Tag Archives: drugs

Better Than Xanax

24 May

These tiny knitted happy pills are way better than Xanax.
How could one be depressed with a few of these guys floating around your purse?
(My anxiety meds always end up floating in my purse, like pharmaceutical nomads)

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Open Source Drugs

15 Mar

The following was written by Jacqueline of Skepchick.org. I absolutely love this concept, as well as her clear and succinct writing style.

OPEN SOURCE DRUG DISCOVERY

Drug discovery is challenging, lengthy, and extraordinarily expensive. All companies focus on making money and drug companies are no different. They spend their research and development budgets focusing on diseases that affect the affluent world population. As a consequence diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis that are abundant in sub-Saharan Africa and India are left unstudied by industry. Despite the omission by drug companies, other efforts are underway to aid in drug discovery for these diseases.

Just to hash out a few details of where the problem arises– the Center for Disease Control (CDC) states that 35 countries (30 African and 5 Asian) account for 98% of the malarial related deaths. Similarly, in 2010, 8.8 million people became sick with tuberculosis (TB) of which 82% of the cases lived in 22 TB ridden countries. These diseases do exist in other parts of the world, but result in significantly less deaths.

Despite the lack of interest from drug companies for treating these infectious diseases, other organizations have picked up the slack. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has contributed significant funds to these poverty ridden populations in the form of care, research, and vaccines. Much of their focus is on HIV/AIDS treatment in addition to other conditions including malaria and TB. However, while reading Science I recently came across an open source drug design initiative based out of India.

A few years ago, Samir Brahmachari launched the Open Source Drug Discovery (OSDD) network. The initiative began in 2008 and set out to combat India’s leading cause of death, TB. The initial $12 million of seed money was provided by the Indian government and that has led to 5500 participants in 130 countries. So has this global network of researchers provided any results? Their first goal was to sequence the TB genome and the task was accomplished in a mere four months by 500 volunteers. Since then they utilized this information and have determined two viable drug candidates that are currently being tested. Following the principles of OSDD, the data from their clinical trials are open for all to see. It is too soon to tell if the drugs will be successful, but if so they will be on the market as generic drugs.

This approach could produce affordable health care and treatments for many without.

Science Quickies: The Ocean In Space, High Tech Cows, and Racism Drugs

10 Mar

The largest, oldest body of water has been discovered. It lives in space. No, seriously. Space has oceans now. Beachfront resorts are coming soon.

My thoughts and support are with Phumeza Tisile, a Doctors Without Borders tuberculosis blogger who received some bad news this week.

NPR reports on Claudia, the high tech cow who produces 75 gallons of milk a day, as opposed to the 30 gallons by a normal cow. Moo.

In blood news, scientists have examined the crystal x-ray structure of full length human plasminogen, which provides insight on activation and conversion to plasmin.

Bellicum Pharmaceuticals raises $20M to progress cell transplant and cancer vaccine products.  Further proof that all a research scientist has to do is walk into a room and say “cancer,” and money will be thrown at them.

The Journal of Microscopy is offering their first issue of 2012 free online.

Propranolol, a beta blocker which has made the news often with its effective anxiety treatment, “abuse” in the musical performance community as a “performance enhancer,” and promise as a memory erasing post-trauma drug, is back in the news again, with claims that it can cure racism.