Friday, October 30, 2009

PEDOT helps Artificial Limbs To Feel Heat, Cold, Touch !


We know that, Poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) or PEDOT (or sometimes PEDT) is a conducting polymer based on 3,4-ethylenedioxylthiophene or EDOT monomer. Advantages of this polymer are optical transparency in its conducting state, high stability and moderate band gap and low redox potential. A large disadvantage is poor solubility which is partly circumvented in the PEDOT:PSS composite, and the PEDOT-TMA material. (Note: Pedot is a transparent conductor. These conductors are used for LCDs and solar cells, among others.)

But more interesting property of this polymer has been established by Physicians at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). They have discovered that the polymer (3, 4-ethylenedioxythiophene or PEDOT) helps stimulate and grow new nerve fibers in severed nerves of amputees. Stimulating and growing nerve fibers are one of the first steps in providing amputees more neurologic control over their prosthetics. PEDOT functions similar to a wire. In the study, the PEDOT was placed in a tube, along with other biologic and synthetic materials, and grafted into the severed leg nerve of a rat. New nerve fibers grew and took over function for the dead or dysfunctional severed nerve springing targeted muscles to life.

Most interesting is the other study, plastic surgeons designed a cup containing cells and muscle that fits around the severed leg nerve of a rat. The PEDOT polymer was wrapped around all of the cells and muscle in the cup to provide an electrical charge. Tests were conducted 114 days after the procedure. The study found new muscle and blood vessels formed, nerve fibers sprouted, and muscle fibers started compensating for lost nerves. After tickling the rat's paw, doctors' were able to pick up electrical signals indicating sensation had returned. Hope in the days to come "real feeling" to artificial limbs.....

One can read/view this slide show..

Vegetables Can Protect Unborn Child Against Diabetes

Expecting mothers who eat vegetables every day seem to have children who are less likely to develop type 1 diabetes, a new study from the Sahlgrenska Academy has revealed......


More......Vegetables Can Protect Unborn Child Against Diabetes

Triple-combo Drug for Antiviral-resistant H1N1 ?

In laboratory testing, the triple combination of oseltamivir (Tamiflu), amantadine (Symmetrel) and ribavirin showed a significant capacity to stop flu-virus growth, says Mark Prichard....


More...http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091027132426.htm

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Scientists Discover Gene that 'Cancer-Proofs' Rodent's Cells

In my earlier blog, I did mention about how naked mole rats may help cure cancer. The same researchers have achieved something interesting i.e., they have discovered have discovered the gene that "cancer-proofs the naked mole". For details...

Junk DNA Mechanism That Prevents Two Species From Reproducing Discovered

Cornell researchers have discovered a genetic mechanism in fruit flies that prevents two closely related species from reproducing, a finding that offers clues to how species evolve.


More ...Junk DNA Mechanism That Prevents Two Species From Reproducing Discovered

New 'Schizophrenia Gene' Prompts Researchers To Test Potential Drug Target

The newfound gene, dubbed KIAA1212, serves as a bridge linking two schizophrenia genes: DISC1 and AKT. Suspecting KIAA1212 as one of many potential binding partners interacting with DISC1, whose name is an acronym for "Disrupted-in-Schizophrenia," the researchers genetically shut down the production of DISC1 proteins in newly born neurons in the hippocampus region of an adult mouse brain. The hippocampus contains a niche where native stem cells give rise to fully developed new neurons


Read : New 'Schizophrenia Gene' Prompts Researchers To Test Potential Drug Target

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Now Cobroxin, available online......

In my earlier blog, I did mention about the launch of Cobroxin as OTC pain reliever. Now its available online. More...

New insight on skin pigmentation

Scientists at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm have now shown that most melanocytes actually appear later on in foetal development from an immature cell type that exists in the skin's nerve fibres (as against reported earlier, i.e., melanocytes bud off from the spinal cord at an early foetal stage and then migrate to the skin where they remain for the rest of their lives). These cells, called Schwann cell precursors (SCPs), can also be found in adults. In addition to this, the scientists have demonstrated how neuronal damage in adults can excite the maturation of melanocytes to form hyperpigmentation around the affected nerves.

