September 13, 2014

12:05 AM | Merck Discontinues Tecemotide For Stage III Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
Merck is discontinuing the clinical development program of its investigational MUC1 antigen-specific cancer immunotherapy tecemotide (L-BLP25) as a monotherapy in Stage III non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).Tecemotide is an investigational MUC1 antigen-specific cancer immunotherapy that is designed to stimulate the body's immune system to identify and target cells expressing the cell-surface glycoprotein MUC1. MUC1 is expressed in many cancers, including NSCLC, and has multiple roles in tumor […]

September 12, 2014

8:13 PM | Keytruda: FDA Approves Melanoma Drug That Uses Immune System To Fight Cancer
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Keytruda (pembrolizumab), a new immunotherapy drug to treat advanced melanoma after it was tested on more than 600 patients who had melanoma that had spread throughout their bodies. Because so many of the patients in the early testing showed significant long-lasting responses, the study was continued and the FDA granted the drug “breakthrough therapy” status, allowing it to be fast-tracked for approval. The largest Phase 1 […]

September 10, 2014

12:00 PM | RVX-208 Brings 77% Relative Risk Reduction Of Major Adverse Cardiovascular Events For Diabetes Mellitus Patients
In an oral presentation at the 2014 European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress in Barcelona, Dr. Jan Johansson, senior vice president of medical affairs at Resverlogix, disclosed that patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD) arising from atherosclerosis when given RVX-208 had a 55% (p=0.02) relative risk reduction (RRR) in Major Adverse Cardiovascular Events (MACE).read more

September 09, 2014

1:00 PM | Clinical Trials Of SYN-004 In For C. Difficile Infections Upcoming
Positive results from its final preclinical toxicology study of SYN-004 have led Synthetic Biologics to get ready for clinical trials of the anti-infective, second-generation product candidate for Clostridium difficile (C. difficile). Synthetic Biologics is in the final stages of preparing its SYN-004 IND application for submission to the FDA, with the expectation of initiating Phase Ia and Ib clinical trials in the fourth quarter of 2014, and a Phase II efficacy study in the first half of […]

September 08, 2014

3:30 PM | Fast Track Designation For Motolimod Immunotherapy In Ovarian Cancer
In 2014, there will be an estimated 22,240 new cases of ovarian cancer in the United States and over 40,000 new cases in the European Union. Ovarian cancer is one of the most lethal gynecologic cancers. Women with recurrent or persistent ovarian cancer recur within 6-12 months of completion with a platinum-containing regimen and there remains a high unmet need for improved treatment more
1:01 PM | Randomized Phase II Clinical Trial Of Pracinostat Set For Front Line Myelodysplastic Syndrome
Enrollment in a randomized Phase II clinical trial of Pracinostat in combination with azacitidine in patients with previously untreated intermediate-2 or high-risk myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) has been completed. The multi-center, placebo-controlled, double-blind study enrolled a total of 108 patients with a one-to-one randomization. The Company plans to unblind the study approximately six months after the last patient was enrolled and report topline data in Q1 more
1:00 AM | New Antifungal Isavuconazole As Effective As Voriconazole With Fewer Adverse Events
A newly developed antifungal named isavuconazole is as effective as voriconazole against invasive mold disease in cancer patients with less adverse effects, according to phase 3 clinical more

September 02, 2014

5:00 PM | Sickle Cell Is Still A Killer But This 50 Cent Test Could Change That
A simple solution to a persistent problem. Credit: Ashok A. KumarBy Ashok A. Kumar, Harvard UniversityEvery year, 300,000 children are born with sickle-cell disease, primarily in Africa and India. It is a genetic disorder that causes some blood cells to become abnormally shaped. The result is that those who suffer from it have a shorter lifespan. read more
3:44 PM | MITOCARE: TRO40303 Hopes Dashed For Preventing Reperfusion Injury After Heart Attack
 Reperfusion injury prevention isn't possible just yet. The administration of an experimental agent known as TRO40303 to patients who have had a heart attack, with the hope of preventing tissue damage when impaired blood flow is corrected (reperfusion), was disappointingly ineffective, according to results of a European study of patients with acute ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) presented today at ESC Congress 2014 and published in the European Heart more

