bilchik added, “The biggest breakthrough in this field has been the fact that relatively nontoxic antiviral medications are now FDA-approved that can eradicate hepatitis C.”

“The problem,” he said, “is that a very small percentage of baby boomers are being tested, or have been tested.”

Hepatitis B infection is also preventable. And there is an effective vaccine.

Starting in 1982, hepatitis B vaccinations became a part of routine childhood vaccinations.

As a result, in 2015 the vaccination rate among younger people varied from a low of 83 percent in Idaho, to a high of 98 percent in New Hampshire.

However, only 50 percent of older adults in the United States have been vaccinated.

Read more: Western diets are causing obesity in people around the world »

The risk associated with weight

Studies show that liver cancer risk increases by 26 percent for every five point increase in one’s Body Mass Index (BMI).

More men than women are overweight (BMI 25.0-29.9.) However, a greater number of women fall into the categories of obese (BMI 30-39.9), and class 3 obese (BMI 40+).

Bilchik noted, “Non-insulin dependent diabetes and lack of physical activity are often associated and linked to obesity.”

In the United States, 69 percent of adults over age 20 are overweight.

“It’s well known that up to 25 percent of kids, if not more, are overweight, if not obese,” stated Bilchik.

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Indications are that greater weight control intervention can help, especially among children.

Interventions might help reduce obesity levels, type 2 diabetes, and ultimately liver cancer rates.

Read more: Get the facts on alcohol addiction »

Alcohol, tobacco risk factors

Regardless of amount, drinking alcohol increases your risk of liver cancer.

“Not just in alcoholics,” Bilchik noted, “but also in those people that are considered binge drinkers.”

More effort put into alcohol abuse prevention programs may prove beneficial.

Smokers have a higher risk for liver cancer, too.

Tobacco users increase their risk of liver cancer by approximately 50 percent.

Read more: Poverty linked to poor health »

Race, ethnicity make a difference

There are now treatments for hepatitis C, vaccines for hepatitis B, and better public education about the risks of obesity.

As such, one might expect liver cancer rates to be falling.

But they’re not.

Until the publication of the ACS study, it was difficult to find information that explored total liver cancer mortality and survival rates in the United States.

This was also true for liver cancer mortality and survival rates with regard to race and ethnicity.

Regarding the study, Jacoub noted “liver cancer is one of the few cancers that really has extremely dramatic ethnic variations in population variations. And you’re seeing it in this report.”

The researchers found that the death rate for liver cancer in non-Hispanic whites was 5.5 per 100,000 people.

That compared with 8.4 per 100,000 for blacks, 11.9 per 100,000 for American Indians/Alaska Natives, 9.8 per 100,000 for Asian/Pacific Islanders, and 9.1 per 100,000 for Hispanics.

Digging deeper, the analysis showed that liver cancer incidence varies from state to state, and by race and ethnicity within each state.

Much of the disparity is due to a lack of public health education for certain at-risk groups.

Many of these same populations often also have limited access to quality healthcare.

Read more: Are there early signs of kidney cancer? »

Catching cancer early

The five-year survival rate after a diagnosis of liver cancer has been increasing ever since the early 1990s.

The increase, however, varies among racial and ethnic groups.

Generally, non-Hispanic whites have a lower death rate from liver cancer than blacks.

One of the reasons is that non-Hispanic whites are more likely to undergo surgery for their cancer.

Blacks as a group are more likely to lack health insurance, which may cause people to delay testing.

The stage of liver cancer at the time of diagnosis influences the survival rate.

Between 2006 and 2012, people with localized cancers accounted for between 40 and 45 percent of all liver cancer diagnoses. These patients had a survival rate of 37 percent.

That rate dropped to 4 percent for distant stage cancer diagnoses.

When researchers factored race and ethnicity into their analysis of localized disease, they saw a marked difference in survival rates.

It is possible to narrow the gap in survival rates between ethnic and racial groups?