Their results also shed new light on SCP cells, which were previously seen as an immature form of supportive cells the nervous system. The researchers describe how a change in cell signalling can make the SCP cells in the skin develop into pigment cells instead, and argue that SCP cells are really a kind of stem cell. Congrats for this achievement...

Ref : http://ki.se/ki/jsp/polopoly.jsp?a=85186&d=2637&l=en&newsdep=2637

Phase III clinical study of trabedersen....

In my earlier blogs, did mention about the "antisense drugs belonging to (Geron corporation) phosphorothioate antisense oligonucleotides" . I did also mention that there are many companies working with this field (antisense). Yes now Antisense Pharma GmbH has announced that, it has received the approval by Health Canada for its pivotal Phase III clinical trial SAPPHIRE in patients with recurrent or refractory anaplastic astrocytoma. The SAPPHIRE study is a randomized, active-controlled, clinical trial designed to confirm the efficacy and safety of the investigational drug trabedersen (AP 12009 a phosphorothioate antisense oligonucleotide), observed in previous clinical studies. Trabedersen is being investigated as monotherapy compared to current standard therapy with temozolomide (alternatively BCNU (carmustine)). The results of a previous randomized, active-controlled Phase IIb study show that the novel, targeted therapy holds significant promise. Hope in the days to come, more drugs from this class of compounds...

Ref :http://www.anticancer.de/index.php?id=38.

I found this video, interesting (mode of action of trabedersen)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Researchers Discover RNA Repair System In Bacteria

Researchers Discover RNA Repair System In Bacteria

Identifying Safe Stem Cells To Repair Spinal Cords

In my earlier blog, I did mention the euphoria surrounding the stem cell and how many companies tried to fool people by claiming that, they can cure anything and everything with the help of stem cell. But this is something really interesting......

Read .....Identifying Safe Stem Cells To Repair Spinal Cords

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Colcrys approved by FDA for prevention of gout flares...


Colchicine is a toxic natural product and secondary metabolite, originally extracted from plants of the genus  Colchicum (Autumn crocus, Colchicum autumnale, also known as "Meadow saffron"). It was used originally to treat rheumatic complaints, especially gout.

Recently (July 30, 2009 ), US FDA has approved Colcrys(TM) (colchicine, USP) for the prophylaxis (prevention) of gout flares. Colcrys was first approved by the FDA on for the treatment of acute gout flares when taken at the first sign of a flare. Colcrys is also indicated for the treatment of Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF) in adults and children 4 years of age or older. Colcrys is available via prescription at pharmacies nationwide.

As per the claim by the company (URL Pharma, Inc.) , two randomized clinical trials assessed the efficacy of colchicine 0.6 mg twice a day for the prophylaxis of gout flares in patients initiating treatment with uric-acid lowering therapy. In both trials, treatment with colchicine decreased the frequency of gout flares. Colchicine has been shown to be well-tolerated when paired with uric acid-lowering agents such as allopurinol. The dosing of Colcrys for gout flare prophylaxis is one tablet (0.6 mg) once or twice a day. The maximum daily dose for prophylaxis is two tablets (1.2 mg).

Uric acid-lowering agents are highly effective and well-established in chronic gout management, but the initiation of this therapy may sometimes trigger a gout flare, where as Colchicine has been proven to be effective in preventing flares when given in conjunction with uric acid-lowering therapy, except for the mild diarrhea. Hope patients suffering from gout will breathe a sigh of relief..

Ref : http://www.drugs.com/colcrys.html

Fluarix seasonal influenza vaccine approved by the FDA

Fluarix seasonal influenza vaccine approved by the FDA

Patients with chronic hepatitis C can benefit by drinking coffee

Patients with chronic hepatitis C and advanced liver disease who drink three or more cups of coffee per day have a 53% lower risk of liver disease progression than non-coffee drinkers according to a new study. The study found that patients with hepatitis C-related bridging fibrosis or cirrhosis who did not respond to standard disease treatment benefited from increased coffee intake. An effect on liver disease was not observed in patients who drank black or green tea.

Read......

Patients with chronic hepatitis C can benefit by drinking coffee

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mangosteen Juice for diabetic obese patients?

