Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Skin cancer drug, vemurafenib may prolong survival in advanced cases: Study

In continuation of my update on vemurafenib...

According to an international study a new treatment for advanced skin cancer almost doubles survival times. Researchers say 132 patients in the U.S. and Australia who were given the drug vemurafenib gained several extra months of life. The treatment is one of two drugs for late-stage melanoma, approved on fast-track in the US last year, which offer hope for patients with advanced melanoma. Vemurafenib is suitable for about half of patients with advanced melanoma as it targets tumors that express a certain gene mutation. Before that, there had been no new drugs for the cancer for more than a decade...

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

FDA panel votes in favor of earlier rejected anti-obesity drug Qnexa

In continuation of my up date on Qnexa
FDA panel votes in favor of earlier rejected anti-obesity drug Qnexa: Qnexa took a step closer to approval on Wednesday, when outside advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration voted 20-to-2 in favor of approval. The panel also recommended the company conduct a study to scrutinize even more closely any risk of heart problems. That study may be required after the drug is approved. Should the FDA ask for further data on heart risks before any approval, it would delay Qnexa's launch further.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Melanoma Drug Nearly Doubles Survival « VICC News & Publications

Saturday, February 25, 2012

FDA Approves Korlym for Patients with Endogenous Cushing's Syndrome..

Korlym (mifepristone) was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to control high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) in adults with endogenous Cushing’s syndrome. This drug was approved for use in patients with endogenous Cushing’s syndrome who have type 2 diabetes or glucose intolerance and are not candidates for surgery or who have not responded to prior surgery. Korlym should never be used (contraindicated) by pregnant women....

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Friday, February 24, 2012

FDA Approves Zioptan (tafluprost ophthalmic solution), Merck's Once-Daily, Preservative-Free Ophthalmic Medication

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Zioptan  (tafluprost ophthalmic solution) 0.0015%, the first preservative-free prostaglandin analog ophthalmic solution. Zioptan (pronounced zye-OP-tan) is approved for reducing elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) in patients with open-angle glaucoma (OAG) or ocular hypertension. Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of glaucoma, while ocular hypertension is a condition characterized by an increase in pressure inside the eye.

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Compound makes imipenem 16 times more effective against antibiotic-resistant K. pneumoniae

North Carolina State University chemists have created a compound (see structure above - when used in conjunction with the antibiotic imipenem (below structure), increased the antibiotic's effectiveness against the antibiotic-resistant K. pneumoniae 16-fold. The researchers believe that these early results are very promising for future treatments.)  that makes existing antibiotics 16 times more effective against recently discovered antibiotic-resistant "superbugs." 

These so-called superbugs are actually bacterial strains that produce an enzyme known as New Delhi metallo-β-lactamase (NDM-1). Bacteria that produce this enzyme are practically impervious to antibiotics because NDM-1renders certain antibiotics unable to bind with their bacterial targets. Since NDM-1 is found in Gram-negative bacteria like K. pneumoniae, which causes pneumonia, urinary tract, and other common hospital-acquired infections, it is of particular concern. NC State chemist Dr. Christian Melander had found that a compound derived from a class of molecules known as 2-aminoimidazoles "recharged" existing antibiotics, making them effective against Gram-positive antibiotic-resistant bacteria like the Staphylococcus strain MRSA. So Melander, Worthington and graduate students Cynthia Bunders and Catherine Reed set to work on a variety of the compound that might prove similarly effective against their Gram-negative brethren.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Prescription Shampoo (with Ivermectin) Approved to Treat Head Lice

In continuation of my update on ivermectin                                    

Sklice Lotion, a prescription-strength shampoo to treat head lice, has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for people six months and older, the French product maker Sanofi said.
The shampoo contains ivermectin, which traditionally is prescribed in pill form to treat worm infections.   The product's safety and effectiveness were evaluated in clinical studies involving more than 780 people. After two weeks, most participants who had been lice infested did not require daily combing to remove lice eggs, the wire service reported.
The most common adverse reactions included eye infection and irritation, dandruff and dry skin.
Lice are small, blood-sucking insects that cause itching from the saliva they inject into the scalp and nearby areas to prevent premature clotting. Infestations are spread by direct contact or by shared use of brushes and other items that touch the scalp, such as pillows and hats.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Case Western Reserve University - One of the nation's top universities and the best college in Ohio

Neuroscientists at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have made a dramatic breakthrough in their efforts to find a cure for Alzheimer's disease. The researchers' findings, published in the journalScience, show that use of a drug in mice appears to quickly reverse the pathological, cognitive and memory deficits caused by the onset of Alzheimer's. The results point to the significant potential that the medication, bexarotene, has to help the roughly 5.4 million Americans suffering from the progressive brain disease. 

