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American Thyroid Association's 77th Annual Meeting, Oct. 11-15, 2006

American Thyroid Association's 77th Annual Meeting

The American Thyroid Association's 77th annual meeting took place Oct. 11-15 in Phoenix, Ariz., and attracted over 1,000 participants from 47 states and more than 30 countries. The meeting featured groundbreaking scientific research on new thyroid cancer therapies and the importance of thyroid hormone in normal physiology and pathophysiology.

"The real strength of this meeting is that we blend basic science with translational research, clinical research and clinicians so you get the best of everything," said Susan Mandel, M.D., of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and clinical chair of the meeting. "You can see the evolution of diagnostic strategy and the investigation of disease at the basic level and take it way through to clinical diagnosis and clinical therapy. That's what makes it exciting."

During the meeting, there was excitement about new thyroid cancer therapies based on molecular medicine. "Thyroid cancer has been treated pretty traditionally for the last 40 or 50 years," said Mandel. "A lot of people respond, but if you didn't respond, it used to be there was no other treatment option. Several abstracts focusing on new therapies are based on molecular medicine for the treatment of this subgroup of patients we never had anything to offer in the past."

For example, a team led by Marcia S. Brose, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Pennsylvania, reported that the oral multi-kinase inhibitor Sorafenib yielded positive results in some papillary thyroid carcinoma patients for whom conventional therapy did not work.

"Recent clinical trials have shown that a new agent, Sorafenib, has clinical and biological activity for patients with metastatic papillary thyroid cancer," said Brose in a statement. "Our goal was to identify early effects of Sorafenib on tumors unresponsive to radioiodine through both clinical and histological studies and to ultimately increase the survival rates by attacking the tumor at an earlier stage."

Another research team led by Steven I. Sherman, M.D., of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, reported that Bortezomib, the first in a new drug class known as proteasome inhibitors, halted cancer progression in patients whose advanced differentiated thyroid cancer was unresponsive to traditional surgery and radioactive iodine treatment.

More discussion focused on the importance of ultrasound as a first-line diagnostic tool for patients with thyroid nodules and thyroid cancer.

A French team led by Olivier Esnault, of Saint-Louis Hospital in Paris, reported the first successful use of non-invasive high-intensity focused ultrasound to map and destroy thyroid nodules in goiter patients indicated for thyroid surgery.

"This study confirmed the feasibility and safety of the high-intensity focused ultrasound procedure," the researchers reported. "The histological lesions were clearly visible in most of the fully treated patients, particularly those who received higher energy."

More key research also revealed lapses in some physicians' knowledge about thyroid problems. A team led by Alex Stagnaro-Green, M.D., of the New Jersey Medical School in Newark, found that physicians incorrectly answered more than a third of survey questions about thyroid disease and pregnancy, suggesting that those treating pregnant women with thyroid ailments need to refresh their education about thyroid disease.

ATA: Ultrasound Can Spot Recurrent Thyroid Cancer

MONDAY, Oct. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Ultrasonography can be performed easily in the office setting and is a more accurate and less expensive method to detect recurrent thyroid cancer than standard serum thyroglobulin and whole body radioiodine tests, according to study findings presented at the 77th annual meeting of the American Thyroid Association in Phoenix.

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ATA: Peptide 'Fingerprint' Sign of Metastatic Thyroid Cancer

MONDAY, Oct. 16 (HealthDay News) -- A thyroid cancer-specific profile of serum peptides may serve as a novel biomarker for metastasis, according to the results of a study presented at the 77th annual meeting of the American Thyroid Association in Phoenix.

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ATA: Biomarker May Be Sign of Metastasis in Thyroid Cancer

MONDAY, Oct. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Papillary thyroid carcinoma may be more likely to metastasize than follicular variants of papillary carcinoma because the former is associated with higher vascular endothelial growth factor D expression, according to study results presented at the 77th annual meeting of the American Thyroid Association in Phoenix.

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ATA: Graves' Disease Safely Treated During Pregnancy

MONDAY, Oct. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Pregnant women with Graves' disease can be effectively treated without exposing the fetus to the risk of hypothyroidism, according to study findings presented at the 77th annual meeting of the American Thyroid Association in Phoenix.

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ATA: Neonatal Screening Sheds Light on Maternal Iodine

MONDAY, Oct. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Routine screening of newborns for thyroid stimulating hormone reveals valuable information about the maternal level of iodine during pregnancy, according to a study presented at the 77th annual meeting of the American Thyroid Association in Phoenix.

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Physician's Briefing
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