The Purple Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana), colloquially known simply as "the mangosteen", is a tropical evergreen tree, believed to have originated in the Sunda Islands and the Moluccas of Indonesia. The tree grows from 7 to 25 m (20–80 ft) tall. The rind (exocarp) of the edible fruit is deep reddish purple when ripe. Botanically an aril, the fragrant edible flesh can be described as sweet and tangy, citrusy with peach flavor and texture.

Mangosteen is typically advertised and marketed as part of an emerging category of novel functional foods sometimes called "superfruits" presumed to have a combination of 1) appealing subjective characteristics, such as taste, fragrance and visual qualities, 2) nutrient richness, 3) antioxidant strength and 4) potential impact for lowering risk against human diseases.

Though the antioxidant strength was known earlier, a recent study by Dr. Jay Udani and co workers is interesting and as per the claim by the authors, mangosteen juice has anti-inflammatory properties which could prove to be valuable in preventing the development of heart disease and diabetes in obese patients. For people drinking over half a liter of mangosteen juice a day, the degree of reduction in CRP levels was statistically significant – a reduction of 1.33mg/L compared to an increase of 0.9mg/L in the placebo group. Inflammation, as measured here by CRP, is a predictor of cardiovascular disease and a precursor of metabolic syndrome. Reducing inflammation in obese people is a treatment goal, and a natural treatment may be preferable to other treatments which may carry the risk of side effect. Though further studies with a larger population are required to confirm and further define the benefits of this juice, which was safe at all dosages tested its a good achievement. More...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Researchers Find Candidates For New HIV Drugs...

Researchers Find Candidates For New HIV Drugs

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Imatinib for the treatment of Scleroderma ?

We know that Imatinib (its mesylate salt, Novartis) is a drug used to treat certain types of cancer. It is used in treating chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) and a number of other cancers. It is the first member of a new class of agents that act by inhibiting particular tyrosine kinase enzymes, instead of non-specifically inhibiting rapidly dividing cells.

More over the discovery of this compound itself is interesting & its one drug obtained via, High Throughput Screening (HTS). Chemists used a HTS of chemical libraries to identify the molecule 2-phenylaminopyrimidine. This lead compound was then tested and modified by the introduction of methyl and benzamide groups to give it enhanced binding properties, resulting in imatinib. More interesting part of this drug is a recent discovery, i.e., GLEEVEC® (imatinib mesylate) can be used to treat Scleroderma. As per the claim by the researchers, until now no drug has been shown to be effective in treating scleroderma in a clinical trial. Several years ago, a small study provided some evidence that a chemotherapy drug called cyclophosphamide may help scleroderma patients, but the benefit was minimal and this drug causes side effects including infertility and secondary cancers.

The investigators reported an interim analysis of their results, although the study is ongoing. At one year, the investigators saw a 23 percent improvement in skin scores. The researchers also saw an improvement in forced vital capacity scores by 9.6 percent and diffusion capacity scores by 11 percent in the 18 patients who had completed one year of treatment. The lung function data was really exciting,” Dr. Spiera said. “In patients with scleroderma, you usually see lung function tests getting worse over time, and if doctors try a therapy for a year and a patient doesn’t get any worse, we get pretty excited. What is amazing to me in this study is that we actually saw improvements in both lung function tests. Congrats for this remarkable achievement.....

Ref : http://www.hss.edu/newsroom_drug-provide-treatment-scleroderma.asp

Using RNAi-based Technique, Scientists Find New Tumor Suppressor Genes In Lymphoma...

In one of my earlier blog about RNAi, I did mention about the award of USPTO notices to RXi Pharmaceuticals Corporation. But these results are really interesting, the CSHL team’s discovery stems from their use of a powerful technology called RNA interference (RNAi), which suppresses gene activity. The scientists employed RNAi to screen hundreds of candidate tumor-suppressors in living mice, using small hairpin-shaped RNA (shRNA) molecules that attach to specific genes with exquisite specificity and switch them off. In the newly reported experiments, this process revealed more than 10 genes whose deactivation accelerates the development of deadly lymphomas tumors of the immune system in the mice.

