Jet Device Injects Drugs Without Needles

The prospect of less painful medicine shots without needles came a step closer this month, as US researchers revealed how they have developed a device that delivers a controlled, tiny, high-pressure jet into the skin without using a hypodermic needle. While there are already several jet-devices on the market, they tend to be of an "all or nothing" design that delivers the same amount of drug to the same depth each time. However the new jet-injection device that researchers at MIT have engineered can be programmed to deliver medicine into the skin in a range of doses to variable depths in a controlled manner. A statement released earlier this week gives details of the new technology, with comments from study leader Ian Hunter, the George N. Hatsopoulos Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT, and some members of his team. Earlier this year, the journal Medical Engineering & Physics also published a paper where they describe the progress of their development. Hunter and colleagues see a number of advantages to the technology. One advantage is a reduction in needle-stick injuries. For instance, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are around 385,000 cases a year in the US of health workers in hospitals accidentally pricking themselves with needles. Another advantage of a needle-less device is it may help improve compliance, for instance among diabetes patients who are reluctant to use hypodermic needles to inject themselves with insulin. Team member Catherine Hogan is a research scientist in MIT's Department of Mechanical Engineering. She said: "If you are afraid of needles and have to frequently self-inject, compliance can be an issue."...

Antibody Shrinks Tumors Of Seven Cancers

A single antibody caused tumors from seven different human cancers transplanted into mice to shrink or disappear, according to a new study led by Stanford University School of Medicine in the US. The researchers hope to repeat this dramatic finding with tests in humans within the next two years. Senior author Dr Irving Weissman, professor of pathology at Stanford, and colleagues, write about their success in treating bladder, brain, breast, colon, liver, ovarian, and prostate cancertumors in this week's online ahead of print issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. They say the antibody blocks a protein known as CD47, that sends "don't eat me" signals that cancer cells use to stop macrophages and other cells of the immune system from gobbling them up. Anti-CD47 is the first antibody treatment to work against a variety of human solid tumors. The investigators said they are now eager to get started with phase 1 and phase 2 clinical trials in humans within the next two years. The treatment also significantly reduced the ability of the tumors to spread (metastasize) to other parts of the mice's bodies, and in some cases, the animals appeared to be "cured". Weissman, who directs the Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine and the Ludwig Center for Cancer Stem Cell Research and Medicine, both at Stanford, told the press their findings show "conclusively" that CD47 is a "a legitimate and promising target for human cancer therapy": "Blocking this 'don't eat me' signal inhibits the growth in mice of nearly every human cancer we tested, with minimal toxicity," said Weissman. Dr Robert Weinberg is a professor of...

India Polio-Free For One Year

India, which was once a major polio hotspot, has reported no new cases of the disease in just over 12 months, ever since a two-year old female case on 13th January, 2011, in the state of West Bengal. According to WHO (World Health Organization), India used to be known as the planet's "epicenter" of polio. WHO scientists say that as soon as all remaining lab investigations come back negative, India will be officially recognized as a nation that has stopped indigenous transmission of wild poliovirus, leaving just three countries with existing indigenous transmissions - Pakistan, Nigeria and Afghanistan. Despite this major achievement, scientists say India must not become complacent. Childhood immunity against wild poliovirus must be religiously maintained, as should nationwide surveillance. Unfortunately, and also rather worryingly, Pakistan and Afghanistan have had rising numbers of reported poliovirus infections over the last 12 months. Poliovirus found its way from Pakistan into China, re-infecting the country after it had been polio-free for over a decade. Nigeria, DR Congo, and Chad continue having active polio transmission. There have also been sporadic outbreaks in Central and West Africa over the past year. Polio will remain a global threat as long as it exists somewhere in the world, says WHO. Health experts and leaders throughout the world praised India for its dedication and commitment to the eradication of polio, as well as the millions of health workers, including vaccinators, community mobilizers, Rotarians, caregivers and parents who have been behind this drive over the last decade. Over 170 million kids under 5 are vaccinated annually in India - this includes 70 million in very high-risk areas. A...
%d bloggers like this: