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The Andhra Journal of Industrial News
(An International Electronic Digest Published from the United States of America)
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Chief Editor: Dr. Sreenivasarao Vepachedu


Issue 33

5108 Kali Era, Vyaya Year, Margasira/Pushya month
2064 Vikramarka Era, Vyaya Year, Margasira/Pushya month
1928 Salivahana Era
Vyaya Year, Margasira/Pushya month
 2006 AD, December

Celebrex for Children
Cloned Foods
Genetically Modified Peanuts
New Malaria Drug
Pakistanis' Help New Drug Discovery
Menstruation, a choice for women soon

Celebrex for Children
Pfizer Inc. won federal approval to market the painkiller Celebrex as a treatment for children with a devastating form of arthritis.

Since the first of the drug-eluting stents was introduced in 2003, the devices have gone on to capture 80 percent of the stent market from the older, bare-metal versions. About 3 million Americans now have one or more of the newer stents in their bodies.

People who have drug-coated stents implanted to open their blocked arteries might need to stay on clot-preventing medications indefinitely. Recent studies suggest that patients who stop taking the clot-preventer Plavix have a higher risk of premature heart attack and death than patients who continue to take the drug. Labels on the stents recommend that patients take baby aspirin and Plavix for either three or six months after surgery. These new studies raise the question of whether the drug needs to be continued beyond six months.  The Food and Drug Administration is looking into the safety of drug-coated stents as compared to bare metal stents. Among the things the FDA needs to determine is how long drug-coated stent patients should remain on clot-busting drugs; the agency points out that the risks of long-term treatment with Plavix are unknown. Drug-coated stents that buttress the arteries are safe when used as directed, health advisers say, even though the risks they may pose to the majority of patients with the devices remains an open question.

The two companies with U.S. approval to sell the stents, Boston Scientific Corp. and Johnson & Johnson, said there is no increased risk in those patients or, if there is, that it's likely attributable to the health status of the patients. With stents, off-label use typically involves more complex cases, often in patients suffering from poorer health.  The FDA also sought recommendations for research on the drug-coated stents on the market or pending approval. Both Medtronic Inc. and Abbott Laboratories hope to enter the more than $5 billion U.S. market for the drug-coated stents.

An experimental ultrasound technique that measures how easily breast lumps compress and bounce back could enable doctors to determine instantly whether a woman has cancer or not without having to do a biopsy. Biopsies can cost $200 to $1,000, depending on whether some fluid or an entire lump is removed, and it can take days or weeks to get the results. The cost of elastography might run $100 to $200 and it can yield results in minutes. The findings were reported at a national radiology meeting in Chicago.

Cloned Foods
The US government said meat and milk from cloned animals is safe for human consumption, bringing such products closer to supermarket shelves. FDA made the announcement following studies that found that meat and milk from cloned livestock and their progeny is as safe to eat as that from conventionally bred animals. The FDA has set April 2 as the deadline for public comment on the issue, after which it would review the data and decide whether to lift a moratorium on the marketing of meat and milk from cloned cattle, pigs and goats.

Genetically Modified Peanuts
With the two leading peanut-producing countries, China and India, working aggressively on transgenic peanuts, the American Peanut Council and its research arm, the Peanut Foundation, this month approved a major policy change. The council represents all segments of the industry - growers, shellers, exporters and manufacturers. The foundation urged scientists to move ahead with "due diligence" on genetically engineered peanuts. The work is expected to cost about $9.5 million and will require university, government and industry support. The work could lead to peanuts that yield more oil for biofuel production, need less rainfall and grow more efficiently, with built-in herbicide and pest resistance - traits that have already been engineered into major crops such as cotton, corn, soybeans and canola.

New Malaria Drug
Two papers in PLoS Medicine suggest possible new avenues of treatment against malaria. A novel compound, tazopsine, was isolated from a plant traditionally used against malaria in Madagascar and shown to be active against the liver stages of human and mouse malaria. One of its semisynthetic derivatives, NCP-tazopsine, completely protected mice from a challenge with malarial parasites, and was specifically active against the liver stage, but inactive against the blood forms of the malaria parasite. This unique specificity in an antimalarial drug makes the development of drug resistance much less likely, and suggests that this compound is a promising new candidate for anti-malarial prophylaxis.

Pakistanis Help New Drug Discovery
A young Pakistani street performer and members of three related families have never felt pain.  The Pakistani street performer was a local celebrity in northern Pakistan where he astonished crowds by plunging knives through his arms and walking on burning coals. He died on his 14th birthday after jumping from a roof.  By studying the Pakistani, and other individuals from families in the same clan, researchers have discovered that they all had a rare inherited genetic mutation that stopped them feeling pain.  All six affected individuals had never felt any pain, at any time, in any part of their body.  The discovered mutation is on a gene called SCN9A. It stops a sodium channel, which produces nerve impulses that convey pain signals to the brain, from functioning. So the otherwise healthy individuals do not experience pain. The discovery was reported in the journal Nature.  This is a genetic breakthrough that could lead to more effective painkillers.  The drug company Pfizer Inc. already has a new pain relief product in preclinical development based on the genetic discovery.

Menstruation, a choice for women soon!
Menstrual periods may soon be just another lifestyle choice for women. The continuous oral contraceptive Lybrel was shown to be highly effective for eliminating monthly bleeding in a yearlong study.  The study was published in the December issue of the journal Contraception. After a year on the pill, roughly 60% of the women in the study experienced no periods and 20% had some spotting. Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, which funded the study, hopes to launch the low-dose oral contraceptive early next year, pending approval by the FDA. Birth control pills designed to limit uterine bleeding to just four times a year are already on the market in the U.S.  Lybrel is the first oral contraceptive designed to do away with periods.

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, womenfitness.net etc.

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

Copyright ©1998-2006
Vepachedu Educational Foundation, Inc
Copyright Vepachedu Educational Foundation Inc., 2006.  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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