Thursday, April 2, 2015

FDA grants orphan drug status to NBI-77860 for treatment of congenital adrenal hyperplasia



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Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: NBIX) announced that NBI-77860, a proprietary corticotropin releasing factor 1 (CRF) receptor antagonist, has been granted orphan drug status by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) a disease that affects approximately 20,000-30,000 people in the United States.

"We are very pleased that the FDA has granted NBI-77860 orphan status to treat congenital adrenal hyperplasia, a devastating disease that is a significant challenge for both clinicians and patients," said Malcolm Lloyd-Smith, Chief Regulatory Officer of Neurocrine Biosciences. "This status represents a significant regulatory milestone for the CAH program and underscores the importance of bringing a safe and effective CAH therapy to market. We look forward to the results from our recently initiated 1401 Study of adolescents with classic CAH, in 2015."

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Long-acting drug effectively prevents HIV-like infection in monkeys

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Cabotegravir (USAN  and INN ) (also known as S/GSK1265744 or previously referred to by the research code GSK744) is an investigational new drug under development for the treatment of HIV infection. It is an integrase inhibitor, with a carbamoyl pyridone structure similar to dolutegravir. In investigational studies, the agent has been packaged intonanoparticles (GSK744LAP) conferring an exceptionally long half-life of 21–50 days following a single dose. In theory, this would make possible suppression of HIV with dosing as infrequently as once every three months.
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HIV researchers hope a new compound, known as cabotegravir, could make dosing easier for some because the drug would be administered by injection once every three months. A clinical trial testing long-acting cabotegravir's safety and acceptability has already begun at multiple U.S. sites including The Rockefeller University Hospital. Meanwhile two new studies, including one conducted by researchers at the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center (ADARC) and Rockefeller University, published today (January 15) inScience Translational Medicine, show that long-acting cabotegravir injections are highly protective in a monkey model of vaginal transmission of a virus similar to HIV.
"Clinical trial results have demonstrated that the effectiveness of preventive oral medications can range with results as high as 75 percent effective to as low as ineffective, and a lot of that variability appears to hinge on the patient's ability to take the pills as prescribed," says study researcher Martin
Markowitz, a professor at Rockefeller University and ADARC. "Long acting cabotegravir has the potential to create an option that could improve adherence by making it possible to receive the drug by injection once every three months."

Developed by ViiV Healthcare and GlaxoSmithKline, and previously known as GSK744 LA, cabotegravir is an antiretroviral drug. Antiretrovirals interfere with HIV's ability to replicate itself using a host cell and they are used to treat an HIV infection or to prevent those at high risk from acquiring it in the first place.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

In continuation of my update on Century-old drug reverses autism-like symptoms in fragile X mouse model.

In continuation of my update on Suramin

Researchers previously reported that a drug used for almost a century to treat trypanosomiasis, or sleeping sickness, reversed environmental autism-like symptoms in mice. Now, a new study suggests that a genetic form of autism-like symptoms in mice are also corrected with the drug, even when treatment was started in young adult mice.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Venom of cone snails provides leads for possible treatment of cancer...



Structure of the conotoxin MrVIB found in Conus marmoreus (redrawn from the Journal of Biological Chemistry)


There are approximately 500 known species in the genus Conus, and each have their own distinct venom.  These toxins are aptly named conotoxins.  Conotoxins are small, structured peptide toxins.  This means they are bonded by peptide bonds, which are bonds between the carboxylic end of one amino acid to the amine end of another.  These peptides work by targeting and blocking ion channels of either the voltage-gated or ligand-gated class.  These ion channels are where action potentials in neurons are created.  Therefore, if no ions can get through to the neuron, no action potentials can be made and sent to other neurons, and the prey organism is paralyzed.  It is most likely that differentConus members target different specific ion channels, depending on the animals they feed on.

While considered a delicacy in some parts of the world, snails have found a more intriguing use to scientists and the medical profession offering a plethora of research possibilities. Cone snails are marine mollusks, just as conch, octopi and squid, but they capture their prey using venom. The venom of these marine critters provides leads for detection and possible treatment of some cancers and addictions. Frank Marí, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in FAU's Charles E. Schmidt College of Science at Florida Atlantic University, has focused his research on cone snail venom and has published a study in the current issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

"The venom produced by these animals immobilizes prey, which can be worms, other snails and fish," said Marí. "The venom is an extraordinary complex mixture of compounds with medicinal properties."

Friday, March 27, 2015

PF-114 shows promise in therapy-resistant CML, Ph-positive ALL






PF-114, a selective tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI), is active against native and mutated forms of the BCR–ABL oncogene in Philadelphia chromosome (Ph)-positive leukaemias, according to preclinical cellular and in vivo results published in Leukemia.

Martin Ruthardt, from Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany, and colleagues found that PF-114 was more selective than the second-generation TKIs dasatinib and nilotinib as well as the third-generation TKI ponatinib, which they speculate could reduce the potential for adverse effects.

