PHARMACY

Lipitor, Aricept combination shows no significant slow in Alzheimer’s progression

BY Drew Buono

NEW YORK According to a new study on patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease, adding Lipitor 80 mg to the Alzheimer’s drug Aricept 10 mg did not show any significant differences in key measures of Alzheimer’s progression, including cognition or global function, compared with a placebo plus Aricept.

The 18-month study, called Lipitor’s Effect on Alzheimer’s Dementia, included 640 patients and is the largest statin study in Alzheimer’s disease. The results were presented this week at the annual American Academy of Neurology meeting.

While rates of decline in cognition and global function were similar for both the Lipitor and placebo groups, there were some interesting findings from the trial:

In a subset of 64 patients for whom MRI scans were available, patients in the Lipitor group had significantly less decline in hippocampal volume in the brain compared with the placebo group. While the significance of this result is not yet fully understood, less of a decline in hippocampal volume may be beneficial because declines have been associated with the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

In a sub-analysis completed after the trial, men in the Lipitor group had a significantly slower rate of decline in cognition compared with men in the placebo group. There was no difference in the rate of decline in cognition in women in the Lipitor group compared with women in the placebo group.

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Combination of Celebrex and Lipitor may prove effective in fighting prostate cancer

BY Diana Alickaj

WASHINGTON A new combination between the drugs Celebrex, which lowers cholesterol, and Lipitor, an anti-inflammatory drug, can be used in controlling prostate cancer before it becomes deadly, according to published reports.

The study first cultured prostate tumors in mice, and then gave the mice either Lipitor or Celebrex, or a combination of the two. All proved to be successful in halting cancer growth. The study also found that putting a combination of Lipitor and Celebrex in lower doses was most effective. Scientists have yet to find why these two combinations have such a positive effect on fighting prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is the second-leading cancer killer in men, and the presence of the two drugs may help stop the progression of the cancer before it gets worse, according to the study.

Even though this discovery has gone only through preliminary trials, many are excited by the positive implications it may have for prostate cancer. According to K. Scott Coffield, a professor of surgery at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine and a urologist-oncologist at Scott & White, “They need to come up with the molecular mechanics and then take it back to clinical trials. It’s early but it’s interesting and that’s wonderful.”

The research will be presented at the American Association for Cancer Research’s annual meeting in San Diego.

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Snabes tapped as BioSante Pharmaceuticals vice president of clinical development

BY Diana Alickaj

LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill. BioSante Pharmaceuticals announced Michael Snabes as the company’s new vice president of clinical development, according to published reports.

Snabes will be responsible for the development of LibiGel, which is a testosterone gel for the treatment of female sexual dysfunction. Snabes has a history with BioSante as he served as medical consultant of BioSante since November 2005, where he focused on clinical and regulatory matters, according to published reports.

He is a board certified reproductive endocrinologist, and has a Ph.D. in physiology and reproductive endocrinology. According to published reports, he also played major role in the submission of BioSante’s New Drug Application Elestrin, which now has been approved fully by the Food and Drug Administration.

“We are very pleased that Michael has agreed to accept this position with BioSante,” said Stephen Simes, president and chief executive officer of BioSante. “Michael has been an important part of our clinical team for more than two years and his full-time involvement will help us to implement fully and accelerate our development of LibiGel in the treatment of FSD, specifically hypoactive sexual desire disorder in menopausal women.”

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