Pharmacology


People know that antibiotics won't help viruses. So why ask doctors for antibiotics? Subbotina Anna/Shuttstock

By David Broniatowski, George Washington University; Eili Klein, Johns Hopkins University, and Valerie Reyna, Cornell University

Results presented at the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Symposium in Barcelona show "extremely promising" early phase 1 clinical trial results for the investigational drug AG-120 against the subset of patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) harboring mutations in the gene IDH1.

The finding builds on phase 1 results of a related drug, AG-221, against IDH2 mutations, presented at the most recent meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. Results at this stage are preliminary, based on 17 patients.

The IDH1 mutation is found in 15-20 percent of all cases of AML, totaling about 3,500 cases of IDH1 AML per year.


It's a story as old as medicine. When it comes to treatments, people don't always obey the written word. When it comes to antibiotics, for example, people may stop taking them when they feel better so they can save them for another incident. 

Prescription medication guidelines are written specifically, to help people get the effect. So why do only 50 patient of patients take prescription medication as they should, 160 years after medicine became a proper field?


While working on my latest post, I became quite distracted.  I’m a fan of the website retraction watch (everyone loves to gawk at the car accident), although in my opinion they really only skim the problems that permeate the sciences, and while following one of their links I came across one of the most dismaying publications I've seen in a while.

Men are becoming more effeminate. That is not news. If you watched the ESA's Rosetta mission arrive at Comet P67 you saw a tattoo-covered fellow talk about engineering and he looked manly, but two days later he was crying during a press conference because his bowling shirt had offended women on Twitter.

Diarrhea and candidiasis can result from taking the common antibiotic treatments, amoxicillin and amoxicillin-clavulanic acid, although harms may be underreported, according to a study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).



Pfizer's evergreening tactics have made it the target of protests. Michael Fleshman/Flickr, CC BY-SA

By Hazel Moir, Australian National University and Deborah Gleeson, La Trobe University

Efforts by pharmaceutical companies to extend their patents cost taxpayers millions of dollars each year. In some cases they also mean people are subjected to unnecessary clinical trials.

While the use of IC50’s is a huge problem in the biological sciences, Academia, Industry and Regulatory bodies have good reason to avoid the established field of enzyme kinetics. As I said in the last post, the problem with IC50 values is that they strip away or obscure finer details of molecular interactions producing an artificial wall on the amount of information we can obtain from biological systems.  However, the perception is that modern enzyme kinetic drug studies do not provide a significant improvement in our understanding relative to the increase in resources that are required to do the studies.

Low standards breed poor results.

If surveys are accurate, up to 20 percent of students have taken Modafinil (Provigil), a psychostimulant embraced by "lifehackers" in the naturalistic crowd, to boost their ability to study and improve their chances of exam success. 

It is claimed, mostly by other students and readers of New York Magazine, that Modafinil is a 'smart' drug. Yet that isn't the case. Just like people without celiac disease are actually damaging their health giving up gluten and replacing it with the extra sugar, extra fat, hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose and xanthan gum found in gluten-free foods, healthy students who take Modafinil instead find their performance impaired by the drug.