Monthly Archives: January 2010

What’s in a cigarette? FDA will study the ingredients

Source: Yahoo

RICHMOND, Va. – The Food and Drug Administration is working to lift the smokescreen clouding the ingredients used in cigarettes and other tobacco products.

In June, tobacco companies must tell the FDA their formulas for the first time, just as drugmakers have for decades. Manufacturers also will have to turn over any studies they’ve done on the effects of the ingredients.

It’s an early step for an agency just starting to flex muscles granted by a new law that took effect last June that gives it broad power to regulate tobacco far beyond the warnings now on packs, short of banning it outright.

Companies have long acknowledged using cocoa, coffee, menthol and other additives to make tobacco taste better. The new information will help the FDA determine which ingredients might also make tobacco more harmful or addictive. It will also use the data to develop standards for tobacco products and could ban some ingredients or combinations.

“Tobacco products today are really the only human-consumed product that we don’t know what’s in them,” Lawrence R. Deyton, the director of the Food and Drug Administration’s new Center for Tobacco Products and a physician, told The Associated Press in a recent interview.

While the FDA must keep much of the data confidential under trade-secret laws, it will publish a list of harmful and potentially harmful ingredients by June 2011. Under the law, it must be listed by quantity in each brand.

Some tobacco companies have voluntarily listed product ingredients online in recent years but never with the specificity they must give the FDA, said Matt Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

For example, Altria Group Inc., based in Richmond and the parent company of the nation’s largest tobacco maker, Philip Morris USA, has posted general ingredients on its Web site since at least 1999.

Cigarette makers say their products include contain tobacco, water, sugar and flavorings, along with chemicals like diammonium phosphate, a chemical used to improve burn rate and taste, and ammonium hydroxide, used to improve the taste.

Scientific studies suggest those chemicals also could make the body more easily absorb nicotine, the active and addictive component of tobacco.

“Until now, the tobacco companies were free to manipulate their product in ways to maximize sales, no matter the impact on the number of people who died or became addicted,” Myers said. “The manner of disclosure previously made it impossible for the government to make any meaningful assessments.”

About 46 million people, or 20.6 percent of U.S. adult smoke cigarettes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, down from about 24 percent 10 years ago. It also estimates that about 443,000 people in the U.S. die each year from diseases linked to smoking.

Tax increases, health concerns, smoking bans and social stigma continue to cut into the number of cigarettes sold, which were estimated to be down about 12.6 percent in the third quarter compared with the same period last year.

Cigarettes and their smoke contain more than 4,000 chemicals; among them are more than 60 known carcinogens, according to the American Cancer Society. But scientists say they can’t yet tell all they’ll learn from the new data because so little is known about how the chemicals combine to affect people.

“The reality is that we have known so little over time that it’s difficult to know with much accuracy what getting a good look is going to tell us about what we could do in the future,” said Dr. David Burns of the University of California-San Diego, scientific editor of several surgeon general reports on tobacco.

The real test is whether the FDA acts on the information it receives, said David Sweanor, a Canadian law professor and tobacco expert. Canadian authorities are collecting similar data, but they haven’t taken much action based on it, which is critical, he said. The European Union also has similar submission requirements.

Myers warned that a list of ingredients or an unexplained product label is “just as likely to mislead as it is to inform” if consumers don’t know about the relative effects of ingredients.

Altria has supported what it has called “tough but fair regulation.”

But its chief rivals — No. 2 Reynolds American Inc., parent company of R.J. Reynolds, and No. 3 Lorillard, both based in North Carolina — opposed the law. They said it would lock in Altria’s share of the market because its size gives it more resources to comply with regulations and future limits on marketing under the law. Altria’s brands include Marlboro, which held a 41.9 percent share of the U.S. cigarette market in the third quarter, according to Information Resources Inc.

January, 2010|Oral Cancer News|

Research Paper- clinical trial of nicotine patches for treatment of spit tobacco addiction among adolescents

Source: Tobacco Control
Author: Staff


Background:This study tested the efficacy of nicotine patches in combination with behavioural therapy for the treatment of adolescent spit tobacco addiction. Prior interventions had resulted in mean cessation rates below 15% at one year.

