Open Reading Frame brings together a selection of recent publication highlights from elsewhere in the open access ecosystem. This week we take a look at the past few weeks in medicine.
Mass vaccination for cholera: a promising strategy to control outbreaks
In 2010, oral cholera vaccines were added to WHO recommendations to control outbreaks, but questions remain about their feasibility and cost during outbreaks in remote areas. Now, the first large-scale assessment of oral cholera vaccines has been carried out in Guinea. The authors report high vaccination coverage, despite the remote rural setting, and found that the cost was similar to other vaccination campaigns. These results indicate that oral cholera vaccines are feasible in remote settings during an outbreak, and should be considered as another tool to prevent cholera epidemics, alongside efforts to improve sanitation.
Ciglenecki et al. PLoS Medicine
A new approach to overcome treatment resistance in prostate cancer
In some patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer, anti-apoptotic proteins such as Bcl-2 and Mcl-1 cause resistance to treatment and are associated with poor prognosis. Chemotherapy alone cannot counteract the effects of these proteins, and novel strategies to overcome treatment resistance are needed. A new study in prostate cancer cells has shown that the compound ABT-737, which binds to anti-apoptotic proteins, helps to overcome resistance and increases the efficacy of the chemotherapy agent docetaxel. While further validation is required, this compound has potential as a new therapeutic agent to increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy against prostate cancer.
Parrondo et al. PeerJ
Predicting chemotherapy response in lung cancer patients
Platinum-based chemotherapy is recommended to treat advanced lung cancer, but not all patients respond to treatment and it is therefore important to identify which patients could benefit from different therapy types. Researchers have developed a new method to analyze whether the predictive marker ERCC1 can stratify patients based on their response to chemotherapy. The results showed that patients with low ERCC1 levels benefit from treatment with platinum-based chemotherapy whereas those with high ERCC1 levels do not, suggesting this marker could be used in the clinic to guide treatment decisions for lung cancer.
Chen and Bepler. Journal of Personalized Medicine
Martial arts for weight loss?
Results from a pilot study in obese premenopausal women suggest that martial arts exercise could be an effective approach to improve body composition. The researchers found that those assigned to a 12-week martial arts exercise intervention had increased levels of the protein insulin-like growth factor-1, a marker of insulin sensitivity, and improved quality of life compared with the control group. Those completing the exercise program also had decreased fat-free mass and muscle mass. These preliminary results indicate that martial arts-based exercise programs are a promising approach to control weight in obese premenopausal women.
Chyu et al. Clinical Medicine Insights: Women’s Health
Monitoring the effects of lithium treatment
Lithium-induced hyperparathyroidism (LIH), resulting in the excess production of parathyroid hormone, can occur in patients with bipolar disorder undergoing long-term lithium treatment. Elevated calcium levels could be the first sign of LIH, but are often overlooked in the clinic. New research carried out in the Netherlands has shown that blood calcium levels are significantly higher in bipolar patients treated with lithium compared with non-lithium treated controls, suggesting that calcium levels should be measured routinely in these patients to monitor the risk of developing LIH.
Twigt et al. International Journal of Bipolar Disorders
Exploring disparities in colorectal cancer survival rates
There are persistent differences in colorectal cancer survival rates between the USA and Europe; five-year survival is reported to be 12–14 percent higher in the USA. Now, an investigation of over 12,500 people has been carried out to find the reasons behind this disparity. The authors found that on average tumors are recorded at an earlier stage in the USA, and surgery and adjuvant therapies are used more extensively, suggesting these differences could explain the variation in survival rates.
Allemani et al. BMJ Open
Rilpivirine for the treatment of HIV
Antiretroviral therapy has been tremendously successful in treating HIV, resulting in longer life expectancy and improved quality of life in HIV-infected individuals. The reverse transcriptase inhibitor (RTI) efavirenz is commonly recommended as a first-line HIV treatment, but its use is limited by side effects.A number of second-generation RTIs have consequently been developed to overcome this problem. In a review article, Kiat Ruxrungtham and colleagues discuss the clinical development of rilpivirine, a newer RTI, and describe its efficacy in comparison with efavirenz. The authors conclude that rilpivirine is associated with fewer side effects than efavirenz, and recommend its use in treatment-naïve HIV positive individuals.
Putcharoen et al. HIV/AIDS – Research and Palliative Care