Showing posts with label drugs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label drugs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label drugs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label drugs. Show all posts

Sunday, June 19, 2016

New medication “clears up” Psoriasis almost completely

Researchers at Northwestern University, USA, have succeeded in finding a drug that can clear psoriasis in the body, almost completely and the great majority of the responses persist at least 60 weeks. The new drug called ixekizumab, tradename Taltz®, is a monoclonal antibody, prescribed to those with moderate to severe psoriasis. Research published in the prestigious journal, New England Journal of Medicine; reports the results of 3 large, long-term clinical trials which saw 80% of patients psoriasis completely or almost completely cleared. 

Psoriasis affects 3% of the world population. It is an immune-mediated inflammatory disease and its most significant symptom is itchy, dry and red skin. Accompanying those uncomfortable symptoms, psoriasis is also associated with an increased risk of depression, heart disease, and diabetes.

"Usually 1000-3000 people, gauges efficacy, dosage, and safety in a larger population. Also compares efficacy to existing treatments, as well as interactions with other drugs and effects of different dosages."

UNCOVER Phase III trials:

To test the drug's efficacy over time -- and to help clinicians determine whether its benefits outweigh any risks -- the three studies enrolled a total of 3,736 adult patients at more than 100 study sites in 21 countries. All participants had moderate to severe psoriasis, which is defined as covering 10 percent or more of the body. Patients were randomly assigned to receive injections of ixekizumab at various doses or a placebo over a period of more than a year.

What is ixekizumab?

It is a humanized monoclonal antibody which has been developed by the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Co. A monoclonal antibody is an antibody produced by a single clone of cells or cell line and consisting of identical antibody molecules. Antibodies are produced by white blood cells in the body and they are used by the immune system to identify and neutralize pathogens such as bacteria and viruses.

How does it work?

Ixekizumab works by neutralizing a pathway in the immune system known to promote psoriasis. It binds to interleukin-17 receptors in the body to prevent an auto-immune response (the response which causes the skin to redden, itch and dry up). The new drug showed high rates of clinical response, particularly throughout week 12 and week 60. But every drug has side effects, in clinical trials, these are reported as "adverse events". The adverse events which were reported from the three clinical trials were: slightly higher rates of neutropenia (low white blood cell count), yeast infection and inflammatory bowel disease. A longer trial duration, lasting over several years, is needed to compare the benefits of this new drug and its adverse events to determine how safe this drug is for long term use. 


So is Ixekizumab a wonder-drug? We can't be 100% sure but the results from the 3 UNCOVER clinical trials are very promising and is what awarded ixekizumab prescription approval by the FDA so doctors in the USA can prescribe ixekizumab to psoriasis patients. However, longer periods of trial research are needed to check the long-term safety effects of ixekizumab over time (years).

References: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

Journal Reference:
  1. Kenneth B. Gordon, Andrew Blauvelt, Kim A. Papp, Richard G. Langley, Thomas Luger, Mamitaro Ohtsuki, Kristian Reich, David Amato, Susan G. Ball, Daniel K. Braun, Gregory S. Cameron, Janelle Erickson, Robert J. Konrad, Talia M. Muram, Brian J. Nickoloff, Olawale O. Osuntokun, Roberta J. Secrest, Fangyi Zhao, Lotus Mallbris, Craig L. Leonardi.Phase 3 Trials of Ixekizumab in Moderate-to-Severe Plaque PsoriasisNew England Journal of Medicine, 2016; DOI:10.1056/NEJMoa1512711

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Friday, April 24, 2015

Two is Better than One, Cancer Drug Could Cure HBV

A promising cure has been found which uses an anti-cancer drug along with an anti-viral drug to treat hepatitis b, and within phase 1/2a trials and has achieved 100% success. Hepatitis-B is a chronic viral disease that is currently incurable. Over two billion people worldwide are infected with hepatitis B and approximately 400 million have a chronic HBV infection, unimaginable numbers. The virus infects liver cells and can lead to complications including cirrhosis and liver cancer, resulting in more than 780,000 deaths annually.

Hepatitis B patients in Australia are the first people who will have access to the potential treatment. The scientists from Melbourne's Walter and Eliza Hall Institute researched the combination of the anti-viral drug and the anti-cancer drug (developed by a US company-TetraLogic pharmaceuticals). Dr Marc Pellegrini and Dr Greg Ebert and their colleagues at the institute utilised their research on the behaviour of Hep-B in infected cells as a foundation to the treatment.

Combination therapy for Hepatitis B...

Their new research has been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Proceeding the research, Dr Pellegrini said "We were 100 per cent successful in curing HBV infection in hundreds of tests in preclinical models."

"Birinapant enabled the destruction of hepatitis B-infected liver cells while leaving normal cells unharmed. Excitingly, when birinapant was administered in combination with current antiviral drug entecavir, the infection was cleared twice as fast compared with birinapant alone. We are hopeful these promising results will be as successful in human clinical trials, which are currently underway in Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide."

Birinapant (the anti-cancer drug developed by TetraLogic) targets the cell signalling pathways that the Hep-B virus uses to keep the host liver cells alive. Viruses like the Hep-B virus take over liver cells and live inside them (the liver cells are the host cells) and use the cells internal organelles which makes them able to survive within the body for many months and years. 

Dr Pellegrini adds "Normally, liver cells would respond to infection by switching on a signal that tells the cell to destroy itself 'for the greater good', preventing further infection," he said. "However our research showed that the virus commandeers the liver cells' internal communications, telling the cells to ignore the infection and stay alive. Birinapant flips the cell survival 'switch' used by the virus, causing the infected cell to die."

Treatments that help the host cell to rid itself of the virus, rather than targeting the virus itself may prevent drug-resistant strains of HBV emerging, Dr Pellegrini said. "It is relatively easy for an organism to adapt to a drug, but it is very difficult to adapt to a change in the host cell," he said. "The virus relies on the survival mechanisms of the host, so if it can't exploit them, it dies. Such a monumental change in the virus' environment may be too big a hurdle for it to adapt to."

Dr Pellegrini and his team are now going to be researching whether this same method can be applied to other chronic infectious diseases. "Pathogens that infect and reside inside host cells, including viral diseases such as HIV, herpes simplex and dengue fever, and bacterial infections such as tuberculosis, could all potentially be cured in a similar way," he said.



Kulik LM (2006). Can therapy of hepatitis C affect the development of hepatocellular carcinoma? Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network : JNCCN, 4 (8), 751-7 PMID: 16948953

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Friday, November 14, 2014

Exam Drug Fails to Live up to its Expectations

Exam season is always a stressful time for students and every time it comes around everyone prepares in their own to make sure they can perform their best, even if it means taking performance enhancing drugs. There’s a prescription drug called Modafinil that can enhance your concentration. Personally I've never heard of anything like this till yesterday, the only drug I heard of at exam season is caffeine pills. Loads of students would take caffeine pills at exam season to try and stay up and revise or pull an all-nighter the day before the exam to cram in as much information as possible.  But sometimes that didn’t end up well because some students would end up taking too much caffeine pills and faint during the exam and subsequently need to be hospitalised for overdose.

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Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Manipulation of Anthrax to Deliver Cancer Drugs to Tumours

Cancer is acknowledged as one of the most dangerous biological diseases and there are many ongoing research studies to try and find suitable drugs to cure the uncontrollable cell replication. Cancer is caused when cells replicate unusually and rapidly to form tumours, this is because the cell does not undergo apoptosis (the normal programmed cell death) and these tumours need to be treated so that the disease does not further spread to the rest of the body and so that the tumours do not cause pressure on other parts of the body.[1] In 2008 breast cancer was responsible for the death of about 153 women in every 100,000 women in the population [1] and about 76 cases of lung cancer per 100,000 men.[1] These statistics have led to an escalation in the development of new treatments in an attempt to impede the uncontrolled cell replication typical of cancer cells.

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Sugar is more addictive than cocaine... – what?!

“Everything is a poison, nothing is a poison. It is the dose that makes the poison.”

Last week the statement “sugar is more addictive than cocaine” was spreading in the science news. I personally found this really strange and hard to believe, so I was directed to an article about a study conducted by the University of Edinburgh.

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