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Hospital Errors
Honesty the Best Policy, Reduces Lawsuit Costs in One VA Hospital

A Veterans Affairs hospital that adopted a policy of immediate disclosure to patients injured by medical mistakes and fair compensation to the injured found that total costs of litigation actually dropped. And the policy did not cause an onslaught of lawsuits at the hospital. Veterans' hospitals pay no malpractice premiums, and can offer remedial treatment and even monthly disability payments to people injured by hospital treatment. So the VA experience may not translate to the private sector. Changes will be necessary before it can be tried.
Risk Management: Extreme Honesty May Be the Best Policy S.S. Kraman and G. Hamm, Annals of Internal Medicine, 21 December 1999, Volume 131 Number 12 (Unfortunately, the above article is not on line).


Hi-Tech Method for Brachytherapy Uses Digital Planning
PIPER, for Prostate Implant Planning Engine for Radiotherapy, uses artificial-intelligence technology to recommend a radiation plan for seed implant treatment. This new technology is now being tested in clinical trials at Universoty of Rochester, NY. Full storyFull story

Study of Vitamin D as Treatment for Prostate Cancer 11 Nov 1999. Researchers in Portland are beginning a test of whether high dose vitamin D may slow or stop progression of prostate cancer. They are giving patients with recurring cancer high doses of an active form of the vitamin. The study is looking for more patients to enroll. Full storyFull story

Thalidomide Trials for Prostate, First Results November 1999. Thalidomide has been shown to prevent the development of new blood vessels, a process known as angiogenesis. A tumor cannot grow beyond the size of a pinhead without forming new blood vessels to supply its nutritional needs. By blocking the development of new blood vessels, researchers aim to cut off the tumor's supply of oxygen and nutrients, indirectly stopping its growth and spread to other parts of the body.Full storyFull story

Thalidomide: New Use of a Tragic Drug A look back to the 1950's and a background on the drug's primary side-effects, neuropathy and sedation.Full storyFull story

New target antigen, called STEAP, for prostate cancers Researchers at UroGenesys, Inc. report the discovery of STEAP, a novel gene that provides a promising route for developing new therapies to treat prostate cancer. The studies, published December 7 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), describe a cell-surface antigen that offers access to a broad range of potential antibody, small-molecule or vaccine-based therapies. Full storyFull story

Long Process of Cancer Development Calls for Prevention, Early Detection, and Focused Treatment Dec 21, 1999. New research on colorectal cancer, published in the December 21 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that cancer arises from a decade or more of cellular changes. For prostate cancer, where early detection is possible, these findings should help predict outcomes, the authors say. Full storyFull story

Videotaping Prostate Surgeries May Improve Outcome Athletes, including golfers and baseball and football players, videotape and review games to improve their performances. Now, in a study reported in the January issue of Urology, Johns Hopkins researchers say that videotaping also can help urologists improve the outcome of prostate surgeries. Full storyFull story

Common cholesterol drugs, statins, could be used to treat osteoporosis Men taking testosterone-blocking therapy for prostate cancer often get bone loss or osteoporosis. Now a team of scientists has discovered that some widely- prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs also have impressive bone-building capabilities that may make them effective drugs for treating osteoporosis. Full storyFull story

New Taxol Combination Therapy Targets Cell Division Process, Dana-Farber Says
9 Nov 1999. A combination of Taxol (already used to treat prostate cancer) and a drug from a Brazilian tree, b-lapachone, artificially rebuilds the cell's quality-control system and can completely destroy human tumor cells grown in laboratory animals, researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute report in the Nov. 9 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Full storyFull story

Combretastatin Shrinks Tumors But Causes Tumor Pain and Cardiovascular Stress 8 Nov 1999. Early results from a phase I clinical trial of OXiGENE's combretastatin A4 (CA4P) show that the drug can starve tumors of their blood supply and shrink some tumors into complete remission for several months so far. But at low doses the drug causes tumor pain and higher doses cause lung and heart stress. Full storyFull story

High-Dose Conformal Radiation Helps Patients with Higher PSA's Prostate cancer patients who have disease locally confined to the prostate and who have PSA levels greater than ten before treatment dramatically benefit from higher doses of radiation, according to a new study done at University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. Full storyFull story

