Saturday, August 30, 2014

Experimental Drug Would Help Fight Ebola if Supply Increases, Study Finds -

A new study provides strong evidence that the experimental drug given to two American aid workers stricken with Ebola in Africa really works and could make a difference in the current outbreak — if more of it could be produced.

In the study, all 18 monkeys exposed to a lethal dose of Ebola virus survived when given the drug, known as ZMapp, even when the treatment was started five days after infection, when the animals were already sick.

Moreover, the monkeys’ symptoms, such as excessive bleeding, rashes and signs of liver toxicity, eventually disappeared. By contrast, all three monkeys in the control group died.
Experts said these were the best monkey results reported to date for any Ebola drug, raising hopes that the drug will work in people.

Experimental Drug Would Help Fight Ebola if Supply Increases, Study Finds -

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Chili peppers for a healthy gut: Spicy chemical may inhibit gut tumors

In continuation of my update on capsaicin

Researchers report that dietary capsaicin – the active ingredient in chili peppers – produces chronic activation of a receptor on cells lining the intestines of mice, triggering a reaction that ultimately reduces the risk of colorectal tumors....

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Pesticide DDT linked to slow metabolism, obesity and diabetes, mouse study finds -- ScienceDaily

A new study in mice is the first to show that developmental exposure to DDT increases the risk of females later developing metabolic syndrome -- a cluster of conditions that include increased body fat, blood glucose, and cholesterol.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Researchers uncover how malaria parasite becomes resistant to fosmidomycin drug

Researchers have uncovered a way the malaria parasite becomes resistant to an investigational drug. The discovery, at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, also is relevant for other infectious diseases including bacterial infections and tuberculosis.
The study appears July 24 in Nature Communications.

Many organisms, including the parasite that causes malaria, make a class of molecules called isoprenoids, which play multiple roles in keeping organisms healthy, whether plants, animals or bacteria. In malaria, the investigational drug fosmidomycin blocks isoprenoid synthesis, killing the parasite. But over time the drug often becomes less effective.
"In trials testing fosmidomycin, the malaria parasite returned in more than half the children by the end of the study," said senior author Audrey R. Odom, MD, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics. "We wanted to know how the parasite is getting around the drug. How can it manage to live even though the drug is suppressing these compounds that are necessary for life?"

Fosmidomycin, an antibiotic, is being evaluated against malaria in phase 3 clinical trials in combination with other antimalarial drugs.

Using next-generation sequencing technology, the research team compared the genetics of malaria parasites that responded to the drug to the genetics of malaria parasites that were resistant to it. With this approach, Odom and her colleagues found mutations in a gene called PfHAD1. With dysfunctional PfHAD1, malaria is resistant to fosmidomycin.
"The PfHAD1 protein is completely unstudied," Odom said. "It's a member of a larger family of proteins, and there are almost no biological functions assigned to them."

In malaria parasites, Odom's team showed that the PfHAD1 protein normally slows down the synthesis of isoprenoids. In other words, when present, PfHAD1 is doing the same job as the drug, slowing isoprenoid manufacturing. Since isoprenoids are necessary for life, it's not clear why the organism would purposefully slow down isoprenoid production.

Ref :

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Antifungal drug resistance evoked through RNAi-dependent epimutations

Microorganisms like bacteria and fungi can evade treatment by acquiring mutations in the genes targeted by antibiotics or antifungal drugs. These permanent mutations were once thought to be the only way for drug-resistant strains to evolve. Now a new study has shown that microorganisms can use a temporary silencing of drug targets -- known as epimutations -- to gain the benefits of drug resistance without the commitment.

Though the new mechanism was discovered in a fungus called Mucor circinelloides, it is likely to be employed by other fungi as well as bacteria, viruses and other organisms to withstand treatment with various drugs. The finding appears July 27, 2014, in Nature.

"This mechanism gives the organism more flexibility," said Joseph Heitman, M.D., Ph.D., senior study author and professor and chair of molecular genetics and microbiology at Duke University School of Medicine. "A classic, Mendelian mutation is a more permanent binding decision, like a traditional marriage. These epimutations are reversible, more akin to moving in together. If conditions change, it is easier to revert to the way things were."
The epimutations are so transient, in fact, that the researchers almost disregarded them. Cecelia Wall, a graduate student in Drs. Heitman and Maria Cardenas' labs, had been looking for mutations that would make the human fungal pathogen M. circinelloides resistant to the antifungal drug FK506 (also known as tacrolimus). This pathogen causes the rare but lethal fungal infection mucormycosis, an emerging infectious disease that predominantly affects individuals with weakened immune systems.


Friday, August 1, 2014

Flamel Technologies Announces FDA Approval of Vazculep

 Flamel Technologies (NASDAQ: FLML) today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the company's New Drug Application (NDA) for Vazculep (phenylephrine hydrochloride). Vazculep Injection is an alpha-1 adrenergic receptor agonist indicated for the treatment of clinically important hypotension resulting primarily from vasodilation in the setting of anesthesia. Flamel expects to launch Vazculep in the next few months in 1 mL single use vials, and 5 mL and 10 mL pharmacy bulk package vials. The drug strength is the same in all vials at 10 mg/mL. Phenylephrine hydrochloride is used in operating rooms and is injected intravenously either as a bolus or in a dilute solution as a continuous infusion.