You Can Control Your Asthma

World Asthma Day is an annual event organized by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA). The event raises awareness about asthma and works to improve asthma care around the world. This year’s theme is “You Can Control Your Asthma”. It aims to continue the focus on asthma control described in the latest version of the GINA guidelines [1].

World Asthma Day 2011

Addition of Immunotherapy Boosts Pediatric Cancer Survival

Administering a new form of immunotherapy to children with neuroblastoma, a nervous system cancer, increased the percentage of those who were alive and free of disease progression after two years. The percentage rose from 46 percent for children receiving a standard therapy to 66 percent for children receiving immunotherapy plus standard therapy, according to the study in the Sept. 30, 2010, New England Journal of Medicine. The randomized phase III clinical trial was coordinated by the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), a national consortium of researchers supported by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the NIH.

Lifetime Immunity From the Flu

Scientists report in the current issue of the journal Nature Structural and Molecular Biology the isolation of a group of high-affinity antibodies that are potent inhibitors of a wide range of influenza viruses, including the H5N1 avian flu, the 1918 Spanish flu and some seasonal strains [1]. The antibodies may someday be used to create a vaccine that provides lifetime immunity from the flu.

Seasonal flu hospitalizes an average of 226,000 people in the U.S. annually, killing 36,000 every year [2]. Influenza A viruses have been associated with an increasing number of deaths; from 1990 — 1999, the greatest mean number of flu deaths were associated with influenza A (H3N2) viruses [3]. Each season, between one quarter- and a half-million people die of influenza worldwide [4].