Conventional Hormonal Treatment for Prostate Cancer Challenged 3 Nov 1999. Research conducted by Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center investigators sheds new light on why existing therapies don't stop the prostate cancer from returning and was published in the November 3rd issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Full storyFull story

Herceptin Plus Taxol Look Promising, Trials Underway 3 Nov 1999. A study has shown that although Herceptin alone has no effect on growth of androgen-independent or recurrent tumors, it shrinks androgen-dependent or initial prostate cancer tumors. Combined with Taxol, Herceptin caused marked shrinkage (regression) of tumors in both androgen-dependent and independent disease. Full storyFull story

IMRT Accurately Delivers Radiation to Early Prostate Cancer, Lowers Tissue Damage and Risk of Rectal Bleeding 3 Nov 1999. Intensity modulated radiation therapy is a safe way to accurately deliver high doses of radiation to the prostate while preserving normal tissue nearby, a new study shows. The study was presented at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology annual meeting October 31 - November 4, 1999 in San Antonio, TX. Full storyFull story

Yale Prostate Cancer Seeding Study Shows Palladium-103 Superior to Older Therapy
29 Oct 1999. A Yale study of complication rates from two radiation "seed" implant therapies for prostate cancer shows that the newer therapy, Palladium-103, has fewer long-term side effects than Iodine-125, an older, more commonly prescribed therapy.Full storyFull story

Soy Substances Slow Prostate Cancer Growth In Animals 28-Oct-99 -- Substances present in soy foods may slow the growth of prostate cancer, a new animal study has shown. The finding suggests that substances known as soy isoflavones are probably responsible for the anti-cancer effect. Full storyFull story

Prostate Cancer Vaccine Activates Entire Human Immune System 20 Oct-1999 --Johns Hopkins cancer researchers report the successful use of human gene therapy to activate the human immune system against metastatic prostate cancer. The achievement, believed to be a first, could have implications in the treatment of many kinds of cancer. The study results are published in the October 15, 1999 issue of Cancer Research. Full story Full story

Methadone Cuts Hospital Stay After Radical Prostate Surgery October 12, 1999. Anesthesiologists working with surgeons have developed a patient care protocol that allows men to go home only one day after prostate cancer surgery. They say this does not "push them out the door" or compromise the quality of care in any way. The protocol makes use of an old pain-killing compound, methadone. Full StoryFull story

Vasectomies, Vitamins, Zinc and Prostate Cancer Risk
23 Oct 1999--For men concerned about prostate-cancer risk, good news from researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle: vasectomy does not increase a man's risk of prostate cancer, contrary to earlier studies that have suggested a link; and dietary supplementation with zinc, vitamin C or vitamin E may significantly reduce the risk of the disease. Full storyFull story

Antidepressant Relieves Hot Flashes in Men Men Treated For Prostate Cancer Venlafaxine, an antidepressant drug, helps reduce the incidence of hot flashes in men undergoing androgen-deprivation therapy for prostate cancer, according to a recent Mayo Clinic report published in the Journal of Urology. Full storyFull story

"Sticky" Gene Hinders PCa Metastasis University of Iowa Health Care researchers may have found a way to help prevent prostate cancer from spreading, according to research findings in the Aug. 1 issue of the journal Cancer Research. E-cadherin, a cell-to-cell adhesion gene, keeps the cells normally differentiated and "glued" to each other. One of a group of tumor suppressor genes, it tends to be shut off if cancer worsens. The UI team have found a way to restore E-cadherin so as to hinder the ability of prostate cancer to spread. Full storyFull story

New Guidelines for Prostate Cancer Detection and Treatment New prostate cancer detection and treatment guidelines available from the American Cancer Society and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network recommend that a PSA test be offered annually to men 50 and older with a life expectancy of 10 years and to younger men at high risk for prostate cancer.ACS says that with the treatment guidelines, prostate cancer patients will have access to information about options offered at the nation's leading cancer centers. Full storyFull story

PC-SPES Herbal Therapy Cuts PSA Levels In Men With Advanced Prostrate Cancer May 18, 1999 Researchers at the University of California San Francisco report that an herbal compound significantly reduced prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels, an indicator of cancer cells, in men with prostate cancer. PSA's fell in some men who had hormone-resistant prostate cancer as well as in men who had never taken hormonal therapy. Full storyFull story


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