PHARMACY

Scientists map structure of streptococcus protien

BY Drew Buono

SAN DIEGO A team led by the University of California, San Diego, has developed the first detailed description of the streptococcal M protein, which plays a major role in the ill effects of Group A Streptococcus, which causes a number of diseases including strep throat, rheumatic fever and necrotizing fasciitis or flesh-eating disease, according to the publication Science.

The researchers conducted tests using M1 protein, the version of the M protein present on the most common disease-associated GAS strains. These investigations may help scientists develop M1 protein-based vaccines against GAS, the researchers said.

“Using X-ray crystallography, we determined that M1 protein has an irregular, unstable structure. We created a modified version of M1 with a more stable structure, and found that it is just as effective at eliciting an immune reaction, but safer than the original version of M1, which has serious drawbacks to its use as a vaccine,” Partho Ghosh, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry in UCSD’s Division of Physical Sciences, said in a statement.

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St. Charles Pharmaceuticals receives grant for research on new analgesic

BY Diana Alickaj

NEW ORLEANS St. Charles Pharmaceutical has announced that it has received funding for the first year of three for a research grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

St. Charles Pharma is a Louisiana based company that will use the award, technically a Cooperative Small Business Phase II SBIR Grant for Translational Research, to fund the research of SCP-123, which the company is working hard to place into clinics. The award will also work in funding the preparation of the application to be submitted to the FDA.

SCP-123 is an analgesic that treats neuropathic pain, and according to published reports, offers greater pain reduction, reduced side effects and has the potential to also treat acute, migraine, post-operative and pediatric pain.

“We are excited. Dr. Narducy and his research team have now raised $6 million in NIH grant funding to support the Company’s drug development efforts,” John Koerner, St Charles’ chairman, stated. “If all goes well, SCP-123 could fill a large, unmet medical need and become a drug of first choice—a blockbuster—for the treatment of neuropathic pain. This grant award is a big plus toward mitigating development risk and making it all happen.”

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FDA issues warnings to makers of misbranded STD drugs

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCKVILLE, Md. The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday issued six warning letters to five U.S. companies and one foreign individual for marketing unapproved and misbranded drugs over the Internet indicated for the prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

“The products pose a serious health threat to unsuspecting consumers who don’t know that these products are not FDA approved and have not been proven safe or effective,” stated Janet Woodcock, deputy commissioner for scientific and medical programs, chief medical officer, and acting director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “STDs are very serious diseases and these products give consumers a false sense of security that they are protected from STDs.”

Some of these products, directed at U.S. consumers, falsely claim to have “FDA Approval” and some claim to be “more effective” than conventional medicine, the regulatory agency stated. The products are sold as Tetrasil, Genisil, Aviralex, OXi-MED, Imulux, Beta-mannan, Micronutrient, Qina, and SlicPlus.

Consumers who are currently using these products should stop their use immediately and consult their health care professional if they have experienced any adverse effects that they suspect are related to the use of any of these products.

The products claim to prevent or treat a variety of STDs, including herpes, chlamydia, human papilloma virus, cervical dysplasia and HIV/AIDS.

Consumers and health care professionals should notify the FDA of any complaints or problems associated with these products, the agency stated. These reports may be made to MedWatch, the FDA’s voluntary reporting program, by calling 800-FDA-1088, or electronically at www.fda.gov/medwatch/report.htm.

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