Retroviral resistance gene found - HIV Cure???

Dr Stephen Goff and colleagues have identified a novel retroviral resistance gene, called FEZ1, that can mediate a potent resistance to murine leukemia virus, as well as HIV-1, in cell culture.

The researchers found that the high level of FEZ1 expression in a specific laboratory rat cell line caused a significant block to retroviral infection - retroviruses were able to enter the host cells and synthesize the viral DNA, but were excluded from entering the host cell nucleus.

'We suspect that the overexpression of FEZ1 interferes with intracellular trafficking of the viral preintegration complex and traps the viral DNA in the cytoplasm. We hope that learning more about this transport machinery might reveal a new target for antiviral drugs in the treatment of HIV-1 disease.'

Contact: Heather Cosel
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory"

Congress Passes Budget With Cuts in Medicaid and in Taxes

A $2.56 trillion federal budget for 2006 that aims to trim the growth of Medicaid by $10 billion over five years.

Mr. DeLay said, "This is the budget the American people voted for when they returned a Republican House, a Republican Senate and a Republican president to the White House last November." Democrats derided the budget as misguided, saying it would slash spending on programs for the most vulnerable members of society, give lavish tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans, force veterans to spend more on health care and deepen the deficit, instead of reducing it, as Republicans contend it will. Although the budget resolution is nonbinding, it is important because it provides an economic blueprint that lawmakers can use to pass specific tax and spending legislation later in the year. For instance, the resolution assumes $106 billion in tax cuts over the next five years, and explicitly directs Congress to enact legislation providing for $70 billion of those cuts. The intent, its authors say, is to extend Mr. Bush's tax cuts on capital gains and dividend income.

The New York Times > Washington > Congress Passes Budget With Cuts in Medicaid and in Taxes

Lilly-Amylin Diabetes Drug Gets FDA Nod

"The Food and Drug Administration approved the Byetta injection as an adjunctive therapy for type 2 diabetes for patients who have not been able to control blood sugar levels using common oral diabetes drugs. The FDA says the drug is also approvable as a stand-alone therapy. "

Lilly-Amylin Diabetes Drug Gets FDA Nod:

BioBOOM Op/Ed: We are a big fan of Amylin but can't for the life of us figure out the market reaction (neg) to a second drug approval in 6 weeks for the huge diabetic treatment market. Oh well it's early and like said on an earlier post what diabetic would not want to try this new class which will also help with weight loss. Watch this one grow long term.

Study: California to remain tops in biotech

California's biotechnology industry is not about lose its dominant position anytime soon, according to a report released Wednesday. A key industry driver, and one that gives the Golden State its lead in biotech, is its collection of research powerhouses, the authors conclude.

Study: California to remain tops in biotech - 2005-04-27

Cholesterol Drugs (STATINS) May Slow Prostate Cancer

"Men who use cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins may be cutting their risk for advanced prostate cancer in half, according to researchers who examined 10 years of data from the large, highly respected Health Professionals Follow Up Study."

Yahoo! Health News: Cholesterol Drugs May Slow Prostate Cancer:

Emerging Biotechnology Players: From Innovation to Realization - Market Analysis Report

Datamonitor - Emerging Biotechnology Players: From Innovation to Realization - Market Analysis Report: "Research and analysis highlights
In 2001, the 10 biotechnology industry leaders posted an 18% increase in product revenue, to $10,992m. This was mainly driven by Amgen and Genentech, generating $4,482m and $1,736m, respectively. Therapeutic proteins are likely to maintain the lead, with forecast revenues of $19,053m in 2007. Amgen's Enbrel will be the top biotech blockbuster, with forecast sales of $3,200m in 2007. Second to therapeutic proteins will be antibodies, forecast to generate $7,635m in 2007. Millennium could replace Celltech in the top 10 biotech firms, with forecast product revenue of $710m in 2007. Over the next five years, Millennium, Scios and Isis will be the three leading emerging players in terms of product sales, with forecast combined revenue of $1,369m."

