Presented below are updates in Pharmaceutical and clinical research-
Significant Differences Found In US, UK Osteoporosis Treatment Guidelines.
MedWire reported that, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, "researchers from New Zealand have found striking differences in the recommendations for management of skeletal health when applying US and UK osteoporosis treatment guidelines to elderly women." In a study of 1,471 postmenopausal elderly women, researchers compared recommended osteoporosis management based on guidelines from the US National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) and the UK's National Osteoporosis Guidelines Group (NOGG). They found that "applying the NOF guidelines identified 76% of women with hip fractures and 63% with osteoporotic fractures who needed treatment," but "applying the NOGG guidelines identified only 38% of women with hip fractures and 27% with osteoporotic fractures who needed treatment."
New Drug Combined With Diovan May Help Lower Blood Pressure.
WebMD reported that adding Novartis' AHU377, "a new kind of blood pressure drug called a vasopeptidase inhibitor," to Diovan (valsartan) "works better than either drug alone, a manufacturer-sponsored clinical trial suggests." The "combination of the two types of drug creates a new molecule," called an ARNI, which when tested among "1,328 adults ages 18 to 75 in 18 nations" with "mild-to-moderate high blood pressure," resulted in boosting "the blood-pressure lowering effect of Diovan" for all dosages tested.
MedPage Today also noted that the study's researchers "asserted" that their "encouraging findings warrant large clinical trials in hypertension, diabetes, and heart or renal failure." The study results were presented at the American College of Cardiology's annual meeting.
Experimental Once-A-Day Malaria Drug May Be As Effective As Twice-Daily Pill.
Bloomberg News reported, "An experimental once-a-day malaria drug worked as well at treating the mosquito-borne illness as Novartis AG's twice-daily pill Coartem [artemether and lumefantrine]," according to a paper in The Lancet. "Pyramax, developed by Shin Poong Pharmaceutical Co. of South Korea and the Geneva-based Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), cleared the disease-causing parasite from the blood of 99.5 percent of patients in Africa and Asia after 28 days, compared with 99.2 percent for Coartem," researchers explained. Yet, "pyramax, also known as pyronaridine-artesunate, 'still has to be assessed in a real-life setting across the wider population of patients who need antimalarial treatment, including those who are malnourished or have anemia,' the study's authors wrote."
Moreover, the author of an accompanying comment pointed out that the study was somewhat limited by the fact that the trial included older adults and children who could have built up immunity, He also explained that some of the participants were found to have increased liver enzyme levels while taking the drug. Still, MMV welcomes the study, maintaining that having a cornucopia of anti-malarial treatments will spur market competition and possibly reduce costs.
Global Health Initiative To Fund Battle Against Malaria Among Children, Women In Africa.
Reuters reported that through the Global Health Initiative, the government plans to focus on battling malaria, especially in African populations of women and children. Over the next six years, the US will invest $63 billion, and a portion of the monies is expected to supply nearly 70 percent of those at highest-risk in Sub-Saharan Africa with insecticide-treated nets and sprays and artemisinin-based drugs. According to the report issued by USAID, public health authorities will also try amalgamate their efforts with other plans to tackle TB, HIV/AIDS, and neglected tropical disease.
Vaccine That Could Help People Stop Smoking Shows Promise In Clinical Trials.
CNN reported that "a vaccine designed to stimulate the immune system to generate antibodies that would latch on to nicotine in a smoker's body and prevent it from ever entering the brain" has been "showing promise in early clinical trials, researchers announced this week at a national meeting of addiction specialists." Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, said, "Finding effective treatments that can help people stay off cigarettes has been a real challenge." Dr. Collins added, "This phase III trial of a nicotine vaccine offers tremendous hope towards solving this immense public health problem."
Radiolabeling Conjugated Trastuzumab May Help Physicians Track Its Cancer-Fighting Progress.
MedPage Today reported that "tagging a copper isotope to conjugated trastuzumab (Herceptin) might allow doctors to monitor the progress a drug is having in combating cancer," according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Cancer Research. Scientists, "in animal models...illustrated that the noninvasive procedure monitors expression levels of cell-surface receptors." One researcher said, "Monoclonal antibodies are attractive vectors in the development of diagnostic imaging agents because of their specificity."
Multi-Vitamins During Pregnancy May Reduce Risk Of Giving Birth To Underweight Babies.
The UK's Telegraph reported that "taking multi-vitamin pills during pregnancy could significantly reduce the risk of giving birth to underweight babies." Specifically, a study of 402 pregnant women "found cases of small-for-gestational age (SGA) births were less than half as common in mothers who had taken 'multiple micronutrient supplements' during pregnancy when compared to a placebo group." The Telegraph adds, "The research, by the Institute of Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition, suggests some women in parts of Britain could be exposing their children to health problems in later life as a result of poor diet during pregnancy."
The UK's Independent reports that that participants in the study, which was published in the British Journal of Nutrition, "had higher levels of vitamin and mineral deficiency than the general population, indicative of a poor diet." In fact, "more than two thirds (72 per cent) had low levels of vitamin D in their blood, 13 per cent were anaemic...and 12 per cent were deficient in thiamin."
"The UK has one of the worst records in Western Europe for babies of low birth-weight relative to time spent in the womb. In fact, "it is worse than Cuba and on a par with Romania at 8 per cent."
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