The CSHL team’s high-throughput screening strategy to functionally identify cancer genes has thus not only provided insights into cancer development but has also pointed the way toward therapeutic refinements. The team is planning a broader RNAi-based screen that will expand into other tumor models. For details...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

ECG For The Mind, Could Diagnose Depression In An Hour !

Read...


ECG For The Mind' Could Diagnose Depression In An Hour....

More

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Relationship between H pylori and gastric cancer

In my earlier blogs, I have covered lots of news about the Helicobacter pylori, (H. pylori a gram negative bacterium which infects about 50% of the world population). H. pylori colonization causes a strong systemic immune response. Various tools have been employed to identify the relationship between H pylori and gastric cancer, including c-DNA microarrays. However, most of these methods did not consider the systematic interaction of biological components. While reading science daily, I found this interesting info.

A research team from South Korea studied the complex reaction of gastric inflammation induced by H. pylori in a systematic manner using a protein interaction network.

The researchers drew a conclusion that immune-related proteins activated by H. pylori infection interact with proto-oncogene proteins. The hub and bottleneck proteins are potential drug targets for gastric inflammation and cancer.

Their study showed how a systematic approach such as the network construction produces meaningful information. It also offered a relatively easy and simple framework to understand the complexity of cellular interactions having functional importance. Therefore, the application of this tool may be an alternative to find important genes and drug targets in other diseases and in complex biological systems....

Ref : http://www.wjgnet.com/1007-9327/15/4518.asp

Fabled 'Vegetable Lamb' Plant Contains Potential Treatment For Osteoporosis

Fabled 'Vegetable Lamb' Plant Contains Potential Treatment For Osteoporosis

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Glucokinase activators, new class of drugs for the treatment of type 2 diabetes .....

Glucokinase activators (GKAs) represent a promising new class of drugs for the treatment of type 2 diabetes that act directly on both the pancreas and the liver. Glucokinase (GK) is a key enzyme in glucose-sensing tissues that regulates glucose homeostatasis. GKAs lower glucose levels by enhancing the ability of pancreatic beta cells to “sense glucose” and increase insulin secretion in a glucose-dependent manner. Simultaneously, GKAs increase the uptake and disposal of glucose in the liver, while simultaneously reducing the amount it produces.

For more details, read the link 
Drug Pipeline

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Small amounts of funding can produce big results !

I agree with the author if planned and executed his ideas in a systematic manner, one could achieve miracles. Though, Southern Research Institute, Birmingham (for its High Throughput Studies for drug resistant TB) tried the same idea (by paying some money for the newly synthesized chemicals), the approach suggested by the author is far relevant now than it was in those days.....


Read more :Big banks, big pharma, big problems - opinion - 12 October 2009 - New Scientist

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Human milk oligosaccharides protect infants against infection

An innovative process developed by Jennewein Biotechnologie GmbH allows for the first time ever the production of these scarce sugar molecules (Human milk oligosaccharides) for use as an ingredient in baby food and in additional food products. For details, read the link..


Human milk oligosaccharides protect infants against infection

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Minimally Invasive Procedure Effective For Treating Snoring, Study Finds

Minimally Invasive Procedure Effective For Treating Snoring, Study Finds

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New Target For Treating Leukemia Identified

New Target For Treating Leukemia Identified

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A special protien in the stomach against Helicobacter pylori ....

In my earlier blogs, I did mention with the help of Broccoli and Glutamine how one can avoid the stomach ulcer caused by H. pylori infection (which in turn lead to gastric adenocarcinoma and MALT lymphoma). But this is something interesting a special protein in the lining of the stomach has been shown to be an important part of the body’s defence against the stomach ulcer bacterium Helicobacter pylori in a new study from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg. The discovery may explain why the bacterium makes some people more ill than others.

The research team has shown that a protein called MUC1 found in the lining of the stomach is important for the body’s defence against the bacterium. Greatly magnified, MUC1 looks like a tree growing out of low bushes on the surface of the stomach. As MUC1 is taller than the other structures on the cell surface, Helicobacter pylori readily becomes attached to the protein and then rarely gets to infect the cell. As per the claim by the researchers MUC1 acts as a decoy which prevents the bacterium from coming into close contact with the cell surface. Genetic variations between people mean that MUC1 molecules vary in length, and this may be part of the reason why Helicobacter pylori makes some people more ill than others. Congrats for this improtant achievement..