Methods:This study, the PATCH Project, used a three group, placebo controlled, randomised clinical trial design. The control group received a standard 3–5 minute counselling followed by a two week follow up phone call. The two intervention groups received a six week behavioural intervention; in addition, one group received active nicotine patches while the other group received placebo patches. Both groups received quarterly stage based telephone counselling.

Results:At one year, the usual care group’s spit tobacco cessation rate was 11.4% (exact 95% confidence interval (CI) 6.1% to 19.1%), placebo patch 25.0% (95% CI 16.9% to 34.7%), and the active patch 17.3% (95% CI 10.4% to 26.3%). When both patch groups were combined, the cessation rate was 21.2% (95% CI 15.7% to 27.6%). The cessation rates for active and placebo patch were not significantly different (exact two sided p  =  0.22), while the combined patch groups had a significantly greater cessation rate than usual care (exact two sided p  =  0.04).

Conclusions:The behavioural intervention proved to be about twice as successful as previous interventions, but the nicotine patch offered no improvement in cessation rates. The behavioural intervention is based on publicly available materials and can be easily adapted for widespread use, particularly in high schools.

January, 2010|Oral Cancer News|

Successful completion of second dose group in a Phase I/II Amphinex trial – strong anti-tumour response observed in all patients

Author: staff of Frontier India Pharmacetuicals News

PCI Biotech reported today that it has completed the treatment of the second dose group in the phase I/II study of its proprietary photosensitiser Amphinex® used in combination with the cytotoxic agent bleomycin in cancer patients. To date seven patients have been given a single photochemical internalisation (PCI) treatment of Amphinex® with all the treated tumours in all patients disappearing within a few weeks of treatment. Furthermore, no drug-related serious adverse events have been recorded.

“We are very excited by the positive results that have been reported from University College Hospital (UCH) in London. The strong antitumour response seen in all patients treated with Amphinex® is far better than expected at the first dose levels and indicates that the positive pre-clinical results obtained with our PCI technology are transferrable to treatment in humans”, says PCI Biotech CEO Per Walday.

When activated by light, Amphinex® promotes effective local delivery of a variety of therapeutic molecules, e.g. bleomycin, through triggered endosomal release. The primary objective of the UCH study is to assess the maximum tolerated dose of Amphinex®, in PCI treatment with bleomycin. Secondary objectives include determination of the antitumor activity of the treatment, as well as the pharmacokinetics of Amphinex®. The study has also been designed to include patients with as wide as possible a range of cancers and has already included sarcoma, breast, and head and neck cancer patients. The effectiveness of the PCI treatment seems to be similar across all cancers treated so far, with all the treated tumours disappearing within a few weeks of treatment. The PCI-technology could therefore potentially be used for local treatment of several different cancers.

The patients at the third dose level of Amphinex® will now be treated as soon as possible, with preliminary results from the complete trial expected within the first half of 2010.

January, 2010|Oral Cancer News|

IBG wine tasting: affordable and fabulous

Author: press release

For many of us, extravagant prices for wine with dinner on an average Wednesday night have gone the way of large holiday bonuses. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t still treat yourself to fabulous wine. Please join IBG Inc. for a wine tasting and silent auction on January 23, 2010 at the Wilshire Art Gallery in Beverly Hills where you can sample wines from around the world. These wines are unique, interesting and affordable.

In addition to exploring these wines, attendees are eligible to bid on items donated by our generous sponsors, including items from Dior Beauty,, Louden Swain, “The Bonnie Hunt Show”, “The Soup” with Joel McHale, The Cheesecake Factory, Sprinkles and others.

The best part? The $25 entrance fee and all proceeds from the silent auction will go to support IBG Inc’s charitable efforts throughout the year. Our planned support programs for the first half of 2010 include support for organizations on the front lines dealing with catastrophic illness, education, arts and culture and social services. Events, auctions and awareness campaigns are planned for the PKD Foundation (Polycystic Kidney Disease), Art Aids Art, the Oral Cancer Foundation, Children of the Night, Fezeka Scholoarship Fund, Kids Defense Team, Off The Street Kids and the Rape Treatment Center at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center.

