By Catherine Shaffer A new pharmacogenetic study of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs could lead to better treatment for millions of patients. A collaboration among Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital, both in Boston, and the defunct Variagenics Inc., formerly of Cambridge, Mass., published in the June 16 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)
By Don Monroe Celera Diagnostics (CD), Alameda, Calif., disclosed two more genetic markers that it says are associated with heart-attack risk in caucasians. Although the work is still in an early stage, this type of marker "could be useful in identifying people who should be on statins, or other cholesterol-lowering agents, who otherwise might not be candidates," says Thomas White, chief scientific officer at the company.
By Catherine Shaffer The use of gene therapy in the treatment of brain cancer is hindered by drug delivery problems. Large molecules such as monoclonal antibodies and viral vectors cannot cross the blood-brain barrier. A featured article in the June 1 issue of Clinical Cancer Research now describes the successful delivery of a nonviral RNAi gene therapy to brain tumors in mice, resulting in a significant increase in survival times.
By Mark Terry Researchers with Proteome Sciences Plc., Cobham, UK, recently identified 12 additional phosphorylation sites on the tau protein. Twenty-five phosphorylation sites had previously been identified on tau, which has been implicated in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Neurofibrillary tangles develop from a hyperphosphorylated form of the tau protein, and these are hypothesized to be the cause of neuronal cell death. By using a proprietary mass spectrometry technology, the ProteoShop toolbox, they were able to analyze and identify specific kinases that have the potential to be drug targets for AD. Results of their study were presented May 27 at the American Society for Mass Spectrometry Meeting in Nashville, Tenn.
By Don Monroe Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc., Cambridge, Mass., will get roughly $21 million through 2005 to continue its late-stage drug discovery collaboration with Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics Inc. (CFFT), the company announced on May 24.
By Don Monroe First Genetic Trust Inc. (FGT), Deerfield, Ill., and GlaxoSmithKline, Brentford, UK, will again collaborate on a study of possible genetic markers associated with adverse drug reactions, FGT announced on May 25.
By Aaron Sender Researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health's Clinical Brain Disease Branch (NIMH-CBDB) have begun pitting several microarray platforms against each other, trying to find the ones
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