Pharmacology

It's unclear why there is a natural medicine craze in the modern era. Real medicine was invented because natural medicine didn't help people. If natural medicine survived double-blind clinical trials, it became regular medicine.


Antihistamines, which help reduce watery eyes and runny noses during allergy season, might also help ward off tumors too. A new report suggests that antihistamines may have significant anti-cancer properties as they interfere with the function of a type of cell that is known to reduce the body's ability to fight tumors - myeloid derived suppressor cells.


Scientists working to make gene therapy a reality say they have figured out how to bypass a blood stem cell's natural defenses and efficiently insert disease-fighting genes into the cell's genome.

The drug rapamycin, which is commonly used to slow cancer growth and prevent organ rejection, enables delivery of a therapeutic dose of genes to blood stem cells while preserving stem cell function. The findings in Blood could lead to more effective and affordable long-term treatments for blood cell disorders in which mutations in the DNA cause abnormal cell functions, such as in leukemia and sickle cell anemia.


We all have bad days.

Sometimes "bad" is a woefully insufficient adjective. Ask Dr. Mehmet Oz (henceforth known as The Lizard of Oz). He had a really bad day this week, courtesy of Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO). 

She is not someone you want as an enemy. She tricked The Lizard into testifying before  the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.

A new analysis by Karolinska Institutet in Sweden found that drug therapy for ADHD does not entail an increased risk of suicide attempts or suicide. 

Other studies have found  that ADHD drug treatment would increase the occurrence of suicidal thoughts but the authors of the new paper in BMJ say those studies were too small scale and/or methodologically unsound, which make the results uncertain. For the new paper, the authors used national patient registers to identify all patients in Sweden diagnosed with ADHD between 1960 and 1996; a total of 37,936 individuals. These people were then followed over the period 2006-2009, in terms of drug treatment and events that could be linked to suicide attempts and suicide. 


In the many hypotheses surrounding autism, one posits it is the consequence of abnormal cell communication.

Researchers at the U.C. San Diego recently did a study using a drug from 1916, suramin, which was approved for treating sleeping sickness. The findings in Translational Psychiatry were that it
restored normal cellular signaling in a mouse model of autism, reversing symptoms of the neurological disorder in animals that were the human biological age equivalent of 30 years old. 


The number of deaths involving commonly prescribed painkillers is far higher than the number of deaths by overdose from heroin and cocaine.

In fact, the deaths due to overdose of opiods - legal painkillers - is higher than cocaine and heroin combined, according to a new paper. In a first-of-its-kind review of existing research, the McGill team has put the spotlight on a major public health problem: the dramatic increase in deaths due to prescribed painkillers, which were involved in more than 16,000 deaths in 2010 in the U.S. alone. Currently, the US and Canada rank #1 and #2 in per capita opioid consumption.


Harrisvaccines has been granted United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) conditional licensure of the company's Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDv) Vaccine. 

 PEDv is a highly contagious swine disease that entered the United States in April 2013. PEDv causes vomiting and diarrhea in older animals and extreme dehydration and mortality of up to 100 percent in piglets that are less than one week of age. Since entering the U.S. a year ago, PEDv has spread to nearly 30 states and throughout North America, causing the death of millions of piglets. PEDv is not a zoonotic disease, and therefore cannot spread to humans, but it has cost the pork industry and consumers hundreds of millions of dollars.  

Due in large part to the popularity of energy drinks and chain coffee shops, caffeine intake by children and adolescents has risen substantially - some drinks are marketed to children as young as four.

Unlike nicotine, caffeine has slipped under the cultural radar as a harmless drug, even for kids, but some research is happening. A new paper about a small study says that after puberty, boys and girls experience different heart rate and blood pressure changes after consuming caffeine. Girls also experience some differences in caffeine effect during their menstrual cycles. 


The class of drug known as p110δ inhibitors, currently being used to treat leukemia, has the unexpected side-effect of boosting immune responses against many different cancers, according to a study led by pharmaceutical company Genentech in San Francisco

p110δ inhibitors have shown such remarkable efficacy against certain leukemias in recent clinical trials that patients on the placebo were switched to the real drug - but they have not been tested in other types of cancer.  The p110δ enzyme is a member of the PI3-kinase family, and is sometimes called PI3Kδ. p110δ and the other PI3Ks are hot drug targets for the pharmaceutical industry as they are implicated in many cancers and are readily druggable.