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New pill under development could replace five

Procedure can ramp up chemo

Bill Darker of Imperial Beach, Calif., is undergoing an experimental treatment for the cancer attacking his liver. Three times, he has gone to the National Institutes of Health near Washington, D.C., for an aggressive procedure in which his liver is sealed off, then pumped full of 10 time more chemotherapy than a patient can normally tolerate. Then the toxic medication is washed from his blood so it doesn't poison him. After the first two rounds, his tumor had shrunk by about one-third.

Now a study at NIH and 10 other hospitals nationwide aims to show whether that kind of shrinkage makes enough of a difference in the length and quality of recipients' lives, and is safe enough, for Food and Drug Administration approval to treat eye or skin melanoma that spreads to the liver. The procedure, called percutaneous hepatic perfusion, could be an option for the 40,000 U.S. patients with melanoma that is confined to the liver.

"It seems like a good weapon," said Dr. Marybeth Hughes of the NIH's National Cancer Institute, as she prepared to treat Darker last week. "If it works effectively it would be very important, because the only other choice patients have is constant chemotherapy."

Early photo of NYC sold for $62,500

A very early photograph of New York City depicting Manhattan's Upper West Side as open countryside in the 1840s sold Monday at Sotheby's auction house. The photo is a daguerreotype, an early form of photography that was used mainly for portraits. The auction house estimated the pre-sale value of the daguerrotype at $50,000 to $70,000.

Once again, blame it on space junk

People in eastern Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia were treated to a light show Sunday night, the sky glowing in shades of yellow, white, orange and blue. No one knew why at first, but an official at the U.S. Naval Observatory said that it was most likely the result of space junk from a Russian rocket, because the location matched the path of its debris field. Or, it may have been a super bright meteor known as a bolide. National Weather Service officials had no explanation for the unusual sky.

A single daily pill that combines aspirin and four blood pressure and cholesterol medicines has passed its first big test, potentially offering a cheap, simple way to prevent both heart disease and stroke.

The experimental "polypill" proved as effective as nearly all of its components taken alone, with no greater side effects, a major study found. Taking it could cut a person's risk of heart disease and stroke roughly in half, the study concludes.

This "one-size-fits-most" approach could make heart disease prevention much more common and effective, doctors say.

The study tested the Polycap, an experimental combo formulated by Cadila Pharmaceuticals of Ahmedabad, India. It contains low doses of three blood pressure medicines (atenolol, ramipril and the "water pill" thiazide), plus the generic version of the cholesterol-lowering statin drug Zocor, and a baby aspirin (100 milligrams).

Participants were about 2,000 people at 50 centers across India, average age 54, with at least one risk factor for heart disease — high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes or smoking.

Four hundred were given the polypill. The rest were placed in eight groups of 200 and given individual components of the pill or various combinations. Results of the polypill were comparable to the individual treatments, with comparable side effects.



A single daily pill that combines aspirin and four blood pressure and cholesterol medicines has passed its first big test, potentially offering a cheap, simple way to prevent both heart disease and stroke. The experimental "polypill" proved as effective as nearly all of its components taken alone, with no greater side effects, a major study found. Taking it could cut a person's risk of heart disease and stroke roughly in half, the study concludes.

This "one-size-fits-most" approach could make heart disease prevention much more common and effective, doctors say. The study tested the Polycap, an experimental combo formulated by Cadila Pharmaceuticals of Ahmedabad, India. It contains low doses of three blood pressure medicines (atenolol, ramipril and the "water pill" thiazide), plus the generic version of the cholesterol-lowering statin drug Zocor, and a baby aspirin (100 milligrams). Participants were about 2,000 people at 50 centers across India, average age 54, with at least one risk factor for heart disease — high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes or smoking. Four hundred were given the polypill. The rest were placed in eight groups of 200 and given individual components of the pill or various combinations.

Results of the polypill were comparable to the individual treatments, and had comparable side effects.

New pill under development could replace five 03/30/09 [Last modified: Monday, March 30, 2009 10:11pm]
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[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
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