Ref : http://www.plospathogens.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.ppat.1000617

Saturday, October 10, 2009

New Optical Technique an Easy Way To Detect TB Bacteria In Fluids ...

New Optical Technique Provides Easy Way To Detect TB Bacteria In Fluids

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Telomerase & Telomerase inhibition.......

When I read about the Nobel prize in Medicine, was really excited because the scientists who discovered the enzyme telomerase got the Nobel prize for the year 2009 and the reason for this is simple and obvious....

When I was working with my previous company (Innovasynth Technologies Limited, Khopoli), I had opportunity to learn lots of things (from Dr. Sergei Gryaznov of Geron Corporation) about the drugs with Telomerase inhibition activity. As for as my knowledge goes, there are many companies working on these class of compounds and hope in the days to come there will be many drugs from this class of compounds and antisense drugs.

About Telomerase :

Telomerase, is an enzyme that adds specific DNA sequence repeats to the 3' end of DNA strands in the telomerase regions, which are found at the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes. The telomeres contain condensed DNA material, giving stability to the chromosomes. The enzyme is a reverse transcriptase that carries its own RNA molecule. Though the existence of a compensatory shortening of telomere (telomerase) mechanism, was first predicted by Soviet biologist Alexey Olovnikov (1973), who also suggested the Telomere hypothesis of ageing and the Telomere relations to cancer. Carol Greider and Elizabeth Blackburn in 1985, discovered telomerase together with Jack Szostak. Greider and Blackburn have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Congrats for this remarkable achievement.


Telomerase inhibitors :

To safeguard against cancer, adult cells keep track of how many times that they have multiplied, and once they have reached a pre-set limit — often around 80 divisions — they die. Telomerase interferes with this record keeping. So if one can find a drug or gene therapy that interferes with telomerase, it could fight the unchecked growth of cancer cells. As per the claim by lead researcher (Mark Muller), 90% all cancer cells are telomerase rich. Geron corporation, is developing modified DNA molecule (for which Innovasynth, has tie up with Geron to provide the intermediate amidites). The oligonucleotides, which target the template region, or active site, of telomerase. Geron's work has focused oligonucleotides (GRN163 and GRN163L,) and as per the claim by the company, both of them have demonstrated highly potent telomerase inhibitory activity at very low concentrations in biochemical assays, various cellular systems and animal studies. Interestingly these compounds are direct enzyme inhibitors, not antisense compounds and smaller than typical antisense compounds or other oligonucleotide drug candidates. Both compounds use a special thiophosphoramidate chemical backbone and the company is hopeful of convincing clinical trial results. All the best...

Ref : 1. http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/2009/press.html
2. http://www.geron.com/products/productinformation/cancerdrug.aspx

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

2009 Nobel Prize for Chemistry......




This year's (2009) Nobel Prize in Chemistry is awarded to Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Thomas A. Steitz and Ada E. Yonath (from left to right respectively) for their studies of the structure and function of the ribosome.

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2009 awards studies of one of life's core processes: the ribosome's translation of DNA information into life. Ribosomes produce proteins, which in turn control the chemistry in all living organisms. As ribosomes are crucial to life, they are also a major target for new antibiotics. Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Thomas A. Steitz and Ada E. Yonath for having showed what the ribosome looks like and how it functions at the atomic level. All three have used a method called X-ray crystallography to map the position for each and every one of the hundreds of thousands of atoms that make up the ribosome.

This year's three Laureates have all generated 3D models that show how different antibiotics bind to the ribosome. These models are now used by scientists in order to develop new antibiotics, directly assisting the saving of lives and decreasing humanity's suffering. One can read more details with the link.

Congratulations to all of them for this remarkable achievement. Its interesting to note that Dr. Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, a doctorate in Physics has got nobel prize in CHEMISTRY.