Bexarotene has been approved for the treatment of cancer by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for more than a decade. These experiments explored whether the medication might also be used to help patients with Alzheimer's disease, and the results were more than promising. Landreth and his colleagues chose to explore the effectiveness of bexarotene for increasing ApoE expression. The elevation of brain ApoE levels, in turn, speeds the clearance of amyloid beta from the brain. Bexarotene acts by stimulating retinoid X receptors (RXR), which control how much ApoE is produced.

In particular, the researchers were struck by the speed with which bexarotene improved memory deficits and behavior even as it also acted to reverse the pathology of Alzheimer's disease. The present view of the scientific community is that small soluble forms of amyloid beta cause the memory impairments seen in animal models and humans with the disease. Within six hours of administering bexarotene, however, soluble amyloid levels fell by 25 percent; even more impressive, the effect lasted as long as three days. Finally, this shift was correlated with rapid improvement in a broad range of behaviors in three different mouse models of Alzheimer's.

Case Western Reserve University - One of the nation's top universities and the best college in Ohio

Monday, February 20, 2012

Mobius Therapeutics Receives Final FDA Approval for New Glaucoma Drug Mitosol

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Mitosol (mitomycin for solution) for use in glaucoma surgery.

"The approval of Mitosol for use in glaucoma surgery represents the culmination of more than five years of work on the part of Mobius Therapeutics," said Ed Timm, President of Mobius Therapeutics.
It will provide surgeons, hospitals, and patients with enhanced convenience, safety, and consistency in the surgical treatment of glaucoma. 


Sunday, February 19, 2012

FDA Approves Kalydeco to Treat Rare Form of Cystic Fibrosis

The U.S. FDA approved Kalydeco (ivacaftor) for the treatment of a rare form of cystic fibrosis (CF) in patients ages 6 years and older who have the specific G551D mutation in the Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Regulator (CFTR) gene. 

“Kalydeco is an excellent example of the promise of personalized medicine – targeted drugs that treat patients with a specific genetic makeup,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. “

The unique and mutually beneficial partnership that led to the approval of Kalydeco serves as a great model for what companies and patient groups can achieve if they collaborate on drug development. 

“Kalydeco is the first available treatment that targets the defective CFTR protein, which is the underlying cause of cystic fibrosis,” said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “This is a breakthrough therapy for the cystic fibrosis community because current therapies only treat the symptoms of this genetic disease.”
Two 48-week, placebo-controlled clinical studies involving 213 patients, one in patients ages 12 years and older and another in patients ages 6 years to 11 years, were used to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Kalydeco in CF patients with the G551D mutation. In both studies, treatment with Kalydeco resulted in significant and sustained improvement in lung function.
Kalydeco is effective only in patients with CF who have the G551D mutation. It is not effective in CF patients with two copies of the F508 mutation in the CFTR gene, which is the most common mutation that results in CF. If a patient’s mutation status is not known, an FDA-cleared CF mutation test should be used to determine whether the G551D mutation is present.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Clazosentan reduces risk of blood vessel spasm in patients with brain aneurysm

Clazosentan reduces risk of blood vessel spasm in patients with brain aneurysm: An experimental drug, clazosentan, reduced the risk of blood vessel spasm in patients with a brain aneurysm, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2012.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Genentech receives FDA approval for Vismodegib to treat skin cancer

In continuation of my update Vismdegib

Genentech receives FDA approval for Vismodegib to treat skin cancer: A new skin cancer drug tested for the first time in the world five years ago at the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare just received expedited approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a remarkable accomplishment in new drug development.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Colchicine, another weapon against cancer

In continuation of my update on Colchine

 Colchicine, another weapon against cancer: Finding a drug that targets only the diseased cells in our body and is otherwise harmless to healthy tissue is a goal for cancer researchers. It's driven the work of Professor Laurence Patterson, Director of the Institute of Cancer Therapeutics at the University of Bradford, and his team of researchers.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Scientists discover new mechanisms by which RNA drugs can control gene activity

 In continuation of my update on RNAi

Short strands of nucleic acids, called small RNAs, can be used for targeted gene silencing, making them attractive drug candidates. These small RNAs block gene expression through multiple RNA interference (RNAi) pathways, including two newly discovered pathways in which small RNAs bind to Argonaute proteins or other forms of RNA present in the cell nucleus, such as long non-coding RNAs and pre-mRNA. 

