Saturday, November 03, 2007

Australia: Trials begin on 'perfect tan in two days' pill

A pill that gives a perfect tan in two days [As above?] and may prevent skin cancer could be available within two years. A Melbourne biotech company is exploring the use of the drug CUV1647 to fight skin cancer as a way of convincing medical regulators to licence the compound. Trials of the drug will begin at Royal Melbourne Hospital from today to determine if its tanning properties protect transplant patients, who are among the most at risk of contracting skin cancer.

A pill the size of a grain of rice placed under the skin stimulates the body to produce more of the pigment melanin, producing sun-blocking tan from the inside out that lasts two months. While the tanning effect of the drug has been known since it was first developed in the US in 1995, cosmetic applications have not been enough to gain a regulator approval to market the product. But Clinuvel managing director Dr Philippe Wolgen said the medical applications of the treatment were more important than the cosmetic by-products. "There is clearly a great need to develop better protection against UV and the sun, especially in the changing environment of recent years," he said.

The trial will involve 150 kidney and heart transplant patients from Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Europe using CUV1647 for the next two years in two-monthly doses. Fair-skinned patients who have received organ transplants are up to 100 times more likely to contract skin cancer because of the immune suppressive drugs they must take every day. Trials to see if the sun-blocking drug can also protect against sun poisoning disease polymorphous light eruption (PLE) and a rare sun intolerance condition are also being conducted in Europe.


Interesting new quick test for MS

Diagnosis of MS can be difficult in the early stages so this could be a big help

MRI brain scans have been used to calibrate and corroborate the results of a new eye-scanning technique that can diagnose multiple sclerosis in a few minutes. The technique, optical coherence tomography (OCT), scans the layers of nerve fibres in the retina to reveal nerve damage associated with the disease. The quick test will ultimately complement more detailed MRI studies of the brain should nerve damage be found.

Neurologist Peter Calabresi of Johns Hopkins University and his colleagues studied forty patients with multiple sclerosis using a desktop machine similar to a slit-lamp to carry out the simple and painless OCT tests. By focusing on retinal nerve fibres, which have no myelin sheath, they could make a specific assessment of the patients' status without turning to a brain MRI scan, which would reveal an array of different types of tissue processes in the brain.

The team calibrated their OCT results with accepted norms for retinal fibre thickness and then compared to an MRI of each of the patients' brains. In a subset of patients with relapsing-remitting MS, the most common form of the disease, the correlation coefficient between OCT and MRI results was as high as 0.69, suggesting a strong association between the retinal measurements and brain shrinkage, or atrophy, associated with MS.

"This is an encouraging result," says Calabresi, "With OCT we can see exactly how healthy these nerves are, potentially in advance of other symptoms." The test makes it possible to focus solely on nerve damage, which is not possible with MRI. Calabresi adds that OCT scans take just a few minutes rather than an hour or two and so provide results at less cost and more quickly in tracking the effectiveness of new treatments for MS.

Calabresi adds that many of the disabilities suffered by MS patients - numbness, tingling, visual impairment, fatigue, weakness and bladder function disturbance - are the result of nerve cell degeneration, so a test that specifically measures nerve cell health is potentially the clearest picture of the status of the disease. He cautions, however, that optic nerve damage can point to a number of diseases and is not a unique diagnostic tool for MS.



Just some problems with the "Obesity" war:

1). It tries to impose behavior change on everybody -- when most of those targeted are not obese and hence have no reason to change their behaviour. It is a form of punishing the innocent and the guilty alike. (It is also typical of Leftist thinking: Scorning the individual and capable of dealing with large groups only).

2). The longevity research all leads to the conclusion that it is people of MIDDLING weight who live longest -- not slim people. So the "epidemic" of obesity is in fact largely an "epidemic" of living longer.

3). It is total calorie intake that makes you fat -- not where you get your calories. Policies that attack only the source of the calories (e.g. "junk food") without addressing total calorie intake are hence pissing into the wind. People involuntarily deprived of their preferred calorie intake from one source are highly likely to seek and find their calories elsewhere.

4). So-called junk food is perfectly nutritious. A big Mac meal comprises meat, bread, salad and potatoes -- which is a mainstream Western diet. If that is bad then we are all in big trouble.

5). Food warriors demonize salt and fat. But we need a daily salt intake to counter salt-loss through perspiration and the research shows that people on salt-restricted diets die SOONER. And Eskimos eat huge amounts of fat with no apparent ill-effects. And the average home-cooked roast dinner has LOTS of fat. Will we ban roast dinners?

6). The foods restricted are often no more calorific than those permitted -- such as milk and fruit-juice drinks.

7). Tendency to weight is mostly genetic and is therefore not readily susceptible to voluntary behaviour change.

8). And when are we going to ban cheese? Cheese is a concentrated calorie bomb and has lots of that wicked animal fat in it too. Wouldn't we all be better off without it? And what about butter and margarine? They are just about pure fat. Surely they should be treated as contraband in kids' lunchboxes! [/sarcasm].

And will "this generation of Western children be the first in history to lead shorter lives than their parents did"? This idea emanates from a much-cited editorial in a prominent medical journal that said so. Yet this editorial offered no statistical basis for its opinion -- an opinion that flies directly in the face of the available evidence.


1 comment:

Melanotan said...

Melanotan-1 (Clinuvel - CUV1647) has been given the generic name "afamelanotide".

There's an article by Wired that covers the latest developments:
Suntan Drug Greenlighted for Trials

melanotan - afamelanotide