Welcome to the working week. We hope you enjoyed the break. And now, it's back to business. Meetings and deadlines loom. After all, there is always something that needs to be done. To help you cope, we have gathered a few items that should help you catch up and prepare. So grab a cup of something hot or a bottle of water and get acclimated. Hope your day goes well...
Darryle Schoepp, a former Lilly scientist who now works at Merck, jumpstarted research into what may be the next generation of drugs for treating schizophrenia, The New York Times writes. His trial results were a major breakthrough in neuroscience, according to Tom Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health. “This drug really looks like it’s quite a different animal,” he says. “This is actually pretty innovative." Schoepp and other scientists focused their attention on the way that glutamate, a neurotransmitter, tied together the brain’s most complex circuits. Every other schizophrenia drug now on the market aims at a different neurotransmitter, dopamine. The Lilly results have fueled a wave of pharmaceutical industry research into glutamate.
Chantix is the latest example of the pitfalls associated with promising new meds that are tested on a small number of carefully screened patients in a controlled environment, then mass-marketed to a much broader and potentially more vulnerable population, The Star-Ledger of New Jersey writes. The labeling was recently upgraded to warn about suicide and Jonathan Foulds, who directs the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey's Public Health Tobacco Dependence Program and is being cautious after reading comments on his blog. "When you look at the blog and see people tell their stories, it makes you think maybe something is going on here," says Foulds, who is paid by Pfizer as a promotional speaker for the drug. "We have to take these reports seriously. "Health professionals who prescribe this medicine for people to quit smoking need to monitor patients closely. They can't just have them then pick up a script and let them go on."
The European Union approved Novartis's Eucreas diabetes pill, Reuters reports, following its approval of Galvus, one of the two-in-one drug's ingredients. Eucreas combines Galvus - a DPP-4 inhibitor associated with liver problems - and metformin, which decreases the production of sugar by the liver, and increases insulin sensitivity. "The approval comes after Novartis proposed changes to the EU label recommending that liver monitoring should be conducted," the drugmaker says in a statement.
Massachusetts faces several challenges if it's to remain home to one of the world's top life sciences clusters, including increased competition from around the globe, a shortage of trained workers, and a lack of coordination among key players, The Boston Globe writes. One of the major points is that Massachusetts hosts an array of state agencies and groups that don't do enough to coordinate their efforts involving the life sciences cluster.