Clinical Research

Okay, but that's not the way to extract it. fabriceh_com, CC BY-NC-SA

By Benjamin Burke, University of Hull

In the development of new drugs, taking something from nature and modifying it has been a successful tactic employed by medicinal chemists for years.

Now, with the help of nanotechnology, researchers are turning once-discarded drug candidates into usable drugs.

Overcoming gaps in medical funding. nakrnsm, CC BY

By Stephanie Swift, University of Ottawa

Disease can affect any person, rich or poor. While your bank balance can’t really protect you from getting sick, it could potentially buy you – and many other patients – access to a better treatment for your disease. A new “plutocratic proposal” put forward by Alexander Masters enlists wealthy patients to both fund and participate in clinical trials alongside other patients who could benefit from an otherwise untested new treatment.

Up to 50 percent of patients with heart failure have normal or near-normal ejection fraction, termed heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFPEF).

The risk of death in HFPEF may be as high as in heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFREF), but there is no proven therapy.

Beta-blockers improve outcomes in HFREF and may be beneficial in HFPEF, but data are sparse and inconclusive, and beta-blockers are currently not indicated for treating HFPEF, according to background information in the article.

A recent study compared two of the most commonly performed bariatric surgery procedures.

There are tradeoffs between the two surgical approaches in potential risks and benefits and so there has been an ongoing debate about which can achieve weight loss, with conflicting results in systematic reviews. 

The two procedures were laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) and adjustable gastric banding (AGB). The result was that RYGB resulted in much greater weight loss than AGB but had a higher risk of short-term complications and long-term subsequent hospitalizations. 

Each year, nearly 600,000 children die from severe, dehydrating diarrhea and millions more are hospitalized. Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC)
may be the first enteric illness encountered by many infants, and it causes several hundred million cases of diarrhea each year, mainly in children.

The idea of using stem cells to treat Type I Diabetes is very promising and could have huge practical impact. Real progress has been achieved toward this goal over the last decade. In perhaps another decade there might be a validated treatment. 

Obesity is a significant risk factor for the development of a number of diseases, but the first that comes to mind is type 2 diabetes. 

Seven Swedish women have had embryos reintroduced after receiving wombs from living donors and now one has delivered a healthy and normally developed boy, reveals the case study in The Lancet.

The uterus transplantation research project at the University of Gothenburg started in 1999 and the goal has been to enable women who were born without a womb or who have lost their wombs in cancer surgery to give birth to their own children.

Nine women in the project have received a womb from live donors – in most cases the recipient's mother but also other family members and close friends. The transplanted uterus was removed in two cases, in one case due to a serious infection and in the other due to blood clots in the transplanted blood vessels.

Investigators have announced discovery of a new molecule, the first of its kind, which allows for the multiplication of stem cells in a unit of cord blood. Umbilical cord blood contains adult stem cells used for transplants aimed at curing a number of blood-related diseases, including leukemia, myeloma and lymphoma.

For many patients this therapy comprises a treatment of last resort. 

Merck is discontinuing the clinical development program of its investigational MUC1 antigen-specific cancer immunotherapy tecemotide (L-BLP25) as a monotherapy in Stage III non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Tecemotide is an investigational MUC1 antigen-specific cancer immunotherapy that is designed to stimulate the body's immune system to identify and target cells expressing the cell-surface glycoprotein MUC1. MUC1 is expressed in many cancers, including NSCLC, and has multiple roles in tumor growth and survival. Tecemotide was being investigated in the Phase III START2, START and INSPIRE trials for the treatment of unresectable, locally advanced Stage III NSCLC.