Screening May Narrow Breast Cancer Gap
Regular mammography screening can help narrow the breast cancer gap between black and white women, according to a retrospective study of patients diagnosed with the disease between January 2001 and December 2006 at Rush University Medical Center and Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
"The results suggest that poor prognostic biological factors such as receptor status and tumor grade, once thought to be innate and immutable, may be significantly ameliorated by regular mammography screening, especially in black women," says David Ansell, MD, chief medical officer at Rush and senior author of the study, published this August in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment. "This is a unique finding that will require further exploration."
Earlier studies have shown that black women in Chicago are more than twice as likely as their white counterparts to die of breast cancer. They also are more likely to reach later stages of the disease and to have larger and more biologically aggressive tumors.
The new research showed, however, that black and white women who had received regular breast cancer screening — defined as having had a mammogram within two years of breast cancer diagnosis — developed later-stage disease at the same rate. The study also demonstrated that breast cancer patients who had received regular mammograms were more likely than those who had not undergone regular screenings to have hormone receptor-positive disease — a finding that suggests early detection may help blunt the development of negative prognostic biological characteristics.
Investigational Compound May Treat Social Withdrawal in Patients With Fragile X and Autism
STX 209, an investigational compound that targets underlying brain mechanisms in fragile X syndrome, may effectively treat the core symptom of social withdrawal and other behavioral impairments associated with fragile X and autistic spectrum disorder, according to a study authored by Elizabeth Berry-Kravis, MD, professor of pediatrics, neurological sciences and biochemistry at Rush.
"There are no FDA-approved treatments for fragile X syndrome, and the available options help secondary symptoms but do not effectively address the underlying brain impairments in fragile X syndrome," Berry-Kravis says. "This is the first large-scale study that is based on the molecular understanding of fragile X syndrome and suggests that the core symptoms may be amenable to pharmacologic treatment."
In the study, published Sept. 19 in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the compound improved symptoms particularly in fragile X patients with significant social deficits or autism, suggesting that it might also be an effective treatment for at least some people with other forms of autism.