Friday, March 22, 2013

Gene Therapy Could Treat Cancer, Study Finds

A clinical trial using a patient's own immune system to produce remissions in adults with acute leukemia could be a major breakthrough in the fight against all different kinds of cancer.
The new study, published Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine, took five patients with untreatable cancer, and using their own immune systems, injected genetic material into the patient's white cells to turn them into cancer fighters. The modified white cells then went out in the body and destroyed all the cancer cells, causing the patients to go into remission, according to the study

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Mental-health guide accused of overreach

Dispute grows over revisions to diagnostic handbook.

Psychologist David Elkins had modest ambitions for his petition. He and his colleagues were worried that proposed changes to an influential handbook of mental disorders could classify normal behaviours as psychological conditions, potentially leading to inappropriate treatments. So they laid out their concerns in an open letter, co-sponsored by five divisions of the American Psychological Association in Washington DC. "I thought, 'Well, maybe we'll get a couple or maybe 30 signatures'," says Elkins, an emeritus professor at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California.

But the letter, posted online on 22 October (, touched a nerve. Within 10 days more than 2,800 people had signed it, many identifying themselves as mental-health professionals

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