crazy portrait of a girl with mental disorders and split personality. Black and white in vintage style with added grain and motion blur

Experimental Cancer Drug Reverses Schizophrenia in Mice

Johns Hopkins researchers say that an experimental anticancer compound appears to have reversed behaviors associated with schizophrenia and restored some lost brain cell function in adolescent mice with a rodent version of the devastating mental illness.
The drug is one of a class of compounds known as PAK inhibitors, which have been shown in animal experiments to confer some protection from brain damage due to Fragile X syndrome, an inherited disease in humans marked by mental retardation. There also is some evidence, experts say, suggesting PAK inhibitors could be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease. And because the PAK protein itself can initiate cancer and cell growth, PAK inhibitors have also been tested for cancer.
In the new Johns Hopkins-led study, reported online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers found that the compound, called FRAX486, appears to halt an out-of-control biological “pruning” process in the schizophrenic brain during which important neural connections are unnecessarily destroyed. Working with mice that mimic the pathological progression of schizophrenia and related disorders, the researchers were able to partially restore disabled neurons so they could connect to other nerve cells.
The Johns Hopkins team said the findings in teenage mice are an especially promising step in efforts to develop better therapies for schizophrenia in humans because schizophrenia symptoms typically appear in late adolescence and early adulthood.
“By using this compound to block excess pruning in adolescent mice, we also normalized the behavior deficit,” said study leader Akira Sawa, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “That we could intervene in adolescence and still make a difference in restoring brain function in these mice is intriguing.”
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Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine

3d illustration artificial insemination, fertilisation, Injecting sperm into egg cell. Assisted reproductive treatment

Breakthrough in Stem Cell Manufacturing Technology

Scientists at The University of Nottingham have developed a new substance that could simplify the manufacture of cell therapy in the world of regenerative medicine.
Cell therapy is an exciting and rapidly developing area of medicine in which stem cells have the potential to repair human tissue and maintain organ function in chronic disease and age-related illnesses. But a major problem with translating current successful research into actual products and treatments is how to mass-produce such a complex living material.
There are two distinct phases in the production of stem cell products; proliferation (making enough cells to form large tissue) and differentiation (turning the basic stem cells into functional cells). The material environment required for these two phases is different, and up to now, a single substance that does both jobs has not been available.
Now, a multi-disciplinary team of researchers at Nottingham has created a new stem cell micro-environment that they have found allows both the self-renewal of cells and their evolution into cardiomyocyte (heart) cells. The material is a hydrogel containing two polymers – an alginate-rich environment, which allows the proliferation of cells with a simple chemical switch to render the environment collagen-rich when the cell population is large enough, and…[inster 2nd polymer information]. This change triggers the next stage of cellular growth when cells develop a specific purpose.
Kevin Shakesheff, the Professor of Advanced Drug Delivery and Tissue Engineering, said, “Our new combination of hydrogels is a first. It allows dense tissue structures to be produced from human pluripotent stem cells (HPSC) in a single-step process never achieved before. The discovery has important implications for the future of manufacturing in regenerative medicine. This field of healthcare is a major priority for the UK and we are seeing increasing investment in future manufacturing processes to ensure we are ready to deliver real treatments to patients when HPSC products and treatments go to trial and become standard.”  
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Source: University of Nottingham

3D Render of a healthy Human Heart

Study Shows Marital Status Affects Risk of Heart Disease

Marriage is criticized for many things—justly and unjustly—but not heart disease, according to findings of a recent study conducted by researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center.
Analysis of surveys of more than 3.5 million American men and women, administered at some 20,000 health centers across the country—believed to be the largest analysis of its kind ever performed—found that married people, regardless of age, sex, or even cardiovascular risk factors, had significantly less chances of having any kind of cardiovascular disease than those who were single, divorced or widowed.
Among the study’s key findings, to be presented March 29 in Washington, DC, at the annual scientific sessions of the American College of Cardiology:
Being married carried a 5 percent lower risk of having any cardiovascular disease than being single.
Widowed and divorced people were, respectively, 3 percent and 5 percent more likely to suffer from any kind of cardiovascular disease, including peripheral artery disease, cerebrovascular disease, abdominal aortic aneurysm, and coronary artery disease.
Younger married people, those under age 50, had 12 percent lower odds of disease than younger single people.
Older couples, between the ages of 51 and 60, had 7 percent reduced risk, while those above 60 had approximately 4 percent lower odds of disease.
For risk factors of cardiovascular disease, smoking was highest among divorced people (at 31 percent) and lowest in widowed people (at 22 percent); and obesity was most common in single and divorced people (at 31 percent and 30 percent, respectively). Hypertension, diabetes and being sedentary were most common in widowed people (at 77 percent, 13 percent, and 41 percent, respectively).
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Source: NYU Langone Medical Center