Founded in late 2008, IBG ( established a non-profit focusing on utilizing the power of philanthropy through the arts to benefit a broad range of charities worldwide. We act as a “fundraiser facilitator” for underfunded and start-up charities that would otherwise struggle with the logistics and costs associated with event fundraising. This work has taken on a critical importance as the economy has been slow to recover, and we find ourselves with increasingly frequent requests for assistance.

Radiation exposure may increase risk of stroke and heart disease

Author: OnMedica Staff

Exposure to moderate levels of radiation may increase the rates of heart disease and stroke, according to new research.

Several studies have shown that high doses of radiation to the heart or head and neck from radiotherapy cause an excess of deaths from heart disease or stroke in later years. But it is uncertain whether radiation exposures at relatively low dose levels (under 1 Gy) also increase the risk.

To investigate this further, Dr Yukiko Shimizu and colleagues from the Radiation Effects Research Foundation in Japan examined the risk of heart disease and stroke in 86,611 atomic bomb survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki who have been followed up for 53 years, from 1950 to 2003, as part of the Japanese atomic bomb survivor Life Span Study.

Each member of the group had received an estimated radiation dose from 0-4 Gy (86% received less than 0.2 Gy) at the time of the bomb. Other risk factors for circulatory disease that could have affected the results, such as smoking, alcohol intake, education, occupation, obesity and diabetes were also taken into account.

The researchers found an elevated risk of both stroke and heart disease at doses above 0.5 Gy, but the degree of risk at lower doses was unclear.

Together, this represents about 210 excess deaths from circulatory disease associated with radiation exposure – about a third as many as the total excess number of cancer deaths (about 625) among atomic bomb survivors in the Life Span Study.

Adjusting for other factors made little difference to these risks.

The authors, whose study is published on today, say this is an important public health issue because of the increasing use of multiple computed tomography (CT) scans and other relatively high dose diagnostic medical procedures.

Medical use of radiation is typically measured in milligray (mGy). The average radiation dose from an abdominal x-ray is 1.4 mGy (0.0014 Gy), that from an abdominal CT scan is 8.0 mGy (0.008 Gy), and that from a pelvic CT scan is 25 mGy (0.025 Gy).

This study provides the strongest evidence available to date that radiation may increase the rates of stroke and heart disease at moderate dose levels (mainly 0.5-2 Gy), though the results below 0.5 Gy are not statistically significant.

January, 2010|Oral Cancer News|

Saskatchewan students choose anti-tobacco ad for national non-smoking week

Author: Government of Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan’s Health Minister is pleased to announce the winning anti-tobacco advertisement selected by Saskatchewan students participating in the View and Vote program. Students in Grades 6 to 12 were given the opportunity to view and vote on some of the best international, American and Canadian anti-tobacco television ads.

Two hundred and fifty seven schools in Saskatchewan participated in this year’s View and Vote program, which generated 14,000 student ballots. Nearly 3,200 students rated the Australian ad “Mouth Cancer” as most effective. This ad will be aired on Saskatchewan television stations starting January 17 during the National Non-Smoking Week.

“Encouraging our youth to be tobacco-free is an important step toward healthy, productive lives,” Health Minister Don McMorris said. “This project is an innovative way of reaching large numbers of young people and educating them about the addictive nature of tobacco and the effects of smoking. Studies show that if young people remain tobacco-free until they become adults, they are less likely to start using tobacco in the future.”

Students played an active role in the project. The ads were used as a tool to generate classroom discussions about the effects of tobacco use. Students then voted on the ad that they felt would keep them from starting to use tobacco or, if they already use tobacco, the ad that made them think about quitting.

View and Vote is one component of the provincial tobacco reduction strategy focusing on youth, which has three main goals: prevention activities that encourage communities to make healthy choices around tobacco use; to eliminate environmental tobacco smoke and prevent young people from accessing tobacco products; and to encourage and assist tobacco users to stop or reduce their use of tobacco.

The Ministry of Health thanks the students and teachers for their interest and participation in the program. View and Vote is a biannual youth initiative and it was first offered to schools across the province in 2007.

January, 2010|Oral Cancer News|

Kids may mistake new tobacco products for candy

Author: Melinda Williams

Camel _dissolvable_orbs

FARMINGTON — New tobacco products often look like candy, and their packaging may look like cell phones or other electronics.