Celera Donates Gene Data It Once Sold

Although the public project has always made its work available at no charge on the Internet, Celera charged fees that reportedly ran into the millions of dollars. On Tuesday, Celera said it was discontinuing its subscription business while continuing efforts to make drugs. Celera and its sister company, Applera Corp.'s Applied Biosystems, said the information would better serve scientists if it was available to all researchers. The goal also is to stimulate interest in Applied Biosystems' products for helping researchers search and analyze the genetic data.

Celera Donates Gene Data It Once Sold

Eli Lilly & Amylin deal faced extinction but survived

Exenatide is the first in a new class of diabetes medicines (pending FDA approval any minute now!) that promises to stimulate insulin production and lower blood sugar only when the body needs it. Traditional insulin shots can cause blood sugar to drop dangerously low, causing fainting or, rarely, death. Exenatide is a synthetic copy of a protein found in the saliva of the Gila monster, a venomous lizard that lives in the southwestern U.S. The drug works by mimicking the effect of a hormone called GLP-1 that is secreted by the gut after food intake. In addition, it has amazing weight loss affects too, so patients get a 2 for 1 affect . In fact there is speculation that some Dr's may prescibe it just for the weight loss, so bye bye Lindora weight loss program.

Huge Eli Lilly deal faced extinction but survived

Beckman Coulter to Buy Agencourt

Beckman Coulter Inc., a maker of laboratory equipment and instruments, on Wednesday said it would acquire Agencourt Bioscience Corp., a privately held company that provides genomic services and nucleic acid purification products, for up to $140 million.

Beckman Coulter to Buy Agencourt

BioBOOM Op/Ed: Wonder where this puts the Promega relationship?

Drug Combo Curbs Nausea of Chemotherapy

The researchers conclude, it is 'highly recommended that a combination of ramosetron plus dexamethasone rather than ramosetron alone should be given to prevent cisplatin-induced acute emesis.'"

Yahoo! News - Drug Combo Curbs Nausea of Chemotherapy:

U.S. Panel Urges Guidelines for Stem-Cell Research

Research using stem cells from human embryos is going ahead with or without federal support and must be regulated somehow, a panel of experts said on Tuesday. "The premise is not to advocate that the work be done -- that has already been debated with some consensus reached in the scientific community and elsewhere -- but rather to start with the presumption that the work is important for human welfare, that it will be done, and that it should be conducted in a framework that addresses scientific, ethical, medical, and social concerns," the panel said in its report.

Yahoo! News - U.S. Panel Urges Guidelines for Stem-Cell Research

Mysterious Viruses as Bad as They Get

The international experts who have rushed to Angola have been so busy trying to contain the epidemic that they have had no time to trace its origins. Ultimately, though, finding the source of the disease may help health authorities to prevent future outbreaks.

The New York Times > Health > Mysterious Viruses as Bad as They Get

Monoclonal antibody cures West Nile virus-infected mice

A newly developed monoclonal antibody can cure mice infected with the West Nile virus, scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis report. If further studies confirm the effectiveness and safety of the antibody, it could become one of the first monoclonal antibodies used as a treatment for an infectious disease

Monoclonal antibody cures West Nile virus-infected mice

Gene Therapy a Positive Sign on Alzheimer's

The first attempt at gene therapy for Alzheimer's patients appeared to significantly delay worsening of the disease in a few people who have tested it so far, scientists reported Sunday.

Yahoo! News - Study a Positive Sign on Alzheimer's

Outbreak of Angola Virus Under Control

Medical teams trying to stamp out the worst recorded incidence of Marburg virus in Angola are beginning to get the deadly outbreak under control as cooperation from stricken communities improves, the U.N. health agency said Saturday. The virus, closely related to the feared Ebola virus, has caused hemorrhagic fever in 266 people and killed 244 of them since March, when the outbreak first came to the attention of health authorities. As communities begin to understand the dangers of the virus, though, the number of new cases has dropped from an average of 35 per week to 15, according to the World Health Organization. "This is good news, but it doesn't mean the outbreak is over," said Dr. Fatoumata Diallo, the WHO representative in Angola.