Keith T. Gagnon, PhD, and David R. Corey, PhD, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, in Dallas, review common features shared by RNAi pathways for controlling gene expression and focus in detail on the potential for Argonaute-RNA complexes in gene regulation and other exciting new options for targeting emerging forms of non-coding RNAs and pre-mRNAs in the article "Argonaute and the Nuclear RNAs: New Pathways for RNA Mediated Control of Gene Expression." 

"The field of RNA mediated control of gene expression is rapidly evolving and the article by Gagnon and Corey provides a highly informative and up to date review of this exciting and often surprising area of biomedical research. We are delighted to publish this important review for the field," says Co-Editor-in-Chief Bruce A. Sullenger, PhD, Duke Translational Research Institute, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC.
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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Researchers identify fexinidazole as potential new therapy for visceral leishmaniasis

Researchers at the University of Dundee have identified fexinidazole as a possible, much-needed, new treatment for the parasitic disease visceral leishmaniasis.

Fexinidazole is already in phase 1 clinical trials for a related disease - African sleeping sickness - but a research team at Dundee including Dr Susan Wyllie, Professor Alan Fairlamb and colleagues has identified it as having potential in treating leishmaniasis.

Their research has been published by the journal Science Translational Medicine, and was funded by the Wellcome Trust.

Tests in mice showed that the drug has a greater than 98% rate of suppressing infection of leishmaniasis, comparable to current treatments such as miltefosine and Pentostam.

These and other existing treatment options all suffer from disadvantages; they are not always safe, effective or easy to administer. The only oral drug miltefosine cannot be given to women of child-bearing age due to a substantial risk of birth defects; other drugs are costly and have to be given by injection. Thus there is a continuing need for safe and cost-effective drugs suitable for use in resource-poor settings.

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Erivedge Approved to Treat Basal Cell Carinoma

Erivedge(vismodegib) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat the most common form of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma, the agency said Monday.
The drug was approved for people for whom surgery or radiation aren't options, and for people with basal cell that has spread to other parts of the body, according to an FDA news release. Erivedge was evaluated in clinical studies involving 96 people with basal cell carcinoma. The most common side effects included muscle spasms, hair loss, weight loss, nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, distorted taste, loss of appetite and constipation.
The drug was approved with an FDA's label warning that pregnant women who take Erivedge could have babies at greater risk of severe birth defects or death. "Pregnancy status must be verified prior to the start of Erivedge treatment," the agency release advised.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Pertuzumab plus trastuzumab and docetaxel has competitive advantages in efficacy over our current proprietary clinical gold-standard treatment...

In continuation of my update docetaxel

"Pertuzumab plus trastuzumab and docetaxel has competitive advantages in efficacy over our current proprietary clinical gold-standard treatment, trastuzumab plus docetaxel," said Decision Resources Analyst Amy Duva"l. 

Decision Resources' analysis of the breast cancer drug market also finds that Roche/Genentech/Chugai's Trastuzumab-DM1 (T-DM1) is likely to initially enter later-lines of treatment before receiving approval for the first-line setting, which means it will gain use across all lines of therapy, fragmenting its patient share across lines of treatment and restricting its uptake in the first-line setting. 

Additionally, according to insights from interviewed thought-leaders, pertuzumab plus trastuzumab and docetaxel and T-DM1 plus pertuzumab have demonstrated the potential to increase patients' overall survival, which has not been improved by drug-treatment since the approval of trastuzumab over a decade ago. 

Findings also reveal that the overall breast cancer drug market declined from $10 billion in 2010 to $9.3 billion in 2011 in the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and Japan. Decision Resources forecasts that the market will increase from $9.3 billion in 2011 to $10.8 billion in 2020. Significant declines in sales, due to generic and biosimilar price erosion and a substantial reduction in the prescribing of Roche/Genentech/Chugai's Avastin, particularly in the U.S., will be offset by the launch and uptake of premium-priced emerging therapies, particularly in the metastatic HER2-positive setting. 

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Clot-Busting Drug, tPA, May Work for Those Who Have Strokes While Asleep

New research suggests that it may be safe to give the clot-busting drug tPA  to people who wake up with stroke symptoms, even though there is a short time window in which to use the treatment and doctors have no idea when these patients first started experiencing their stroke.
The powerful medication can save lives and stave off lasting disability after a stroke, but experts believe it needs to be given within 4.5 hours of the start of symptoms. Almost 25 percent of people who have strokes have them while they are asleep, the study authors noted, and doctors typically err on the side of caution, assume the stroke happened when the patient first went to bed and do not treat with tPA....