“But there’s no such thing as a safe tobacco product,” Davis County health educator Isa Kaluhikaua told Board of Health members Tuesday.

Kaluhikaua brought examples of smoking alternatives to show board members, most packaged in bright colors with appealing logos.

There’s Snus, a no-spit tobacco pouch meant to be placed under the upper lip, and Orbs, dissolvable breath-mint sized tobacco, with a camel imprinted on each. There’s also Strips, dissolvable strips, like breath freshening strips, containing tobacco, and dissolvable Sticks. And, there’s an electronic cigarette. The products all contain tobacco or nicotine and have not been approved by the Federal Drug Administration.

Kaluhikaua said if a child ingested three Orbs, they would get ill, and 10 could result in serious illness. Yet, she said, they look much like Tic-Tacs and come in a variety of flavors that children may mistake for candy.

She said the Federal Drug Administration has not approved most of the products, yet they are being put out on the market pouvez trouver. “Some are designed to fit into creative packaging,” and are marketed as a safe alternative to smoking.

Not all the products are on the market in Utah yet, Kaluhikaua said.

That sobering message was a portion of Kaluhikaua’s annual tobacco report to the board which indicates that during 2009, only 6 percent of adults and 8.6 percent of youth smoked in Davis County. She said that while the rate for both youths and adults has remained under 10 percent, a few years ago it was 6 percent for youth as well. “Ideally, we’d like to get back to 6 percent.”

Kaluhikaua said that Clearfield and Hill Air Force Base areas are above the state rate of 9.1 percent for adults and 7.9 percent for youth, but the Centerville, Farmington area was below 5 percent, the lowest rate in the state.

Kaluhikaua also reported on the health department’s tobacco compliance program, a program which sends underage youth into retail outlets to attempt tobacco purchases.

The department has been conducting the compliance checks since 1989 and buy rates have ranged from 24 percent to 6 percent. During 2008-2009, 8.3 percent of tobacco retailers sold to underage youth during compliance checks. Since 2001, the illegal sales rate decreased by 50 percent.

Kaluhikaua said that during 2009, 2,340 4th and 5th grade students were taught a tobacco prevention curriculum, 330 youth took tobacco cessation classes resulting in an 11 percent quit rate and 75 percent reduction rate, and the health department put out 780 smoke-free outdoor public places signs county-wide.

January, 2010|Oral Cancer News|

HPV, is it running rampant?

Source: WebMD
Author: Bill Hendrick

Jan. 14, 2010 — Cancer-causing human papillomavirus (HPV) spreads readily and quickly among partners in new sexual relationships, new research indicates.

Scientists at McGill University, reporting in the journal Epidemiology, say they detected the virus in 64% of couples who reported engaging in vaginal sex for a median of 3.9 months.

In 41% of 263 college couples studied, both partners had the same type of HPV, a surprising finding “far more frequent than [the 11%] expected by chance” even though the virus is the most common sexually transmitted infection, the authors write.

“[D]etection of the same type in persons initiating a sex relationship would be rare given type-specific prevalence rates,” says the study, whose lead author is Ann N. Burchell, PhD, of the division of cancer epidemiology, departments of oncology and epidemiology and biostatistics at McGill University in Montreal.

Along with colleagues from the University of Montreal, Burchell and Eduardo Franco, DrPH, MPH, director of McGill’s Cancer Epidemiology Unit, analyzed self-reported data from partners of 263 couples.

The women, college students between 18 and 24, enrolled in the study with their male partners. Women were sexually active with their male partners for no more than six months. Most used condoms, but 9% never used condoms. Self-collected vaginal swabs and clinician-collected swabs from the penis and scrotum were tested for 36 strains of HPV.

Among 169 couples for whom at least one partner was infected, the scientists identified 583 type-specific HPV infections. Twenty-five percent of monogamous partners had the same virus type after engaging in vaginal sex for less than two months, the authors write.

That rose to 68% among those who’d been having sex for five to six months.

“Due to its sexually transmitted nature, the study of HPV at the level of sexual partnership is fundamental to our understanding of the epidemiology of these infections,” the researchers write. “The observation that HPV occurs more commonly in sexual partners than expected by chance provides evidence for the sexual transmission of HPV.”

