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   High tech glasses developed at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis may help surgeons visualize cancer cells, which could help reduce the number of surgeries need to eradicate the disease in many patients.  

   The glasses are so new they have yet to be named.  

   They're designed to make it easier for surgeons to distinguish cancer cells from healthy cells, by making the cancer cells appear blue.  Highlighting the diseased cells will help to ensure that no stray tumor cells are left behind during surgery.  

   The glasses were used during surgery for the first time Monday. Breast surgeon Dr. Julie Margenthaler performed the operation at BJC's Siteman Cancer Center.  She says more development and testing will be done, but the potential benefits to patients is encouraging.

Published in Health & Fitness
One of every 10 clinical trials for adults with cancer ends prematurely because researchers can't get enough people to test new treatments, scientists report.
 
The surprisingly high rate reveals not just the scope and cost of wasted opportunities that deprive patients of potential advances, but also the extent of barriers such as money, logistics and even the mistaken fear that people won't get the best care if they join one of these experiments.
 
"Clinical trials are the cornerstone of progress in cancer care," the way that new treatments prove their worth, said Dr. Matthew Galsky of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.
 
When an experimental drug or other treatment fails to make it to the market, people often think it didn't work or had too many side effects, but the inability to complete studies can doom a drug, too, Galsky said.
 
He helped lead an analysis of 7,776 experiments registered on Clinicaltrials.gov, a government web site for tracking medical experiments, from September 2005 to November 2011. All were mid- or late-stage studies testing treatments for various types of cancer in adults.
 
About 20 percent of the studies were not completed for reasons that had nothing to do with the treatment's safety or effectiveness (legitimate reasons for ending a study early). Poor accrual — the inability to enroll enough patients in enough time to finish the study — led to nearly 40 percent of premature endings.
 
Company-sponsored studies were less likely to be completed than those sponsored by the government or others. Late-stage cancer trials can cost companies "tens to even hundreds of millions of dollars," and that money is wasted if no clear answer on the drug's value is gained, said Dr. Charles J. Ryan, a cancer specialist at the University of California, San Francisco.
 
He heads the program for a conference later this week in San Francisco where Galsky's study will be presented. It was discussed Tuesday in a telebriefing by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, an organization for doctors who treat cancer.
 
Ryan and Galsky said they hoped the study would spur more research on why more patients don't participate. In most cases, the treatment being tested is provided for free, but there can be other costs such as lab tests. Some states require insurers to cover these additional costs, but others do not, so money may be one hurdle for patients.
 
Some doctors do not strongly encourage patients to participate in studies, and sometimes patients fear they'll get a dummy treatment instead of real medicine. However, in cancer clinical trials, ethical standards require that all patients get the current best care, plus a chance at an experimental treatment.
 
"Patients still have concerns about getting a placebo, but they're always going to get at a minimum the standard of care," said Shelley Fuld Nasso, head of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, a patient advocacy and education organization.
 
Doctors need to encourage more patients to participate, and clinical trial designers need to make sure they are testing key questions and treatments to honor the contributions of study participants, she said.
 
___
 
Online:
 
Cancer patient info: http://www.cancer.net
 
Decision-making guide: http://bit.ly/L67zkT
 
Clinical trials: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov
 
Published in Health & Fitness

   Both man and beast will benefit from a busy fundraising weekend in St. Louis.  

   Thousands turned out at Forest Park for the 19th annual JDRF Walk to cure diabetes.  Officials estimate about 25,000 people took part in yesterday's walk which raised money for people living with type-one diabetes.  

   Soldier's memorial was the starting place for the fourth annual "Pedal the Cause" fundraiser.  The cycling event raises money for cancer research at the Siteman Cancer Center and St. Louis Children's Hospital.  In the first three years, the event has raised more than four million dollars for cancer research.

   And the Animal Protective Association of Missouri hosted its 23rd annual Canine Carnival Sunday at Tilles Park.  Dogs and their owners participated in agility contests, a cheese ball toss, and a celebrity-judged "ugliest" dog contest.  The Canine Carnival is the APA's biggest event of the year.

 
Published in Around Town
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - A suburban St. Louis couple's $5 million donation to the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine will go toward improving research for drugs used to fight cancer in both animals and people.

The university announced the estate gift from Cottrell and Kay Fox of Town and Country on Monday.

The university says the couple wanted to recognize their longtime family veterinarians, James Schuessler and Fred Bendick of St. Louis, who both graduated from the college.

The university says in a news release that the Foxes' gift will support an endowment in companion animal medicine. It also will fund research to develop treatments for people and animals with cancer and improve training for graduate students and veterinary oncology residents.

Cottrell Fox is a 1971 graduate of the university's journalism school.
Published in Local News

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