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5110 Kali Era, Sarvadhari
Vikramarka Era, Sarvadhari
New Drug Discovery Process
Only a few new antibiotics have reached the market in recent years. Though
many antimicrobial drugs are already available, new ones are needed to combat
the increasing microbial resistance to antibiotics. In addition, treating
some bacterial infections with conventional antibiotics can cause the release
of more toxins and may worsen disease outcome.
Scientists have known for decades that millions of potentially harmful bacteria
exist in the human body, awaiting a signal that it's time to release their
toxins. Without those signals, the bacteria pass through the digestive tract
without infecting cells. What hasn't been identified is how to prevent the
release of those toxins, a process that involves activating virulence genes
in the bacteria. In 2006, the UT Southwestern researchers were the first to
identify the receptor QseC sensor kinase, which is found in the membrane of
a diarrhea-causing strain of Escherichia coli. This receptor receives signals
from human flora and hormones in the intestine that cause the bacteria to
In studies in vitro, Dr. Sperandio and her colleagues found that LED209
blocked the QseC sensors in E coli, Salmonella and Francisella tularensis
bacteria, preventing them from expressing virulence traits. Using mice models
of infection, the researchers also showed that LED209 blocks pathogenesis
of Salmonella and F tularensis, preventing them from causing disease in these
Identifying LED209 was accomplished by using a high throughput screen of
150,000 compounds in UT Southwestern's Small Molecular Library. The screening
process was set up to find molecules that wouldn't activate the virulence
genes in a strain of E coli known as enterohemorrhagic E coli 0157:H7, or
EHEC. Additional rounds of screening resulted in a pool of 75 potential inhibitors,
from which LED209 was selected partly because of its potency.
Unlike conventional antibiotics, which work by killing bacteria, LED209
allows the pathogen to grow but not become virulent and make the host sick.
Allowing the pathogen to survive also makes it less likely to develop resistance
to medical treatments.
In early 2008, UT Southwestern received a five-year, $6.5 million grant
from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to develop
a new antimicrobial compound to target bacterial pathogens such as Salmonella,
E coli and F tularensis.
New Cream without Cancerous Ingredients
Rutgers and Johnson & Johnson have patented a new cream jointly but
did not know whether it would be commercially developed. Certain commonly
available skin creams may cause skin tumors, at least in mice. Suspect ingredients
are mineral oil and sodium laurel sulfate.
New Drug for Huntington's
The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first treatment specifically
for Huntington's disease, a hereditary neurological disorder. The drug, Xenazine,
does not cure the disease, but can treat one of the most severe symptoms --
jerky involuntary movements known as chorea. The medication works by reducing
the amount of the brain chemical dopamine. It carries some significant side
effects, including an increased risk of depression and suicidal behavior.
More ominous signs have scientists saying that a global warming "tipping
point" in the Arctic seems to be happening before their eyes: Sea ice in the
Arctic Ocean is at its second lowest level in about 30 years. The National
Snow and Ice Data Center reported that sea ice in the Arctic now covers about
2.03 million square miles. The lowest point since satellite measurements
began in 1979 was 1.65 million square miles set last September.
With about three weeks left in the Arctic summer, this year could wind up
breaking that previous record, scientists said. Arctic ice always melts
in summer and refreezes in winter. But over the years, more of the ice is
lost to the sea with less of it recovered in winter. While ice reflects the
sun's heat, the open ocean absorbs more heat and the melting accelerates warming
in other parts of the world. Sea ice also serves as primary habitat for threatened
Government regulators cleared the way for broader use of a blood test that
can spare heart transplant patients the ordeal of repeated biopsies to check
if their bodies are rejecting the new organ. The Food and Drug Administration
said the test, called AlloMap, is an example of how the science of genetics
is changing the practice of medicine. The test analyzes certain kinds
of genetic information contained in white blood cells. These are the cells
that help the body fight off infections, but can also turn against a donated
organ with devastating effects. After a patient's blood sample is checked
in the lab, it is assigned a score that tells doctors what the odds are that
the body is rejecting a transplanted heart. The AlloMap test had been previously
approved in 2005 under federal laws that govern clinical labs.
Vytorin and Cancer Link
Federal drug safety regulators said that they were investigating whether
the cholesterol-lowering drug Vytorin can increase patients' risk of developing
cancer. However, the Food and Drug Administration said patients should not
stop taking Vytorin because the evidence of a cancer link is unclear. While
one recent clinical trial indicated higher rates of cancer for patients taking
the medication, two studies currently under way have shown no increased risk,
the FDA said.
Meanwhile, senior lawmakers in Congress issued a demand for data on the clinical
trial that indicated a cancer risk. Vytorin, a combination of Merck's Zocor
and Schering-Plough's Zetia, has been heavily promoted as a novel way to
reduce cholesterol. Zocor, a statin drug, reduces the amount of cholesterol
produced by the liver. Zetia limits the amount of cholesterol absorbed through
the digestive system. But the combination became a focus of controversy after
a study earlier this year showed it was no better at reducing the buildup
of plaque in the arteries than the much cheaper generic, Zocor.
Separately, leaders of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee asked
the companies for extensive data on the clinical trial that indicated a possible
cancer risk for Vytorin. Merck and Schering-Plough said they would cooperate
with the panel. The companies defend the drug, saying it is effective at
reducing cholesterol its approved use.
Source: The primary
sources cited above, BBC News,
New York Times (NYT), Washington Post
(WP), Mercury News, Bayarea.com,
Chicago Tribune, USA Today, Intellihealthnews,
Deccan Chronicle (DC), the
Hindu, Hindustan Times, Times of India,
AP, Reuters, AFP, Biospace
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