Author Archive

Bacterium Discovery Clears a Path for New TB Drugs

Maribel Rios PharmTech editorAccording to the World Health Organization, a new active tuberculosis infection occurs every second, and as many as one-third of the world’s population may be asymptomatically infected. Despite efforts to create anti-TB drugs, multi-drug resistant (MDR) strains are rampant worldwide. Read more »

Sales Exec’s Guilty Plea Prolongs Bextra Fallout

Maribel Rios PharmTech editorApparently, the Bextra (valdecoxib) nightmare is lingering a bit longer for Pfizer. More than four years after the initial lawsuits against the drug were filed, a sales executive of a separate company pleaded guilty yesterday to encouraging her sales staff to promote the painkiller for uses she knew had been rejected by the US Food and Drug Administration. Read more »

Virus Changes Pose New Difficulties

Maribel Rios PharmTech editorIt is inspiring to read news about the advancements being made in the fight against viral infections, including those against influenza and HIV. However, as comments to recent blog posts have reminded me, the struggle to develop antiviral therapies is highly complicated because viruses have the infamous tendency to mutate and adapt in their fight for survival and conquest of healthy cells. A major part of formulating and developing antivirals is trying to get some handle on a virus’s unpredictable nature, how it will change, and how these modified forms will strengthen our understanding of its interworkings. Read more »

Researchers Neutralize Avian Flu Virus with mAbs

Maribel Rios PharmTech editorA couple of years ago, the news media were inundated with stories of the most recent spread of the deadly avian flu infection. The certainty of facing a worldwide epidemic was looming, and I recall attending a conference session in which the presenter ran a computer simulation showing how the entire population of a small country could be infected in less than 6 weeks. Read more »

Court rules no link between MMR vaccine and autism

Maribel Rios PharmTech editorI remember clearly receiving the warning from my child’s pediatrician regarding claims possibly linking the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism. I also recall my pediatrician, herself a new mother, saying she was going to wait for further evidence before allowing her child to be administered the vaccine. That was eight years ago. Has the question regarding the possible link between the MMR vaccine and autism finally been answered? Read more »

Testing Drug Efficacy Using Electronic Medical Records

Maribel Rios PharmTech editorRegardless of where one may stand in the debate over solving rising healthcare costs, few would argue that the application of new information technology tools will have to play a major role. The link between new technology and reducing the cost of clinical trials is growing stronger thanks to a team of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. The group conducted a study showing how implementing electronic medical records (EMR) and bioinformatics may be used to test drug efficacy. Read more »

Johns Hopkins’ Phoenix

Maribel Rios PharmTech editorIn a society full of “what’s new must be better” attitudes, few “failed” technologies get a second chance. When a drug company, for example, discontinues work on a compound because it has failed its intended therapeutic target, the research rarely gets any attention. Once in a while, in science especially, revisiting these failed compounds turns out to be rewarding after all. Such was the experience of a team of Johns Hopkins medical scientists and an antibiotic formulated more than 100 years ago. Read more »

BIO Offers Advice on Solving Healthcare Crisis

Maribel Rios PharmTech editorUniversal healthcare remains a hotly debated topic as the country prepares for a new executive administration. Already future Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Daschle has pointed to public access of generic medicines as an integral part of the solution, to the approval of the Generic Pharmaceutical Association. Today, the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) released its “critical principles” toward universal healthcare, with an emphasis on innovation in therapies and diagnostics. Read more »

Look Ma, I’m a Genetic Engineer!

Maribel Rios PharmTech editorYour childhood chemistry set was never like this. According to an Associated Press report, a growing number of science enthusiasts are experimenting with genetic engineering at home. Geared up with Internet resources and commercially available equipment, these self-proclaimed “biohackers” are converting kitchen tables and garages into personal labs, tinkering with yogurt bacteria and jellyfish DNA. Read more »

Consequences of Sequences

Maribel Rios PharmTech editorMany parents know that winter not only means cold and flu season, but also high risks of their children being infected with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Each year, RSV infects as many as 125,000 children under 1-year of age and has been fatal to the elderly and those with weak immune systems. Now, thanks to advancements in RNA-interference technology, it appears a vaccine may be closer to development. Read more »

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