UBC Reports | Vol.
51 | No. 2 |
Feb. 3, 2005
In the News
Highlights of UBC Media Coverage in January 2005
Compiled by Brian Lin
Nose-to-Spine Transplants Hold Promise
UBC neuroscientist Jane Roskams has found that when stem
cells derived from noses of adult rats and mice are grown
in culture and transplanted into the damaged spinal cords
of rodents, those injuries are repaired and the nerves regenerated.
“When it comes to the nervous system, a rat is not
a human. So we have to have safety and efficacy studies in
animals first, and next there will be primate studies,”
Roskams told The Washington Times.
Roskams warns that much more research needs to be done and
ads on the Internet for unproven nose-to-spine transplants
available in Portugal and China have not been proven to be
“People are desperate. They hear the hype and the hope,
and they go for it ... but we have to prove first that these
procedures are safe. We have to do it right,” Roskams
Lending a Hand to Tsunami Survivors
UBC clinical professor Graham Reid is volunteering with Relief
International in Ullai, Sri Lanka.
Reid told The Seattle Post-Intelligencer that the community
appears to have been simply ignored for a week or so because
the tsunami took out the bridge that connected it to the main
road, making it too difficult to reach.
Canadian and Sri Lankan military personnel are now running
small boats to ferry people across the lagoon that separates
Ullai from the main road.
UBC forensic identification expert David Sweet says dental
records will likely be the first choice for identifying victims
of the tsunami tragedy because they are the fastest and least
“You’d want to start with dental records because
they’re quick and they’re very reliable,”
Sweet told Canadian Press. “They are also relatively
inexpensive compared with DNA samples.
“The comparisons can be done with X-rays or written
records or any other dental information available.”
No Mixing Warfarin and Celebrex
A new study by the Institute of Clinical Evaluative Sciences
has found that older patients taking the blood-thinner warfarin
have an elevated risk of potentially deadly stomach bleeding
if they also take common anti-inflammatory drugs for arthritis
such as ibuprofen and Naproxen.
Celebrex, Bextra and others Cox-2 inhibitors also pose a
UBC clinical pharmacologist and internist Jim Wright told
Canadian Press that the study has major implications because
a lot of physicians would likely choose Cox-2s for arthritis
patients already on warfarin, believing the drugs have a lower
risk than NSAIDs.
“I’ve been saying for a long time that these
drugs are probably more harmful than beneficial compared to
NSAIDs ... the evidence we have right now suggests we shouldn’t
Genetic Tests could Save Children
UBC researchers Michael Hayden and Bruce Carleton are working
to reduce adverse drug reactions that kill almost 30,000 North
American children every year by developing quick genetic tests
that can predict which children are slow and fast metabolizers.
The $8.4-million project involves pediatric centres across
Canada, which are tracking bad reactions and collecting DNA
and plasma samples from affected youngsters.
“We hope to have some of these things ready for the
clinic within five years, and we think we can live up to that,”
Hayden told CanWest News Service.