Yahoo! News - Outbreak of Angola Virus Under Control

Contraceptive Sponge to Return to Market

Yahoo! News - Contraceptive Sponge to Return to Market: "The product's 1995 withdrawal sparked a hilarious sendoff on the sitcom 'Seinfeld,' in which character Elaine Benes coined the term 'spongeworthy.' Like many real women, Elaine scoured pharmacies until she found a case of her favorite birth control. She then stretched her supply by setting 'spongeworthy' standards for prospective lovers"

Biology professor gets even with thief

A Berkeley biology student stole his professor's laptop apparently to steal an exam. The professor, Jasper Rine informed the class that not only did they have a partial image of the perpetrator, but located the laptop with a transponder in the wireless card. He told the class this kid was in a whole heap of trouble because he had sensitive data from a big company on his laptop and three law enforcement agencies were gonna swoop in on the thief. He told the thief in this class that he was the student's only hope of staying out of federal prison.

Cheating really does not pay.

View video of the scary lecture here
Read the transcript here version

Researchers clone cells from existing human stem cells

"This cloning of cells involves a new technique, which is a very accurate way of extracting and then growing a single cell," said UNSW Senior Lecturer Dr Kuldip Sidhu, who is leading the research and is based at the Diabetes Transplant Unit (DTU) at the Prince of Wales Hospital, a major teaching hospital of UNSW. "There has only been one report of cloning of cells from human embryonic stem cells anywhere else in the world – in Israel."

Breakthrough in stem cell research

Deadly 1957 Strain of Flu Is Found in Lab-Test Kits

5,000 laboratories, mostly in the United States, were working Tuesday to destroy vials of a pandemic flu strain that were sent as part of a routine kit to test labs.

The New York Times > National > Deadly 1957 Strain of Flu Is Found in Lab-Test Kits

BioBOOM Op/Ed: CAP survey's were never supposed to threaten health but seems this one is. Sure every lab safety officer is hoping their training paid off and staff treated these like "real" patient samples with proper GLP. This is no joke

Test to spot if cancer has spread

A test that measures how stretchy cells are could revolutionise the way doctors spot whether cancers have spread, say German researchers. The laptop-sized gadget can give a diagnosis using as few as 50 cells and avoids the need to cut out tissue.

The University of Leipzig inventors, who spoke at a UK conference in Warwick on Tuesday, said it was 1,000 times more accurate than traditional tests.

The same technology could also be used to find stem cells in blood, they said.

BBC NEWS | Health | Test to spot if cancer has spread

Biopharma giants keep low profile while pushing stem cell projectsL

Some big drug developers like Johnson & Johnson, Invitrogen, and the US arm of Novartis have been noticeably absent from the heated debate over embryonic stem cell research. But, as The Wall Street Journal notes, they've been drawn into the field by the prospect of creating ground-breaking new cures. President Bush pleased his allies on the religious right by limiting federal support for embryonic stem cells to a few existing lines. Big biopharmaceutical groups, leery about the possibility of political fallout, have decided to keep a low profile but keep pushing research in the field. Their involvement could play a key role in demonstrating the promise of stem cell research in coming up with new therapies.

WHO: Avian influenza situation in Cambodia - update 15

The Ministry of Health in Cambodia confirmed that an 8-year-old girl from Kampot province who died on 7 April, was the country’s third case of avian influenza.

The girl became ill with a fever on the 29th March. Her condition deteriorated rapidly on 7 April, when she was taken to a district referral hospital and then transferred to Kuntha Bopha Hospital in Phnom Penh, where she died. Samples from the girl tested positive for avian influenza H5N1 virus at the Pasteur Institute, Phnom Penh.

