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5110 Kali Era, Sarvadhari
Vikramarka Era, Sarvadhari
Ratan Tata gives Cornell
University $50 million
New York: Industrialist Ratan Tata has gifted a $50 million to his alma mater,
Cornell University in New York, to help recruit top Indian students to support
joint research projects with Indian universities in agriculture and nutrition.
Mr. Tata graduated from Cornell in 1959.
The Food and Drug Administration approved Neuronetics Inc.'s NeuroStar therapy,
the first noninvasive brain stimulator to treat depression -- a device that
beams magnetic pulses through the skull. Magnetic pulses trigger small electrical
charges that excite brain cells, without causing the risks of surgically
implanted electrodes or the treatment of last resort, shock therapy.
Called transcranial magnetic stimulation or TMS, this gentler approach is
not for everyone, but specifically for patients who had no relief from their
first antidepressant. Neuroscientists have been using TMS for years
as a research tool in brain studies. TMS also is being studied in stroke
rehabilitation and other brain disorders.
Stimulating brain cells in the prefrontal cortex triggers a chain reaction
that also stimulates deeper brain regions involved with mood. For depression,
psychiatrists aim the magnet at the left front of the head, the prefrontal
cortex. They first zap the top of the head to find a patient's motor-control
region and then carefully move 5 centimeters forward. Then, the NeuroStar
beams about 3,000 pulses a minute during a 40-minute treatment. Treatment
is given about five times a week for up to six weeks.
Nearly a fourth of widely used new-generation biological drugs for several
common diseases produce serious side effects that lead to safety warnings
soon after they go on the market, the first major study in the Journal of
the American Medical Association.
Included in the report released were the arthritis drugs Humira and Remicade,
cancer drugs Rituxan and Erbitux, and the heart failure drug Natrecor. All
wound up being flagged for safety. Researchers found that most of the
warnings came within five years after these biologicals won government approval
in the United States and Europe between 1995 and 2007. Many traditional
medicines wind up with safety warnings too after they go on the market. But
experts said there were no similar studies of older medicines that made it
possible to compare safety issues between the two groups of drugs.
The new study, by Dutch researchers, is the first comprehensive examination
of these newer medicines, a driving part of the biotech revolution.
The drugs are known as biologicals because they're made from living material
and they typically affect the body's disease-fighting immune system. Many
relieve severe symptoms by suppressing that immune system. It's that
same mechanism that can result in side effects often not seen with traditional
chemical-based medicines. These can include brain and fungal infections
Many are genetically engineered and Bennett said that because they typically
resemble naturally occurring proteins, many doctors have assumed they were
safer than traditional chemical-based medicines. Among the drugs under
examination are Genentech Inc.'s psoriasis drug Raptiva, which just last
week the Food and Drug Administration warned may contribute to a life-threatening
brain illness and infections; and Exubera, an inhaled insulin product, linked
with lung cancer risks. Exubera was approved by the FDA in 2006 but
Pfizer Inc. stopped selling it last year.
It involved 136 biologics approved in the United States and 105 in the European
Union between January 1995 and June 2007. A total of 41, or nearly 24 percent,
got safety warnings issued through June 2008.
A new cancer medicine has been developed using a compound from traditional
Chinese medicine. Scientists from the University of Washington have
created a new compound from an ancient Chinese Salad plant that kills particular
cancer cells 1,200 times more specifically than current drugs. Already
experts are saying that this will be like having a chemotherapy treatment
but without the harsh side effects.
The compound in question is artemisinin, which is obtained from the sweet
wormwood plant. The scientists have bound a chemical homing agent to
the compound so it by passes the body's healthy cells and specifically attacks
cancer cells. The artemisinin compound has been tested on human breast,
prostate and leukaemia cancer cells with successful results.
University of Illinois microbiology professor William Metcalf and his collaborators
have developed a way to mass-produce an antimalarial compound, potentially
making the treatment of malaria less expensive. Metcalf set out to
understand how this compound, one of a group known as phosphonates, is made
in nature by bacteria. He was interested in that process partly because some
phosphonates have antibiotic properties. Recently, Metcalf and his
lab successfully identified and sequenced the genes and identified the processes
by which bacteria make this particular phosphonate compound (FR900098).
His results are reported in the August 25 issue of Chemistry & Biology.
Malaria is a problem in Third World countries, which don’t have interest
or resources to develop new anti-malarial drugs for poor people who can’t
afford expensive drugs. In the case of malaria, the World Health Organization's
"World Malaria Report 2008" estimates that "half of the world's population
is at risk of malaria, and an estimated 247 million cases led to nearly 881,000
deaths in 2006." Resistance to classic drugs such as chloroquine and
sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine is on the rise, and mosquitoes also are developing
resistance to insecticides.
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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