As Indians, we should be really proud of this achievement and that too in the field of chemistry. It was after Har Gobind Khorana (
Medicine) in 1968, its V.Ramakrishnan in the Science field.

Ref : http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/chemistry/laureates/2009/




Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Eat strawberries to improve cholesterol levels

Eat strawberries to improve cholesterol levels

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Minocycline for stroke patients?

Minocycline hydrochloride, also known as minocycline (right structure), is a broad spectrum tetracycline antibiotic, and has a broader spectrum than the other members of the group. It is a bactriostatic antibiotic. As a result of its long half-life it generally has serum levels 2-4 times that of most other tetracyclines (150 mg giving 16 times the activity levels compared to 250 mg of tetracycline at 24–48 hours). It is primarily used to treat acne and other skin infections. Apart from the antibacterial activity, 'minocycline' is recognized as a DMARD (Disease-Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drug) by the American College of Rheumatology, which recommends its use as a treatment for mild rheumatoid arthritis.

A recent study by the Dr. Cesar V. Borlongan (University of South Florida, USA) has lead to some interesting result, i.e., minocycline can be used to treat the stroke patients !. As per the claim by the researchers this drug might be a better option, when compared with the thrombolytic agent tPA (the only effective drug for acute ischemic stroke) and more over only 2 % of ischemic stroke patients benefit from this treatment due to its limited therapeutic window.

During a stroke, a clot prevents blood flow to parts of the brain, which can have wide ranging short-term and long-term implications. This study recorded the effect of intravenous minocycline in both isolated neurons and animal models after a stroke had been experimentally induced. At low doses it was found to have a neuroprotective effect on neurons by reducing apoptosis of neuronal cells and ameliorating behavioral deficits caused by stroke. The safety and therapeutic efficacy of low dose minocycline and its robust neuroprotective effects during acute ischemic stroke make it an appealing drug candidate for stroke therapy claims the researchers. Congrats for this interesting finding...

Ref : http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2202/10/126/abstract

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Bacteria to control mosquitoes !

Bacteria could be used to control mosquitoes, prevent disease, study says

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Combination of Depagliflozin & Metaformin for type 2 diabatic ?

We knew that these two Depagliflozin (left) & Metaformin (right) compounds were being studied independently for type 2 diabetic condition. Dapagliflozin, an investigational compound, is a potential first-in-class SGLT2 inhibitor currently in Phase 3 trials under joint development as a once-daily oral therapy for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. SGLT2 inhibitors facilitate the elimination of glucose by the kidney, thereby returning serum glucose levels towards normal.

A recent study (24-week phase 3 clinical study by Bristol-Myers Squibb Company and AstraZeneca) demonstrated that the investigational drug dapagliflozin, added to metformin, demonstrated significant mean reductions in the primary endpoint, glycosylated hemoglobin level (HbA1c) and in the secondary endpoint, fasting plasma glucose (FPG) in patients with type 2 diabetes inadequately controlled with metformin alone, as compared to placebo plus metformin. Dapagliflozin is a novel, selective, sodium glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitor.

The study also showed that individuals receiving dapagliflozin had statistically greater mean reductions in body weight compared to individuals taking placebo. Results from the 24-week study were presented at the 45th European Association for the Study of Diabetes Annual Meeting. This is the first public presentation of dapagliflozin Phase 3 data.

More interestingly, data on weight loss and blood pressure may be important adjuvants to glycemic control and is of great importance and hope in the days to come the SGLT2 inhibitors ( improved glycemic control) will play an important role in the type 2 diabetes. Given the continued rising prevalence of type 2 diabetes, there is an urgent need to have drugs of this kind..

Ref : http://www.astrazeneca.com/media/latest-press-releases/Dapagliflozen_Study014_EASD?itemId=7108139

Retinoic acid may provide relief for ulcerative colitis !

We know that Retinoic acid is the oxidized form of Vitamin A. It functions in determining position along embryonic anterior/posterior axis in chordates. It acts through Hox genes, which ultimately control anterior/posterior patterning in early developmental stages. Retinoic acid acts by binding to heterodimers of the retinoic acid receptor (RAR) and the retinoid X receptor (RXR), which then bind to retinoic acid response elements (RAREs) in the regulatory regions of direct targets (including Hox genes), thereby activating gene transcription.