September 01, 2014

12:28 PM | Tracking the Daily Microbiome
Humans are essentially 90% bacteria. These bacteria pepper our skin and hang out in our digestive tracts, helping to break down complex carbohydrates and keeping bad bugs in check. We know how the human microbiome (our collection of bacteria) gets … Continue reading →

David LA, Materna AC, Friedman J, Campos-Baptista MI, Blackburn MC, Perrotta A, Erdman SE & Alm EJ (2014). Host lifestyle affects human microbiota on daily timescales., Genome biology, 15 (7) PMID:


August 28, 2014

8:00 PM | Oxidized Lipids: Protein In HDL May Be Key To Treating Pulmonary Hypertension
Oxidized lipids are known to play a key role in inflaming blood vessels and hardening arteries, which causes diseases like atherosclerosis. A new study at UCLA demonstrates that they may also contribute to pulmonary hypertension, a serious lung disease that narrows the small blood vessels in the lungs. Using a rodent model, the researchers showed that a peptide mimicking part of the main protein in high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the so-called "good" cholesterol, may help reduce the production […]

August 27, 2014

2:58 PM | Diagnostic Profile in Pathological Gamblers
Behavioral disorders like pathological gambling (PG) rarely occur alone as a single uncomplicated disorder.In a previous post, I noted the overlap of PG with personality disorder, anxiety disorder, depression, bipolar disorder and substance abuse.A recent study from Germany adds to our knowledge of the general diagnostic profile in the PG population.Erbas and Buchner reviewed German national data sources and other German studies to come up with a series of findings:Twelve month prevalence rates […]

Erbas B & Buchner UG (2012). Pathological gambling: prevalence, diagnosis, comorbidity, and intervention in Germany., Deutsches Arzteblatt international, 109 (10) 173-9. PMID:


August 24, 2014

1:31 PM | This Month in Blastocystis Research (AUG 2014)
Some August highlights in Blastocystis research:1) The PRE-IOPCA Molecular Parasitology Workshop took place from the 7-10 August at CINVESTAV, Mexico City. Top-motivated students from some 10-15 countries worked hard from 7 am to 7 pm in dry+wet lab sessions, and we all had a really great time, thanks to both participants and fantastic organisers. There was a 4 h session on Blastocystis molecular epidemiology, and I was pleased to learn that some of the participants currently work with (or plan […]

Fayer R, Elsasser T, Gould R, Solano G, Urban J Jr & Santin M (2014). Blastocystis tropism in the pig intestine., Parasitology research, 113 (4) 1465-72. PMID:

Klimeš V, Gentekaki E, Roger AJ & Eliáš M (2014). A large number of nuclear genes in the human parasite blastocystis require mRNA polyadenylation to create functional termination codons., Genome biology and evolution, 6 (8) 1956-61. PMID:

Hanage, W. (2014). Microbiology: Microbiome science needs a healthy dose of scepticism, Nature, 512 (7514) 247-248. DOI: 10.1038/512247a

Scanlan PD, Stensvold CR, Rajilić-Stojanović M, Heilig HG, De Vos WM, O'Toole PW & Cotter PD (2014). The microbial eukaryote Blastocystis is a prevalent and diverse member of the healthy human gut microbiota., FEMS microbiology ecology, PMID:

Venton, D. (2014). Highlight: Not Like a Textbook--Nuclear Genes in Blastocystis Use mRNA Polyadenylation for Stop Codons, Genome Biology and Evolution, 6 (8) 1962-1963. DOI: 10.1093/gbe/evu167

Wang W, Bielefeldt-Ohmann H, Traub RJ, Cuttell L & Owen H (2014). Location and pathogenic potential of blastocystis in the porcine intestine., PloS one, 9 (8) PMID:


August 22, 2014

2:46 PM | Repeat After Me
Reproducibility is the ability of an entire experiment or study to be reproduced, either by the researcher or by someone else working independently. It is one of the main principles of the scientific method and relies on ceteris paribus. Wikipedia I was going to start this post with a similar statement in my own words, […]
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