Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Preliminary findings suggest a drug used to treat   cryopyrin-associated periodic syndromes  disease might also reduce painful flare-ups in gout patients starting new medication regimens.
In a new study, the protein-inhibitor drug rilonacept (Arcalyst) appeared to markedly lower the risk of gout flare-ups during the first few months of treatments aimed at lowering uric acid levels.
"To reduce deposits of crystals in the joints, we advise patients to initiate treatment with medications that lower levels of uric acid in the blood," study author Dr. H. Ralph Schumacher 
The researchers wanted to learn if rilonacept could lower this short-term risk for by neutralizing a specific target protein -- interleukin 1 or IL-1 -- before it initiates inflammation.
They looked at 83 gout patients in 27 U.S. study centers who had a history of gout flare-ups and high levels of uric acid. All were placed on a chronic uric-acid lowering regimen of the standard drug allopurinol.
About half were also given an initial double-dose injection of rilonacept (320 milligrams) followed by a single dose for 16 weeks. The other half received sugar pills.
Rilonacept patients were less likely to have flare-ups, with 15 percent experiencing flare-ups three-months into the study compared with 45 percent among the non-rilonacept group, the researchers found....

Monday, January 30, 2012

FDA Approves Inlyta for advanced kidney cancer (renal cell carcinoma)

The U.S. FDA,  approved Inlyta (axitinib) to treat patients with advanced kidney cancer (renal cell carcinoma) who have not responded to another drug for this type of cancer. 

The safety and effectiveness of Inlyta were evaluated in a single randomized, open-label, multi-center clinical study of 723 patients whose disease had progressed on or after treatment with one prior systemic therapy. The study was designed to measure progression-free survival, the time a patient lived without the cancer progressing. Results showed a median progression-free survival of 6.7 months compared to 4.7 months with a standard treatment (sorafenib).

The most common side effects observed in greater than 20 percent of patients in the clinical study were diarrhea, high blood pressure (hypertension), fatigue, decreased appetite, nausea, loss of voice (dysphonia), hand-foot syndrome (palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia), weight loss, vomiting, weakness (asthenia) and constipation.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

FDA Approves BYDUREON™ -- The First and Only Once-Weekly Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes

In continuation of my up date on Exenatide...

Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Alkermes plc today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Bydureon  (exenatide extended-release for injectable suspension) – the first once-weekly treatment for type 2 diabetes. Bydureon is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist indicated as an adjunct to diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes in multiple clinical settings....

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Drug May Slow Early Prostate Cancer: Study

In continuation of my update on Dutasteride (Avodaart)

New research suggests that Avodart, a drug used to treat an enlarged prostate gland, may help slow the progression of early stage prostate cancer, reducing the need for aggressive treatment in some men. 

Avodart belongs to a class of drugs called 5-alpha reductase inhibitors. These drugs work by interfering with the effects of certain male hormones on the prostate. In the three-year study, prostate cancer progressed in 38 percent of 144 men with early prostate cancer who were treated with Avodart and 48 percent of the 145 men who received a placebo....


Friday, January 27, 2012

Could 'Magic' Mushrooms Ease Depression?

Psychedelic mushrooms (see above picture) may point to new ways to treat depression, suggest two small brain imaging studies that seem to show how psilocybin (see right structure) the active ingredient in such mushrooms -affects the brain. 

One study included 30 healthy people who had psilocybin inserted into their blood while magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners measured changes in their brain activity. The scans revealed that psilocybin caused decreased activity in what the researchers described as the brain's "hub" regions -- areas especially well-connected with other areas.

The second study included 10 healthy volunteers and found that psilocybin boosted their recall of personal memories and their emotional well-being for up to two weeks. The researchers said this suggests that psilocybin might prove useful as an adjunct to psychotherapy.
"Psychedelics are thought of as 'mind-expanding' drugs, so it has commonly been assumed that they work by increasing brain activity, but surprisingly, we found that psilocybin actually caused activity to decrease in areas that have the densest connections with other areas," Nutt said....

Researchers lead by Dr.David Nutt, add that result is consistent with earlier finding that psilocybin decreases mPFC activity, as many effective depression treatments do. The effects need to be investigated further and this study was only a small study, and  are interested in exploring psilocybin's potential as a therapeutic tool.....

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Experimental Drug Might Help Some a Bit With Colon Cancer

In continuation of my update on regorafenib

The experimental cancer drug regorafenib appears to extend survival slightly in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer, a new trial indicates.
Regorafenib is a so-called multikinase inhibitor, which targets several of the ways cancer develops and grows, researchers said.

