Monday, March 31, 2014

New drug multiplies analgesic effect of opioids without increasing constipation

Systemic (subcutaneous) or local (intraplantar) treatment of wild-type mice with the selective σ1 antagonists BD-1063 [1-[2-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)ethyl]-4-methylpiperazine dihydrochloride] or S1RA [4-[2-[[5-methyl-1-(2-naphthalenyl)1H-pyrazol-3-yl]oxy]ethyl] morpholine hydrochloride] potentiated μ-opioid antinociception; these effects were fully reversed by the σ1agonist PRE-084 [2-(4-morpholinethyl)1-phenylcyclohexanecarboxylate) hydrochloride], showing the selectivity of the pharmacological approach. The μ-opioid antinociception potentiated by σ1 inhibition (by σ1-receptor knockout orσ1-pharmacological antagonism) was more sensitive to the peripherally restricted opioid antagonist naloxone methiodide than opioid antinociception under normal conditions, indicating a key role for peripheral opioid receptors in the enhanced antinociception. Direct interaction between the opioid drugs and σ1 receptor cannot account for our results, since the former lacked affinity for σ1 receptors (labeled with [3H](+)-pentazocine). A peripheral role for σ1 receptors was also supported by their higher density (Western blot results) in peripheral nervous tissue (dorsal root ganglia) than in several central areas involved in opioid antinociception (dorsal spinal cord, basolateral amygdala, periaqueductal gray, and rostroventral medulla). In contrast to its effects on nociception, σ1-receptor inhibition did not alter fentanyl- or loperamide-induced constipation, a peripherally mediated nonanalgesic opioid effect. Therefore, σ1-receptor inhibition may be used as a systemic or local adjuvant to enhance peripheral μ-opioid analgesia without affecting opioid-induced constipation.

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New drug multiplies analgesic effect of opioids without increasing constipation

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Rotaxanes make symmetry history | Chemistry World

A UK team has stumbled upon an efficient way to separately produce each member of an unusual mirror image pair of chemical systemsthat has eluded scientists for over four decades.1Stephen Goldup and Robert Bordoli at Queen Mary University of London have made planar mechanically chiral rotaxanes, which trap macrocyclic rings along the shaft of dumbbell molecules. Goldup now wants to apply these newly accessible asymmetric assemblies in catalysis, sensing and materials. ‘We think it’s time that the advantages of mechanical chirality are properly investigated and begin to play a role,’ he tells Chemistry World....

Monday, March 10, 2014

Caffeine-based compound with small amount of gold could be used as anticancer agent

The side effects of ingesting too much caffeine - restlessness, increased heart rate, having trouble sleeping - are well known, but recent research has shown that the stimulant also has a good side. It can kill cancer cells. Now, researchers report in the ACS journal Inorganic Chemistry that combining a caffeine-based compound with a small amount of gold could someday be used as an anticancer agent.

Angela Casini, Michel Picquet and colleagues note that caffeine and certain caffeine-based compounds have recently been in the spotlight as possible anticancer treatments. But drinking gallons of coffee, sodas and energy drinks isn't the solution. And the regular caffeine in these drinks would start to have negative effects on healthy cells, too, at the levels necessary to kill cancerous ones. Gold also can wipe out cancer cells, but, like caffeine, it can harm healthy cells. So, the research team put the two together into certain configurations to see whether the new caffeine-based gold compounds could selectively stop cancer cells from growing without hurting other cells.
They made a series of seven new compounds, called caffeine-based gold (I) N-heterocyclic carbenes, in the laboratory and studied them. The scientists found that, at certain concentrations, one of the compounds of the series selectively killed human ovarian cancer cells without harming healthy cells. In addition, the compound targeted a type of DNA architecture, called "G-quadruplex," that is associated with cancer.

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Friday, March 7, 2014

Triphase's marizomib receives FDA orphan drug designation for treatment of multiple myeloma

Salinosporamide A (Marizomib) is a potent proteasome inhibitor used as an anticancer agent that recently entered phase I human clinical trials for the treatment of multiple myeloma only three years after its discovery. This novel marine natural product is produced by the recently described obligate marine bacteria Salinispora tropica and Salinispora arenicola, which are found in ocean sediment. Salinosporamide A belongs to a family of compounds, known collectively as salinosporamides, which possess a densely functionalized γ-lactam-β-lactone bicyclic core.

Triphase Accelerator Corporation recentlyannounced that marizomib, its novel, potent proteasome inhibitor, has been granted orphan drug designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)'s Office of Orphan Products Development for the treatment of multiple myeloma. The orphan drug designation will provide Triphase with 7-year marketing exclusivity for marizomib and other benefits upon FDA approval.

"We are pleased that the FDA has granted orphan drug designation for the development of marizomib to benefit patients with multiple myeloma," said Frank Stonebanks, founder, president and CEO of Triphase. "While patients with refractory multiple myeloma are living longer and better lives as a result of medical innovation, there is still a need for new treatment options. We are excited to move forward with the development of marizomib, a potential best-in-class agent, and hope to advance the treatment paradigm that will turn this once acute disease into a long-term manageable disease."

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Astellas Pharma to exclusively commercialize isavuconazole in the U.S. and Canada

Isavuconazole (BAL4815) is a triazole antifungal. Its prodrug, isavuconazonium sulfate (BAL8557) is currently in two Phase IIIclinical trials (SECURE and VITAL), the results of which are expected in the second half of 2013.
On May 28, 2013, Basilea Pharmaceutica, the maker of the drug, announced it had been granted orphan drug status by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Now Astellas Pharma Inc. (Tokyo:4503, "Astellas") announced today that the company has amended the License, Co-Development and Co-Promotion Agreement on isavuconazole under co-development with Basilea Pharmaceutica Ltd. ("Basilea"). Based on this amendment, the territories subject to the License Agreement have been changed to reflect that Astellas will be responsible for all regulatory filings and will exclusively commercialize and assume full responsibility for manufacturing isavuconazole in the U.S. and Canada.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Researchers discover novel treatments for psoriasis that are likely to cause fewer side effects

In the article in Science Translational Medicine, which features Juan Guinea-Viniegra as the lead author, the authors state that: "blocking miR-21 could offer advantages over current treatments given that the efficiency obtained is the same and the side effects are probably reduced". The authors highlight that in the mouse model and in patient samples transplanted into mice this new strategy "shows a significant therapeutic response".