HEALTH

Study: Growth factor TGF-B helps maintain health of retinal blood vessels

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK Scientists at Schepens Eye Research Institute have found that the growth factor known as TGF-? is essential to the health of blood vessels in the retina and that blocking it can cause retinal dysfunction.

These findings, published in the April 2 issue of PLoS ONE, may have an important impact on the prevention and treatment of diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration.

“These results are significant because they add to our understanding of the molecules that help to maintain blood vessels in a healthy state,” says Patricia D’Amore, PhD, senior scientist at Schepens and principal investigator of the study, who added that this information may be useful in understanding the changes that occur in the retinal microvasculature prior to the development of proliferative diabetic retinopathy.

“Insight into the role of this growth factor may also help clinicians monitor the use of systemic drugs targeting TGF-?, which is elevated in a number of conditions (such as cancer and fibrotic diseases) to limit any vision problems that might occur as a side effects,” said Tony Walshe, PhD, the first author of the study and a Postdoctoral Fellow in the D’Amore’s laboratory team.

Capillaries are the smallest blood vessels in the body and the site at which oxygen and nutrients are transferred from the blood to the tissues. A capillary is composed of an endothelial cell, which forms the lining of the small tube, and a pericyte, which wraps around the outside of the tube. Scientists have long believed that communication between these two cell types is necessary to maintain blood vessel structure and function.

According to Walshe, the goal of the study was to determine if TGF-? plays a role in keeping blood vessels functioning normally. In previous experiments using tissue cultures, the D’Amore laboratory had identified TGF-? as a protein that results from the communication between the two cell types and which they use to maintain the health of the small blood vessels. In the current study, the team wanted to confirm that finding in animals.

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Nuvilex reduces suggested list price of Cinnergen

BY Michael Johnsen

CHERRY HILL, N.J. Nuvilex, formerly eFoodSafety.com, last week reduced the suggested list price of Cinnergen, a cranberry cinnamon liquid supplement, corresponding with an advertising and promotion campaign that helps promote healthy glucose metabolism, raise customer awareness and garner increased demand for the product at the lower price point.

“By improving our marketing and sales efforts, we intend to raise awareness and drive demand for Cinnergen,” stated Martin Schmieg, Nuvilex chairman and CEO. “Engaging our retail partners with better pricing while maintaining current gross margin levels will help us in retail positioning, and the lower suggested retail price will be good for current and future Cinnergen users. Furthermore, our partnership with dLife will expose Cinnergen to the large pre-diabetic and diabetic population that is looking for healthy alternatives. We plan to closely monitor and track our Cinnergen advertising and promotion activities and hope to report a significant return on our investment.”

Nuvilex has executed a partnership agreement for the promotion of Cinnergen with dLife, the only multimedia network serving the diabetes community. The dLife advertising and promotion campaign is expected to launch in mid-April. The multimedia outlets include dLife TV, which airs every Sunday on CNBC at 7 p.m. With more than 80,000 pages of content, 9,000 diabetic recipes, and 400 videos, dLife.com is a leading online destination for diabetes information. The dLife network also includes: dLifeRadio, which can be heard on stations around the country and on XM Satellite Radio; and dLifeDirect, the only diabetes cooperative direct-mail program.

Phase one of the dLife partnership will include 1.2 million banner ads plus content integration on the dLife website, banner advertising in three upcoming dLife newsletters (350,000 circulation) and banner advertising in the upcoming Rite Aid Connect Newsletter (550,000 circulation). Nuvilex has engaged the Iridium Group to design its web and print placement ads and will also focus on improving its search positions with Google and Yahoo. Nuvilex also intends to promote Cinnergen on WebMD.

Effective May 1, Nuvilex will reduce the suggested retail price for a 32-ounce bottle of Cinnergen to $26.95 from $34.95. Additionally, lower multi-level wholesale pricing will be established to support the Company’s retail partners.

Nuvilex will discontinue production of the 16-ounce bottle size of Cinnergen.

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Stem cells may curb insulin use for Type 1 diabetes patients, study finds

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK An experimental stem-cell treatment for juvenile-onset diabetes kept patients off insulin for at least a year, according to published reports.

According to WebMD, of patients recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes who received the treatment, more than half were able to go without insulin for at least a year, and four patients managed to go without it for at least three years. The treatment also uses drugs to suppress the immune system, however, and two of the patients contracted pneumonia.

The original study appears in the April 15 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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