Recently when I was reading a paper, found this interesting fact that is "retinoic acid, could be a beneficial treatment for people suffering from ulcerative colitis and other irritable bowel diseases. Specifically the researchers found that retinoic acid helps suppress out-of-control inflammation, which is a hallmark of active ulcerative colitis.

Pharmaceutical strategies based on this research may offer a promising alternative to the current approaches of managing immune diseases including, IBD, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and so on, Aiping Bai, a researcher involved in the work from Nanchang University in Nanchang City, China claimed.

The studies ultimately found that treatment with retinoic acid reduced the inflammation in the colon by increasing the expression of FOXP3, a gene involved with immune system responses, as well as decreasing the expression of IL-17, a cytokine believed to cause inflammation. Because many experts believe that IL-17 directly relates to the uncontrolled inflammation seen in ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel disease, the discovery that retinoic acid reduces IL-17's ability to cause inflammation could accelerate the development of treatments for these chronic diseases.

Ref : http://www.jleukbio.org/cgi/content/abstract/86/4/959?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=Aiping+Bai&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&resourcetype=HWCIT

RXi receives USPTO notices of allowance for certain siRNA sequence-specific patent applications..

In my earlier blog (January 25, 2009), titled "Diverse use of Nucleic acids....." I did mention about the RNA interference (RNAi) technology. Yes the dream has come true now "RXi Pharmaceuticals Corporation" has received Notices of Allowance from USPTO for small interfering RNA (siRNA) sequences targeting superoxide dismutase (SOD1), Amyloid beta (A4) precursor protein (APP), interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase 4 (IRAK4), hepatocyte growth factor receptor (MET protooncogene) and cyclin-dependent kinase (cdk) inhibitor p27 (also known as MET protooncogene). Hope these class of compounds will get a boost and some new drugs from these class of compounds in the near future.....

More :
RXi receives USPTO notices of allowance for certain siRNA sequence-specific patent applications

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Saturday, October 3, 2009

NDA of Cladribine as a drug for Multiple Sclerosis !

When I was working with Innovasynth Technologies, Khopoli, I worked in the field of "antisense drugs" and as the company has tie up with many MNCs (working with these class of compounds) I had many times interacted with Serono, Pharmaceuticals (US) for some of the intermediates (oligonucleotides). When I read this article, I am happy there are many drugs still to be established as antisense drugs and more over this NDA (new drug application) is something to cherish.

We know that 2-chlorodeoxyadenosine, Cladribine (Leustatin) is drug used to treat hairy cell leukemia (leukemic reticuloendotheliosis).

As a purine analog, it is a synthetic anticancer agent that also suppresses the immune system. Chemically, it mimics the nucleoside adenosine and thus inhibits the enzyme adenosine deaminase, which interferes with the cell's ability to process DNA. It is easily destroyed by normal cells except for blood cells, with the result that it produces relatively few side effects and results in very little non-target cell loss.

Though it has been used to treat leukemic reticuloendotheliosis, other activities like B cell leukemias and lymphomas, such as mantle cell lymphoma are still to be established. Now EMD Serono has applied for this NDA with FDA. As per the claim by the company, Cladribine Tablets has the potential to be the first orally administered disease-modifying therapy available for people living with relapsing MS, as all disease-modifying therapies currently approved for the treatment of MS are parenteral therapies. Hope FDA will approve the drug and will help many patients with relapsing forms of multiple scleorosis will have a relief in the days to come..

Ref : http://www.emdserono.com/cmg.emdserono_us/en/images/Cladribine%20Tablets%20FDA%20Submission%20FINAL%20US%20FINAL_tcm115_44365.pdf

Friday, October 2, 2009

Herbicide as a catalyst to generate electricity from carbohydrates ?

In the recent times we have seen many research groups working on biofuels or alternative energy sources. This article is really interesting, here in the researchers (Brigham Young University) claim that with a help of a herbicide (they have'nt mentioned the name, but say a common herbicide which is cheap also) have developed a fuel cell – basically a battery with a gas tank – that harvests electricity from glucose and carbohydrates.

