A missing link between vitamin D and prostate cancer

A University of Colorado Cancer Center study recently published in the journal Prostate offers compelling evidence that inflammation may be the link between Vitamin D and prostate cancer. Specifically, the study shows that the gene GDF-15, known to be upregulated by Vitamin D, is notably absent in samples of human prostate cancer driven by inflammation.

“When you take Vitamin D and put it on cells, it inhibits their growth. But it hasn’t been proven as an anti-cancer agent. We wanted to understand what genes Vitamin D is turning on or off in prostate cancer to offer new targets,” says James R. Lambert, PhD, investigator at the CU Cancer Center and associate research professor in the CU School of Medicine Department of Pathology.

Since demonstrating that Vitamin D upregulates the expression of GDF-15, Lambert and colleagues, including Scott Lucia, MD, wondered if this gene might be a mechanism through which Vitamin D works in prostate cancer. Initially it seemed as if the answer was no.

“We thought there might be high levels of GDF-15 in normal tissue and low levels in prostate cancer, but we found that in a large cohort of human samples, expression of GDF-15 did not track with either normal or cancerous prostate tissue,” Lambert says.

But then the team noticed an interesting pattern: GDF-15 was uniformly low in samples of prostate tissue that contained inflammation.

“Inflammation is thought to drive many cancers including prostate, gastric and colon. Therefore, GDF-15 may be a good thing in keeping prostate tissue healthy – it suppresses inflammation, which is a bad actor potentially driving prostate cancer,” Lambert says.

The study used a sophisticated computer algorithm to analyze immunohistochemical (IHC) data, a task that in previous studies had been done somewhat subjectively by pathologists. With this new technique, Lambert, Lucia and colleagues were able to quantify the expression of the GDF-15 protein and inflammatory cells by IHC staining on slides taken from these human prostate samples.

Additionally encouraging is that the gene GDF-15 was shown to suppress inflammation by inhibiting another target, NFkB. This target, NFkB, has been the focus of many previous studies in which it has been shown to promote and contribute to tumor formation and growth; however, researchers have previously been unable to drug NFkB to decrease its tumor-promoting behavior.

“There’s been a lot of work on inhibiting NFkB,” says Lambert. “Now from this starting point of Vitamin D in prostate cancer, we’ve come a long way toward understanding how we might use GDF-15 to target NFkB, which may have implications in cancer types far beyond prostate.”

Large-scale study shows dramatic decline in mortality rates for ARDS .

The largest study to date of mortality trends in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) shows that the rate of mortality dropped significantly over a 16-year period. Advances in critical care medicine are seen as a direct cause of the decline. The study abstract was released today in the Online First section of the journalCHEST and will be presented at CHEST 2014, the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians in Austin, Texas held October 25-30.

Researchers at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Staten Island University Hospital, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and Government Medical College obtained data from the National Inpatient Sample (NIS) database, the largest inpatient health-care database in the United States, encompassing data from approximately 8 million hospital stays per year. Out of this database, they were able to identify over 174,000 patients who had ARDS.

The study showed that there was a striking decrease in mortality rates, from 46.8% in 1996 to 32.2% in 2011, a 14.6% reduction. Surprisingly, from the years 2000 to 2005 alone there was an 8.9% absolute reduction in mortality rates.

According to Jared Radbel, MD, “While we cannot prove causation for the decreased mortality, we believe that collaborative advances in critical care medicine contributed to the overall decline. We assert that the sudden and sharp decrease in mortality from 2000-2005 can be attributed to the practice of low tidal volume ventilation.”

Happy Deepawali.



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British Man Pleads Guilty After Faking 2 Year Coma to Avoid Court, Cops .

But Knight delayed going to court by claiming to be a quadriplegic who had periodic seizures that left him in a comatose-state, police said. Since authorities were unable to get Knight in court, his trial was delayed until this week, police said.

However, an investigation revealed that Knight had been faking his symptoms, police said.

PHOTO: Alan Knight, left, pretended he was in a vegetative state to scam his next door neighbor out of £40,000.

Alan Knight, left, pretended he was in a vegetative state to scam his next door neighbor out of £40,000.

Knight and his wife, Helen Knight, even attempted to prove Knight’s medical condition by photographing themselves in their home with Knight appearing to be unconscious and surrounded by medical equipment.

However, earlier this week Knight was finally ordered to attend court in person. Once in the courtroom investigators revealed they had footage of Knight walking around on closed-circuit television without a neck brace, oxygen or a wheelchair, police said.

PHOTO: Alan Knight pretended he was in a vegetative state to scam his next door neighbor out of £40,000.

In images and video released to the news media, Knight is shown walking through a doorway with his family. After the evidence was presented, Knight then pleaded guilty to the charges.

Calls to a number listed in the name of Knight’s wife, Helen Knight, were not immediately returned.

Judge Paul Thomas, who was overseeing Knight’s case, said Knight’s injury claim was “unique” and wanted to discourage anyone else who might try it, according to the Daily Telegraph.

“Although a very accomplished and determined actor, he is in nothing like the condition he claims to be, and the conditions he claims to be suffering from are simply non-existent,” Thomas said in court, according to the Daily Telegraph.