FDA signs off on first 3-D printed drug: Aprecia's quickly dissolving epilepsy tablet

FDA signs off on first 3-D printed drug: Aprecia's quickly dissolving epilepsy tablet

The FDA on Monday approved Aprecia Pharmaceuticals' Spritam, which is the first 3-D printed product designed for use in the human body. The drug is intended to treat epileptic seizures, and its MIT-created delivery platform allows for oral administration in the form of a small tablet that dissolves quickly in liquid due to its porous nature.

Pennsylvania-based Aprecia--which operates a former Forest Laboratories plant in Ohio--gained the exclusive license to 3-D printing technology from MIT in the late 1980s, and by 2007 it began developing its ZipDose platform for drug delivery, an orodispersible structure that allows for easy-to-swallow tablets. It submitted its first NDA last October.

The new drug Spritam, designated to treat epilepsy, is a formulation of the commonly prescribed levetiracetam. Because of its rapid disintegration with a sip of liquid, it can deliver a high drug load of up to 1,000 mg in a single dose while at the same time conforming to the needs of patients with trouble swallowing, often small children. The company said it expects the product to be available in next year's first quarter.

The 3-D printing is a crucial part of the manufacturing process, in which layer upon layer of a powdered form of the drug form small tablets, a structure that gives it such a high degree of dissolvability in liquid. Also, because it is made entirely from the powdered drug, each pill has a uniform (and thus predictable) dose, especially important in a drug intended for the central nervous system.

published in: 2017-04-20 11:36:26

Common heart drug repurposed to treat rare cancer in Europe

Common heart drug repurposed to treat rare cancer in Europe
A drug that's commonly used to treat high blood pressure is being repurposed for a rare tissue cancer in Europe. The medication, named propranolol, was recently granted Orphan Drug Designation by the European Commission (EC). The designation signifies that the EC supports the use of a drug to treat patients because of its significant benefit to those living with a rare disease - in this case, soft tissue sarcoma. The cancer affects approximately one quarter of a million people living in Europe, and is generally considered difficult to treat.

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published in: 2017-02-16 09:18:23

Too much sitting, too little exercise may accelerate biological aging

Too much sitting, too little exercise may accelerate biological aging
Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine report that elderly women who sit for more than 10 hours a day with low physical activity have cells that are biologically older by eight years compared to women who are less sedentary. The study, publishing online in the American Journal of Epidemiology, found elderly women with less than 40 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day and who remain sedentary for more than 10 hours per day have shorter telomeres - tiny caps found on the ends of DNA strands, like the plastic tips of shoelaces, that protect chromosomes from deterioration and progressively shorten with age. ...

published in: 2017-02-16 09:14:37

Robot to manage Dubai's first smart pharmacy

Robot to manage Dubai's first smart pharmacy

Starting today, a robot will dispense medication at the pharmacy of Rashid Hospital in Dubai. 

Dubai Health Authority (DHA) recently inaugurated the robot pharmacy, which includes the robot that can dispense prescribed medication based on barcode reading.

The operation will be paper-free as the robot will store the prescription as soon as a doctor documents it electronically. The move is expected to minimise human error, and DHA is expected to adopt the robot's use across all its hospitals in the future.

According to a WAM report, the robot can store up to 35,000 medicines and dispense around 12 prescriptions in less than a minute. 

Dr Ali Al Syed, director of the Pharmaceutical Services Department at DHA, said the robot "will significantly reduce a person’s waiting time" during the dispensing process.

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published in: 2017-01-15 21:28:11

New Guidelines Reaffirm Prenatal Folic Acid to Curb Birth Defects

New Guidelines Reaffirm Prenatal Folic Acid to Curb Birth Defects

In a recommendation that reaffirms previous guidelines, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said that folic acid supplements reduce the risk of neural tube defects.

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published in: 2017-01-11 14:04:34

Dangerous drug interactions uncovered with data science

Dangerous drug interactions uncovered with data science

Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center and the Data Science Institute at Columbia University have uncovered a potentially dangerous drug interaction using data science.Mining a government database of reported drug side effects and a university hospital archive of patient records, they discovered eight pairs of drugs that are associated with a higher risk of a potentially deadly heart condition. Testing one of the pairs on individual heart cells in the lab, they discovered why the drug combination may disrupt the heart's normal electrical activity in some patients. pair they studied - ceftriaxone, an antibiotic sold under the brand name Rocephin, and lansoprazole, a heartburn medication sold as Prevacid - are widely prescribed, and alone carry no known heart-related risks. But together, they may increase the chance that patients develop a heart condition known as long QT syndrome, which can cause abnormal heart rhythms and, in rare cases, sudden death. The study finds that patients taking ceftriaxone and lansoprazole together were 1.4 times more likely to have a prolonged QT interval than people who were taking either of these drugs alone

