The Andhra Journal of Industrial News
(An International Electronic Digest Published from the United States of America)
(dedicated to Andhra, My Mother's Homeland)

Chief Editor: Prof. Sreenivasarao Vepachedu
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Issue 53

5110 Kali Era, Sarvadhari Year, Shravana month
2066 Vikramarka Era, Sarvadhari Year, Shravana month
1930 Salivahana Era
Sarvadhari Year, Shravana month
 2008 AD, August





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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 initiate infection.

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 animals.

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.

Global Warming
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 polar bears.

New Blood Test
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,, Chicago Tribune, USA Today, Intellihealthnews, Deccan Chronicle (DC), the Hindu, Hindustan Times, Times of India, AP, Reuters, AFP,  Biospace etc.

Notice: The content of the articles is intended to provide general information. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Copyright ©1998-2007
Vepachedu Educational Foundation, Inc
Copyright Vepachedu Educational Foundation Inc., 2007.  All rights reserved.  All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for special medical conditions or any specific health issues or starting a new fitness regimen. Please read disclaimer.

Om! Asatoma Sadgamaya, Tamasoma Jyotirgamaya, Mrityorma Amritamgamaya, Om Shantih, Shantih, Shantih!
(Om! Lead the world from wrong path to the right path, from ignorance to knowledge, from mortality to immortality and peace!)
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