Drugs and Supplements 

Oral therapeutic drug shows promise against recurrent C. difficile infection

Results from a Phase 1b/2 trial suggest that an investigational microbiome-based, oral therapeutic drug is effective for the treatment of recurrent C. difficile infection. In a paper published online in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, a multi-institutional research team reports that treatment with the preparation, containing the spores of approximately 50 species of beneficial bacteria, successfully prevented recurrence of C. difficile infection (CDI) in patients with a history of multiple recurrent disease. This therapeutic drug also restored the participants’ gut microbiome – the microbial community within the gastrointestinal system –…

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Drugs and Supplements 

Nutrition and breast cancer; starving triple negative breast cancer cells to death: an interview with Associate Professor Jeff Holst

Can you give me a brief overview of the role that nutrition plays in breast cancer? Interview conducted by James White, MPsych While there are a range of reports that different foods and food groups can increase or decrease your risk of cancer, these associations are very difficult to scientifically verify. However, there is research that has demonstrated a strong connection between environment, nutrition and cancer. Studies have shown that African and Asian women have a significantly lower incidence of breast cancer than those in western nations. However, for those…

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Drugs and Supplements 

Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae: an interview with Dr. Michael Dudley

What are Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) and why are they difficult to treat? Enterobacteriaceae refer to the family of bacteria such as E. coli and Klebsiella that are bacterial pathogens most frequently associated with hospital-acquired infections. Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) are those bacteria that have acquired genes or mutations that are resistant to many beta-lactam antibiotics, notably the carbapenem class of antimicrobial agents. Carbapenems are a class of beta-lactams, which are broad-spectrum antibiotics known to be the most effective against gram-negative infections. Resistant forms of CRE, such as as KPC (Klebsiella pneumoniaecarbapenemase)…

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Drugs and Supplements 

Anatomy of the cost of a new drug

The cost of drugs is in the headlines following the decision by NHS watchdog NICE that a new cancer treatment should not be funded. Its cost? More than £90,000 per patient for an extra six months of life. But how are such figures reached? The drug – Kadcyla – was developed by Roche. And for commercial reasons it has so far not revealed the methods behind its pricing strategy. Lab testing and trials But to really understand the cost of developing a new drug you have to go back to…

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Drugs and Supplements 

France drug trial: Brain-dead man dies in hospital

A man left brain-dead after an experimental drug trial in France has died, media report. He was one of six people being treated in hospital in the city of Rennes. The hospital said the other five remained in a stable condition – four had “neurological problems” and the fifth had no symptoms. Reports that the drug was a cannabis-based painkiller have been denied by the French health ministry. The Paris prosecutor has opened an investigation The trial, which involved taking the drug orally and has now been suspended, was conducted…

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Drugs and Supplements 

Pharma ‘cash call’ for new antibiotics

More than 80 pharmaceutical companies have called on governments to develop new ways of paying them to develop antibiotics. In a joint declaration, at the World Economic Forum, they said the value of antibiotics “does not reflect the benefits they bring to society”. In return, they have promised to invest in research and improve access to antibiotics around the world. Signatories include GSK, Merck, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson. There have been repeated warnings the world is on the cusp of a “post-antibiotic era”, raising the prospect of untreatable infections….

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Drugs and Supplements 

Antipsychotics Boost Type 2 Diabetes Risk in Youth

Youth who have been exposed to antipsychotic drugs are at significantly increased risk for type 2 diabetes in comparison with youth who have not been exposed to the drugs, including those who also have psychiatric disorders but who have not been exposed, a new meta-analysis shows. “The take-away [message] is that type 2 diabetes is a risk when treating youth with antipsychotics, especially long term, and antipsychotics should therefore be used judiciously and for as short a period as necessary and possible,” senior author Christoph U. Correll, MD, of the…

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Drugs and Supplements 

Ebola: $5m vaccine deal announced

The Vaccine Alliance, Gavi, has signed a $5m (£3.5m) deal for an Ebola vaccine, to protect against future outbreaks of the deadly disease. The deal commits pharmaceutical company Merck to keeping 300,000 vaccines ready for emergency use or further clinical trials. It will also submit an application to license the vaccine by the end of 2017, which would the next step towards enabling Gavi to prepare a global stockpile. More than 11,000 people have died in the latest outbreak in West Africa. The sheer scale of the outbreak – the…

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Drugs and Supplements 

Prenatal Exposure to Asthma Drugs May Boost Autism Risk

Prenatal exposure to commonly used asthma drugs may increase the risk for autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), new research shows. Investigators found that exposure to beta-2-adrenergic receptor (B2AR) agonists during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk for ASD. The risk was similar in all trimesters. However, lead author Nicole B. Gidaya, PhD, Drexel University School of Public Health, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, warned that any concerns over ASD must be balanced against the risks posed by uncontrolled asthma. “During an asthma exacerbation in pregnancy, the prenatal maternal stress response may be elevated,…

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Drugs and Supplements 

Cholera vaccine supply set to double, easing global shortage

The global supply of oral cholera vaccines is set to double after WHO approved a third producer, helping to address global shortages and expand access in more countries. Globally, OCV production is low, with demands currently exceeding supply. Sudan and Haiti last year made requests to WHO for supplies of vaccines to conduct pre-emptive vaccination campaigns that could not be filled because of the global shortage. The vaccine producer, a South Korean company, is the latest oral cholera vaccine (OCV) manufacturer to be approved under the WHO’s pre-qualification programme, which…

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