Presented below are updates in Pharmaceutical and clinical research-
Researchers Develop Vaccine That Prevents Breast Cancer From Developing In Mice.
BBC News reported that "American scientists say they have developed a vaccine which has prevented breast cancer from developing in mice," according to a paper published in the journal Nature Medicine. The UK's Telegraph reported that "the vaccine is based on protein called alpha-lactalbumin that lurks in most breast cancer tumours." Research "on mice bred to develop breast cancers by the age of 10 months, the drug was found to keep them free of tumours." The vaccine "stimulates the immune system, priming it to destroy alpha-lactalbumin as it appears, and so stopping tumours from forming."
HealthDay reported that "researchers say the vaccine would be targeted at women over the age of 40, because it disrupts breast-feeding and older women are less likely to become pregnant." However, in the London Times, Dr. Mark Porter wrote that "while this new research is exciting, it requires a giant leap from identifying an approach that prevents breast cancer in mice genetically prone to the disease, to a human vaccine that offers similar protection to most women."
Linaclotide Found To Relieve Chronic Constipation In Phase III Trials.
MedPage Today reported that linaclotide, an "investigational drug to relieve chronic constipation was effective and caused no unexpected safety issues in two phase III trials, researchers said" at Digestive Disease Week in New Orleans. The researchers also said the drug "significantly increased the number and quality of spontaneous bowel movements in patients who had been almost completely reliant on laxatives." MedPage added, "The only downside: the drug caused diarrhea in about 15% of patients, with 4% discontinuing treatment as a result."
Pfizer Halts Late-Stage Clinical Study Of Sutent For Liver Cancer.
The AP reported that Pfizer, Inc. announced that it had "stopped a late-stage clinical study of its drug Sutent [sunitinib] as a treatment for" hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common type of liver cancer. According to Pfizer, "patients who were treated with Sutent were not surviving as long as patients who were treated with another drug," Nexavar (sorafenib), made by Bayer Healthcare and Onyx Pharmaceuticals. In addition, patients taking Sutent were "more likely to suffer serious side effects, the company said." Pfizer is still testing Sutent, which is already approved to fight gastrointestinal stromal tumors as well as advanced kidney cancer, in patients suffering from prostate cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, and for kidney cancer treatment following surgery. Last month, the company announced that Sutent had failed in a late-stage trial of patients with advanced breast cancer.
Program May Help Physicians Improve Prescribing Practices For Patients With Hypertension.
HealthDay reported that, "after taking part in a face-to-face program designed to review current research and guidelines, doctors made small improvements in the way they prescribed medicine for patients with high blood pressure," according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Researchers "examined what happened after 147 'investigator-educators' made presentations to groups of doctors about the state-of-the-art guidelines in regard to high blood pressure medications." The investigators found that physicians "in counties that the investigators visited appeared to be more likely to prescribe certain blood pressure medications as recommended, with 8.7 percent prescribing the thiazide-type diuretics compared to 3.9 percent in the general population."
Study Suggests Newly Approved Prostate Cancer Vaccine Is Safe, Has Few Side Effects.
The newly approved therapeutic prostate cancer vaccine, Provenge, is safe and has few side effects, according to a study scheduled to be presented at the American Urological Association annual meeting. Lead researcher Dr. Simon J. Hall explained that "the advantage of the vaccine for patients with metastatic hormone-resistant prostate cancer is that it has fewer side effects than chemotherapy, which is the only other treatment option for these patients." Meanwhile, "the average survival time for men given Provenge is 4.5 months, although some patients saw their lives extended by two to three years."
Blood-Sugar Meter That Connects With Gaming Systems May Help Children With Diabetes.The Washington Post reported that the FDA "recently approved Bayer HealthCare's Didget, a blood-sugar meter that can connect with the Nintendo DS and DS Lite gaming systems." Children "who test their blood sugar as prescribed by their doctor get access to higher levels in certain games, as well as entry into a 'diabetes world' where they can communicate with other gamers who have the condition." Although "points are awarded for staying within ranges, not for reaching specific numbers...no additional points are given after a child has tested four times in a 24-hour period, a common goal set by physicians."
Rosuvastatin May Reduce Blood Lipid Linked To Coronary Artery Disease.
MedPage Today reported, "In a study that specifically scrutinized the effects of statin therapy on triglycerides, researchers said that rosuvastatin (Crestor) significantly reduced the blood lipid that has been linked to coronary artery disease better than placebo." In the study, "Mexican patients treated with rosuvastatin 10 mg reduced triglycerides by 26%, while patients treated with rosuvastatin 20 mg reduced triglycerides by 33%. Placebo patients reduced triglycerides by 8%." Epidemiologist Juan Talavera, MD, of the Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social in Mexico City, said during a poster presentation at the 2010 American College of Cardiology meeting, "In addition, rosuvastatin use significantly improved the artherogenic lipid profile."
Higher Lipitor Dose May Lower Heart Attack, Stroke Risk For Some Patients.
The AP reported, "A reanalysis of research data found a high dose of popular cholesterol pill Lipitor [atorvastatin calcium] lowers risk of heart attack and stroke in some patients with both heart disease and kidney disease, the drug's maker said Monday." Pfizer Inc. "said the new analysis, which it funded, included patients with both those diseases who also were either obese or had metabolic syndrome." When comparing "patients getting the starter dose of 10 milligrams of Lipitor," to "those getting 80 milligrams of Lipitor," those receiving the larger dose "had one-third the risk of cardiovascular complications," according to findings presented Monday at the meeting of the American College of Cardiology.
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