Monday, 30 December 2013

New blood test 'can detect risk of infection in minutes'

Scientists have created a device that is able to detect a person's risk of infection from a drop of blood within minutes, as opposed to current methods, which can take up to 2 hours. This is according to a study published in the journal Technology.
One common laboratory test to determine an individual's risk of infection is the counting of neutrophils in the blood, known as absolute neutrophil count.
Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell found in human blood. These are the "body's first line of defense" against inflammation and infection.
Within minutes of detecting infection, the neutrophils flee from the blood toward tissue, where they settle at the sites of infection.
"If neutrophils do not migrate well and cannot reach inside the tissues, this situation could have the same consequences as a low neutrophil count".
With this in mind, the investigators created a "miniaturized silicone-based device" that they say is able to measure migration patterns of neutrophils from a finger prick of blood, and this can be carried out within a matter of minutes.
The researchers say that methods currently used to measure the functions of neutrophils involve separating them from the blood. This process can take 2 hours, and the investigators say that the procedure needs to be conducted by skilled laboratory personnel. This, however poses a problem within clinical conditions, such as treating cases of patients with burn injuries, as the process is time-consuming and medical professionals' priorities change throughout the day.
"To address the need for rapid and robust assays, a microfluidic device was designed that measured neutrophil chemotaxis directly from a single droplet of blood.
By comparing neutrophil chemotaxis from finger prick, venous blood and purified neutrophil samples, it was found that average velocity of (19 ± 6 μm/min) and directionality (91.1%) between the three sources was consistent."
Hence it was concluded that being able to measure patients' risk of infections in a matter of minutes from only a droplet of blood is a "significant improvement and one that will improve current treatment."
Surgery 'better than chemotherapy' for tongue cancer

For the treatment of cancer, many would consider chemotherapy to be the best option. But for tongue cancer, new research suggests that surgery may be the most effective primary port of call.

The main treatment options for people with oral and oropharyngeal cancers include surgery (partial or full removal of the tongue for tongue cancer, followed by extensive reconstruction), radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy and palliative treatment. These can be used alone or in combination.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Meditation May Aid Smoking Cessation Treatment

Meditation combined with medication and cognitive therapies may be more beneficial in treating nicotine addiction than drug-plus-talk therapy alone.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Pallavi and Vikram of Batch-18, presented on the technical topic of European Regulatory (EMA).This presentation gave brief insight about the regulations for drugs and medical devices and also the approval procedures.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Walking lowers Cardiovascular disease [CVD] Risk in Patients with IGT [Impaired Glucose Tolerance].

In those with impaired glucose tolerance, walking just 2000 steps per day -- the equivalent of 20 minutes of walking at a moderate pace -- lowers CVD risk by 10%.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Stroke risks increase with high levels of anxiety

The negative health effects of anxiety, such as increased coronary heart disease risks, have long been documented and accepted in the medical community. But now, research suggests that individuals with high levels of anxiety have an increased risk for stroke.
A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain stops, and this cuts off oxygen and nutrients that are vital for the brain. When this happens, brain cells die, and depending in which side of the brain the stroke occurs, effects can include paralysis, vision or speech problems, memory loss and behavioral changes.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Hybrid clotting factor means fewer injections, better disease control for hemophilia patients

A Phase III clinical trial led by UC Davis researchers has confirmed that a new coagulation factor (rFIXFc) dramatically reduces the number of injections needed to maintain effective clotting for HEMOPHILIA B patients.

The recombinant protein fuses clotting factor IX with an immunoglobulin (antibody) molecule, which prevents the body from rapidly metabolizing the hybrid protein. As a result, rFIXFc can be administered once a week, or even every two weeks, rather than every other (or every third) day. This extended half-life could have an enormous impact on hemophilia treatment. 

Thursday, 19 December 2013

An Apple (or Statin) a Day will keep the MD away

If individuals ate just one extra apple a day, approximately 8500 deaths from vascular disease could be prevented. 

Statins and apples are both iconic. "An apple a day is known throughout the English-speaking world as a saying for health, and statins are now some of the most widely prescribed drugs in the world. 

The new American College of Cardiology/ American Heart Association(ACC/AHA) guidelines for the management of cholesterol suggest treating primary-prevention patients if they have an LDL-cholesterol level between 70 and 189 mg/dL and a 10-year risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease >7.5%. In the UK, the guidelines are less aggressive and recommend statin therapy for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease if the 10-year risk score is >20%.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

                                            Role play - Trovan trial

          There was an outbreak of meninigococcal meningitis in Nigeria, Kano in 1996. It too almost 12,000 lives and affected close to 1,00,000 people in 6 months. Pfizer conducted trovan trial using trovafloxacin in IDH (Infectious Disease Hospital) recruiting 200 children without any informed consent forms, approval from ethics committee and regulatory authority; no GCP Guide lines were followed.

As a result of trial, 11 children died out of which 5 deaths were from trovan and many were left disabled. This was brought into light when it was published in an American journal and case was registered at U.S district court.

There was an out of the court settlement where Pfizer gave 175,000$ to 4 families based on DNA reports. Clinical trials have to be conducted on an ethical basis and government has to make sure that it is done in safe manner and for the benefits of people.


Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Role Play – A Tale of Two Cousins  

This role play enlightened about how sensitive clinical trials are, and focused on the real life story of two cousins (Brandon and Thomas) in lethal stages of melanoma. A tale of two cousins came into the media’s light due to the fact that were two drugs with different routes of administration that were used to treat melanoma, clinical trials were conducted to demonstrate the efficacy of drug PLX-4032 (wonder drug) in comparison to I.V Dacarbazine, a drug that already existed in the market and showed extremely poor results. In addition, the two cousins Brandon and Thomas were recruited into phase 3 of these trials, which were controlled and randomized, where it claimed the life of one of the cousins. The control arm (Brandon) was given I.V. Dacarbazine and the treatment arm (Thomas) was given PLX-4032 which was found to be effective in shrinking tumor sizes. The control arm faced death (Brandon) due to the ineffectiveness of the medicine. People concerned with the trial should be prudent and careful when designing the clinical trials. This created an uproar of ethical issues which involved the negligence of subjects when their quality of life should have been focused on. 
Update on ANZTPA Medical Device Regulatory Harmonization in Australia and New Zealand

Medical device market regulators in Australia and New Zealand have implemented a series of projects involving adverse event notification, device recall information and quality system inspections as part of the countries’ long-term effort to establish a single regulatory agency, the Australia New Zealand Therapeutic Products Agency (ANZTPA).

  • First, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration [TGA] and New Zealand's Medsafe have set up a Joint Adverse Event Notifications System (JAENS) to inform each other of adverse events occurring in their respective markets.
  • Second, the two regulators have begun an early-warning system to alert healthcare providers in both countries of safety issues involving drugs and medical devices.
  • Third, the TGA and Medsafe have launched a Recall Portal that provides publically available recall action data on devices and drugs in Australia and New Zealand.
  • Fourth, the regulators have developed a joint capability for Good Manufacturing Practice inspections in both markets. However, the TGA and Medsafe are still working on final development and implementation of a single GMP Inspection and Licensing system expected to go live once the ANZTPA is fully operational.

Monday, 16 December 2013

FDA Approves First Device to Treat Migraine Pain

“Millions of people suffer from migraines, and this new device represents a new treatment option for some patients".
The device is used by prescription after onset of pain associated with migraine with aura. Using both hands, the patient holds the device to the back of the head and, pressing a button, releases a pulse of magnetic energy that stimulates the occipital cortex, stopping or reducing the pain associated with this type of migraine. The recommended daily usage of the device is not to exceed 1 treatment in 24 hours.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Clinical research is the next big thing in developing India

By 2020, India will be among the top five countries for clinical research. It is one of the fastest growing sectors.

Currently, India ranks 14 in the clinical research market, but will soon be among the top. It's the next big thing in India. Other leading Asian countries are China and Korea. According to ISCR, the economic slowdown affected the industry in the initial four months. The industry has picked up over the past nine months.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Update on US FDA Unique Device Identification Submission System

The US Food and Drug Administration has published draft technical specifications related to its Unique Device Identification (UDI) rule finalized earlier this year.

Manufacturers with US medical device market authorization are required to submit device identification data into a Global Unique Device Identification Database (GUDID) managed by the FDA. Firms now have two options for submitting information to the GUDID: a GUDID Web Interface that requires users to set up GUDID accounts, and an HL7 SPL option for submitting device information via xml file one record at a time.
Submitting a device information record using the HL7 SP option requires firms to establish GUDID accounts and send xml files through the FDA Electronic Submissions Gateway.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Oxytocin 'Normalizes' Social Deficits in Kids With Autism

A single dose of the hormone oxytocin administered via nasal spray enhances brain activity in key regions, temporarily improving social information processing in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Smoking Pot May Double Risk for Stillbirth
Cannabis (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid), smoking, illicit drug use, and secondhand smoke exposure are linked to increased risk for stillbirth twofold. Secondhand smoke alone also almost doubled the odds of stillbirth.

Monday, 9 December 2013

FDA and EMEA approve of Game Changer Sofosbuvir 

 Sofosbuvir is a first-in-class polymerase inhibitor that allows for   all-oral, interferon-free therapy for some patients with hepatitis  C and reduced treatment time for most.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first-in-kind nuceotide analog inhibitor sofosbuvir (Sovaldi, Gilead Sciences, Inc) for the treatment of adults with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, a widely anticipated move that is expected to dramatically improve outcomes for many patients.

The European Medicines Agency's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human use (CHMP) has recommended granting a marketing authorisation for Sovaldi (sofosbuvir), for use 'in combination with other medicinal products for the treatment of chronic (long-term) hepatitis C in adults'.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Clobazam (Onfi) Can Cause Serious Skin Reactions, FDA Warns 

The antiseizure drug clobazam (Onfi, Lundbeck) can trigger rare but potentially fatal skin reactions, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced today.
For clobazam, the skin reactions to watch for are Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN). Patients taking clobazam can experience these disorders at any time, but the risk goes up during the first 8 weeks of treatment or when treatment resumes after it was stopped. All the cases of these 2 adverse events identified by the FDA landed patients in the hospital, with 1 patient going blind and another dying.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Oral Cancer Screening

Squamous cell carcinoma accounts for 90% of all cases of oral cavity and pharyngeal cancer. More than half of persons with oral and pharyngeal cancer have regional or distant metastases when they are first diagnosed. The USPSTF therefore stated that screening for oral cancer may be helpful if potentially malignant disorders can be identified earlier and treated successfully.