Researchers believe the key is in finding ways to diagnose more liver cancers when they are still in the early, more localized stages.

Read more: Baby boomers changing the healthcare landscape »

Over the hump by 2030?

Death rates are expected to continue rising through 2030, and then begin to fall. Bilchik and Jacoub suggested a few possible reasons for the decline.

Baby boomers are currently the most at-risk generation for hepatitis C. Their numbers will continue to shrink as time passes.

In the meantime, more effective public health education will increase the number of baby boomers who seek out testing for hepatitis C.

Also, public education efforts worldwide should increase the number of people receiving hepatitis B vaccinations.

In time, the costs of treating hepatitis C will decline.

Fast food restaurants will continue the current trend of offering foods that are more nutritious

The number of tobacco smokers should continue to decline.

Jacoub stressed, “It’s important to know your risk profile.”

And Bilchik pointed out, “If you think about it, primary liver cancer is largely preventable because most of the causes of liver cancer are related to lifestyle.”

Henry Sapiecha

Ethics of Organ Donation from Prisoners on death row

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network

Dr David van der Poorten performs the transplant image www.newcures.info

Rationale for Deliberation

prison pic-5

As the scarcity of suitable organs for transplantation continues to grow, alternative sources for organs have been reported and others suggested. One such suggestion is to recover organs that would otherwise seem to go to waste, such as those from condemned prisoners. Reportedly the People’s Republic of China recovers organs from executed prisoners, and recent U.S. news reports have alleged that organ brokers operate in this country who arrange transplantation of the foreign prisoner’s organs. This discussion is not restricted to third world countries. In the United States, proposals of this type have come from prominent figures and bodies. While one proposal suggested that prisoners be given the option of donating organs upon their death, another suggests that condemned prisoners be offered the option of trading a kidney or their bone marrow in exchange for a commuted sentence of life in prison without parole.

While it is beyond the scope of the UNOS Ethics Committee to examine the moral and ethical issues encompassing the death penalty, it is worth noting that this topic is both ethically and judicially controversial. Acknowledgment should at least be made that the death penalty is rarely available or applied in most industrialized western nations, except for the United States. All western European countries, Canada, Mexico, Central and South American, with the exception of Chile, have abolished the death penalty. Recent U. S. data show an inequitable application of the death penalty with a significant evidence of racial bias particularly in the south. The data indicate that blacks are five times more likely to be sentenced to death than whites convicted of similar crimes and that the economically disadvantaged as well are more likely than the wealthy to receive the death penalty.

Any law or proposal that allows a person to trade an organ for a reduction in sentence, particularly a sentence from death to life in prison, raises numerous issues. Application of the death penalty is spasmodic and seemingly discriminatorily applied, which would suggest that these types of proposals would be coercive to particular classes of individuals–minorities and the poor. Would the reduction in sentence apply to the offer to donate, or would it only be honored if the act of donation took place? If the act of donation would exclusively qualify for the reduction in sentence, then the law or policy would discriminate against individuals found to be medically unsuitable to donate organs. Examples include:

  • those with common prison infections such as tuberculosis, HIV or hepatitis B
  • the prisoners with a single functioning kidney, or on dialysis, or with diabetes or other renal diseases

Were prisoners allowed to trade a kidney to mitigate a death sentence, it may affect the actual imposition of the death penalty. With greater publicity surrounding these types of proposals/laws, potential jurors could be influenced and ultimately impose the death penalty more often with a potential societal benefit in mind. Jurors might hope that the convicted persons would choose to trade their kidney for their life. This would present a gross inequity for those unable or unwilling to donate a kidney and who might otherwise have not received a death sentence.

The proposals that concern organ recovery from executed prisoners unveil another host of problems. One method of execution suggested is the act of organ donation itself. From a utilitarian standpoint this would make sense; the anesthetizing of the condemned and the recovery of organs in the usual manner would produce optimum organs for transplantation. However, the cross-clamping the aorta and the ensuing cardiectomy, followed by the disconnection of the ventilator, create an unacceptable situation for the organ recovery team. It clearly places the organ recovery team in the role of executioner. Many physician groups, including the American Medical Association, have prohibited physician participation in state executions on ethical grounds.

