Pharmacology

Six studies published in the past year by a Cornell researcher add to growing evidence that an apple a day -- as well as daily helpings of other fruits and vegetables -- can help keep the breast-cancer doctor away. 

In one of his recent papers, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (57:1), Rui Hai Liu, Cornell associate professor of food science and a member of Cornell's Institute for Comparative and Environmental Toxicology, reports that fresh apple extracts significantly inhibited the size of mammary tumors in rats -- and the more extracts they were given, the greater the inhibition. 
According to a recent study, diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids protect the liver from damage caused by obesity and the insulin resistance it provokes. This research should give doctors and nutritionists valuable information when recommending and formulating weight-loss diets and help explain why some obese patients are more likely to suffer some complications associated with obesity. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in canola oil and fish.

February 6, 2009 dates the FDA announcement of a new class of drugs made in living organisms altered by scientists as producers instead of chemical factories. ATryn signifies USA's first approval for a biological product made by genetically engineered (GE) animals. A therapeutic protein, ATryn, is derived from the milk of goats that have been genetically altered by introducing a segment of DNA (called a recombinant DNA or rDNA construct) into their genes for the animal to produce human antithrombin in its milk.

Oramed Pharmaceuticals, a drug development company aiming to make alternative delivery systems to injectable medication, has dedicated research to finding a solution to make oral insulin, thus making managing diabetes easier and painless.

Parallel to developing an effective oral medication, they have come upon another delivery method, bypassing the harsh portion of the gastrointestinal system altogether. Oramed recently announced that they have concluded proof of concept on their other alternative to injectable insulin: insulin suppositories.

Based on their research, the insulin suppositories showed rapid insulin absorption and actively lowered blood glucose levels. These results were well tolerated by participants and no adverse symptoms were seen.
Green tea products have become regarded as a valuable health supplement and studies have shown evidence of its benefit against a variety of diseases, including cancer.   In animal studies, an antioxidant compound in green tea called the EGCG polyphenol (epigallocatechin gallate) has been shown to be a potent anticancer agent, with effects demonstrated against leukemia, as well as lung, prostate, colon, and breast cancer. Among other properties, EGCG binds to a common protein in tumors called GRP78 (which is responsible for preventing cell death) and inhibits its function, thereby assisting in the death of tumor cells. 
A new testosterone patch, designed to pep up a woman's flagging sex drive after womb and ovary removal, may not work, and its long term safety is not proven, says the Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin (DTB).

Intrinsa was recently licensed in the UK for the treatment of women, who have gone through the menopause as a result of womb and ovary removal, and who are subsequently experiencing a drop in sex drive.  The condition is referred to as hypoactive sexual desire disorder or HSDD for short.

There is some evidence to suggest that a fall in sex drive after the menopause might be linked to low levels of circulating testosterone.
A century-old drug that failed in its original intent to treat tuberculosis but has worked well as an anti-leprosy medicine now holds new promise as a potential therapy for multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases.

"We never expected that an old antibiotic would hit this target that has been implicated in multiple sclerosis, psoriasis and type 1 diabetes," says Johns Hopkins pharmacologist Jun O. Liu "People have been working for years and spending tens of millions of dollars on developing a drug to inhibit a specific molecular target involved in these diseases, and here, we have a safe, known drug that hits that target," known as the Kv1.3 potassium channel. 
As children, we grow up with the notion that vitamins provide the key to thriving bodies. Without the proper vitamins, we wouldn’t grow up to be “big and strong,” and would instead be weak and useless versions of ourselves. Carrying this need for vitamins into adulthood, we can now buy vitamins in bulk, and consume them in pill form whenever we need to.  It seems that every other week, we are told another miracle that is carried out by vitamins. Vitamin C will stave off colds; vitamin E will help prevent Alzheimer’s, and Vitamin D will treat cancer.
In 2007 chocolate was all the rage, with Mars, Inc.-funded scientists even having their own panel at the AAAS meeting.  In 2008, blueberries were the rage.    

In 2009, says Dr. Luis Cisneros, Texas A&M AgriLife Research food scientist, "Stone fruits are super fruits, with plums as emerging stars."
A study published in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society suggests that the use of certain medications in elderly populations may be associated with cognitive decline. The study examined the effects of exposure to anticholinergic medications, a type of drug used to treat a variety of disorders that include respiratory and gastrointestinal problems, on over 500 relatively healthy men aged 65 years or older with high blood pressure.