New Transdermal SARM Drug for Muscle-Wasting Offers Hope for Older Cancer Patients

Muscle wasting that occurs as a result of cancer negatively impacts the well-being and recovery prospects of millions of patients, particularly the rapidly-growing elderly populations in Western societies. Drugs called selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) offer hope for these patients, and a new SARM for transdermal administration is promising excellent efficacy without harming liver function and HDL levels. Results and conclusions were presented Tuesday at the joint meeting of the International Society of Endocrinology and the Endocrine Society: ICE/ENDO 2014 in Chicago.

SARMs are able to stimulate the growth of muscle with effects similar to those seen by use of traditional anabolic steroids but without the undesirable side effects of those established muscle-building drugs, in particular, the adverse effects on prostate health that can occur from their use.

Editor’s note: As stated above, drugs called SARMs may help counteract harmful muscle loss that occurs as a result of cancer in elderly patients. A new SARM was recently studied in the lab and in mice. Scientists say that it shows promising ability to stimulate growth of muscle, without harming liver function and without lowering blood levels of a molecule called HDL. Clinical trials to test the drug in volunteer patients will be needed to determine if the drug will help people with cancer.


Don't Believe the Daily Express, It Takes a Lot More Than Carrots to Beat Cancer

Another story about how some food holds the cure for cancer is making headlines in the Daily Express. This time the saviour is the humble carrot. But it isn’t its first time in the limelight. In March, the Daily Mail claimed that eating carrots is a way to avoid prostate cancer. But, as is the case more often than not, the scientific study published in the European Journal of Nutrition reveals that there is little data to make the claim whether the purported effect was specific to carrots more than any other vegetable.

“Many studies suggest that consumption of fruit and vegetables is associated with a reduced risk of a variety of cancers. But the charity organisation Cancer Research UK stresses, ‘the link between diet and cancer is complex and difficult to unravel’. That is an important caveat. There is little chance that the key to preventing one of the world’s deadliest diseases has been on our dinner plates the whole time.”


Commission on Cancer Identify “Top 5” Tests, Treatments to Question

“It is with an eye toward improved patient care and better outcomes that various medical specialties have willingly undertaken the self-censure of weeding out the potentially unnecessary tests, treatments and procedures in their fields of medicine.

“Through the ABIM foundation’s Choosing Wisely initiative, organizations from several medical specialties have been composing lists of medical tests, procedures and therapies that practitioners and patients may be wise to question.

“Because time is of the essence in cancer diagnosis and treatment, it is particularly important to not waste it with testing and/or treatment that may not be necessary or beneficial. To this end, the Commission on Cancer (CoC) lists the following tests/treatments to question.”