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Jul 03, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- CHEMO/STEM CELLS GIVES NO ADVANTAGE

Researchers say combining high-dose chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant does not improve outcomes after surgery for some breast cancer patients. A multi-center study done through University Hospitals of Cleveland and Case Western Reserve University could alter the treatment approach for patients with primary breast cancer that has spread to the regional lymph nodes, says Dr. Hillard M. Lazarus. The researchers found for these women the chemo helped kill more cancer cells but the total treatment also had potentially deadly complications for patients. The bottom line, however, was the combined treatment did not improve survival rates.


A study by Purdue University researchers shows costlier pharmaceuticals might provide a better quality of life for patients. The pharmacists analyzed the relationship between a number of different pharmaceutical products and the health improvements reported by patients who took them. Their study found a strong correlation between the price of pharmaceuticals and their impact on patient quality of life. "These results are not limited to drugs for any single ailment," said Matthew Murawski, associate professor of pharmacy administration. "We compared the level of improvement reported by patients suffering from many different conditions and found when it comes to improving your health, you typically get what you pay for."


Two fertilization techniques used to help parents conceive children are safe, according to a long-running study. Researchers in Madrid compared children conceived through IVF -- in vitro fertilization of an egg by sperm in a lab dish -- and ICSI -- fertilizing an egg by injecting a single sperm into it -- with children conceived normally. They found both assisted reproductive techniques are safe and children conceived through them are healthy and, in general, doing as well as children conceived by natural means. The study did find a moderately higher rate of malformations among the ICSI children and this is still being analyzed, but researchers believe the apparent increase could be due to selection bias in the control group of children in the study.


A study in the medical journal Thorax finds young children who regularly eat products containing milk fat are less likely to develop asthma. Researchers assessed the food consumption of 2,978 Dutch children aged 2 years, and related this to asthma symptoms at age 3. Asthma at age 3 was lower in children who ate full cream milk and butter daily than in those who did not. Similarly, wheezing was less in children who consumed milk products -- including yogurt and chocolate milk -- and butter daily than in those who did not. Daily consumption of brown bread was also associated with lower rates of asthma and wheezing. Children who had fruit juice and vegetables daily had lower asthma rates than other children, but the differences were not statistically significant.


(EDITORS: For more information about BREAST CANCER, contact Eileen Korey at (216) 844-3825 or e-mail For PHARMACEUTICALS, Emil Venere, (765) 494-2079 or, for CONCEPTION, Margaret Willson, 44Wijga, +31 30 274 3575 or

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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