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R&D news in brief

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

Results show Rasilez potential
Novartis' experimental hypertension treatment, Rasilez (aliskiren) offers ìconsistent and sustainedî blood pressure lowering over one year of treatment, according to study results presented at the World Congress of Cardiology in Barcelona. In the trial, researchers found that patients who received once-daily oral Rasilez alone or in combination with a diuretic saw a ìsubstantialî reduction in blood pressure. The results also showed that patients who received the drug, with or without the diuretic, had sustained reductions in blood pressure over 24 hours. ìNormally we'd expect blood pressure to quickly return to pre-treatment levels when a medicine is stopped,î said lead researcher, Dr Domenic Sica. ìHowever, our study showed that this does not occur with aliskiren. This may be a benefit of directly inhibiting renin to control blood pressure.î

Lovenox reduces risk of heart attacks, says study
Lovenox (enoxaparin), sanofi-aventis' anti-thrombotic drug, reduces the risk of death or new heart attacks in patients undergoing artery unblocking more effectively than an older, widely used medicine, according to research presented at the World Congress of Cardiology. Researchers said the drug was significantly more effective than unfractioned heparin in patients undergoing angioplasty after suffering a heart attack. A new analysis of data from a large clinical trial found the risk of death or recurrent heart attack after 30 days for patients on Lovenox was 10.7 per cent, against 13.8 per cent for those on unfractioned heparin, said the team from Harvard Medical School.

Cervical cancer vaccine could cut fatalities by `75 per cent'
Vaccination with GlaxoSmithKline's experimental human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine Cervarix could reduce the number of cervical cancer cases and deaths by about 75 per cent, according to a new study. In the study, researchers used computer modelling to predict the outcome of vaccinating all 12-year-old girls in the UK. They concluded that 100 per cent vaccine coverage in the country would cut the death toll from the disease from 1,093 deaths a year to 262. The figures also suggest that the number of women developing cervical cancer at all would drop from 2,841 to 682.

Gardasil `may offer additional protection'
A study of Sanofi Pasteur MSD's cervical cancer vaccine, Gardasil, which is designed to protect against four human papillomavirus (HPV) strains (6,11, 16 and 18), showed that it may offer protection against other HPV types, 45 and 31. Professor of epithelial biology at the University of Cambridge, Margaret Stanley, told The Times that ìthere is potential that [Gardasil] could protect against strains which are responsible for approximately 85 per cent of cervical cancers.î Gardasil received a positive opinion in July from an EU advisory committee; it has already received US Food and Drug Administration approval.

30th September 2008

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