Glaxo & Institut Pasteur hope to adapt measles shot for HIV

Europe's biggest drug maker and France's Institut Pasteur intend to make the vaccine by fusing genes from the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) onto an existing vaccine for the childhood disease, the two organizations said on Monday.

Glaxo hopes to adapt measles shot for HIV

Merck to Cut Jobs, Close or Sell 5 Plants

Embattled drugmaker Merck & Co. said Monday it will cut 7,000 jobs -- 11 percent of its work force -- and close or sell five manufacturing plants in the first phase of a reorganization meant to save up to $4 billion by the end of the decade. Its shares dropped more than 4 percent in afternoon trading. The announcement, anticipated by Wall Street, comes as Merck faces the loss of patent protection in June for its blockbuster cholesterol drug Zocor and thousands of lawsuits and billions of dollars in potential liability from its recalled painkiller Vioxx.

Chicago Tribune | Merck to Cut Jobs, Close or Sell 5 Plants

C.D.C. Proposes New Rules in Effort to Prevent Disease Outbreak

The proposals are part of a broader Bush administration plan to improve the response to current and potential communicable disease threats that may arise anywhere in the world. If adopted, the new regulations "will allow the C.D.C. to move more swiftly" when it needs to control outbreaks, said Dr. Martin Cetron, who directs the agency's division of global migration and quarantine.

C.D.C. Proposes New Rules in Effort to Prevent Disease Outbreak - New York Times

Harvard affiliated hospitals to share large detailed tissue sample database in hopes to speed cancer cures

Since World War II, many cancer patients who have had surgery at a Harvard-affiliated teaching hospitals have left a small piece of their tumor to science. These clumps of human cells have been frozen in liquid nitrogen or preserved in paraffin blocks the size of small Post-it notes -- and they now fill giant freezers and floor-to-ceiling shelves in hospital basements and off-site warehouses. The value of this tissue trove has soared in recent years with the successful cataloging of humans genes.

Harvard hopes database will speed cancer cures - The Boston Globe

BioBOOM Op/Ed: This program should be a "BOOM" to research and discovery. We call upon any and all databases with tissue banks or libraries, especially those that had any gov't funding to be opened up and used in similar programs. It would advance cancer research quickly. There maybe resistance by some who are greedy and "think" due to position or history that they have some exclusive right to these samples. We know your game. We say BS! Let's go Sloan Kettering, Johns Hopkins, Mayo and others..... Open it up since it was mostly grants directly or indirectly funded by taxpayers to gather these valuable samples. If not we suggest Congress consider use of Eminent Domain!

Doctors Objecting to Planned Cut in Medicare Fees

Doctors said it was absurd for Medicare to cut their fees at a time when their costs were rising. The effects of such cuts will be compounded, they said, because many private insurers and some state Medicaid programs link their payment rates to the Medicare fee schedule. Dr. Duane M. Cady, chairman of the American Medical Association, said: "Physicians cannot absorb the pending draconian cuts. A recent A.M.A. survey indicates that if the cuts begin on Jan. 1, more than one-third of physicians would decrease the number of new Medicare patients they accept."

Doctors Objecting to Planned Cut in Medicare Fees - New York Times

Pope Addresses Genome Conference

The Vatican's health care office hosted a conference this week on "The Human Genome," drawing together experts from 17 countries to discuss issues including the genetic aspects of fetal medicine and the ethics of medical counseling. The conference ended Saturday.

ABC News: Pope Addresses Genome Conference

Mixed Results for Lipitor Vs. Zocor

BUT- Lipitor outperformed Zocor on several fronts such as lowering cholesterol and preventing nonfatal heart attacks. The findings will continue to give it an advantage in the market even if generic Zocor is less expensive, some doctors said.

Mixed Results for Lipitor Vs. Zocor - Yahoo! News

Genetic Find Stirs Debate on Race-Based Medicine

The new variant found by DeCode Genetics is a more active version of a gene that helps govern the body's inflammatory response to infection. Called leukotriene A4 hydrolase, the gene is involved in the synthesis of leukotrienes, agents that maintain a state of inflammation.

Genetic Find Stirs Debate on Race-Based Medicine - New York Times

Appetite-Suppressing Hormone Discovered

Scientists have discovered a biological brake for a hunger hormone: a competing hormone that seems to counter the urge to eat. The substance, named obestatin, has been tested just in laboratory rats so far. But if it pans out, the discovery of the dueling hormones could lead not only to a new appetite suppressant, but also help unravel the complex ways that the body regulates weight.

Appetite-Suppressing Hormone Discovered - Yahoo! News: "Scientists have discovered a biological brake for a hunger hormone: a competing hormone that seems to counter the urge to eat. "

Biotech groups push for small-business rule change

Under the SBA’s new rules, companies with more than 50 percent of their backing from venture capital can’t compete for grants. Proponents of the new standards argue that the change ensures that the money goes to small businesses in need of federal help. But the changes “now disqualify many start-up biotech and medical-device companies,” the letter said. That’s so because of the capital-intensive nature of the industry, which often relies on seed money for years before turning a profit.

Biotech groups push for small-business rule change

Australian company to launch bird flu tests for H5N1

A Perth-based biotech, Rockeby Biomed, said on Tuesday it had stitched up a deal with Pacific Biotech in Thailand, giving it exclusive rights to two bird flu tests in the Asia-Pacific, Europe and South Africa. The first test, which takes 10 minutes, will be used on bird faeces and blood to detect the bird flu strain, avian influenza virus antigen, HSN1. A second rapid-screening test will be used on people to detect the deadly H5N1 strain, which is known to have killed 63 people in four Asian countries since first discovered in the region two years ago and has led to the culling of 150 million birds worldwide

Australian Financial Review -

BioBOOM Op/Ed: With all the money flowing in after H5N1 we expect more and more press releases relating to new tests or claimed technical breakouts from companies in the sector due to the bird flu threat. Gee thier stock went up too...go figure

Changing vaccine systems no easy shot -

Last week, President Bush branded current vaccine production methods "antiquated" and asked Congress for a $2.8 billion "crash program" to help the industry develop simpler and more flexible "cell-culture" technologies that can better keep up with new flu strains. The question is whether they're willing to abandon the tried-and-true - or do it soon enough to head off the next potential public health disaster.

Changing vaccine systems no easy shot -

BioBOOM Op/Ed: Windfall...look for money to flow into large scale processing.

Commission recommends patient ID standard

An 11-member body unanimously issued general recommendations for standardizing the diverse systems that identify patients and assemble records. A national ID number would be one way to standardize, the report states.

Commission recommends patient ID standard

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