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R&D news in brief

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

Rotarix prevents hospitalisations, says data
GlaxoSmithKline's oral rotavirus vaccine, Rotarix, prevents 100 per cent of hospitalisations due to rotavirus-induced gastroenteritis and 75 per cent of hospitalisations due to gastroenteritis of any cause, according to new data presented at the European Society for Paediatric Infectious Diseases annual meeting in Basel. Overall the data confirmed that the drug protected against 96 per cent of all severe rotavirus gastroenteritis cases. ìRotavirus gastroenteritis causes a lot of misery in young children and enormous expense and inconvenience for parents and for hospitals admitting children throughout the UK every year,î said Professor Adam Finn, from the University of Bristol. ìWe now have a tool with which it can be prevented.î Rotarix is a two-dose oral vaccine, administered to babies between the ages of two and four months.

Combination could beat cancer
A new combination of two drugs, one of which is an epilepsy treatment, is effective at killing cancer cells, according to research published in the British Journal of Cancer. The results, from the Section of Thoracic Oncology at the National Cancer Institute's Center for Cancer Research in the US, has raised hopes of a new form of chemotherapy to treat many types of cancer. While the combination of valproic acid, an anti-epileptic, and UCN-01, has been shown to kill cancer cells in the lab, the research team still has to show that it can work in people. ìWe also need to continue searching for combinations of valproic acid and other agents that achieve potent killing of cancer cells at lower concentrations,î said lead investigator, Dr Dao Nguyen.

OAB drug shows promise
Results from a phase II study of biotech firm BioXell's lead compound Elocalcitol have shown it can significantly improve the primary symptoms of overactive bladder (OAB). The three-month trial, conducted in Milan, also showed that the drug was well tolerated, with an adverse event profile comparable to placebo. Patients receiving Elocalcitol showed a 21.5 per cent increase in Mean Volume Voided per Micturition (MVV), an objective and commonly used parameter in OAB trials. In 2005, about 68 million people were diagnosed with the disease in the seven principal pharmaceutical markets, with over $1bn spent on drug treatments.

30th September 2008

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