Thursday, February 9, 2012

New Anti-Clotting Drug May Cut Brain Bleeding Risk: Study

In continuation of my update on rivaroxaban (Xarelto)

In a new study, researchers led by Dr. Graeme Hankey, a neurologist at the Royal Perth Hospital and University of Western Australia, followed more than 14,000 people who took anti-clotting drugs for a median of two years. Of those patients, 136 had bleeding in the brain.

People who took a new anticoagulant called rivaroxaban (Xarelto) and suffered from the most common type of atrial fibrillation and didn't have heart valve damage were about one-third less likely to experience bleeding in the brain than those who took warfarin, the investigators found...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Experimental Drug-apixaban (Eliquis) : Might Beat Aspirin in Preventing Repeat Strokes: Study

An investigational drug called apixaban (Eliquis) appears to be better than aspirin at preventing blood clots in certain patients who have already suffered a stroke or so-called "mini-stroke" due to an abnormal heart rhythm, according to the results of a new study.
For patients with the dangerous irregular heart rhythm known as atrial fibrillation who can't tolerate the standard drug treatment, daily apixaban seems to be more effective at warding off a stroke or blood clot than aspirin, the study found.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

FDA Approves Gleevec for Expanded Use in Patients with Rare Gastrointestinal Cancer

In continuation of my update on imatinib...

FDA Approves Gleevec for Expanded Use in Patients with Rare Gastrointestinal Cancer: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today granted Gleevec (imatinib) regular approval for use in adult patients following surgical removal of CD117-positive gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST). Today’s action also highlights an increase in...

Sunday, February 5, 2012

FDA Approves Jentadueto ((linagliptin/metformin hydrochloride)).....

In continuation of my update on linagliptin and metformin hydrochloride

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Jentadueto (linagliptin/metformin hydrochloride) tablets, a new tablet combining the dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitor, linagliptin, and metformin. Jentadueto provides a new, single-tablet treatment option, taken twice-daily, for patients who need to control their blood sugar. Linagliptin (5 mg, once-daily) is marketed in the U.S. as Tradjenta (linagliptin) tablets....

Saturday, February 4, 2012

FDA Approves Jentaduet ((sitagliptin and metformin hydrochloride (HCl) )...

In continuation of my update on sitagliptin and metformin hydrochloride (HCl)

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved JANUMET® XR    ((sitagliptin and metformin hydrochloride (HCl) ) extended-release) tablets, a new treatment for type 2 diabetes that combines sitagliptin, which is the active component of JANUVIA® (sitagliptin), with extended-release metformin. JANUMET XR provides a convenient once-daily treatment option for healthcare providers and patients who need help to control their blood sugar.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Study shows grape seed extract kills head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cells

A study by researchers lead by Dr.Rajesh Agarwal,  shows that in both cell lines and mouse models, grape seed extract (GSE) kills head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cells, while leaving healthy cells unharmed. "It's a rather dramatic effect," says Rajesh Agarwal, PhD, investigator at the University of Colorado Cancer Center and professor at the Skaggs School of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Grape seed extract creates these conditions that are unfavorable to growth. Specifically, the paper shows that grape seed extract both damages cancer cells' DNA (via increased reactive oxygen species) and stops the pathways that allow repair (as seen by decreased levels of the DNA repair molecules Brca1 and Rad51 and DNA repair foci).

 "Yet we saw absolutely no toxicity to the mice, themselves," Agarwal says.
Interestingly,  the grape seed extract killed the cancer cells but not the healthy cells. As per the lead reseacher,  the  cancer cells have a lot of defective pathways and they are very vulnerable  and one can  target those pathways. The same is not true of healthy cells," adds Agarwal.

The Agarwal Lab hopes to move in the direction of clinical trials of grape seed extract, potentially as an addition to second-line therapies that target head and neck squamous cell carcinoma that has failed a first treatment.

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Tea could help lower high blood pressure: Study

In continuation of my update on tea and its effect....

A new study suggests that taking tea daily could help in lowering blood pressure.The study shows that people who drank three cups of black tea a day were able to lower their blood pressure. This was seen when compared to those who drank a placebo similar in taste and caffeine content. Those who drank the tea saw a slight drop in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure over six months.

Experts however warned that drinking tea is not a substitute for blood pressure-lowering medication, but researchers said the findings show tea could still provide a benefit.

Researchers note that although the study cannot identify specific components of the tea that might lead to a drop in blood pressure, past studies have shown flavonoids, compounds found in many plants such as tea, are good for heart health.

“The message really isn't for an individual to go out and drink a lot of tea,” said Jonathan Hodgson,