Patients Prefer ''Virtual'' Colonoscopy but Dislike Preparation

Surveying patients who were screened for colorectal cancer, investigators at the Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis found that most prefer “virtual” colonoscopy to traditional screening, but most had positive appraisals of both. Patients didn’t, however, like the bowel preparation prior to either screening test.

Researchers Identify Protein that Kills Cancer Cells

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that a protein called cytidine uridine guanosine binding protein-2 (CUGBP2) can destroy several different types of cancer cells. When the team inserted the protein into cultured tumor cells, more than 70 percent self-destructed. The researchers found that CUGBP2 helps regulate production of cyclooxygenase-2, (COX-2), which is better known as a key culprit in arthritis.

New Tongue Reconstruction Methods Help Patients with Mouth Cancer

Surgeons have developed new techniques for reconstructing the tongue during surgery for mouth cancer. The researchers found that the new methods often restore a patient’s ability to articulate speech and swallow normal food. The findings are published in the December issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology. “As surgeons, we are most concerned about removing all of the cancer, but we also want to preserve the person’s quality of life,” says lead author Bruce H. Haughey, M.D., associate professor of otolaryngology. “This work strives to improve both.”

Combination Pacemaker-Defibrillator Prevents Death from Heart Failure

A new implantable device has been found to reduce the risk of death from congestive heart failure by 40 percent, triggering the early halt of a national trial of the device. “This trial was the largest one in history to test an implanted pacemaker or defibrillator, and it represents a landmark study for the treatment of congestive heart failure,” says Mitchell N. Faddis, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “I think this is one of the most important therapies developed in the last decade for treatment of severe heart disease.”

New Treatment Strategy for Crohn’s Disease Shows Early Promise

A preliminary study reports that enhancing the body’s innate immunity can improve symptoms of Crohn’s disease in 80 percent of patients with moderate to severe forms of the debilitating, inflammatory gastrointestinal disorder. Crohn’s disease is a chronic, lifelong condition, which affects about half a million people in the United States. Until now, the disease has been thought to result from an overactive immune system, and therapies have attempted to suppress, rather than enhance, the immune response. Therapies that suppress immunity improve symptoms in many Crohn’s disease patients, but researchers are looking for alternative treatments to help those who don’t respond.

New Technique Lets Doctors Examine Milk Ducts for Breast Problems

A new technique enables doctors to directly examine the lining of milk ducts in the breast for early signs of cancer and other abnormalities, according to research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The researchers used the technique, known as ductoscopy, to detect breast abnormalities in women with a condition called pathologic nipple discharge (PND).