US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the cobas HPV (Human Papillomavirus) Test which identifies women at highest risk for developing cervical cancer. This test will help physicians make early, more accurate decisions about patient care, which may prevent many women from developing this deadly disease. Continue reading “FDA Approves Roche’s HPV Test for Identifying Women at Highest Risk for Cervical Cancer”
Bacteria have evolved complex mechanisms called quorum sensing systems that provide for cell-to-cell communication, an adaptation that allows them to wait until their population grows large enough before mounting an attack on a host or competing for nutrients. Lianhong Sun, a chemical engineer at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has engineered one of these systems to create genetic switches that could lower the cost of producing therapeutic proteins and pharmaceuticals.
Continue reading “Newly Engineered Genetic Switches Enhance Production Of Proteins, Pharmaceuticals”
The first clinical studies of an experimental drug have revealed that obese people who take it for 12 weeks lose weight, even at very low doses. Short-term studies also suggest that the drug, called taranabant—the second drug designed to fight obesity by blocking cannabinoid receptors in the brain—causes people to consume fewer calories and burn more, researchers report in the January issue of Cell Metabolism, a publication of Cell Press. Cannabinoid receptors are responsible for the psychological effects of marijuana (Cannabis sativa), and natural “endocannabinoids” are important regulators of energy balance.
Oregon Health & Science University researchers have figured out how to turn a mouse into a factory for human liver cells that can be used to test how pharmaceuticals are metabolized.
The technique, published in the journal Nature Biotechnology, could soon become the gold standard not only for examining drug metabolism in the liver, which helps scientists determine a drug’s toxicity. But it also can be used as a platform for testing new therapies against infectious diseases that attack the liver, such as hepatitis C and malaria.
Two new studies show that a new drug called Cimzia may ease symptoms of Crohn’s disease.
Cimzia hasn’t been approved by the FDA yet. Patients would give themselves injections of the drug, which targets an inflammatory chemical called tumor necrosis factor (TNF) alpha.
The two new studies, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, highlight Cimzia’s clinical trials in Crohn’s disease patients.
Read rest of this article at WebMD site.
With ethical issues concerning use of discarded embryos and technical problems hindering development of stem cell therapies, scientists in Korea are reporting the first successful use of a drug-like molecule to transform human muscle cells into nerve cells. Their report, scheduled for the August 8 issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society, a weekly journal, states that the advance could lead to new treatments for stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders.
MIT researchers have developed a model that could predict how cells will respond to targeted drug therapies. Models based on this approach could help doctors make better treatment choices for individual patients, who often respond differently to the same drug, and could help drug developers identify the ideal compounds on which to focus their research.
In addition, the model could help test the effectiveness of drugs for a wide range of diseases, including various kinds of cancer, arthritis and immune system disorders, according to Douglas Lauffenburger, MIT professor of biological engineering and head of the department. Lauffenburger is senior author of a paper on the new model that will appear in the Aug. 2 issue of Nature.
Patients with type 2 diabetes may soon be able to control their glucose and their cholesterol levels with a single drug, according to a study led by Vivian A. Fonseca, professor of medicine and pharmacology at Tulane University School of Medicine and chief of the Tulane University Health Sciences Center Diabetes Program.
In this cool animation the mode of action of a novel HIV drug, a protease inhibitor, is explained. Protease inhibitors revolutionized treatment of HIV infection by enabling drug combinations with inhibitors of another HIV enzyme the reverse transcription. Thus, this made it more difficult for virus to develop multiple mutations simultaneously to escape the effects of a single drug.
Amazing chemistry and rational drug design is involved in creating these new drugs.
Using a new type of drug that targets a specific genetic defect, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, along with colleagues at PTC Therapeutics Inc. and the University of Massachusetts Medical School, have for the first time demonstrated restoration of muscle function in a mouse model of Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy (DMD). The research appears ahead of print in an advanced online publication of Nature.
A new category of drug has shown promising results for HIV/AIDS patients who failed to respond to other treatments, a study to be shows.