Issues of informed consent of potential donors as well as recipients need to be addressed. Obviously a person condemned to death cannot consider organ or bone marrow donation as a coercion-free option. Even a death row inmate should have the option of refusing an invasive surgical procedure–although unlikely, given the alternative. Correspondingly a person to be executed, or their next of kin/surrogate, should be able to make an informed decision regarding any donation options, including informed refusal if they so chose. Ultimately the potential organ/bone marrow recipient(s) should be informed that the source of the donation was a condemned prisoner, while maintaining the prisoner’s confidentiality. Individuals in opposition to the death penalty might object to accepting an organ from either an executed prisoner or a prisoner who traded their organ for their life.

Consider the effect that such a policy/law could have on organ donation overall. The number of potential organs recovered from condemned prisoners would be small. The conceivable stigma that would be attached to organ donation from its coupling with execution could lead to decreases in donation rates. This may especially be true within certain minority groups. Any notion that particular groups of people were receiving increased numbers of death sentences to provide organs for the rest of society would clearly make it difficult to attempt to obtain consent for altruistic donation from these groups.

Conclusion

The UNOS Ethics Committee has raised a small number of the many issues regarding organ donation from condemned prisoners. The Committee opposes any strategy or proposed statute regarding organ donation from condemned prisoners until all of the potential ethical concerns have been satisfactorily addressed.

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Henry Sapiecha

www.crimefiles.net

Milwaukee man pronounced dead, then moves and breathes – authorities

Saturday, May 30th, 2015

THIS IS WHAT MAKES YOU THINK TWICE ABOUT ORGAN DONATIONS AT DEATH

gadava body work images www.newcures (25)

First responders preparing to take the body of a Milwaukee man pronounced dead to the morgue got a jolt when the man suddenly began moving and noticeably breathing, authorities said on Friday.

They had gone to the 46-year-old man’s high-rise building on Tuesday after his worried girlfriend called for assistance, saying she had not heard from him for two days, according to a medical examiner’s report.

When they arrived at his apartment, they found him cold, pale and rigid at the foot of his bed, the report said.

They did not try to resuscitate him.

About 50 minutes later, the medical examiner arrived and notified the man’s family of his death. As the examiner readied the body to be taken to the morgue, the man began to move his left arm and right leg, the report said.

Paramedics took the man, who has not been identified, to a nearby hospital, where he was admitted to the intensive care unit.

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Henry Sapiecha

China’s gruesome shameful live organ harvest & crimes against humanity exposed in these 3 video documentaries

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

Human rigts lawyer David Matas has spoken out about organ harvesting in China.image www.newcures.info

Human rigts lawyer David Matas has spoken out about organ harvesting in China.

China’s hospitals are harvesting the body parts of thousands of political prisoners and removing their vital organs while they are still alive, according to a harrowing documentary exposing the horrific state-sanctioned practice.

Doctors and medical students working in state-run civilian and military hospitals take up to 11,000 organs a year from donors under no anaesthetic to supply China’s lucrative “organs on-demand” transplant program, say a network of invesitgators comprised of international researchers, doctors and human rights lawyers attempting to end the macabre abuses.

The documentary, Human Harvest: China’s Organ Trafficking, by Canadian filmmaker Leon Lee, followed these investigators for eight years as they worked to mobilise international condemnation of what they say is a booming billion-dollar organ harvesting industry for the benefit of wealthy paying organ recipients.

“When I cut through [the body] blood was still running … this person was not dead,” said one doctor of his first encounter with live organ harvesting as a medical student filmed by Lee.

“I took the liver and two kidneys. It took me 30 minutes,” he said.

A former Chinese hospital worker and doctor’s wife, whose identity was withheld, told Lee that her husband had removed the corneas of 2000 people while they were still alive. Afterwards the bodies were secretly incinerated.

