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R&D news in brief

Our weekly round-up of R&D news in brief

 
Schering turns down Merck offer
Von Eschenbach in running for permanent FDA job
NHS trusts to face tougher ratings tests
 
Pharma news in brief
NHS news in brief
Study shows Crestor can reverse arterial plaque build-up
The media has gone into overdrive with front-page stories of the next wonder drug after new data showed that two years of treatment with AstraZeneca's cholesterol lowering drug, Crestor, can reverse atherosclerosis, a build-up of arterial plaque in patients with evidence of coronary heart disease. ìThis is the first time a statin has demonstrated regression of atherosclerosis in a major clinical study,î said AZ in a statement. The 507-patient clinical trial, known as Asteroid, involved the top dose of 40mg of Crestor and was presented at the American College of Cardiology annual meeting in Atlanta.

Plavix-aspirin combination shows few benefits
A study has found that a combination of sanofi-aventis' blood thinner Plavix and aspirin is not significantly more effective than aspirin alone in preventing heart attacks, strokes or death from cardiovascular disease in a high-risk patients. The study, called Charisma and presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology, also found that patients who haven't suffered a heart attack or stroke were at higher risk of death from cardiovascular causes after taking Plavix and aspirin than aspirin alone. For patients with established cardiovascular disease the combination had a modest benefit. Both Plavix and aspirin inhibit platelets, important components of blood that can promote formulation of blood clots. ìOur hypothesis that two antiplatelets are better than one across a broad population turned out to be incorrect,î said cardiologist Deepak Bhatt, who presented the study results.

Vaccines could prevent cancer, says charity
A new Cancer Research UK study says anti-viral vaccines have the potential to prevent one in ten cases of cancer in Britain, and as many as 25 per cent in the developing world. The charity estimates that there are more than 1.8 million new cases of virus-associated cancer worldwide every year and says greater investment in new vaccines could be a highly productive way to fight cancer. Lead researcher, Professor Alan Rickinson, from the University of Birmingham, said: ìStudying the association between infectious agents and human cancers is extremely important because, in such cases, infection represents one defined link in the chain of events leading to cancer development.î

30th September 2008

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