WHO | Avian influenza situation in Cambodia - update 15

Silicone Breast Implants Aren't Safe

It's not new news, yet the subject keeps resurfacing.

Mentor Corp. and Inamed Corp.'s, (both of Santa Barbara, CA) silicone breast implants aren't any safer than when U.S. regulators banned earlier devices 13 years ago, patients and their advocates told government advisers today. The testimonies are part of a three day workshop where doctors and scientists will vote on whether the FDA should allow sales of silicone implants. Inamed and Mentor claimed that data they gathered (on a whooping 23 women) showed their silicone implants are safe.

Meanwhile: Mentor shares rose to $34.46 (up by 27 cents) in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Inamed shares fell $65.02 (down by 57 cents) in Nasdaq Stock Market composite trading. Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp. said 21 March, that it intends to buy Inamed for about $2.8 billion in cash and stock.

Bloomberg report

Genentech Lung-Cancer Drug Stirs Excitement On Wall Street

Genentech is waiting until May's meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology to present the trial's full results. Many will be listening eagerly.

"In our estimation, lung cancer is the single biggest opportunity for new cancer therapies," said Lazard analyst Joel Sendek. "The incidence of new lung cancers is over 170,000 a year

Genentech Lung-Cancer Drug Stirs Excitement On Wall Street

States told to 'back off' on prescription drug benefit

From NY Times:

Expect controversy today over yesterday's news that the government does not want states to "steer" Medicare recipients towards any specific prescription drug plans. A CMS memorandum released yesterday says that states should not be able to point Medicare patients towards one or two preferred plans, saying that such efforts "may violate federal fraud and abuse laws." Many states have said they want to simplify benefits administration and reduce consumer confusion by screening new prescription drug plans offered under Medicare part D. There had been some speculation that Washington would allow limited state intervention. Yesterday's news, however, suggests that CMS is committed to a free-market model of prescription drug coverage. That is likely to rankle critics who argue the benefit does more for pharma companies than it does for low income Medicare recipients.

San Jose Medical Group data stolen

Financial and Patient Data stolen

San Jose Medical Group told nearly 185,000 current and former patients that their financial and medical records may have been exposed following the theft of computers that contained personal data.

The building was broken into on 28 March. The theft occurred after the San Jose Medical Group had copied patient and financial information from its secured servers to two local PCs. The data, only some of it encrypted, was part of a patient billing project and also part of the medical group's 2004 year-end audit.

Not good news, especially with the rise in identity theft!

Pfizer Withdraws Bextra From Market

The FDA has concluded that the overall risk of Bextra outweighs the benefit. They have asked Pfizer, the manufacturer, to voluntarily withdraw the drug from the market.

Pfizer Inc. suspended sales of Bextra in the United States and the European Union at the request of the Food and Drug Administration and European regulators. The company said that the FDA, in seeking Bextra's withdrawal, cited a risk of serious skin reactions to Bextra on top of the risks shared by other similar drugs.

In addition to the prescription drugs, the FDA asked manufacturers of related over-the-counter painkillers to revise their labels to include information about the risks of cardiovascular incidents and gastrointestinal bleeding.

FDA's public health advisory

Noven and Shire Announce Positive results for Transdermal ADHD Patch in clinical trials

Noven Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced positive preliminary results from clinical trials of its methylphenidate transdermal system (MTS) which is being developed in conjunction with Shire Pharmaceuticals Group for children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

MTS was well tolerated in two studies involving patients diagnosed with ADHD. A Phase two trial included 79 patients and a Phase three trial included 238 patients, between 6 -12 years of age. These trials address issues raised by the FDA's review in 2003 and will most likely be included in as part of an amendment to the New Drug Application filed with the FDA.

