HEALTH

CVS Health introduces latest campaign benefiting Stand Up To Cancer

BY Michael Johnsen

WOONSOCKET, R.I. – CVS Health on Tuesday launched an in-store fundraising campaign at CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide to benefit Stand Up To Cancer, a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, that supports innovative cancer research that gets new therapies to patients quickly to save more lives.

Through Oct.  1, CVS Pharmacy customers can support SU2C by making a $1, $3 or larger donation at the register at 7,900 CVS Pharmacy locations or online at www.CVS.com/SU2C. The in-store fundraising campaign is part of a three-year, $10 million commitment by CVS Health to SU2C.

"With more than 1.6 million Americans diagnosed with cancer each year, we know many of our colleagues, customers and communities have been affected by this terrible disease," stated Helena Foulkes, president, CVS Pharmacy. "As part of our company's purpose of helping people on their path to better health, we're proud to support Stand Up To Cancer as they accelerate research and bring new therapies to patients."

Donations made during the campaign will support SU2C's collaborative cancer research model which helps bring new treatments to patients faster. SU2C's "Dream Teams" bring together scientists from different institutions and across multiple disciplines to work together to translate their research from the laboratory to the patient.

"Because of partners like CVS Health, we're able to make progress in increasing treatment options for patients and making advancements in the fight against cancer," said SU2C co-founder Sue Schwartz. "We're thankful for the support CVS Health has given to us over the past few years by giving its customers an easy way to make a donation and joining us in our mission of making everyone diagnosed with cancer a survivor."

CVS Pharmacy customers can also support SU2C through Oct.  1, when they purchase Nicorette or NicoDerm CQ, which help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting smoking. For every box sold at CVS Pharmacy, GSK Consumer Healthcare will donate $1 to Stand Up To Cancer, up to $100,000.

"Teaming up with CVS Pharmacy is a natural fit for GSK Consumer Healthcare, as both companies look to help smokers rid their lives of cigarettes and become smoke-free," said James Masterson, marketing director at GSK Consumer Healthcare. "We are encouraging those interested in quitting to quit for a cause this month."

CVS Health is also a proud supporter of SU2C's fifth biennial televised fundraising special which will air on Friday, Sept. 9. The Stand Up To Cancer telecast raises awareness and funds to support SU2C's translational research that can provide patients with new therapies to save lives now. One hundred percent of public monies pledged during the telecast support SU2C's cancer research programs.
 

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Female Health Company board member to serve as observer on Veru Healthcare post merger

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO – The Female Health Company and Aspen Park Pharmaceuticals on Tuesday announced that, upon completion of their proposed merger, Andy Love will serve as an observer to the board of directors of the combined company. 

Love is a current member of FHC's board of directors.

While he serves as a board observer, Love will participate in board meetings of the merged company, to be called Veru Healthcare.

“We welcome Andy to the Veru Healthcare Board,” stated Mitchell Steiner, CEO and president of APP and the combined company, Veru Healthcare, after completion of the proposed merger. “His insights and experience strongly complement the skill set and expertise of the Veru Healthcare board.”

“Andy is an enthusiastic supporter of the merger, having recently purchased shares of FHC stock to add to his already sizable ownership position,” added O.B. Parrish, chairman and CEO of FHC. “He has been a valuable member of the FHC Board and important link to members of the investment community. His status as observer will greatly increase our ability to continue to effectively communicate with our shareholders.”

Love has served as a director of FHC since May 2013. He served as chairman and co-CEO of Love Savings Holding Company, the holding company of Heartland Bank, from December 1985 to December 2014.

Currently, he is chairman and  co-CEO of Hallmark Investment Corporation, successor to the non-banking activities of Love Savings Holding Company subsequent to its merger with Midland States Bancorp on Dec. 31, 2014.

Love has more than 40 years of investment, banking and real estate experience. Previously, Love was a partner at the law firm Bryan Cave.

As previously announced, the Veru Healthcare board of directors will be comprised of nine members, with three directors named by FHC (O.B. Parrish, David Bethune and Mary Margaret Frank), three directors currently on APP’s board of directors (Mitchell Steiner, Harry Fisch and Elgar Peerschke, who will serve as chairman) and three new directors (Georges Makhoul, Lucy Lu and Mario Eisenberger).
 

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Researchers explore pathway between nicotine use and inflammation

BY Michael Johnsen

UMEA, Sweden – As if there aren't enough reasons to kick the nicotine habit already, researchers from Umeå University in collaboration with U.S. researchers found a new link between nicotine and inflammation.

"This particular finding explains the missing piece of the puzzle of tobacco usage and inflammation," stated Ava Hosseinzadeh, who worked on this project during her doctoral dissertation. "This novel finding opens new avenues to understand the consequences of tobacco usage for human health and should be seen as one more convincing argument to quit nicotine usage in any form."

In a recently published article in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, researchers at the Laboratory for Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden at Umeå University found that nicotine activates neutrophils in an undesirable fashion.

Neutrophils are the most abundant type of white blood cells that circulate in the blood stream ready to attack invading microbes with an arsenal of antimicrobial compounds. Neutrophils are essential to prevent infection by engulfing invading microbes, or by releasing reactive oxygen species as well as DNA fibres from their own nuclei, termed neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). NET release is a mixed blessing. Loaded with antimicrobial enzymes and pro-inflammatory molecules NETs are harmful to invading microbes, however, they can also potently harm the host's own tissue, if not controlled in the right manner.

In recent years, NETs have been attributed to be mediators of tissue damage in several inflammatory diseases, such as small vessel vasculitis, arthritis and cancer.

For the first time, Hosseinzadeh and colleagues at MIMS show that nicotine triggers NET release. The signal to trigger NETs is mediated by a specific acetylcholine receptor found on neutrophils and further signalled into the cell via a protein kinase known as Akt.

"The next evident step is to demonstrate the NET-inducing capacity of nicotine in animal models and human samples," commented Constantin Urban, associate professor and project leader at Umeå University. "Such 'in vivo' studies will enable us to attract new funders and potentially interest of the pharma industry. Our finding could hopefully lead to novel anti-inflammatory therapies of tobacco usage related diseases."

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