China has the second highest rate of transplants in the world, with startlingly short wait times for transplant recipients of just two to three weeks.

But a recent Red Cross report found only 37 people nationwide were registered organ donors and harvesting organs from executed prisoners did not come close to accounting for the more than 10,000 transplant procedures performed every year.

Human Rights Lawyer and nobel peace prize nominee David Matas told Lee that living political prisoners make up for the shortfall, with the long-persecuted and banned religious group, the Falun Gong, key targets

religious Falun Gong have been identified as key targets of China's live organ harvesting program in a documentary.image www.newcures.info.

“Somebody’s being killed for the organs,” human rights lawyer David Matas says.

“There’s no other way to explain what’s happening.”

Chinese officials have denied the allegations, claiming organ donors are volunteers. However, under China’s president Xi Jinping, the government has vowed the program would we wound up by August this year, hanging the blame on former security chief Zhou Yongkang.

But Matas and his colleagues are pushing for the perpetrators to stand before the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

The film aired on SBS Dateline on Tuesday night.

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Henry Sapiecha

THE CASE AGAINST ORGAN DONATION

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

THIS IS THE MAIN REASON THE AUTHOR WILL NOT BE AN ORGAN DONOR.

THERE IS A VERY REAL THREAT THAT THEY WILL CHOP YOU UP WHILST YOU ARE STILL ALIVE.

A 43-year-old Swedish man is just about the luckiest man alive after narrowly surviving a plot to harvest his organs by doctors who thought he was done for.

The man’s name is Jimi Fritze and he was paralysed by a stroke two years ago as he and his girlfriend were out at dinner on a small island off the coast of Sweden’s second largest city, Gothenburg.

Because of the remote location, it took a long time to get Mr Fritze to hospital, by which time he was completely paralysed.

“They looked at an x-ray of my brain, and when they had done that, they told my girlfriend that it wasn’t good and that I wouldn’t live,” Mr Fritze told UK newspaper The Telegraph .

“I could hear her crying the whole time, but I couldn’t do anything.”

“I heard them tell my girlfriend and my relatives that there was no hope,” Mr Fritze continued. “I couldn’t do anything. I could only see and hear. I couldn’t move my body.”

As he lay in his bed, Mr Fritze says he heard the doctors discussing the possibility of organ donation, in particular his liver and kidney.

“I was scared because I thought that I was going to die then, and a hard death,” he went on.

“I remember I thought, what will happen if they cremate me, will I see the fire and feel the fire?”.

Mr Fritze believes he would have been declared brain dead, had it not been for a senior doctor who returned three days after his accident.

But after re-examining the X-ray, she immediately realised that there was a good chance Mr Fritze would recover. Within days, he could nod his head, and now he can speak and move again, to a small degree, following extensive rehab.

Unsurprisingly, Mr Fritze has filed an official complaint, and is suing the hospital for discussing the donation of his organs before he was brain dead.

Henry Sapiecha

OLDER HEARTS GET YOUNGER WITH THE USE OF GDF 11 PROTEIN

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

AGED HEARTS IN MICE REVERSED WITH THE USE OF GDF 11 PROTEIN

HEART MODEL

June 3 – Researchers at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute have identified a blood protein they say can reverse the aging process in mouse hearts. After introducing the protein into the hearts of old mice, the scientists say they saw the organs ‘grow younger’ before their eyes, results that could eventually help in the treatment of human heart disease.

