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Archive - Oct 11, 2013

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Badgers Responsible for 50% of TB in Cattle

Badgers are ultimately responsible for roughly half of tuberculosis (TB) in cattle in areas with high TB prevalence, according to new estimates. However, only approximately six per cent of infected cattle catch TB from badgers, with onward transmission between cattle herds accounting for the remainder of TB infections, the study suggests. The findings were published online on October 10, 2013 in the open-access journal PLOS Currents: Outbreaks. The role of badgers in spreading bovine TB has been debated intensely as part of discussions about whether badgers should be culled to control the disease. The Randomized Badger Culling Trial, which ran from 1998 to 2005, found evidence that culling could reduce TB in herds inside culled areas, while increasing TB in areas nearby. Mathematical models based on data from the trial were previously used to calculate an estimate of the proportion of TB in cattle that could ultimately be attributed to transmission from badgers. The new paper, by scientists at Imperial College London, provides a more detailed analysis. It estimates that badgers ultimately account for 52 per cent of cattle TB in areas where prevalence in cattle is high. There is considerable uncertainty around this estimate, but the authors say that 38 per cent is a robust minimum value for the estimate. There is no robust maximum value. Professor Christl Donnelly, from the Medical Research Council Centre for Outbreak Analysis and Modelling at Imperial College London, said: “These findings confirm that badgers do play a large role in the spread of bovine TB.

Change in Circulating Tumor Cell Detection Has High Potential in the Prediction of Treatment Outcome in Prostate Cancer

A new study reveals that in the prediction of treatment outcome for castration-resistant prostate cancer, a change in circulating tumor cells detection might be more accurate than the change in prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels. The findings of this award-winning study were presented at the recent EAU 13th Central European Meeting in Prague, Czech Republic (http://cem2013.uroweb.org/) October 4-6, 2013. "The research of the circulating tumor cells (CTC) is of utmost importance, because nowadays there is no reliable marker of both cancer-specific or overall survival in castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) patients," explained the lead author of the study, Dr. Otakar Čapoun, of the Department of Urology at General Teaching Hospital Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. "The goal of this study is to assess the possibility of the individualization of castration-resistant prostate cancer management. In cases with no favorable change in CTC detection during chemotherapy, the early switching to another therapy should be considered," commented Dr. Čapoun on the implications of the study, which was supported by the Internal Grant Agency of the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic. Protocol of the grant project included the collection of peripheral blood from patients with metastatic CRPC prior to docetaxel therapy and after the fourth cycle of chemotherapy (CTX). Circulating tumor cells were detected by using a method of immunomagnetic separation. In the course of the study, multiplex PCR was performed after cytolysis of CTC and the expression of tumor-associated antigens (PSA, PSMA, and EGFR) was quantified. The methodology of the study was based on verbal evaluation, together with a report of the absolute values (ng/ml).