Cancer cells, 3d illustration

Cancer cells explode with new treatment

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have discovered that a substance called Vacquinol-1 makes cells from glioblastoma, the most aggressive type of brain tumor, literally explode. When mice were given the substance, which can be given in tablet form, tumor growth was reversed and survival was prolonged. The findings are published in the journal Cell.
The established treatments that are available for glioblastoma include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. But even if this treatment is given the average survival is just 15 months. It is therefore critical to find better treatments for malignant brain tumors. Researchers at Karolinska Institutet and colleagues at Uppsala University have discovered an entirely new mechanism to kill tumor cells in glioblastoma.
Researchers in an initial stage have exposed tumor cells to a wide range of molecules. If the cancer cells died, the molecule was considered of interest for further studies, which initially applied to over 200 kinds of molecules. Following extensive studies, a single molecule has been identified as being of particular interest. The researchers wanted to find out why it caused cancer cell death.
It was found that the molecule gave the cancer cells an uncontrolled vacuolization, a process in which the cell carries substances from outside the cell into its interior.
The study has been funded with money from the Swedish Research Council, the Swedish Cancer Society, the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research, the Brain Foundation, Hållsten’s Research Foundation, the Torsten Söderberg Foundation, and Wallenberg Scholar.

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Source/author: Karolinska Institutet

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Karolinska Institutet


FDA approves Impavido to treat tropical disease leishmaniasis

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Impavido (miltefosine) to treat a tropical disease called leishmaniasis.
Leishmaniasis is a disease caused by Leishmania, a parasite which is transmitted to humans through sand fly bites. The disease occurs primarily in people who live in the tropics and subtropics. Most U.S. patients acquire leishmaniasis overseas.
Impavido is an oral medicine approved to treat the three main types of leishmaniasis: visceral leishmaniasis (affects internal organs), cutaneous leishmaniasis (affects the skin) and mucosal leishmaniasis (affects the nose and throat). It is intended for patients 12 years of age and older. Impavido is the first FDA-approved drug to treat cutaneous or mucosal leishmaniasis.
“Today’s approval demonstrates the FDA’s commitment to making available therapeutic options to treat tropical diseases,” said Edward Cox, M.D., director of the Office of Antimicrobial Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
Impavido’s safety and efficacy were evaluated in four clinical trials. A total of 547 patients received Impavido and 183 patients received either a comparator drug or a placebo. Results from these trials demonstrated that Impavido is safe and effective in treating visceral, cutaneous and mucosal leishmaniasis.
The labeling for Impavido includes a boxed warning to alert patients and health care professionals that the drug can cause fetal harm and therefore should not be given to pregnant women. Health care professionals should advise women to use effective contraception during and for five months after Impavido therapy.

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Source: U.S. Food & Drug Administration

For more information:

FDA Approved Drugs: Questions and Answers
FDA: Drug Innovation
CDC: Leishmaniasis


Fomat Medical Research will be sponsoring Partnerships in Clinical Trials


Fomat Medical Research will be acting as a sponsor in the 23rd annual conference organized by Partnerships in Clinical Trials. 

Fomat is a site management organization (SMO) specialized in the development and management of clinical trials in Latin America. With our sites we reach a population ov over 10 million patients throughout LaTam.


The 23rd Annual Partnerships in Clinical Trials event is North America’s largest conference serving the global clinical trials, operations and outsourcing community.

Delegates from all parts of the clinical trial value chain come to Partnerships in Clinical Trials to quickly identify, engage and enter into strategic relationships that drive their clinical trials successfully forward as well as take part in the 60+ sessions and workshops geared to focus on several topic areas of interest including but not limited to risk-based monitoring, strategic sourcing, emerging market, patient adherence, and more. This year’s Partnerships in Clinical Trials event will again draw upwards of 1,300 industry attendees for four days of high level networking, idea exchange, and innovation.

New for 2014, partnering will be introduced at Partnerships in Clinical Trials, powered by EBD Group’s partneringONE®, the industry’s most advanced networking system, which enables participants to efficiently mine a large pool of potential partners, and identify and pre-arrange private one-to-one meetings with literally dozens of company targets.

In addition to productive partnering, Partnerships in Clinical Trials offers high-level workshops, case studies, and a lively Marketplace, debuting new content formats, improving the overall experience for all conference goers. The keynotes offer executive level panelists who openly share their insight and opinion on many important industry issues. Combined, these elements create an insightful and productive event that will have you coming back year after year.

Partnerships in Clinical Trials is organized by IIR USA, one of the most recognized and trusted providers of trade conferences and expositions; seminars; training events; and specialized business information and networking experiences in America.

For more information please visit conference website at