AAA

Research published yesterday in the journal Cell (abstract) by Richard Lee and Amy Wagers of Harvard has isolated GDF-11 as a negative regulator of age-associated cardiac hypertrophy. ‘When the protein … was injected into old mice, which develop thickened heart walls in a manner similar to aging humans, the hearts were reduced in size and thickness, resembling the healthy hearts of younger mice.’ Through a type of transfusion called parabiotic or ‘shared circulation’ in mice — one old and sick, the other young and well — they managed to reverse this age-associated heart disease. From there, they isolated an active agent, GDF-11, present in the younger mouse but absent in the older, which reverses the condition when administered directly. They are also using the agent to restore other aged/diseased tissues and organs. Human applications are expected within six years. Since the basis for the treatment is ordinary sharing of blood between an older ill, and younger healthy patient, we can probably expect someone to start offering the transfusion treatment somewhere in the world, soon, to those with the means to find a young and healthy volunteer

AAA

Henry Sapiecha

rainbow line

RECYCLED LIPOSUCTION FAT INTO STEM CELL USE

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010
USING BODY FAT STEM CELLS

TO RECONSTRUCT WORN BODY PARTS

*Grow new breasts

*Replace damaged tissues

*Body parts grown on demand

*No more organ transplants needed

Body fat has the highest level of stem cells in the human body
THIS IS EXCITING NEWS FOR THE FUTURE OF THE HUMAN RACE
Stem cells from body fat promisingVIEW VIDEO HERE

Stem cells from body fat promising

Dec 17 – A San Diego-based company is breaking new ground in the field of regenerative medicine with a system that uses patients’ own body fat to generate stem cells and repair tissue and organs. Ben Gruber reports.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

THROWAWAY HEART PUMP FOR INFANTS

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

New pump made for infant heart surgery


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (UPI) — U.S. researchers say they’ve developed a new heart pump that could help infants born with congenital heart defects survive necessary surgeries.

Scientists at Purdue University have created a “viscous impeller pump” for children born with univentricular circulation, a congenital heart disease that is the leading cause of death from birth defects in the first year of a child’s life, a university release said Tuesday.

The normal human heart contains two pumping chambers, called ventricles.

One circulates oxygenated blood throughout the body, while the other less-powerful ventricle circulates deoxygenated blood to the lungs.

Children born with univentricular circulation have only one functioning ventricle but can survive if blood vessels in the heart are restructured in a series of open-heart surgeries.

At least 30 percent of babies do not survive the surgeries, called the Fontan procedures.

To improve the survival rate, Purdue engineers and researchers developed the new mechanical pump to assist the heart during surgeries.

“A big advantage of this pump is that it gets delivered through the skin with a catheter without open heart surgery,” Steven Frankel, a Purdue University professor of mechanical engineering, said.

“It is designed to be in the body for two weeks at most, almost like a disposable item,” Frankel said.

The researchers have received a $2.1 million, four-year grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to continue developing the heart pump, Purdue said.

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

THE REGENERATION OF THE HUMAN HEART & THE REGULAR REPLACEMENT OF BODY PARTS AS THEY WEAR OUT

Friday, August 13th, 2010


Cell reprogramming breakthrough could mend broken hearts

Heart disease remains one the biggest killers in the Western world. When a heart attack or heart failure occurs, permanent damage often results, destroying live cells and leaving the patient with irreversible scarring. Now scientists at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease (GICD) have discovered a new technique to create healthy beating heart cells from structural cells, opening up the possibility of regenerating damaged hearts. Read More

Received & published by Henry Sapiecha


SEX VIRUS – OVARIAN CANCER & THROAT CANCER & THROAT CANCER

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

The Cancer-Causing Sex Virus

Matthew Herper, 07.21.10, 04:15 PM EDT

HPV–known for causing cervical cancer–is

emerging as the leading cause of throat cancer in

men. Should they get the vaccine too?

Martin Duffy, a Boston consultant and economist, thought he just had a sore throat. When it persisted for months, he went to the doctor and learned there was a tumor on his tonsils.

Duffy, now 70, had none of the traditional risk factors for throat cancer. He doesn’t smoke, doesn’t drink and has run 40 Boston marathons. Instead, his cancer was caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV), which is sexually transmitted and a common cause of throat and mouth cancer.

