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 55

5110 Kali Era, Sarvadhari Year, Aswayuja month
2066 Vikramarka Era, Sarvadhari Year, Aswayuja month
1930 Salivahana Era
Sarvadhari Year, Aswayuja month
 2008 AD, October





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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.

Magnetic Therapy
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 and cancer.
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.

Malaria Drug
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,, 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 ©1998-2008
Vepachedu Educational Foundation, Inc
Copyright Vepachedu Educational Foundation Inc., 2008.  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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