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Pomegranate juice for cancer therapies

New therapies for preventing cancer may be on their way as scientists have identified components in pomegranate juice that inhibit the movement of cancer cells.

Researchers at the University of California have found that these components also weaken cancer cells' attraction to a chemical signal that promotes the metastasis of prostate cancer to the bone.

The research could lead to new therapies for preventing cancer metastasis. Manuela Martins-Green applied pomegranate juice on laboratory-cultured prostate cancer cells that were resistant to testosterone.

The researchers found that the pomegranate juice-treated tumour cells that had not died with the treatment showed increased cell adhesion and decreased cell migration.

"Having identified them, we can now modify cancer-inhibiting components in pomegranate juice to improve their functions and make them more effective in preventing prostate cancer metastasis, leading to more effective drug therapies.

"Because the genes and proteins involved in the movement of prostate cancer cells are essentially the same as those involved in the movement of other types of cancer cells, the same modified components of the juice could have a much broader impact in cancer treatment," said Martins-Green.

Cymbalta may relieve pain from breast cancer treatment

A new study has found that a drug usually used to treat depression and anxiety disorder helped in reducing joint and muscle pain linked with a breast cancer treatment.

The women in the University of Michigan study were taking aromatase inhibitors, a type of drug designed to block the production of estrogen, which fuels some breast cancers.

The study looked at the drug duloxetine, or Cymbalta, which is used to treat depression and generalized anxiety disorder. It's also been shown to work in multiple other chronic pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia and, more recently, osteoarthritis.

The study found that out of 29 patients evaluated, nearly three-quarters witnessed decrease in pain by at least by 30 percent. On average, after eight weeks of treatment, pain scores declined 61 percent. Only one in five patients stopped taking duloxetine because of side effects.

Viruses could be playing a role in weight gain

Think it's bad diet and lack of exercise that's making you gain those extra kilos? You might be wrong, as a new study has suggested that the real culprit could be some viruses.

Researchers said that it could be due to a combination of issues, including viruses or something else that affects cells or organs.

Scientists noticed that laboratory rats and mice on strict diets had gained weight just as domestic pets and feral animals living around humans had. To trace the reason, they looked at more than 20,000 animals from 24 populations of eight species living in or around industrialised societies.

"Surprisingly we find that over the past several decades, average mid-life body weights have risen among primates and rodents living in research colonies, as well as among feral rodents and domestic dogs and cats,'' they said.

In female mice they found an 11.8 per cent increase in body weight per decade from 1982, female cat weight had increased 13.6 per cent per decade, and male dogs had experienced a 2.2 per cent increase.  Apart from obvious explanations such as over-eating and lack of exercise, there are many others, including the accumulation of endocrine-disrupting chemicals, and that obesity is of infectious origin, they said.

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