This week’s headlines include, many drugs in development for infectious diseases, pharma revenues to rise, vaccines reduce U.S. flu cases, standards in life science research, and new stem cell trials.
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“Almost 400 new medicines for infectious diseases, including viral infections, bacterial infections, fungal infections and parasitic infections, are now in development with US biopharmaceutical research companies, according to a report from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). Infectious diseases were the leading cause of death in the United States until the 1920s. Vaccines and antimicrobials have proven to effectively treat and prevent many diseases and conditions, but infectious diseases and the emerging resistance of pathogens that cause disease still pose a very serious threat to patients, the report says.”
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“Revenues for brand-name drugmakers will rise just 2%-3% in 2014, forecasts ratings agency Fitch, but it adds that global pharmaceuticals is still one of its highest-rated industries, and that the sector outlook remains “stable.” Moderate pressure from patent expiries, cost-containment policies in the European Union (EU) and weak employment in the US will be only partly offset by uptake of new products and strong growth in emerging markets, it says in a new report, which expects no significant divergence in the trend in profitability between US and EU-based drugmakers next year.”
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“Flu shots reduced the number of U.S. flu cases and hospitalizations last year by an estimated 17 percent, highlighting the need for increasing vaccination rates, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday. Vaccinations prevented more than six million cases of the flu and 79,000 hospitalizations, according to a CDC model that compared the actual number of flu cases and hospitalizations with the projected number that would have occurred had there been no vaccinations.”
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“Life sciences research may be building its own Tower of Babel—a global, collaborative pursuit of breathtaking ambition that begins well but ultimately falls apart. Work on the original Tower of Babel was abandoned because the builders began speaking different languages and, according to Genesis, “would not return to each other.” In the life sciences, researchers may suffer a similar fate. In the absence of unifying standards, they may generate ever larger volumes of irreproducible results, wasting resources, missing opportunities, and eroding the public’s confidence in the value of research.”
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“A team at UC Davis got a $4.4 million grant to develop an airway transplant made of stem cells to cure a life-threatening narrowing of the upper windpipe and lower voice box — known as severe airway stenosis. The grant is part of $61 million in funding that the California stem cell agency approved Thursday for research that targets diseases that have not responded to conventional treatment.”
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“Research trials that evaluate drugs and other treatments for children don’t always align with needs around the world, according to a new analysis. Researchers compared trials registered on a U.S. government website to the burden of 21 diseases found in countries around the world. They found that what was being researched was only moderately tied to what trials are needed. “In pediatrics in general, there is a paucity of the information available to us on how to use drugs and interventions,” Dr. Florence Bourgeois told Reuters Health. Bourgeois is the study’s lead author and an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School in Boston.”
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“Regenerative therapies company Bioheart (OTC:BHRT) is about to embark on a clinical trial to evaluate its proprietary stem Cell Therapy in treatment of dry macular degeneration, a condition which results in loss of vision. Bioheart will enroll up to 100 patients for treatment with its AdipoCell Therapy, based on adipose derived stem cells. The trial won approval the Institutional Review Board of the International Cellular Medicine Society, Bioheart announced today.”
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