HPV tumors have a better prognosis than those caused by too many years of booze and cigarettes. But Duffy “is in the unlucky 20%” whose cancer comes back–despite rounds of chemotherapy and radiation that melted 20 more pounds off a lean 150-pound frame. Now the cancer has spread throughout his throat, making eating and talking difficult. “I made my living as a public speaker,” he says. “Now I sound like Daffy Duck.” Duffy believes he has only a few months left. “How do you tell the people you love you love them?” he asks.

Nine Things You Need To Know About HPV

//

Most strains of the HPV virus are harmless, but persistent infections with two HPV strains cause 70% of the 12,000 cases of cervical cancers diagnosed annually in the U.S. Other forms of the sexually transmitted virus can cause penile and anal cancer, and genital warts. The HPV throat cancer connection has emerged in just the last few years and is so new that the government doesn’t track its incidence. Researchers believe it is transmitted via oral sex. But top researchers estimate that there are 11,300 HPV throat cancers each year in the U.S.–and the numbers are growing fast as people have been having more sexual partners since the 1960s. By 2015 there could be 20,000 cases. For more surprising discoveries about HPV, read here.

These big numbers have some top researchers arguing that drug makers should test whether HPV vaccines now used to prevent cervical cancer in women can also prevent throat infections in boys. Two vaccines, Gardasil from Merck ( MRK news people ) and Cervarix from GlaxoSmithKline ( GSK news people ), are approved for preventing cervical cancer. Gardasil is approved for use in boys only to prevent genital warts.

// Vaccinating boys could stop this meteoric increase in throat cancer. “Clearly, boys need to be vaccinated,” says Marshall Posner, the incoming medical director of head and neck cancer at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York. “I want my kids to be vaccinated. I don’t see a downside to these vaccines.”

There’s only one problem: The vaccine manufacturers aren’t terribly hot on the idea. GlaxoSmithKline says it has no plans to study throat cancer. It adds that it is “committed to providing a vaccine specifically designed to protect against cervical cancer in girls and young women.”

Merck, the maker of Gardasil, seemed more interested a couple of years ago. In 2008 it funded Maura Gillison, the Ohio State University researcher who established the HPV-throat-cancer link in 2000, to do a pilot study to show that test could reliably detect HPV infection in the throat. The pilot study was successful. By early 2009 Gillison says that a larger study of the vaccine in throat cancer looked close to being green lit.

But after Merck agreed to buy rival Schering-Plough ( SGP news people ) for $41 billion in March 2009, interest in a big study seemed to evaporate, Gillison says. In a statement, Merck says that “due to competing research and business priorities, we decided not to move ahead with an efficacy study at this time.”

The drug makers’ reticence probably stems from a fear that a throat-cancer vaccine would be hard to get approved. Papilloma viruses usually cause cancer slowly, causing pre-cancerous lesions that take many years to blossom into full-fledged malignant tumors. Papilloma viruses cause the horn-like growths in rabbits that probably gave rise to myths of “jackalopes” in the American West. In the cervix, early abnormal growths can be picked up with a diagnostic test, the Pap smear. Clinical trials of Gardasil and Cervarix took advantage of this, measuring the number of pre-cancerous growths prevented by the vaccines.

But there are no easy-to-detect pre-cancers in the throat. Adolescent boys would have to be followed for decades to to see if the vaccine prevented throat cancer, an unlikely scenario. Short of this, studies could only look at the prevention of HPV throat infections, not cancer or cancer precursors directly. Approving a vaccine for wide use based on this type of short-term data would require a leap of faith that the Food and Drug Administration might not be willing to take.

Top researchers say the federal government needs to step in and fund the long study if drug companies cannot be persuaded to do it themselves. “I’m sorry Merck decided not to do it,” says Posner. “But in the end, this is a federal responsibility. It’s a public health issue.”

For his part, Martin Duffy thinks that drug companies’ complacent attitude toward throat cancer would be different if more of their employees were in his situation. “It will change real fast,” he says, “if one of their executives comes down with this disease.”

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha