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Scientists figure out staying power of HIV-fighting enzyme

May 2, 2014 11:24 am | News | Comments

Johns Hopkins Univ. biochemists have figured out what is needed to activate and sustain the virus-fighting activity of an enzyme found in CD4+ T cells, the human immune cells infected by HIV. The discovery could launch a more effective strategy for preventing the spread of HIV in the body with drugs targeting this enzyme, they say.

Scientists urge delay in destroying last smallpox

May 1, 2014 5:24 pm | by Lauran Neergaard - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

More than three decades after the eradication of smallpox, U.S. officials say it's still not time to destroy the last known stockpiles of the virus behind one of history's deadliest diseases. The world's health ministers meet later this month to debate, again, the fate of vials held under tight security in two laboratories—one in the U.S. and one in Russia.

Promising agents burst through “superbug” defenses to fight antibiotic resistance

May 1, 2014 10:57 am | News | Comments

In the fight against “superbugs,” scientists have discovered a class of agents that can make some of the most notorious strains vulnerable to the same antibiotics that they once handily shrugged off. The report on the promising agents called metallopolymers appears in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

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FDA weighs over-the-counter approval of Singulair

April 30, 2014 11:23 am | by Matthew Perrone - AP Health Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Federal health regulators are weighing the risks of permitting Merck to sell its prescription respiratory pill, Singulair, as an over-the-counter medicine for allergies. In a review posted online Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration raised concerns that the drug could be used inappropriately by children or by patients with more serious conditions, like asthma.

From morphine to Cipro: History of drug development chronicled

April 30, 2014 9:12 am | by Bill Hathaway, Yale Univ. | News | Comments

Yale Univ.’s Michael Kinch spent his spare time in the last year creating a massive database that encompasses the entire history of drug development in the U.S. In a series of 20 articles scheduled to be published over the next year in Drug Discovery Today, Kinch mines the data and provides historical tidbits about the history of drug development and reveals trends on how—or whether—we will get new medicines in the future.

U-M startup signs license agreement with drug company

April 25, 2014 7:53 am | by Greta Guest, Univ. of Michigan | News | Comments

A Univ. of Michigan (U-M) startup developing drugs to target gene fusions that drive many common cancers such as breast, colon, prostate and lung has signed a research and license agreement with a California biopharmaceutical company. OncoFusion Therapeutics Inc., an oncology discovery and development company, was co-founded in 2012 by U-M profs. Arul Chinnaiyan and Shaomeng Wang based on discoveries from their campus laboratories.

Study: Statins may lead some patients to pig out

April 24, 2014 9:22 pm | by Lindsey Tanner - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Ten years of U.S. data suggest cholesterol-lowering statins are giving patients a license to pig out. Calorie and fat intake increased among statin users during the decade—an indication that many patients might be abandoning heart-healthy lifestyles and assuming that drugs alone will do the trick, the study authors said.

Multi-target TB drug could treat other disease, evade resistance

April 18, 2014 7:47 am | by Liz Ahlberg, Physical Sciences Editor, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign | News | Comments

A drug under clinical trials to treat tuberculosis could be the basis for a class of broad-spectrum drugs that act against various bacteria, fungal infections and parasites, yet evade resistance, according to a study by Univ. of Illinois chemists and collaborators. The team determined the different ways the drug SQ109 attacks the tuberculosis bacterium and how the drug can be tweaked to target other pathogens from yeast to malaria.

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Researchers develop new antiviral drug to combat measles outbreaks

April 17, 2014 7:57 am | News | Comments

A novel antiviral drug may protect people infected with the measles from getting sick and prevent them from spreading the virus to others, an international team of researchers says. The team of researchers developed the drug and tested it in animals infected with a virus closely related to one that causes the measles. As reported, virus levels were significantly reduced when infected animals received the drug by mouth.

Potent, puzzling and (now less) toxic: Team discovers how antifungal drug works

April 15, 2014 5:18 pm | by Diana Yates, Univ. of Illinois | News | Comments

Scientists have solved a decades-old medical mystery, and in the process have found a potentially less toxic way to fight invasive fungal infections, which kill about 1.5 million people a year. The researchers say they now understand the mechanism of action of amphotericin, an antifungal drug that has been in use for more than 50 years even though it is nearly as toxic to human cells as it is to the microbes it attacks.

Characterizing Liposomes for Drug Delivery

April 15, 2014 9:38 am | by Pauline Carnell, Senior Application Scientist and Mike Kaszuba, Technical Support Manager, Malvern Instruments, Malvern, U.K | Articles | Comments

When considering potential drug delivery vehicles, liposomes are an important option and have already been approved for use with a number of therapeutic formulations. Liposomes are comprised of phospholipids and may be single- or multi-layered, can be produced in different sizes and have a hydrophilic interior and hydrophobic shell. They are biodegradable, non-toxic and capable of encapsulating both hydrophilic and hydrophobic materials.

Nano shake-up: Nanocarriers fluctuate in size and shape

April 15, 2014 9:26 am | by Diane Kukich, Univ. of Delaware | News | Comments

Nanotechnology has unlocked new pathways for targeted drug delivery, including the use of nanocarriers that can transport cargoes of small-molecule therapeutics to specific locations in the body. Researchers have recently demonstrated that processing can have significant influence on the size of nanocarriers for targeted drug delivery. It was previously assumed that once a nanocarrier is created, it maintains its size and shape anywhere.

Targeting cancer with a triple threat

April 15, 2014 7:38 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Delivering chemotherapy drugs in nanoparticle form could help reduce side effects by targeting the drugs directly to the tumors. In recent years, scientists have developed nanoparticles that deliver one or two chemotherapy drugs, but it has been difficult to design particles that can carry any more than that in a precise ratio. Now Massachusetts Institute of Technology chemists have devised a new way to build such nanoparticles.

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Enzyme “wrench” could be key to stronger, more effective antibiotics

April 11, 2014 10:10 am | by Tracey Peake, North Carolina State Univ. | News | Comments

Builders and factory workers know that getting a job done right requires precision and specialized tools. The same is true when you’re building antibiotic compounds at the molecular level. New findings from North Carolina State Univ. may turn an enzyme that acts as a specialized “wrench” in antibiotic assembly into a set of wrenches that will allow for greater customization.

Discovery could lead to treatments for cancer, common cold

April 2, 2014 12:20 pm | News | Comments

Scientists have published the first study explaining in detail how viruses reprogram the metabolism of the cells they invade to promote continued viral growth within an organism.                     

Good vibrations: Using light-heated water to deliver drugs

April 2, 2014 5:55 am | News | Comments

Pharmaceutical researchers in California, in collaboration with materials scientists, engineers and neurobiologists, have discovered a new mechanism for using near-infrared light to activate polymeric drug-delivering nanoparticles and other targeted therapeutic substances inside the body. This discovery represents a major innovation; up to now only a handful of strategies using light-triggered release from nanoparticles have been reported.

Effectiveness prompts Novartis to end drug study

March 31, 2014 10:23 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Novartis said it's cutting off late-stage research into a potential chronic heart failure treatment because the drug has proven so effective, sending shares to an all-time high when markets opened Monday. Patients taking its twice-daily pill labeled LCZ696 lived longer without being hospitalized for heart failure than those who received a standard of care, Novartis said.

Desktop human “body” could reduce need for animal drug tests

March 26, 2014 1:13 pm | News | Comments

Call it “homo minutus”. A team at Los Alamos National Laboratory is developing four human organ constructs (liver, heart, lung and kidney) that will work together to serve as a drug and toxicity analysis system that can mimic the actual response of human organs. Called ATHENA, for Advanced Tissue-engineered Human Ectypal Network Analyzer, the system will fit neatly on a desk.

Microfluidic device has artificial arteries, measures blood clotting

March 24, 2014 3:53 pm | by Brett Israel, Georgia Tech | News | Comments

A new microfluidic method for evaluating drugs commonly used for preventing heart attacks has found that while aspirin can prevent dangerous blood clots in some at-risk patients, it may not be effective in all patients with narrowed arteries. The study, a first in the examination of heart attack prevention drugs, used a device that simulated blood flowing through narrowed coronary arteries to assess effects of anti-clotting drugs.

Dead Cell Removal Device

March 24, 2014 2:46 pm | Product Releases | Comments

AMSBIO has announced the launch of ClioCell, an ex vivo device for removal of dying and dead cells, improving viability and quality of cell populations and their subsequent productivity. The system comprises super-paramagnetic nanoparticles which have been coupled with proprietary elements that bind to dead and dying cells and cell debris. 

Fast synthesis could boost drug development

March 19, 2014 7:42 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Small protein fragments, also called peptides, are promising as drugs because they can be designed for very specific functions inside living cells. Insulin and the HIV drug Fuzeon are some of the earliest successful examples, and peptide drugs are expected to become a $25 billion market by 2018. However, a major bottleneck has prevented peptide drugs from reaching their full potential.

New high-throughput method proposed for screening, ranking anti-aging drugs

March 14, 2014 7:27 am | News | Comments

Scientists in the U.K. have proposed a new computer-based method of screening drugs that could be used to slow the aging process in humans. The proposed method uses gene expression data from “young” and “old” tissues to construct the cloud of molecular signalling pathways involved in ageing and longevity. It then evaluates the effects of a large number of drugs and drug combinations to emulate a youthful state for cells and tissues.

Study: Pfizer vaccine cuts pneumonia in elderly

March 12, 2014 6:22 pm | by Linda A. Johnson - AP Business Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Pfizer Inc. said Wednesday that its blockbuster vaccine against pneumonia, blood and other infections met its goal of preventing illness in vulnerable elderly patients in a huge study required by U.S. regulators. The New York-based company's Prevnar 13 protects against 13 strains of pneumococcal disease, which can cause painful children's ear infections, pneumonia and life-threatening bloodstream infections.

Cheaper, more aggressive prostate cancer treatment may also be riskier

March 12, 2014 11:40 am | by Karen N. Peart, Yale Univ. | News | Comments

A faster and less expensive form of radiotherapy for treating prostate cancer may come at a price, according to a new study by Yale School of Medicine researchers—a higher rate of urinary toxicity or urine poisoning. The standard therapy for prostate cancer is called intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). Stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) is a newer treatment that delivers a greater dose of radiation than IMRT.

Chemists discover new class of antibiotics

March 9, 2014 11:43 pm | News | Comments

A team of Univ. of Notre Dame researchers have discovered a new class of antibiotics to fight bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and other drug-resistant bacteria. Called oxadiazoles, the new class was discovered through in silico (by computer) screening and has shown promise in the treatment of MRSA in mouse models of infection.  

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