Wednesday, August 10, 1994 - The Michigan Daily - 3
nr:i'U' treatment may
aid coronary surgery
Virginia Smith gets her Persian cat ready at the Mid-Michigan Cat Fanciers Convention and Competition.
MSA changes student health-care plan
By Naomi Snyder
DAILY STAFF REPORTER
A new genetic treatment developed
by University scientists and research-
ers may significantly cut down the cost
of coronary angioplasty surgery.
ers, which is published in the Aug. 5
Americans who undergo coronary
The surgery, also known as the
"balloon therapy,"uses a balloon cath-
eter to unclog blocked arteries that
cause heart disease. But 40 percent of
those who undergo the surgery require
further angioplasty surgery because
smooth muscle cells build up in their
arteries, blocking them again.
University researchers, working in
the laboratories of Elizabeth and Gary
Nabel, are working to combat the re-
blockage problem, called restenosis.
Restenosis cannot be cured using
drugs, because cell-killing medication
used to attack the buildup of smooth
muscle cells also damage normal cells
and pass through the body too quickly.
"No other attempts have worked to
stop restenosis.None of our drug thera-
pies have worked. This new procedure
holds some promise, but it will take
Muller, a cardiologist who performs
angioplasty procedures with the Uni-
versity Medical Center.
The new technique will affect the
problematic cells while leavingnormal
found a way to introduce a virus con-
taining the gene thymidine kinase into
the DNA of the smooth muscle cells,
which makes the cells susceptible to
In the research, smooth muscle cell
growth was reduced by 50 to 90 per-
cent in pig arteries. Pig arteries are
'This new procedure
holds some promise but
it will take some time
to develop it.'
- Dr. David Muller
similar to humans because they also
experience re-blockage after coronary
But the research will take time to
reach those with heart disease.
"It will take a couple of years to test
(the new procedure) on humans," said
Dr. DavidGordon, an associate profes-
sor of pathology who was involved in
the study. "We have to get involved
with the Food and Drug Administra-
tion and they have rules about who you
can use as test subjects and so forth."
First the researchers must do more
tests on 25 pigs, which will be fed a
high-fat diet until their arteries are
Plaque and lesions only take a year
to build up in the arteries of pigs, while
in humans they take 30-40 years.
Researchers have tested the proce-
dure on healthy pig arteries and will
now have to test the effect of the new
gene therapy on arteries grown rigid
and narrow by plaque buildup, which is
the cause of heart attacks.
the viability of the new procedure.
"We're very excited about it," Gor-
don said. "This is a treatment that has
been suggested regarding tumors, but
it is the first time it has been used to go
after arterial disease. I would speculate
that this treatment, if it can be trans-
formed into the clinical arena, should
create substantial savings."
By Cathy Boguslaski
DAILY STAFF REPORTER
Health care reform has hit Ann
Arborasthe MichiganStudent Assem-
bly changes the health insurance plan it
offers to students as of Aug. 24.
The new policy should provide more
complete, easier-to-understand cover-
ge, said Heather Lowman, adminis-
trative coordinator of MSA.
The premiums students will pay for
thenewinsurancehave increased, from
$388 for a single student under the old
policy to $443 under the new one.
Lowman said the changes in the prices
are a result of the better coverage stu-
dents will get.
Under the new policy, students will
4 longer have a $150 limit on pre-
scription drugs per illness. The new
policy provides 80 percent of the pay-
ment for unlimited prescriptions, with
the student responsible for paying the
Continued from page 1
prices were unfair, if anything could be
done about them and who should bear
"Books are expensive," said Ned
Shure, vice president of the Michigan
College Book Company. "The fact is
books come at a low discount com-
pared to most other retail products."
The College Board estimated three
years ago that, on the average, students
spend less than $500 a year for books
"We don't pick the books or set
nces," Shure said. "It's all done by
faculty and publishers."
"In the past where books had not
had graphs, colors and what not, books
now have (such features) ... and of
other 20 percent.
The coverage for wisdom teeth re-
moval has also been changed. The old
policy only provided $100 per tooth,
which often did not meet the cost of the
the "reasonable andcustomary cost"of
having that procedure done in this area,
meaning the policy would cover most
wisdom tooth removal completely.
Lowman said MSA insures about
2,000 students, most of them graduate
students. Many undergraduates are still
covered under their parents' policies,
Maureen Feldman, an LSA senior,
said that MSA should publicize its in-
surance programmore. "I think there's
only like one pamphlet out on it. There
definitely should be more information
available. I think that that's hard, be-
cause a lot of people are not very inter-
ested in MSA," Feldman said.
MSA members decided to change
the insurance when they looked at the
old policy and found that they wanted
The assembly is happy with the
new coverage, Lowman said. "It's like
a breath of fresh air," she said. "I think
we have better communication with
this new company."
Lowman saidthatthe new company
seems to be more efficient and that its
policy is easier to understand. "There
was kind of a hidden deductible in the
old policy. In the new policy, the de-
ductible is more up front," she said.
Twelve companies bid on the cov-
erage MSA said it wanted, including
the company that provided the old
policy, Security Life Insurance Com-
pany of America. MSA accepted the
lowest bid that gave them the coverage
they wanted. The new policy will be
from Lamar Life Insurance Company.
course that impacts the price," said
Mildred Wilson, a policy analyst for
the Higher Education Committee. "The
University of Michigan has one of the
highest estimated price for textbook
Another complaint is the low resale
value of books, which some say is due
to publishers printing unwarranted re-
visions, and faculty choosing different
books each term and turning in late
"The life of a textbook is 1.5 semes-
ters," said Bill Marshall, a representa-
tive from Oakland University.
But Shure said the edition changes
are not that relevant. "Students could
use a previous edition," he said. "The
University ofMichiganisnotorious for
being one of the worst schools in the
whole state for late reporting of text-
book orders to bookstores in compari-
son to Michigan State, where there's
been a policy where there is some pres-
sure from the administration to the
faculty to get their book lists in."
Early book orders increase the
chance a student can sell back a book
and receive a higher price for it.
Sue Hammersmith, a dean at Ferris
State University, said that because of
the high cost of books, many students
do without them, cope in other ways or
drop out of school for lack of funds.
"Don'trequire studentstobuy books
if you're not going to use a substantial
majority of the books," she advised. "If
you're going to assign a chapter or two
put it in a library.... A number of (our)
faculty have donated money or books
to a lending library students can check
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