Transmission is likely early in sexual relationships, and having a new sex partner is an important risk factor for infection in both women and men, the researchers write.

HPV causes cervical cancer, as well as cancers of the vulva, vagina, anus, penis, and head and neck. HPV also causes genital warts. Although HPV infections are extremely common, with at least 50% of sexually active women and men contracting this type of infection at some point, most have no symptoms and clear the infection on their own, according to the CDC.

Another article from the researchers using data from the same group of participants was published in the January 2010 issue of the journal Sexually Transmitted Diseases.

The second analysis found that the greatest risk factor for genital HPV infection was infection in a person’s current sexual partner. Condoms were tied to a more protective effect for men than for women.

“These results build on our knowledge that HPV infection is very common among young adults, and underline the importance of prevention programs for HPV-associated diseases,” Burchell says in the McGill news release. “Our results also suggest that HPV is an easy virus to get and to transmit.”

Francois Coutlee, MD, a professor at the University of Montreal’s department of microbiology and immunology and co-author on both articles, says the results suggest that many HPV transmissions occur at the start of new relationships, “which reinforces the need for prevention.”

January, 2010|Oral Cancer News|

Transoral robotic surgery gets FDA approval

Source: Medgadget
Author: Staff

TranOral Robotic Surgery

The FDA has given the go ahead for surgeons to use robotic surgery for procedures in the throat and nearby regions by going through the mouth. In effect, this is a new indication for the Da Vinci Surgical System from Intuitive Medical, as it is the only robot of its type that can be used to perform the procedures. The transoral applications of robotic surgery have been developed at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where a special center was created to study the subject.

Drs. Gregory S. Weinstein and Bert W. O’Malley, Jr. of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine’s Department of Otorhinolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery founded the world’s first TransOral Robotic Surgery (TORS) program at Penn Medicine in 2004, where they developed and researched the TORS approach for a variety of robotic surgical neck approaches for both malignant and benign tumors of the mouth, voice box, tonsil, tongue and other parts of the throat. Since 2005, approximately 350 Penn patients have participated in the world’s first prospective clinical trials of TORS.

Head and neck tumor treatments often involve a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. In many cases, surgery offers the greatest chance of cure; yet conventional surgery may require an almost ear-to-ear incision across the throat or splitting the jaw, resulting in speech and swallowing deficits for patients. In comparison, the minimally invasive TORS approach, which accesses the surgical site through the mouth, has been shown to improve long term swallowing function and reduce risk of infection while speeding up the recovery time. When compared to traditional surgeries, after their cancers have been removed successfully, patients have been able to begin swallowing on their own sooner and leave the hospital earlier. TORS outcomes are markedly improved when compared to standard chemotherapy, radiation or traditional open surgical approaches for oropharyngeal cancer.

January, 2010|Oral Cancer News|

Finnish firm to market cancer-prevention capsule

Author: staff

Finnish medical biotechnology group Biohit said Monday it had developed a capsule that could help prevent stomach and throat cancer by neutralising the cancer-causing compound acetaldehyde.

Acetaldehyde is produced from alcohol and sugar by microbes in the mouth. The gastric acid of a healthy stomach generally kills these microbes, but they can survive in an acid-free stomach and continue to produce acetaldehyde there.

“It is clear that acetaldehyde is a class one carcinogenic, or a cancer-causing factor of the worst kind, and it is clear that an acid-free stomach is a risk factor for stomach cancer,” Biohit chief executive Osmo Suovaniemi told AFP.

He said the capsule, developed by Biohit in collaboration with researchers from the University of Helsinki, neutralised acetaldehyde when taken with meals or alcohol and could, therefore, help prevent the development of cancer.

“How many cancer cases it may prevent in the future remains to be seen,” Suovaniemi said, adding it would take years to determine the capsule’s cancer-preventing impact.

Suovaniemi said the drug had received the approval of medical authorities after undergoing clinical testing.

Biohit aims to make the over-the-counter capsules available in Finnish pharmacies during the first half of this year and to start marketing them internationally during 2011 at the latest.

January, 2010|Oral Cancer News|