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March 28, 1996


Male, female diabetics share cardiovascular disease rates, but not risk factors

New Pitt studies suggest that risk factors for cardiovascular disease are different for men with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) than for women who have IDDM. This may help to explain why IDDM increases heart disease risk more for women than for men.

The research also found that blood sugar level — a risk factor known to predict many complications of IDDM — does not predict disease in IDDM patients very well.

"Normally, men without diabetes have higher rates of cardiovascular disease than women. Our research has shown that diabetic men and women have similar rates of cardiovascular disease," said Trevor J. Orchard, Pitt professor of epidemiology and principal investigator of the studies. "Although their rates of cardiovascular disease are the same, the risk factors are different between men and women with diabetes." The findings were published in the American Journal of Epidemiology; Metabolism; and Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology.


Accurate, sensitive way found to detect bladder cancer

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) have discovered a way to detect bladder cancer that appears to be the most accurate and sensitive method to date.

The method involves detecting five nuclear matrix proteins (NMPs), natural molecules found in the nucleus of cells that are shed into the urine when cells break down.

"This group of NMPs is important in several ways. They are found only in one type of tissue, the bladder, and not in other normal body tissues. Moreover, these appear to be the first NMPs which are specific for one type of cancer only, in this case bladder cancer, and which are not found in other types of cancer," said Robert H. Getzenberg, principal investigator of the study and a Pitt assistant professor of pathology, surgery, medicine and pharmacology.

"This means that we can be certain that when we find these five NMPs, they are coming from bladder cancer and from nothing else," Getzenberg said.

Researchers say the detection method should vastly improve the initial diagnosis of bladder cancer and, in many cases, allow physicians to treat the disease earlier, when it is easier to cure. Traditional detection of early bladder cancer fails as much as half the time, they said.

Detection of recurrent bladder cancer also could be improved, helping the 80 percent of patients who suffer from the localized, recurrent disease.

Bladder cancer annually strikes more than 50,000 Americans and kills more than 11,000.

The findings were published in the April 1 issue of Cancer Research.

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