PHARMACY

Tobacco regulation agency added to FDA

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. The Food and Drug Administration has officially launched a new division to regulate tobacco.

The agency announced Wednesday the launch of the Center for Tobacco Products, which will oversee the implementation of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which president Barack Obama signed into law in June, headed by George Washington University medicine professor Lawrence Deyton and located at the FDA’s White Oak Campus in Silver Spring, Md.

The center’s responsibilities will include setting performance standards, reviewing pre-market applications for new and modified-risk tobacco products and establishing and enforcing advertising and promotion restrictions.

“We are thrilled to announce Dr. Deyton’s appointment as director for the Center for Tobacco Products and look forward to him joining the agency,” FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg said in a statement. “He is the rare combination of public health expert, administrative leader, scientist and clinician.”

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Researchers discover ways to prevent infection of cells

BY Alaric DeArment

MADISON, Wis. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have found a way to block biological communications between cells that lead to viral infections and tumors.

In a study supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of researchers from UW-Madison and other universities created a set of synthetic molecules that interacted with the HIV protein gp41 to prevent the infection of cells. Several viruses, including HIV, Ebola and influenza, use interactions between viral and cellular proteins to infect cells.

“There’s a lot of information transfer that occurs when proteins come together, and one would often like to block that information flow,” UW-Madison chemistry professor Samuel Gellman said in a statement.

While it remains unclear whether this method can be used to create anti-HIV drugs, Gellman said it did could potentially lead to new ways of thinking about designing antiviral drug molecules.

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Behavioral Health Central to relaunch Web portal

BY Antoinette Alexander

CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. In an effort to bring together clinicians, patients, payers, executives and administrators on one central Web portal, Behavioral Health Central is relaunching the www.BehavioralHealthCentral.com site.

The new Web portal provides industry and clinical news, resources and tools, and social networking capabilities designed to bring together all of the major stakeholders in behavioral healthcare. 

“This new genesis of our site brings everyone to the table so they all have access to similar resources and information,” stated Jim Miller, president of BHC. “It’s a recognition that, in the end, we’re all striving for the same thing — better treatment pathways, leading to improved outcomes for patients.”

Another key feature of the new site is the addition of nationwide directories that allow professionals and consumers to quickly locate treatment facilities, therapists, vendors, drug information, association lists and more.

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