The Dish’s Weekly News Wrap Up – August 24, 2012

By on August 24, 2012

This week’s headlines include, innovative stem cell therapy trials, another vaccination success story, new breast cancer drug report, Myriad wins gene patent ruling, and the advantages of targeting rare diseases.

“Chicken Pox Cases Fall 80% Over Decade: CDC,” Health Day

Chickenpox cases in the United States dropped almost 80 percent between 2000 and 2010 in 31 states following routine use of the varicella vaccine, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.  Updated figures published by the CDC Thursday also show that in the four years after a two-dose vaccine was recommended for children in 2006, cases of chickenpox declined about 70 percent. The biggest drop occurred in children between the ages of 5 and 9.

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “New Vaccines – Coming Soon to a Doctor’s Office Near You”


“Autism Stem Cell Therapy to Be Tested in Kids in Trial,” Bloomberg

Researchers are recruiting autistic children for a study that will test whether injecting stem cells banked from their umbilical cords can lessen symptoms and provide insights into the nature of the disorder.  While stem cells have been promoted, and sold, as a treatment for autism, few clinical trials have been conducted to see whether they’re effective. The study, which begins enrolling patients today, is the first of its kind approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to assess the use of stem cells as a potential autism therapy, said Michael Chez, director of pediatric neurology at Sutter Medical Center in Sacramento, California, and the principal investigator.

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Employing Innovative Platforms for Large Scale Stem Cell Culture”


“Myriad Wins Gene Patent Ruling from US Appeals Court,” Reuters

A U.S. federal appeals court has once again affirmed the right of Myriad Genetics Inc to patent two genes linked to breast and ovarian cancer, after the U.S. Supreme Court told it to take another look at the hotly contested case.  A 2-1 panel of the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., on Thursday upheld the biotechnology company’s right to patent “isolated” genes known as BRCA1 and BRCA2, which account for most inherited forms of breast and ovarian cancers.

If you like this story, please see our blog titled Serum Free Hybridoma Culture – Key Recommendations”


“Breast Cancer Drug Report: Many Will Try But Few Will Succeed in the Next Decade,” Med City News

Although nearly 250 companies are working in the breast cancer treatment space, growth in the market will be driven by the uptake of three new drugs over the next 10 years and will plateau by 2018, according to a new market analysis from Decision Resources.  Those three drugs will be Genentech’s Perjeta, which was approved to treat HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer in June; ImmunoGen/Genentech’s trastuzumab-DM1, which Decision Resources anticipates will be approved for later-line treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer in 2013; and Novartis’s  Afinitor, U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved last month for certain HER2-negative breast cancers.

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Strategies for Enhancing Media to Improve Antibody Production in CHO Cells”


“Stem Cell Therapy Shows Promise in Repairing Stress Urinary Incontinence,” MedicalXpress

Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) can occur due to sneezing, coughing, exercising or even laughing and happens because the pelvic floor muscles are too weak causing leakage when the bladder is put under pressure. New research published in BioMed Central’s open access journal BMC Medicine shows that a new technique, using stem cells isolated from amniotic fluid, can regenerate damaged urethral sphincter muscles and prevent pressure incontinence in mice.

If you like this story, please see our blog titled Technologies for Downstream Processing in Clinical Stem Cell Manufacturing”


“Targeting Rare Diseases Makes Financial Sense for Pharma,” PharmaTimes

Orphan drugs have the potential to generate as much lifetime revenue as treatments used for more common health conditions, according to a study published by Thomson Reuters.  The report compared the total value of orphan drugs from 1990 to 2030 and found that government incentives, shorter clinical trials and high rates of regulatory success make top orphan drugs as economically viable as non-orphan ones. Current estimates indicate that 250 new rare diseases are identified annually and a number of orphan drug therapies are already achieving blockbuster status.

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “The House Passes FDA User Fee Reauthorization Bill, Senate Next”


“Xoma Lands Orphan Drug Status for Eye Disease Treatment,” San Francisco Business Times

Xoma Corp. lead drug, gevokizumab, was granted orphan drug status for an inflammatory eye disease, the company said Wednesday.  Orphan drug designation, awarded by the Food and Drug Administration for experimental treatments for diseases with fewer than 200,000 patients, allows Berkeley-based Xoma (NASDAQ: XOMA) to receive tax breaks for 50 percent of the cost of its clinical trials in non-infectious uveitis and pan uveitis and FDA fee waiver. It also would receive seven years of U.S. market exclusivity if a drug is approved.

If you like this story, please see our blog titled How Single Use Systems are Improving Bioprocess Development”



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