7/23/2003 Vienna, Switzerland Tara Womersly Doctors have carried out what is believed to be the first tongue transplant on a human being. The operation was carried out in Vienna on a 42-year old man with a malignant tumor. Surgeons spent 14 hours on the operation - one team worked for four hours removing the tongue from the donor while a second team reconnected the tongue’s muscle tissue, nerve endings, arteries and veins into the recipient’s mouth. The team was led by Dr Rolf Ewers, of the cranio-maxillofacial surgery department at the General Hospital in Vienna. He said: "Because of the carcinoma, we needed to remove the tongue. "We had been planning to do this transplant for some time but we needed both a patient and a donor. The patient was young, 42 years of age, and removing a tongue at that age is very cruel. But the cancer was at a very late stage, he was a heavy smoker. "You only deal with about two or three cases a year where the whole tongue needs to be removed." Dr. Ewers said that surgeons would normally remove the tongue and replace it with tissue from the small bowel, or duodenum. He said: "This meant that there was no muscle, just soft tissue coverage. But with the transplant, we hope that the tongue will be able to move and the patient will be able to speak and taste. If the operation is a success we will be planning it again. "While we [...]
7/22/2003 Scripps Howard News Service This is an editorial opinion, not a news article The best is enemy of the good, the ancient Greeks told us, and the meaning of the saying is hardly a puzzle: By insisting on something ideal but extraordinarily difficult to achieve, you may exclude a significant improvement that's much more likely of accomplishment, if also short of ideal. And that thought brings us to the U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co., which is asking the Federal Trade Commission if it would be OK to put out an ad recommending a change from cigarettes to something called Revel, described by the Associated Press as "a tobacco-filled packet, like a tea bag, which consumers suck on." The pitch of this ad would be that Revel includes no objectionable secondhand smoke. A year ago, the company had a bigger idea, since abandoned. It wanted to promote snuff and chewing tobacco as less a health risk than smoking cigarettes. Anti-smoking groups aren't having any of either proposal. Smokeless tobacco can kill, too, they say, and smokers need to quit, not switch. There's no question that smokeless tobacco can be addictive. It's a vile, dirty habit. It's a contributing factor to oral cancer and other diseases. Its use, as the anti-smoking groups are quoted as saying, can be fatal. Nevertheless, it is not as dangerous as smoking, and a scientist whose research is financed by the tobacco company is right: Some people who cannot force themselves to break loose of tobacco's hold [...]
7/21/2003 Baltimore MD Shalmali Pal The International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, and Physics The standard of care for the treatment of esophageal cancer advanced significantly at the close of the 20th century, including the increased use of esophageal ultrasound and a combination of chemoradiation and surgery. "These changes reflect a continual progression of technology into routine clinical practice, as well as a wider acceptance of the results of large randomized trials supporting the role of combined-modality therapy in the management of this disease process," wrote lead author Dr. Mohan Suntharalingam from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, and Physics (July 2003, Vol. 56:4, pp. 981-987). The paper compared the latest trends in treatment and care to earlier data from the nationwide Patterns of Care Study (PCS). The latter was started in 1971 in an effort to improve the quality and accessibility of radiation oncology in the U.S. The present retrospective study was designed to evaluate patients who received radiotherapy for esophageal cancer from 1996 to 1999 and compare these numbers to PCS data obtained between 1992 and 1994. Suntharalingam’s co-authors are from the American College of Radiology and the University of Pennsylvania, both in Philadelphia; the Community Medical Center in Toms River, NJ; Boston University School of Medicine and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston; the Cancer Center at St. Agnes in Fresno, CA; and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. For this study, site visits took [...]
7/13/2003 Cambridge, MA Advanced Magnetics Combidex, an investigational MRI iron oxide nanoparticle contrast agent manufactured by Advanced Magnetics of Cambridge, MA, has shown encouraging results in the non-invasive diagnosis of metastatic lymph nodes. In two presentations at the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, the product was determined to be a useful tool in characterizing cancerous lymph nodes. The first presentation, by Dr. Mukesh Harisinghani, an assistant radiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, offered data on the use of the contrast agent for characterizing lymph nodes in patients with breast cancer. Harisinghani found that the product had advantages in assisting physicians in staging cancers. The second presentation, by Dr. Ralph Weissleder, director of the Center for Molecular Imaging Research at Massachusetts General Hospital, concluded that Combidex is a useful MRI contrast agent for characterizing lymph nodes in patients with prostate cancer, and that Combidex-enhanced images alone may suffice for lymph node characterization. The contrast agent is the lead product in the firm’s development pipeline, and has received an approval letter, subject to certain conditions, from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in the diagnosis of metastatic lymph nodes. Advanced Magnetics is continuing to work with the FDA to resolve the outstanding issues from the approvable letter in an effort tobring Combidex to the market, according to the company.
7/12/2003 Sarasota, Florida Brad Rodu, D.D.S. The Sarasota Herald Tribune OCF Note: This article only appears here because of the absurdity of its author’s perspective. This is an editorial comment By Brad Rodu DDS, which appears in this paper. It is not a news article. See OCF editorial note at end. Dr. Richard Carmona, the U.S. surgeon general and the Bush administration's primary adviser on the nation's public health, demonstrated that he is sadly ill informed about the nation's No.1 health problem, cigarette smoking, during testimony at a recent House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing. Carmona's first blunder was his contention that "There is no significant scientific evidence that suggests smokeless tobacco is a safer alternative to cigarettes." Carmona rejected decades of published research and the prestigious British Royal College of Physicians, who reported last year that smokeless tobacco products are "on the order of 10 to 1,000 times less hazardous than smoking." Surely Dr. Carmona knows that cigarette smoking is a major risk factor for lung and other cancers, heart diseases and emphysema, resulting in 440,000 deaths annually in the United States. But he doesn't seem to appreciate that smokeless tobacco use carries no risk for lung cancer, heart disease, or emphysema. The only consequential risk for long-term smokeless use is mouth cancer. Fifty years of research prove that even this risk is very low (less than half that associated with smoking). In fact, smokeless tobacco use is about as safe as automobile use. That's 98 percent safer than [...]
7/11/2003 Baltimore, MD The American Cancer Society says there will be about 30,000 new cases of oral cancer diagnosed this year. Nearly one-third will be cancers of the throat. Surgery is standard treatment. Now, a special light can kill the cancer. Two years ago, Allison Jaccard was diagnosed with cancer of the larynx. Although this type of cancer is usually thought to be in people who have smoked for years, Jaccard was never a smoker or a drinker. She had surgery, but it didn’t get all the cancer. Then Jaccard was offered an alternative treatment at the University of Maryland using laser light therapy. “It is extremely exciting, I will tell you, for several reasons, not the least of which it’s working,” says Paul Castellanos, M.D., a head and neck surgeon at University of Maryland. Dr. Castellanos uses a light-sensitive drug activated by a laser to destroy cancer cells. Through this device, the laser is directed to the cancer cells, killing them while healthy cells survive. The laser activates the drug to produce a toxic form of oxygen that kills the cancer. He says, “It’s allowing us to take care of cancers of the throat and oral cavity without having to do ablations of those tissues that can have a devastating effect on the patient’s voice.” In a University of Maryland study of people with early stage cancers of the mouth, throat and larynx, after one treatment, nearly 90 percent showed no evidence of the disease. It worked for Jaccard. [...]