PHARMACY

Genetics co. finds possible link between Asian women and osteoporosis

BY Alaric DeArment

WALTHAM, Mass. A U.S. genetic testing company will present research findings of a clinical study on osteoporosis in Asian women at the 8th International Symposium on Osteoporosis in Washington, the company announced Wednesday.

Interleukin Genetics said the study, titled “Identification of Inflammatory Gene Variants as Biomarkers of Osteoporosis Risk in Asian Women,” highlights genetic predisposition risk factors in Asian women for vertebral fractures and osteoporosis.

“While studies exist that look at the genetics of osteoporosis, there has been minimal research into the genetic risk for vertebral fractures,” Interleukin VP research and development Nazneen Aziz said. “Spinal or vertebral fractures are a common clinical manifestation of osteoporosis and often lead to serious consequences, including loss of height, severe back pain and deformity.”

The study evaluated more than 1,200 Korean and Japanese women, investigating predisposition for vertebral fractures and elevated bone biomarkers in candidate genes linked to osteoporosis, with statistical adjustments made for known risk factors such as age, body mass index and drug treatment. The study found that Korean women were 70% more likely to get vertebral fractures if they carried the genetic variation single nucleotide polymorphism, also known as SNP, in the IL-10 gene. Those who carried SNP in the IL1-RN gene were 50% more predisposed to vertebral fractures. The researchers also found differences in genetic markers between Asian and Caucasian women, despite both groups’ high susceptibility to osteoporosis.

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Study: Anti-smoking medication effective treatment for patients with cardiovascular disease

BY Alaric DeArment

ORLANDO, Fla. An anti-smoking drug normally prescribed to otherwise healthy people also works for people with cardiovascular disease, according to a study.

Study results presented Tuesday at the American College of Cardiology’s 58th Annual Scientific Session indicate that 47% of smokers with a history of cardiovascular disease who take Pfizer’s drug Chantix (varenicline) were able to quit without relapse for the first four weeks of treatment, compared to 13.9% who received placebo.

“These data are consistent with the findings from the pivotal varenicline trials, which showed that varenicline was more effective than placebo among smokers who were generally healthy,” lead study investigator, Harvard Medical School professor of medicine and director of the Tobacco Research and Treatment Center at Massachusetts General Hospital Nancy Rigotti stated. “This study demonstrates that varenicline is effective in helping smokers with cardiovascular disease quit smoking.”

Approximately 130,000 people die each year from smoking-related cardiovascular disease in the United States, constituting about one-third of all smoking-related deaths among adults aged 35 and older.

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FDA approves vaccine for Japanese encephalitis

BY Alaric DeArment

ROCKVILLE, Md. A viral disease mostly found in Asia but rare in the United States that kills as many as 15,000 people a year now has a vaccine.

The Food and Drug Administration approved British drug maker Intercell Biomedical’s Ixiaro, a vaccine for Japanese encephalitis. The mosquito-borne disease, which affects between 30,000 and 50,000 people each year, is sometimes found among civilians and military traveling between the United States and Asia.

Symptoms of JE include flu-like symptoms that can progress to high fever, neck stiffness, brain damage, coma and death.

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