Archive by date | July 2012

NIH emerges with new emergency medicine research hub

NIH emerges with new emergency medicine research hub

When a patient sits clutching his chest in pain in the emergency room, the doctor on call must think with razor-sharp focus to create a treatment plan immediately. The usual clinical suspects, such as heart attack or lung collapse, bear consideration. But anyone in emergency medicine research knows possible culprits vary widely and span the body’s organs. Unfortunately, research in this area has traditionally been spotty and uncoordinated — but perhaps not for much longer, thanks to the formation of a new Office of Emergency Care Research (OECR) unveiled earlier today by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).  Read more

FDA advisory panel looks positively on new eye drug

FDA advisory panel looks positively on new eye drug

An independent advisory committee for the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today unanimously recommended the injectable drug ocriplasmin from the Belgium-based company ThromboGenics as an effective treatment for the age-related eye disorder known as symptomatic vitreomacular adhesion (VMA).  Read more

Combination drug ‘sprinkles’ in the works for infants with HIV

Combination drug ‘sprinkles’ in the works for infants with HIV

WASHINGTON, DC — Last year, 330,000 infants were born infected with HIV, many of whom will succumb to the disease unless more baby-friendly formulations of antiretrovirals become available, AIDS advocates warned here yesterday at the International AIDS Society conference. “We know that existing treatments are very often difficult to administer,” Bernard Pécoul, executive director of the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), a Geneva-based non-profit that works to foster new treatments, told meeting attendees.  Read more

MIT video models airports most likely to spread diseases

In a study released today from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, engineers show through computer modeling how major international US airports might contribute to the spread of contagious disease during the early days of an epidemic. The culprits that could contribute the most damage turn out to be airports in New York, Los Angeles and Honolulu, Hawaii. “Our work is the first to look at the spatial spreading of contagion processes at early times, and to propose a predictor for which ‘nodes’ — in this case, airports — will lead to more aggressive spatial spreading,” said MIT computer engineer Ruben Juanes in a statement. The new model, unlike previous ones, considers the routines that passengers usually follow when traveling, an airport’s geographic location, how flights connect–or don’t–between airports, and, finally, how a long wait at an airport could influence how diseases spread.  Read more

Build a new biosafety lab, but possibly build it smaller, says report

Build a new biosafety lab, but possibly build it smaller, says report

Less than one month after a US National Resource Council (NRC) panel criticized the government for underestimating the risks of a proposed new biosecurity lab, a new ten-person committee issued a second report today advising that construction should go ahead, although possibly on a reduced scale from the original design.  Read more

Vaccine stabilization technique proves as smooth as silk

Vaccine stabilization technique proves as smooth as silk

Vaccines and other biologic drugs quickly degenerate and lose their effectiveness if left out of the fridge for very long, creating a huge problem for healthcare delivery in less developed parts of the world. Fortunately, a new preservation technique could offer longer shelf lives. Reporting today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), researchers have discovered a silk protein capable of stabilizing heat-sensitive biologics for months at a time at room temperatures or even hotter.  Read more