Robert Strauss, Noven's President, CEO & Chairman, stated: "Today's news is an important step forward in the development of our methylphenidate patch. The next step is preparation of an amendment to the pending New Drug Application, and we expect to be working closely with our partner Shire to achieve that goal."

Matthew Emmens, CEO of Shire, stated: "These results demonstrate that MTS has the potential to provide significant benefits for children with ADHD, especially those that have difficulty taking oral medications and those that find a once-a-day patch more appropriate for their lifestyle. As the ADHD market develops, new choices of treatment are emerging, including specialized delivery systems (such as MTS) to meet the needs of different patients. Shire aims to have a range of medicines in its ADHD portfolio, with ADDERALL XR® being the most prescribed treatment for ADHD in the U.S. If approved, this product will be a strong addition and we look forward to advancing its development further." Shire is expected to release additional details of the trial results as part of an R&D update in May 2005.

Shire Pharmaceuticals Group plc is a global specialty pharmaceutical company with a strategic focus on meeting the needs of the specialist physician and currently focuses on developing projects and marketing products in the areas of central nervous system, gastrointestinal, and renal diseases. Shire acquired the worldwide sales and marketing rights to MTS from Noven in February 2003.

Noven Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a leading developer of advanced transdermal drug delivery technologies and prescription transdermal products.

Pfizer 2005 profits lower than expected

Pfizer Unveils Plan to Save $4 billion by 2008, Forecasts 6 Percent Decline in 2005 Earnings

Pfizer Inc said today it will sustain long-term growth through investments in innovative current and new medicines from its strong R&D pipeline, while enhancing effectiveness and reducing operating costs.

Associated Press

Cognitive therapy is as effective as antidepressants

A study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry shows that severe to moderate depression can be treated effectively with cognitive therapy.

Two hundred and forty depressed patients were treated with either cognitive therapy, drugs or placebo. Patients in the cognitive therapy group attended 50-minute sessions twice weekly for the first four weeks, once or twice weekly for the middle eight weeks, and then once weekly for the final four weeks. Patients in the drug group received Paxil, Lithium, or Desipramine. After 16 weeks, patients in the the two experimental groups showed improvement at close to the same rate, but patients in the therapy group were less likely to relapse upon followup two years later.

Can you buy stock in group therapy?

Miniaturized DNA chips cuts analysis from days to hours

A team of researchers at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona has developed new miniature sensors for analyzing DNA. About the size and thickness of a fingernail, these sensors reduce the time needed to identify DNA chains to several minutes or a few hours, depending on the particular chain. Current analyses typically take days or weeks.

These sensors can be applied to many different tasks, ranging from paternity tests and identifying people to detecting genetically modified food, identifying bacterial strains in foodborne illnesses and testing genetic toxicity in new drugs.

Once mass production of the sensors begins, their cost and availability will be similar to that of pregnancy test kits found in pharmacies.

Press Release

Garlic is good for the lungs

Dr. David Ku (University of Alabama at Birmingham) and his team report that a compound in garlic called allicin is very effective again pulmonary hypertension, a fatal disease that affects the blood vessels leading to the lungs.

Dr. Ku and his team induced pulmonary hypertension in rats. One group received an extract containing allicin, the control group received boiled garlic (containing no allicin). After three weeks, rats who received boiled garlic developed pulmonary hypertension, while those receiving allicin did not. The team postulates that allicin most likely relaxes the constricted blood vessels, thus reducing damage.

Interestingly, they found allicin had no effect on other types of hypertension, suggesting that allicin has a unique affinity for lung blood vessels. - HC

Extra Services Ordered (Lab too) Mean Costlier Medicare - Feds to study

Medicare officials said Thursday that they would study the necessity of extra tests and services being ordered by doctors, a trend leading to a rapid growth in premiums for patients. Mark McClellan, the administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said patients are visiting doctors more often and undergoing more, sometimes-costly tests such as MRIs, which provide detailed pictures of the brain.

Yahoo! News - Extra Services May Mean Costlier Medicare

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