"The drug was tested on patients with metastatic colorectal cancer who had progressed after standard therapies, meaning they had no treatment options available," lead researcher Dr. Axel Grothey, a professor of oncology at the Mayo Clinic. 

The investigators found that patients taking regorafenib survived an average of 6.4 months, compared with five months for those receiving a placebo -- an increase in survival of 29 percent.

In addition, 44 percent of the patients taking regorafenib responded to the drug or had their cancer slowed, compared with 15 percent of the patients receiving placebo, they reported.
Ref : http://gicasym.org/GastrointestinalCancersSymposiumDailyNews/GI385.aspx

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

New Drug Combo for Hepatitis C Shows Promise...

A new cocktail of two investigational drugs appears to have successfully cleared the hepatitis C virus in people who don't respond to standard treatment. What's more, the approach seems to work without the need for injections with interferon alpha, an onerous medication that causes serious side effects in many patients.
"We saw a sustained virologic response -- the virus was undetectable in the patients -- during treatment and remained undetectable after the drugs were stopped," said study author Dr. Anna Lok, director of clinical hepatology at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor.
The study had two arms:  a group of 10 patients received four medications, including the two investigational drugs, the antivirals daclatasvir (see right structure)  and asunaprevir (see left structure-courtesy: ChemSpider), along with the standard treatment combination of interferon and ribavirin. The other arm of the study included 11 patients who received only the two investigational drugs. Both groups underwent treatment for 24 weeks.

The 10 patients on the four-drug regimen experienced a sustained virologic response with undetectable virus at the end of treatment and again at 12 weeks beyond their treatment, the researchers reported. In the two-drug group, four of the 11 patients also had undetectable levels of the hepatitis C virus in their blood 12 weeks after treatment ended.
"The four-drug arm was very impressive. These patients had not shown a response before and now we get a 90 to 100 percent rate of sustained response," said Lok....
Ref : http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1104430

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

More Evidence for Oxaliplatin as Colon Cancer Chemotherapy

In continuation of my update on Oxaliplatin 

Adding oxaliplatin to a standard chemotherapy regimen boosts survival rates for patients with advanced colon cancer, according to a new study that bolsters previous research on the drug by looking at a broader group of patients.

In past studies, oxaliplatin, as an adjuvant to the established treatment of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), improved survival by up to 23 percent. But the new study looked at a different group of colon cancer patients, who were older, sicker, more racially diverse and had never participated in a controlled clinical study.

To determine whether oxaliplatin would show a similar benefit among a "real-world" population of patients, the authors sifted through five cancer registries containing survival information on more than 4,000 people with stage 3 colon cancer. All were younger than 75, and all had begun chemotherapy -- either a standard regimen or in combination with oxaliplatin -- within four months of having surgery between 2004 and 2009.

Researchers lead by Dr.Hanna K. Sanoff compared their survival rates with those of nearly 8,300 patients who had participated in one of five different clinical trials using oxaliplatin.

The addition of oxaliplatin to standard chemotherapy protocols was found to be just as effective in prolonging survival among the community-based set of patients - including the elderly, minorities and those with additional complicating health issues  who were not enrolled in studies.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Voraxaze receives FDA approval for treatment of toxic methotrexate levels

Voraxaze receives FDA approval for treatment of toxic methotrexate levels: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Voraxaze (see structure, glucarpidase) to treat patients with toxic levels of methotrexate in their blood due to kidney failure.  

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Anti-malaria drug synthesised with the help of oxygen and light

In continuation of my update, artemisinin...
The most effective anti-malaria drug can now be produced inexpensively and in large quantities. This means that it will be possible to provide medication for the 225 million malaria patients in developing countries at an affordable price. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam and the Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin have developed a very simple process for the synthesis of artemisinin, the active ingredient that pharmaceutical companies could only obtain from plants up to now. The chemists use a waste product from current artemisinin production as their starting substance. This substance can also be produced biotechnologically in yeast, which the scientists convert into the active ingredient using a simple yet very ingenious method.....

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Dabigatran, New Blood Thinner Linked To Higher Heart Attack Risk

In continuation of my update on Dabigatran...

Researchers lead by Dr.Ken Uchino from the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio looked at seven trials involving Pradaxa (Dabigatran) that included more than 30,000 patients. This process, called a meta-analysis, uses data from published clinical trials to tease out a pattern that might not show up in a single study. Researchers found Pradaxa was associated with an increased risk of heart attack or acute coronary syndrome (heart attack or angina), compared with two other commonly used blood thinners, warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven) and enoxaparin (Lovenox).

