Research: ETBF may cause diarrhea in cancer patients
BALTIMORE Johns Hopkins scientists say they have figured out how bacteria that cause diarrhea also may be the culprit in some colon cancers. The investigators say that strains of the common Bacteroides fragilis dupe immune system cells into permitting runaway colon tissue inflammation, a precursor for malignant growth.
“This could be the H. pylori of colon cancer,” stated Johns Hopkins infectious disease specialist, Cynthia Sears, referring to the bacteria long known to cause stomach ulcers and suspected of causing the majority of stomach cancers. Her studies suggest that ETBF uses tissue inflammation to cause colon cancer in a similar way that H. pylori causes stomach tumors.
A so-called enterotoxigenic bacterium, the germ is widely known to cause diarrhea in children and adults in the developing and developed world, and a previous study in Turkey has linked it to colon cancer.
The bacteria, which colonize in the gut, cause no symptoms in some individuals, but others develop diarrhea and colon inflammation, which has been linked to cancer growth. Unlike the case with H. pylori, it is unknown whether standard antibiotics can eradicate the microbe, experts said.
To track the link between ETBF and colon cancer, the Johns Hopkins researchers conducted a series of tests in mice bred to carry mutations in a colon cancer-causing gene called APC.
Their results, published in the Aug. 23 issue of Nature Medicine, show that mice infected with ETBF developed diarrhea which resolved quickly, but within a week, developed inflammation and small tumors in the colon. One month later, the colons were pockmarked with tumors.
Mice infected with a non-toxin producing strain of the bacteria were free of diarrhea, inflammation and tumors.
“If what we are seeing in mice holds true in humans, the chronic inflammation damages genetic material in the colon cells, allowing them to grow uncontrollably and develop into tumors earlier and more progressively than if they were not infected with ETBF,” commented Drew Pardoll, an immunologist and cancer researcher at Johns Hopkins.
Sears and Pardoll believe that ETBF may collude with other types of normal bacteria in the gut to promote cancer. The microbe itself is difficult to culture from stool specimens, according to the investigators, so they are working on blood tests to detect antibodies to the pathogen’s toxin, which may show whether an individual has been exposed to it and perhaps determine who may be at risk for colon cancer.
The investigators also envision vaccines and drug therapies that neutralize the pathogen’s toxin and its ability to inflame tissues.
Walgreens announces Pharmacy Management Excellence program with Caterpillar
The news that Walgreens has reached an agreement with Caterpillar to help the company curb healthcare costs for its 70,000 employees, retirees and eligible dependents is one more indicator that the private sector cannot wait for healthcare reform and that pharmacy retailers are taking a greater role on the front lines of health care.
As explained in the article, Walgreens, through its Pharmacy Management Excellence program, will make transparent the prescription drug-pricing model, in turn, eliminating unnecessary and hidden costs for Caterpillar.
Walgreens and Caterpillar are also exploring, through Walgreens Complete Care and Well-Being program, other ways to develop an integrated health care and pharmacy program. The Complete Care and Well-Being program combines worksite health centers, in-store clinics and pharmacies with the discount drug offering
By leveraging its resources, Walgreens is positioning itself along the frontlines of the healthcare and sending the message that retail pharmacy is helping to drive healthcare reform and is a critical player in improving employees’ health and well-being.
As previously mentioned by Drug Store News, the more the private sector leads the way on this, the more likely that reform will work for them, as well as the rest of America.
McNeil Consumer Healthcare rolls out new Zyrtec allergy solutions, iPhone app
FT. WASHINGTON, Pa. McNeil Consumer Healthcare last week launched two new allergy solutions — Children’s Zyrtec Perfect Measure and Zyrtec Itchy Eye Drops.
The company also announced the launch of AllergyCast, an iPhone application that allows allergy sufferers to get the latest allergy and weather information at the touch of a button.
With Zyrtec AllergyCast, allergy sufferers can see a 48-hour allergy forecast, check the top allergens in their area and get the hourly, daily or 10-day weather forecast. Users will even be able to map out and compare pollen levels at multiple locations.
“There are over 50 million allergy sufferers in the U.S., and they all have unique ways of combating their allergies,” stated Rohinish Hooda, VP marketing, Upper Respiratory, McNeil Consumer Healthcare. “Our goal is to provide a variety of solutions that will help them manage their allergy symptoms.”
Children’s Zyrtec Perfect Measure are pre-filled spoons of Children’s Zyrtec allergy medicine for children ages six years and older. The spoons are simple to use and provide accurate dosing.
The new Zyrtec Itchy Eye Drops contains ketotifen fumarate and provides targeted allergy itchy eye relief for up to 12 hours.