News & Comment
inhibits the increase in prostate-specific antigen (PSA) that occurs following radical prostatectomy in men with recurrent prostate cancer, suggesting that this drug could delay progression of the disease. Circulating PSA is positively correlated with the clinical and pathological stage of prostate cancer and is therefore believed to indicate the progression of the disease. Erik Goluboff (Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, NY, USA) and colleagues studied 96 patients at several centres across the USA throughout the 12 months after their prostate operation, and monitored changes in PSA levels in placebo- and exisulind-treated groups. Their results, published in the September issue of The Journal of Urology, show that treatment with exisulind significantly suppressed the rise in PSA levels compared with patients receiving placebo. This treatment is especially promising because it has relatively few side-effects compared with currently available treatments, such as hormone therapy and chemotherapy. The company funding the research, Cell Pathways, is planning phase III trials of exisulind in synergy with docetaxel in a variety of cell types. HN
PhD online A new website has been launched to help final-year undergraduates and other graduates to find their perfect research PhD in the UK and Ireland.
At www.findaphd.com, users can search for free through detailed descriptions of PhD projects, written by project supervisors. The initiative is the brainchild of Sheffield Academic Press, who have developed the website from their own directory entitled Research Topics in the Life & Chemical Sciences (RTLCS), and allows project details to uploaded within 24 hours, and updated entries instantly. AR
Vitamin C increase recommended for women The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin C in the US and Canada should be increased from 75 to 90 mg d–1 for young women, according to researchers from the http://tem.trends.com
TRENDS in Endocrinology & Metabolism Vol.12 No.8 October 2001
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and Vanderbilt University, TN, USA. The current RDA in the US and Canada, set by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences in April 2000, was based on data collected from men only. Mark Levine and colleagues, writing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 98, 9842–9846, have now studied the long-term uptake of vitamin C in 15 healthy women aged between 19 and 27. The subjects were put on a diet containing <5 mg d–1 vitamin C and then received daily supplements of the vitamin that varied between 30 and 2500 mg. Over a dose range of 30–100 mg, there was about a fivefold increase in plasma vitamin-C concentration, and only intakes between 100 and 200 mg d–1 produce the near saturation of plasma and tissues that is recommeded. The authors suggest that ‘studies of vitamin C dose–concentration relationships and functional consequences are needed in patients with diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemias, renal failure, and chronic heart disease, as well as in smokers, the elderly, and those at risk for infection.’ HN
No evidence for ‘feminizing’ effects of soy phytoestrogens Feeding children with soy-milk formula appears to be as safe as feeding them with cow-milk formula, allaying fears that soy, which contains hormone-like phytoestrogens, could influence sexual development. Researchers from Penn University, PA, USA have revisited a study conducted by the University of Iowa, IA, USA between 1965 and 1978 that aimed to determine the effects of soy formula on children. Brian Strom and colleagues tracked down and interviewed 811 adults who had participated in the original trial and compared those that had been fed soy-milk formula with those that had received cow-milk formula.
Subjects were asked questions about their puberty and sexual development but the two groups were found to be virtually indistinguishable. Although breast milk is the preferred source of nutrition for young children, soymilk formula is fed to nearly 20% of children in the US at some time in their first year. This research, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in August, is especially good news for children who are allergic to or cannot digest cow’s milk, for whom soy milk is a nutritious alternative. HN
Imprinted insulin predisposes children to obesity Recent research demonstrates that children who inherit a particular version of the gene encoding insulin (INS) or insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF2) from their father face a greater risk of becoming obese. Insulin is an important regulator of fat deposition in early postnatal life and the genes encoding INS and IGF2 are subject to genomic imprinting during the fetal stage, with expression restricted to the paternal allele. Pierre Bougnères and colleagues from Hôpital St Vincent de Paul, Paris, France and Johns Hopkins University, MD, USA studied the parental transmission of a variable nucleotide tandem repeat (VNTR) polymorphism that is associated with variations in the expression of INS to children with early-onset obesity, and found that obese children were more likely to have inherited a class I INS allele from their father than from their mother. Conversely, children inheriting the class I allele from their father (but not those inheriting it from their mother) had a relative risk of early-onset obesity of 1.8, suggesting that increased in utero expression of paternal INS or IGF2 could be predisposing children to postnatal fat deposition. Writing in the September issue of Nature Genetics, the authors caution that ‘due to the high frequency of class I alleles in the general population, approximately twothirds of offspring receive a class I allele from their father, and are thus predisposed to obesity.’ HN
Henry Nicholls [email protected]
Adam Rutherford [email protected]
1043-2760/01/$ – see front matter © 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.