Deriving electrical energy from glucose and other carbohydrates under mild conditions is an important research objective because these biomolecules are abundant, renewable, have high energy density, and are convenient as fuels. The researchers Gerald Watt et.al., claim that viologen catalysts meet these demanding criteria by catalytically oxidizing glucose and other carbohydrates in a mildly alkaline solution, making possible a direct carbohydrate fuel cell. Formate and carbonate are major products of carbohydrate oxidation, demonstrating that extensive carbon–carbon bond breaking has occurred. A rudimentary fuel cell utilizing viologen catalysts and glucose or dihydroxyacetone as fuels demonstrated electrical power production at up to 20 mA/cm2 superficial current density. Improved catalyst function and cell design should significantly advance the efficiency and viability of direct carbohydrate fuel cell technology as a means of generating electrical energy from renewable biomass.

The effectiveness of this cheap and abundant herbicide is a boon to carbohydrate-based fuel cells. By contrast, hydrogen-based fuel cells like those developed by General Motors, require costly platinum as a catalyst. Congrats for this innovative idea....

Ref : http://byunews.byu.edu/archive09-Sep-sugar.aspx

Calcium Scans May Be Effective Screening Tool For Heart Disease

Calcium Scans May Be Effective Screening Tool For Heart Disease

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New markers for early detection Of type 1 diabetes !

As per the claim by the lead researchers Prof. Dr. Anette Ziegler and Dr. Peter Achenbach, genetic factors play a significant role in the development of type 1 diabetes. The scientists were able to show that specific variants of the zinc transporter gene SLC30A8 influence the risk for diabetes. The body needs this gene in order to produce ZnT8. This protein influences the zinc transport into the beta cells and plays a crucial role in their maturation and thus also in insulin secretion.

Beta cells of the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas secrete the vitally important insulin. Already prior to the onset of type 1 diabetes the body’s own immune system destroys the beta cells. If this destruction exceeds a certain threshold, the disease becomes manifest: The insulin deficiency leads to various metabolic disturbances, including elevated blood glucose levels. Autoantibodies to ZnT8 in combination with a specific variant of the zinc transporter gene were associated with an elevated diabetes risk. The researchers claims that "Autoantibodies to ZnT8 are an additional important marker for the progression of diabetes – especially in children who are already developing islet autoantibodies. Hence larger the number of different kinds of autoantibodies, the higher the risk for diabetes, and the younger the child with autoantibodies, the earlier disease onset will be. Its a good achievement. Congrats....

Ref : http://www.helmholtz-muenchen.de/en/press-and-media/press-releases/press-releases-2009/press-releases-2009-detail/article/12322/9/index.html

Nasal Spray That Improves Memory !

The first evidence that the immunoregulatory signal interleukin-6 plays a beneficial role in sleep-dependent formation of long-term memory in humans.

The cytokine IL-6 has been considered to exert neuromodulating influences on the brain, with promoting influences on sleep. Sleep enhances the consolidation of memories, and, in particular, late nocturnal sleep also represents a period of enhanced IL-6 signaling, due to a distinctly enhanced availability of soluble IL-6 receptors during this period, enabling trans-signaling of IL-6 to neurons.

Thus, a contribution of IL-6 to sleep-dependent memory consolidation like the influence of interleukin-6 is hypothesized.

To make this discovery, Marshall and colleagues had 17 healthy young men spend two nights in the laboratory. On each night after reading either an emotional or neutral short story, they sprayed a fluid into their nostrils which contained either interleukin-6 or a placebo fluid. The subsequent sleep and brain electric activity was monitored throughout the night. The next morning subjects wrote down as many words as they could remember from each of the two stories. Those who received the dose of IL-6 could remember more words.

Gene Behind Malaria-resistant Mosquitoes Identified

The mosquitoes can also be our allies in the fight against this common foe malaria. This article is interesting because of its basis i.e., malaria parasites must spend part of their lives inside mosquitoes and another part inside humans, so by learning how mosquitoes resist malaria, we may find new tools for controlling its transmission to humans in endemic areas.....

Gene Behind Malaria-resistant Mosquitoes Identified

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