As per the claim by the researchers,  those taking Pradaxa, 1.19 percent had a heart attack or suffered from acute coronary syndrome compared with 0.79 percent of those taking either of the other drugs, they noted. Although there was a 33 percent increase in relative risk for a heart attack among those taking Pradaxa, the absolute increased risk -- that is, the added risk for any one individual of having a heart attack if on Pradaxa -- was 0.27 percent, researchers said.

Pradaxa was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in October 2010 for people with a common heart rhythm problem called atrial fibrillation. People with atrial fibrillation are at a higher risk for stroke and are often prescribed medication to prevent clotting....

Ref : http://my.clevelandclinic.org/cerebrovascular_center/medical_professionals/clinical_trials.aspx

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Idenix Reports Positive Interim Data for HCV Nucleotide Inhibitor, IDX184

Idenix Pharmaceuticals, Inc.  a biopharmaceutical company engaged in the discovery and development of drugs for the treatment of human viral diseases, recently announced interim data from a 12-week phase IIb clinical trial of IDX184, the Company's lead product candidate for the treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.  IDX184 (below structure), a pan-genotypic oral nucleotide polymerase inhibitor, has demonstrated a high barrier to resistance in vitro and potent antiviral activity in both preclinical and clinical studies..

Following are the highlights .....

  • No serious adverse events observed in phase IIb study of IDX184; Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) recommends continuation of the clinical trial. 
  • In the 100 mg IDX184 arm, 73% of patients achieved a rapid virologic response (RVR) and 87% were undetectable at most recent visit; In the 50 mg IDX184 arm, 63% of patients achieved an RVR and 94% were undetectable at most recent visit.



Saturday, January 7, 2012

Positive Results from Clinical Study of CVT-301, an Inhaled L-dopa for Parkinson’s Disease..

In continuation of my update on Levodopa....

The Phase 1 study (by Civitas Therapeutics, Inc) showed that CVT-301 achieved sufficient plasma levels of L-dopa through inhaled delivery to the lung, resulting in a pharmacokinetic profile that supports its therapeutic potential.  Immediate absorption and dose proportional pharmacokinetics were seen across all doses tested.  In addition, all doses tested of CVT-301 were safe and well tolerated.  


Ref : http://civitastherapeutics.com/cms/sites/default/files/news/CVT-301%20Clinical%20results%20press%20release%20FINAL%2006Jan2012_0.pdf

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Novel Neurotrophic Drug for Cognitive Enhancement and Alzheimer's Disease

A new drug candidate may be the first capable of halting the devastating mental decline of Alzheimer's disease.  The drug, known as J147 (above  structure), improved memory and prevented brain damage caused by the disease claims the researchers from Salk's Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory, lead by David Schubert. The new compound,  could be tested for treatment of the disease in humans in the near future.Researchers add that, J147 enhances memory in both normal and Alzheimer's mice and also protects the brain from the loss of synaptic connections.

Salk researchers went on to show that it prevented cognitive decline in animals with Alzheimer's and that mice and rats treated with the drug produced more of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a molecule that protects neurons from toxic insults, helps new neurons grow and connect with other brain cells, and is involved in memory formation.

Because of the broad ability of J147 to protect nerve cells, the researchers believe that it may also be effective for treating other neurological disorders, such as Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), as well as stroke.

Although it is yet unknown whether the compound will prove safe and effective in humans, the Salk researchers' say their results suggest the drug may hold potential for treatment of people with Alzheimer's...

Ref : http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0027865

Bristol-Myers Squibb and Tibotec partner to evaluate daclatasvir-TMC435 combination for HCV

Bristol-Myers Squibb and Tibotec partner to evaluate daclatasvir-TMC435 combination for HCV: Bristol-Myers Squibb Company announced today that it has entered into a clinical collaboration agreement with Tibotec Pharmaceuticals to evaluate the utility of daclatasvir (BMS-790052), Bristol-Myers Squibb's investigational NS5A replication complex inhibitor, in combination with Tibotec Pharmaceuticals' investigational NS3 protease inhibitor, TMC435, for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV).

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Alkermes commences ALKS 9070 phase 3 clinical trial for schizophrenia...

Alkermes plc (NASDAQ: ALKS)  announced the initiation of a phase 3 clinical trial of ALKS 9070 (Aripiprazole) for the treatment of schizophrenia. ALKS 9070, a proprietary Alkermes molecule, is designed to provide patients with once-monthly dosing of a medication that, once in the body, converts into aripiprazole...

Ref : http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=92211&p=irol-corporateNewsArticle&ID=1640788&highlight=