Especially when combined with other medications, raltegravir — the first in a new class of anti-retroviral drugs called integrase inhibitors — dramatically reduced the presence of the HIV virus and boosted immunity in clinical-trial patients, according to the study in the British journal The Lancet.
Continue reading “New HIV drug shows ‘unprecedented’ results”
Preliminary results from a large, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial for patients with primary gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST), a type of tumor usually found in the stomach or small intestine, showed that patients who received imatinib mesylate (Gleevec ®) after complete removal of their tumor were significantly less likely to have a recurrence of their cancer compared to those who did not receive imatinib. The clinical trial was sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and conducted by a network of researchers led by the American College of Surgeons Oncology Group (ACOSOG).
Continue reading “Gleevec decreases cancer recurrence for patients with primary gastrointestinal stromal tumor”
Researchers in San Diego announce a new molecule that stops bacteria from mutating to become resistant to antibiotics.
A biochemist at Scripps Research Institute, Dr. Romesberg has announced the discovery of a molecule that inhibits bacteria’s ability to change its DNA and fend off the mortal threat of antibiotics. The moleculer was found after the lab screened more than 100,000 possible compounds. The molecule also slips easily into a bacterial cell, which is critical to creating an effective tool to zap the bugs.
Read rest of this story on Technology Review site.
Investigators reported today that torcetrapib, a drug that substantially raises high-density lipoprotein cholesterol or HDL (the “good” cholesterol), did not slow the progression of plaque buildup in the coronary arteries as measured using an ultrasound probe (IVUS). All development of this drug was terminated on December 2, 2006 after the safety board monitoring a separate large clinical outcomes trial reported that torcetrapib increased the risk of death and other adverse cardiovascular outcomes.
Continue reading “Despite significantly raising HDL, torcetrapib failed to slow the progression of coronary plaques”
Chemists are currently able to synthetically produce almost any compound, but they must typically resort to expensive, complex processes that can require dozens of individual steps. Such natural product syntheses have traditionally relied on the ubiquitous use of “protecting groups,” which are extra compounds chemists use to shield reactive portions of a molecule during specific stages of a synthesis scheme. The protecting groups are eventually cleaved chemically to expose the reactive portion during later chemical reactions to complete a product’s synthesis. Each protecting group used adds at least two steps to a synthesis, and the groups themselves have reactivity of their own that must be controlled to prevent adverse reactions.
Continue reading “Synthetic production of potential pharmaceuticals dramatically simplified”
Antibodies that selectively bind and destroy cancer cells represent some of the most promising cancer therapy approaches being developed today. Several of these antibodies have reached the market, including cetuximab (Erbitux®, ImClone Systems), which targets the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) protein. However, a study conducted at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Ludwig Center at Dana-Farber/Harvard Medical School now suggests that antibodies binding a particular protein conformation, caused by hyperactivation, might have distinct therapeutic advantages over antibodies, like cetuximab, that bind to wild-type (normal) target proteins.
Continue reading “Novel EGFR antibody outperforms cetuximab in mouse model of lung cancer”
Brain tumors appear to arise from cancer stem cells (CSCs) that live within microscopic protective “niches” formed by blood vessels in the brain; and disrupting these niches is a promising strategy for eliminating the tumors and preventing them from re-growing, according to results of a study by investigators at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. CSCs are cells that continually multiply, acting as the source of tumors.
“The finding that brain CSCs exist in protective vascular (blood vessel) niches helps explain the origin of brain tumors and suggests a new strategy for eliminating them,” said Richard Gilbertson, M.D., Ph.D., co-director of the Neurobiology and Brain Tumor Program at St. Jude. Gilbertson is senior author of a report on this work that appears in the January issue of Cancer Cell.
Continue reading “Brain tumor researchers find their ‘niche’”
Bayer and Onyx Pharmaceuticals announced that the New England Journal of Medicine has published their pivotal Phase III trial demonstrating that Nexavar® (sorafenib) tablets doubled median progression-free survival (PFS) in patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC), or kidney cancer. The trial is the largest randomized controlled trial ever conducted in advanced RCC.
Continue reading “Pivotal kidney cancer study shows doubling of disease-free survival”