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Merck’s boceprevir increases cure rate of hepatitis C, study finds

BY Alaric DeArment

INDIANAPOLIS An investigational drug in late-stage clinical trials increased the cure rate in patients with hepatitis C when added to standard treatments, according to a study conducted at Indiana University.

Researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine found that adding Merck’s boceprevir to the standard treatment of Merck’s Pegintron (peginterferon alfa-2b) and ribavirin increased the cure rate of the most difficult-to-treat patients by as much as 75% after 48 weeks. Results of the study were published in medical journal The Lancet.

“Both 28- and 48-week boceprevir regimens significantly increased sustained virologic response rates – which is the best definition of a cure we have – compared with the 48-week control,” lead researcher Paul Kwo said . “The 48-week treatment arm with four weeks of peginterferon lead-in and 44 weeks of peginterferon, ribavirin and boceprevir led to the largest improvement over the control group ever reported. That’s very impressive.”

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New formulation of Taxotere gets regulatory approval

BY Alaric DeArment

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new formulation of a chemotherapy drug made by Sanofi-Aventis, the French drug maker said Thursday.

The FDA approved a one-vial version of the drug Taxotere (docetaxel) injection concentrate. The drug is expected to become available in clinics and hospitals nationwide this fall in 80-mg and 20-mg dosages, Sanofi said. The drug is used to treat cancers of the breast, prostate, lungs, head and neck and stomach.

“This new formulation underscores the commitment Sanofi-Aventis has made to Taxotere and to healthcare professionals,” Sanofi VP and oncology business unit head Paul Hawthorne said. “We look forward to adding this formulation of Taxotere to the aresenal of oncology products Sanofi-Aventis offers to the cancer community.”

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Wearing the heat off with MiraCool

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK OccuNomix International has launched a new line of products to keep consumers cool during the hot days of summer.

The new MiraCool plus cooling bandana allows a cooling sensation to pass to pulse points that are carried throughout the body. MiraCool offers a variety of products — including a neck or collar bandana, headbands, skull caps, hats and cooling vests — that have been designed to meet the lifestyle and occupations of all age groups. All products are reusable, work without freezing or ice and stay hydrated for several days after simply soaking them in cool water for approximately 15 to 30 minutes.

“MiraCool products are a line of water-activated cooling accessories that can be worn at work, play, indoors or out. Although they look fashionable, they serve a very real function of keeping the wearer cool. And in today’s hot climate, staying cool is a priority to avoid heat exhaustion or heat stroke,” said Jennifer McCoy, VP marketing and product development. “With our innovative cooling products, people can feel comfortable, even on the hottest days.”

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