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published in: 2016-10-16 17:00:03

First human clinical trial for nicotinamide riboside

First human clinical trial for nicotinamide riboside

In the first controlled clinical trial of nicotinamide riboside (NR), a newly discovered form of Vitamin B3, researchers have shown that the compound is safe for humans and increases levels of a cell metabolite that is critical for cellular energy production and protection against stress and DNA damage. Studies in mice have shown that boosting the levels of this cell metabolite - known as NAD - can produce multiple health benefits,

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published in: 2016-10-11 10:33:58

Roche ranked most sustainable healthcare company in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the eighth year running

Roche ranked most sustainable healthcare company in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the eighth year running

For the eighth consecutive year, Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) has been recognised as Group Leader in sustainability within the Pharmaceuticals, Biotechnology & Life Sciences Industry of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI). This is based on an in-depth analysis of economic, social and environmental performance. The DJSI family of indices serves as a benchmark for investors who integrate sustainability considerations into their portfolios.

Roche performed particularly well across a number of categories and DJSI noted that Roche has maintained its leadership in the pharmaceuticals sector through its excellent sustainability strategy, which is fully embedded in the company's business and culture. This year's DJSI assessment emphasised that by placing focus on access to healthcare, compliance and transparency, diverse work culture and collaborating with diverse partners, Roche is committed to creating value for all of its stakeholders.

"We are very proud of this recognition," says Roche CEO Severin Schwan. "Our selection once again as the world's most sustainable healthcare company was only possible through the dedicated efforts of Roche employees across the Group. Sustainability is an integral part of what we do at Roche and at the heart of our business, now and in the future. I strongly believe that our main contribution to society is improving healthcare, developing diagnostic tests and medicines to meet some of the most urgent medical needs. If we are successful in exactly doing this, we will have a long and lasting impact."

Roche has been pursuing a commitment to sustainability for 120 years....

published in: 2016-10-06 16:08:52

Drug restores hair growth in patients with alopecia areata

Drug restores hair growth in patients with alopecia areata

Seventy-five percent of patients with moderate to severe alopecia areata - an autoimmune disease that causes patchy and, less frequently, total hair loss - had significant hair regrowth after treatment with ruxolitinib, reported researchers from Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC). By the end of treatment, average hair regrowth among the patients was 92 percent. Findings from an open-label clinical trial of 12 patients with alopecia areata were published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation/Insight, alongside a paper reporting results of a separate study from Stanford University and Yale University that tested a similar drug.

"Although our study was small, it provides crucial evidence that JAK inhibitors may constitute the first effective treatment for people with alopecia areata," said Julian Mackay-Wiggan, MD, MS, associate professor and director of the clinical research unit in dermatology at CUMC and a dermatologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia. "This is encouraging news for patients who are coping with the physical and emotional effects of this disfiguring autoimmune disease."

Alopecia areata, the second most common form of hair loss, can occur at any age and affects men and women equally. The disease usually causes hair loss on the scalp, but some patients also experience facial and body hair loss with devastating consequences, particularly in children. Currently, there are no known treatments that can completely restore hair.

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published in: 2016-10-06 16:04:50

To produce biopharmaceuticals on demand, just add water

To produce biopharmaceuticals on demand, just add water

Researchers at MIT and other institutions have created tiny freeze-dried pellets that include all of the molecular machinery needed to translate DNA into proteins, which could form the basis for on-demand production of drugs and vaccines. The pellets, which contain dozens of enzymes and other molecules extracted from cells, can be stored for an extended period of time at room temperature. Upon the addition of water and freeze-dried DNA, the pellets begin producing proteins encoded by the DNA.

"It's a modular system that can be programmed to make what you need, on the spot," says James Collins, the Termeer Professor of Medical Engineering and Science in MIT’s Department of Biological Engineering and Institute for Medical Engineering and Science (IMES). "You could have hundreds of different DNA pellets you can add in the field."

These pellets, a few millimeters in diameter, could be easily carried by soldiers, astronauts, or health care workers heading to remote areas, says Collins, who is the senior author of a paper describing this strategy in the Sept. 22 online edition of Cell.

The paper's lead authors are Keith Pardee, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto and former research scientist at Harvard University's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering; Shimyn Slomovic, an IMES postdoc; Jeong Wook Lee, a Wyss Institute research scientist; and Peter Nguyen, a Wyss Institute Technology Fellow.

Cell-free synthesis
Collins and many...

published in: 2016-10-06 16:02:58