HEALTH

Schering-Plough rolls out new antifungal spray

BY Michael Johnsen

KENILWORTH, N.J. Schering-Plough Consumer Healthcare on Tuesday launched Tinactin Chill, an antifungal spray for the treatment of athlete’s foot.

The new antifungal is available in two formulations, liquid spray and deodorant powder spray.

With the product launch, Schering-Plough is targeting first time athlete’s foot sufferers, which are primarily young males ages 14 to 22.

“Research shows that experiencing athlete’s foot for the first time can be very frightening and intimidating for young men,” stated John O’Mullane, group VP, research and development, Schering-Plough  Consumer Healthcare. “Our research indicated that to reach this age group we would need to go beyond the traditional methods of communication with our customers.”

Accordingly, Schering-Plough developed www.meettheburns.com, a site that features a series of “Webisodes” highlighting the fictitious Burns family and a character named “Gus” representing fungus. Each segment presents an athlete’s foot treatment message in a situation comedy style that is entertaining and identifies well with teens.

“Many young men are reluctant to talk about their situation when they first experience athlete’s foot,” O’Mullane said. “However, they often seek information on the Internet. By developing this Web site, we can reach young men and help inform them and their parents that there are effective and easy to use treatments for this common condition.”

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Will Ferrell, Cancer for College release sunscreen line

BY Antoinette Alexander

SAN DIEGO Actor Will Ferrell is helping raise proceeds for the Cancer for College’s Willpowered Scholarship Fund for cancer survivors and amputees by launching, in partnership with the non-profit Cancer for College, a new line of sunscreens featuring Ferrell.

Will Ferrell’s Sexy Hot Tan, Sunstroke and Forbidden Fruit SPF 30 sunscreens are available on Amazon.com, eBay and at www.cancerforcollege.org, starting at $11.99.

Cancer for College was formed in 1993 by two-time cancer survivor and amputee Craig Pollard. Pollard was a fraternity brother of Ferrell at the University of Southern California. Since its inception, Ferrell has been a supporter of the charity and has served as the celebrity host of Cancer for College fundraising events since 2002.

Cancer for College was formed in 1993 by two-time cancer survivor and amputee Craig Pollard. Pollard was a fraternity brother of Ferrell at the University of Southern California. Since its inception, Ferrell has been a supporter of the charity and has served as the celebrity host of Cancer for College fundraising events since 2002.

“We are obviously appealing to sun worshippers, streakers, art lovers and the ever-growing market of body-building golfers,” Ferrell said. “We hope that everyone will see the humor in this product and join us in support of a very worthy cause.”

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Species of cholesterol-busting bacteria discovered

BY Michael Johnsen

READING, England A novel species of bacteria with cholesterol-busting properties has been discovered by scientists at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain, according to the Society for General Microbiology.

Oliver Drzyzga and colleagues isolated the new bug, called Gordonia cholesterolivorans, from sewage sludge. Their findings are reported in the current issue of the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology.

A steroid found in all body tissues, cholesterol is used in the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries as stabilizer, emollient and water-binding agent. As a consequence, steroids — including cholesterol — are a major group of contaminants in urban sewage residues.

Gordonia bacteria have only been classed as a separate group of bacteria since 1997 but they have already proved useful as they are able to degrade a wide range of environmental pollutants including phthalates (used in plastics), rubber and hazardous compounds such as the explosive hexogen (cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine). Gordonia cholesterolivorans’ ability to break down cholesterol means that it could be used to clean up contamination.

Drzyzga and co-workers are studying the genetics of this novel bacterium to genetically modify strains that might also be used to synthesize new and industrially useful breakdown products of cholesterol.

“New steroid compounds made by these bacteria may find applications in the pharmaceutical and medical sectors in the future, but as some Gordonia species are pathogenic to humans it is unlikely that they could be used directly to treat high cholesterol-related conditions in humans,” Drzyzga said. “We are trying to work out exactly how Gordonia cholesterolivorans metabolises cholesterol so that we can identify and construct metabolically engineered strains that are more rapid and effective in breaking down cholesterol.”

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