At a 100 nM concentration, equivalent to an active plasma concentration, PF-114 inhibited at least 90% activity of 11 kinases compared with 47 and 36 kinases suppressed by ponatinib and dasatinib, respectively. Nilotinib blocked only four kinases at this concentration, but extrapolating the data to its clinically relevant concentration of 4 µM resulted in the number of inhibited kinases increasing to 21.

In cell-free assays, PF-114 inhibited not only native ABL kinase but also versions of the enzyme harbouring various clinically relevant mutations, including T315I. The agent also suppressed the proliferation of Ph-positive cell lines derived from patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) or acute lymphatic leukaemia (ALL).

Additionally, PF-114 was effective against patient-derived long-term cultures, including those responsive and resistant to TKIs as well as one with nonmutational TKI-resistance.

Treatment with PF-114 significantly increased the median survival of mice transplanted with cells expressing the native or T315I mutant form of p185BCR–ABL, inducing a CML-like disease, compared with untreated mice, from 28 days to 39 days and 68 to 132 days, respectively.

Ref : http://www.nature.com/leu/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/leu2014326a.html

Thursday, March 26, 2015

U-M researchers identify how amlexanox drug improves metabolism of sugar



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Amlexanox (trade name Aphthasol) is an anti-inflammatory antiallergic immunomodulator used to treat recurrent aphthous ulcers (canker sores), and (in Japan) several inflammatory conditions. This drug has been discontinued in the U.S

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Researchers at the University of Michigan have identified how a promising drug in clinical trials for the treatment of obesity and related metabolic disorders improves the metabolism of sugar by generating a new signal between fat cells and the liver.

In addition to illuminating how the drug, amlexanox, reverses obesity, diabetes and fatty liver disease, the findings suggest a new pathway for future treatments. The research was published Jan.12 in Nature Communications.

Investigators in the lab of Alan Saltiel, the Mary Sue Coleman Director of U-M's Life Sciences Institute, had previously discovered that this drug, which had been used in the treatment of asthma, also has the ability to cause weight loss and improve diabetes in obese mice.

The current study revealed that amlexanox exerts its effects through a specialized type of fat cell by increasing the level of a second messenger molecule called cAMP. In turn, cAMP increases the rate by which cells "burn" fat so that the animal loses weight. But amlexanox also triggers the release of the hormone interleukin-6 from these fat cells, which then travels in the circulation to the liver. In the livers of diabetic mice, interleukin-6 reduces production of glucose, so that overall blood sugar is lowered.

"We know that amlexanox works to reverse obesity and insulin resistance in part by resolving chronic inflammation and increasing energy expenditure, but that's not the whole story of the drug's effects," said Shannon Reilly, first author of the study. "Understanding how the drug also enables crosstalk between fat cells and the liver in obese mice allows us to see more of the amlexanox picture--and also sheds light on communication between different tissues in the body."


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Review shows that fish compound can help combat cardiovascular disease



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Urotensin-II (U-II) is a peptide ligand, initially isolated from the neurosecretory system of the Goby fish (Gillichthys mirabilis). For many years it was thought that U-II does not exhibit significant effects in mammalian systems; a view quickly overturned when it was demonstrated that Goby U-II produces slow relaxation of mouse anococcygeus muscle, in addition to contraction of rat artery segments. In 1998, the cDNA encoding a U-II precursor was cloned in humans, unequivocally demonstrating its existence in mammalian species.The vasoconstriction it induces can cause or exacerbate hypertension, congestive heart failure, and coronary artery disease.
In fish, U-II is secreted at the back part of the spinal cord, in a neurosecretory center called uroneurapophysa, and is involved in the regulation of the renal and cardiovascular systems. In mammals, it is involved in the regulation of the cardiovascular system.
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A major international review of a peptide originally found in fish that could be used in the battle against cardiovascular disease has been published.

Professor David Lambert from the University of Leicester's Department of Cardiovascular Sciences contributed to the review, which has been largely written by the International Union of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology (IUPHAR) subcommittee, to pull together the vast literature on Urotensin II (UII), a peptide first isolated from teleost fish.

UII activates a G protein-coupled receptor called UT to modulate a number of signalling pathways including intracellular Calcium. Interestingly, the peptide can constrict some blood vessels yet dilate others.

The review, which is published in the high impact journal Pharmacological Reviews, has shown that UII can modulate a vast array of biologic activities encompassing the cardiovascular system, kidneys and central nervous system.

Professor Lambert said: "We have been working on this exciting peptide for a number of years; it exhibits a very interesting pharmacological profile. Design and evaluation of small molecule drugs has potential for use in the treatment of several cardiovascular diseases."

