Health Highlights: Aug. 6, 2012

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Chemotherapy Might Backfire, Spur Cancer Growth: Study

In a surprise finding, scientists say that chemotherapy might prompt tumors to emit a substance that helps maintain malignancy and boost resistance to drug therapy.

Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle tested a form of chemotherapy on prostate cancer tissues and found that healthy cells damaged by the cancer therapy secreted more of a protein called WNT16B, which seems to boost the survival of cancer cells.

"The increase in WNT16B was completely unexpected," study co-author Peter Nelson told Agence France-Presse. "WNT16B, when secreted, would interact with nearby tumor cells and cause them to grow, invade, and importantly, resist subsequent therapy," he explained.

The findings, published Aug. 5 in Nature Medicine, were later confirmed in breast and ovarian tumors. The study authors say the insight might help explain why cancer often develops resistance to chemotherapy over time. It might also point to treatments that might help block that resistance.

"For example, an antibody to WNT16B, given with chemotherapy, may improve responses (kill more tumor cells)," Nelson told AFP.

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Possible Listeria Contamination Spurs Salad Products Recall

Over 13,000 pounds of meat and poultry salad products distributed nationwide are being recalled due to possible contamination of diced onions with the listeria bacterium.

In a notice on its website posted Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said that Garden Fresh Foods of Milwaukee, Wis., is recalling about 13,600 pounds of salad products. "The salads contain diced onions that are the subject of a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recall by Gill Onions, due to possible contamination with Listeria monocytogenes," the USDA said.

No reports of illnesses linked to consumption of the salads have yet been reported, the agency said.

The products include -- but are not limited to -- specific lots of "Finest Traditions Spiral Pasta and Chicken Salad," "Garden Fresh All White Meat Chicken Salad With Cranberries" and "Garden Fresh Reduced Fat Chicken Salad" (among others). The salads were produced between July 10 and July 16, 2012 and distributed to retailers and institutions across the United States, the USDA says.

For a full list of the recalled products, including product codes and lot numbers, head to the website of the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service at www.fsis.usda.gov.

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Posted: August 2012


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