Study: Blood markers may help determine Type 2 diabetes risk
DALLAS A new study published in Circulation Research, a journal of the American Heart Association, found that blood levels of some ribonucleic acids — known as microRNAs — vary among those with Type 2 diabetes or those who develop the disease, compared with healthy people.
MicroRNA comprises shorter molecular chains than so-called messenger RNA, which takes the genetic information contained within the DNA and allows it to be turned into proteins with various functions, and previously has been linked to numerous diseases, including diabetes.
Investigators analyzed microRNAs in blood samples of the Bruneck study — a large population-based survey of heart and other major diseases — and found that after analyzing initial blood-sample screens in 1995, 13 microRNAs found in diabetics had distinct differences than healthy controls’ blood samples. The scientists further analyzed these 13 microRNAs to identify the ones that showed the most variation between diabetics and healthy controls. Study participants underwent follow-up screening in 2000 and 2005. Of note, changes in five microRNAs occurred before the onset of Type 2 diabetes.
"We think that some of these microRNA changes may precede the onset of diabetes," said Manuel Mayr, corresponding author of the study. "Future studies will need to confirm whether these new markers can help to actually target therapies and assess patients."
The full study results can be accessed here.
House committee to hold hearing over J&J recall
WASHINGTON House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform chairman Ed Towns, D-N.Y., on Thursday announced that the committee will hold a hearing Sept. 30 at 10 a.m. to examine the circumstances surrounding Johnson & Johnson’s recall of more than 135 million bottles of infant and children’s medicines produced by Johnson & Johnson/McNeil Consumer Healthcare, including children’s Tylenol, infant’s Tylenol, children’s Motrin and children’s Benadryl.
The hearing also will examine the circumstances surrounding a “phantom recall” of a particular Motrin product, which became public as a result of the committee’s hearing on May 27.
“This is about the safety of trusted medication that our children and grandchildren use,” Towns stated. “The evidence we have uncovered since our first hearing is extremely troubling.”
Witnesses invited to testify include Bill Weldon, J&J chairman and CEO, and Colleen Goggins, J&J worldwide chairman, consumer group.
The hearing will be webcast on the committee’s website, Oversight.house.gov.
Forest Pharmaceuticals pays $313 million in settlement deal
SILVER SPRING, Md. Drug maker Forest Pharmaceuticals will pay more than $300 million to the federal government as part of a plea agreement over alleged improper drug distribution and obstructing a Food and Drug Administration inspection.
The FDA said Wednesday that Forest Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of New York-based Forest Labs, had entered a plea agreement whereby it would accept criminal responsibility for distribution of an unapproved drug, distribution of a misbranded drug and obstruction of an FDA inspection. The total payment of $313 million includes $164 million in criminal penalties.
One charge centered around the marketing of Levothroid (levothyroxine sodium), an unapproved drug used to treat hypothyroidism. A 1997 Federal Register notice announced that Levothroid is a “new drug,” and that manufacturers who wish to continue marketing it would have to obtain approval from the FDA by August 2000.
The company also is charged with alleged off-label promotion of the antidepressant Celexa (citalopram) for use in children; the drug is only approved for use in adults. The charge of obstructing an FDA inspection relates to an alleged 2003 incident in which Forest employees made false statements to the agency.
“We are pleased to bring closure to this long-running investigation,” Forest chairman and CEO Howard Solomon said. “We remain dedicated to ensuring that we operate in full compliance with all laws and regulations and that our employees uphold the highest principles of integrity, honesty and ethics.”