Review shows that fish compound can help combat cardiovascular disease

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Aptose begins APTO-253 clinical study in patients with relapsed or refractory hematologic malignancies



LOR253 structure


Description of APTO-253 (LOR-253): APTO-253, also known as LOR-253, LT-253,  is a small molecule inhibitor of human metal-regulatory transcription factor 1 (MTF-1) with potential antitumor activity. MTF-1 inhibitor LOR-253 inhibits MTF-1 activity and thereby induces the expression of MTF-1 dependent tumor suppressor factor Kruppel like factor 4 (KLF4). This subsequently leads to the downregulation of cyclin D1, blocking cell cycle progression and proliferation. This agent also causes decreased expression of genes involved in tumor hypoxia and angiogenesis
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Aptose Biosciences Inc. (NASDAQ: APTO, TSX: APS), a clinical-stage company developing new therapeutics and molecular diagnostics that target the underlying mechanisms of cancer, today announced dosing of the first patient in its Phase 1b clinical study of APTO-253 in patients with relapsed or refractory hematologic malignancies. APTO-253 is a first-in-class inducer of the Krüppel-like factor 4 (KLF4) tumor suppressor gene, and the only clinical-stage compound targeted for patients with suppressed KLF4 levels.

"Epigenetic suppression of the KLF4 gene has been reported as a key transforming event in acute myeloid leukemia and high-risk myelodysplastic syndromes, and Aptose is a pioneer in advancing KLF4 induction as a new therapeutic approach for the treatment of these patient populations," commented William G. Rice, Ph.D., Chairman, President and CEO.







Aptose begins APTO-253 clinical study in patients with relapsed or refractory hematologic malignancies

Monday, March 23, 2015

Malaria combination drug therapy for children







A drug combination of artemisinin-naphthoquine should be considered for the treatment of children with uncomplicated malaria in settings where multiple parasite species cause malaria according to Tim Davis from University of Western Australia, Fremantle, Australia and colleagues in new research published in this week's PLOS Medicine.

The authors compared the current recommended therapy for uncomplicated malaria in children in Papua New Guinea, artemether-lumefantrine, with a different combination therapy, artemisinin-naphthoquine. Using a randomized, controlled trial study design including 186 children with Plasmodium falciparum infections and 47 children with Plasmodium vivax infections, the researchers found that artemisinin-naphthoquine was non-inferior to (no worse than) artemether-lumefantrine for treating Plasmodium falciparum (a difference of 2.2% [95% confidence interval ?3.0% to 8.4%] for reappearance of infection within 42 days) but was more effective for treating Plasmodium vivax (a difference 70.0% [95% confidence interval 40.9%-87.2%] for reappearance of infection within 42 days).
The authors conclude, "[t]he efficacy, tolerability, and safety of three daily doses of artemisinin-naphthoquine suggest that this regimen should be considered together with other currently available effective [artemisinin combination therapies] for treatment of uncomplicated malaria in [Papua New Guinea] and similar epidemiologic settings with transmission of multiple Plasmodium species."

Ref http://aac.asm.org/content/56/5/2465.full

Friday, March 20, 2015

Drug stimulates brown fat, boosts metabolism

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We know that, Mirabegron (formerly YM-178, trade name Myrbetriq, Betmiga in Spain) is a drug for the treatment of overactive bladder. It was developed by Astellas Pharma and was approved in the United States in July 2012.  Mirabegron activates the β3 adrenergic receptor in the detrusor muscle in the bladder, which leads to muscle relaxation and an increase in bladder capacity. 











Previous studies have found that brown fat can be coaxed into action by activating the β3-adrenergic receptor, which is expressed on the surfaces of brown and white fat cells, as well as on cells of the urinary bladder and other tissues. With these findings in mind, investigators wondered whether mirabegron, a drug that targets the β3-adrenergic receptor and was recently approved to treat overactive bladder, might help keep people's weight in check.


In all 12 men enrolled in the study, 200 milligrams of mirabegron led to higher brown fat metabolic activity, and at its peak level in the blood it increased the men's resting metabolic rate by 203 calories per day. While the dose was higher than the 50 milligram dose approved for overactive bladder, the treatment was well tolerated. All of the study participants were young, healthy individuals who had not previously taken mirabegron.
"Brown adipose tissue, or brown fat, produces β3-adrenergic receptor at levels higher than nearly every other organ in the body. We showed that a one-time dose of the drug mirabegron stimulates human brown adipose tissue so that it consumes glucose and burns calories," said lead author Dr. Aaron Cypess, who conducted the work at Joslin Diabetes Center and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, affiliates of Harvard Medical School, and is now at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health.
The findings suggest that drugs that activate the β3-adrenergic receptor may be a promising treatment for obesity. "Prior to our work, the only known way to activate human brown adipose tissue was through cold exposure. While inexpensive, this approach is generally not well tolerated over the long term, and there is significant variability in people's responses," said Dr. Cypess. "In addition, once the cold exposure is removed, the effect usually turns off rather quickly."