Archive for January 2014

Old Drug, New Tricks: Antipsychotic Medication Reinvented as Cancer Treatment

Big Pharma is becoming adept at identifying new uses for old drugs. Companies are re-examining established therapies – conducting refocused clinical research within the relatively new context of genome mapping. With increasing clarity, we are able to see how drugs impact cell behavior and operations, and this ability is yielding promising results in the treatment of various forms of cancer. Recent research out of Boston has revealed that a 50 year old antipsychotic medication called perphenazine may be called back into active duty – this time to battle acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a particularly aggressive form of cancer. The research.. READ MORE »

The Search for Naturally Sourced Antibiotics

We often turn to antibiotics as a kind of silver bullet; a bacterium-eradicator with the power to relieve whatever ails us. A wide variety of conditions are routinely treated with antibiotics, from common infections to more serious illnesses like tuberculosis. However, in our zeal to wipe out bacteria we have given the invaders precisely what they need to mutate and adapt – resulting in ever-more resistant strains that have rendered many of our stand-by drugs quite powerless. Antibiotic over-use has made bacteria stronger, while our ability to formulate more effective alternatives continues to decline. This is why Sanofi, partnered with.. READ MORE »

Infant Gene Mapping: Faster Diagnoses, Better Treatments

Each year in Canada and the US, thousands of babies are born with unknown diseases and rare conditions – medical mysteries that often go unsolved. At least, until now. At Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, geneticist Stephen Kingsmore is using genome mapping to shed new light on infant illness – and providing early intervention to conditions that clinical research alone could take years to address. The technology is becoming increasingly accessible. Just over a decade ago, it cost more than $2 billion to map a human genome, while today it costs Kingsmore $12,000 to complete and analyze a.. READ MORE »

Trial Transparency: Big Pharma Pressured to Reveal Hidden Data

Before we try a new product, we often search online or talk to other consumers to find out how well it works and if it lives up to manufacturer promises. We dig into its history and look for inconsistencies. Should we be any less vigilant when choosing a new medicine? In the U.K., lawmakers are demanding greater transparency from Big Pharma with regard to the results of clinical research and drug trials. The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee states that the methods and outcomes of tests should be available to the medical community and patients, so that they can.. READ MORE »

Researchers Find New Treatments for Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly silent killers. It is an aggressive disease with poor prognosis and limited treatment options, and is highly resistant to both chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Most patients develop symptoms after the cancer has spread to other organs, and the chance of survival drastically reduced.  According to the Canadian Cancer Society, 4,700 Canadians will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year – and 4,300 will die from it. More effective treatment methods are desperately needed to increase shockingly low survival rates. New clinical research from scientists at the Universities of Manchester and Michigan may provide.. READ MORE »

Hoofless Cattle: Merck Claims no Link to Growth Stimulant

Over the last decade, foodies, environmentalists, animal rights advocates and health officials have spoken out about the dangers of “unnatural” foods. The excessive use of pesticides, the unhealthy – even deadly – side effects of hormone injected cattle, and the implications of genetically modified produce; all reasons many of us have gone organic, willing to spend extra on free-range and all-natural. Last year, cattle producers joined the chorus, taking aim at pharma giant Merck when its growth stimulant Zilmax allegedly caused disastrous side effects. Merck denies there is any clinical research to validate the claims and is currently strategizing a.. READ MORE »

Customized Treatment Combats Most Lethal Brain Tumor

Patients diagnose with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most aggressive form of primary brain tumor, face a bleak survival rate of 3 to 9 months. Typically, patients are treated with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation – but these traditional techniques simply cannot keep up with an alarmingly fast rate of growth. GBM tumors are notoriously resistant to standard therapies, and remain one of the most dreaded diagnoses because despite treatment, they almost always come back. This is why clinical research in the field is so important, and why a new study from Northwestern Memorial Hospital is receiving positive attention. Using tumor.. READ MORE »

Does Reward Outweigh Risk? New Pills for Type 2 Diabetes

The global diabetes management market accounted for $41.9 billion in 2010, and is expected to rise to $114.3 billion by 2016. Even more staggering is the dramatic increase in those diagnosed; a figure that has risen by more than 373% over the last 30 years. Industry professionals and students in pharmaceutical courses have seen Big Pharma pursue innovative treatments for the disease, evolving from injections to inhalers and most recently, to new oral therapies. Johnson & Johnson and Bristol/AstraZeneca are the front runners in this race, having both recently released drugs that represent a brand new class of treatment for.. READ MORE »

Wash Your Hands of Triclosan! FDA Cautions against Antibacterial Soap

We’re often told that washing our hands throughout the day will help to ward off germs, sickness and infection. And the best soap to use? Antibacterial, of course. However, according to the FDA, the very product we rely on to shield us from illness may well be making us sick. In a statement released on December 16, FDA officials warned consumers that the active ingredient in antibacterial soaps – triclosan – may be responsible for hormone imbalances and antibiotic resistance. In fact, despite its widespread use there is no clinical research to confirm that antibacterial soap has any added health.. READ MORE »