Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Improving the treatment of atrial fibrillation...New options for ovarian cancer

Todays Headlines from across the DailyUpdates network
  • Featured Journal Article (from DailyUpdates-Cardiovasculat Diseases): Improving the treatment of atrial fibrillation The commonly quoted figure describing the number of Americans with atrial fibrillation is about 2.2 million. The current prevalence is now considerably larger than this and is set to continue growing. The condition is a risk factor for stroke and patients with atrial fibrillation tend to suffer more severely from strokes than the general population. Pharmacological approaches to atrial fibrillation are currently suboptimal reflecting the poor side effect profiles of rhythm control agents and the limited efficacy of rate control therapeutics. Consequently clinical approaches presently target the prevention of stroke, a common consequence of arrhythmia, or use interventional approaches such as electrical cardioversion (see our recent report Atrial Fibrillation: Emerging drug discovery targets and therapeutic candidates for an evaluation of each of these areas). Electrical cardioversion is very effective (95% success rate) at restoring a normal rhythm, however 75% of patients successfully treated with electrical cardioversion experience a recurrence of AF within 12-24 months. Today’s featured study reports that atorvastatin treatment reduced recurrence from 46% to 13% during the first 3 months. Atorvastatin has been one of the most successful therapeutic approaches to dyslipidemia, itself a risk factor for atrial fibrillation [Am J Cardiol. 2006 May 15;97(10):1490-3. Epub 2006 Mar 29]
  • Featured News Item (from DailyUpdates-Oncology): New options for ovarian cancer As many as 60,000 cases of ovarian cancer are diagnosed in the seven major markets each year and as a result, of all the gynecological tumors it is associated with the highest level of mortality. Despite this, ovarian cancer has not traditionally attracted the same level of R&D interest as other female cancers; it remains however an important secondary indication for existing and pipeline drugs (see Ovarian Cancer-Growing importance as secondary indication for targeted therapies) as indicated by today’s featured press release from Eli Lilly. Carboplatin plus paclitaxel remains firmly established as the treatment of choice not only in first line but also in second line given the significant proportion of patients retaining platinum sensitivity. Recurrence does however occur in 90% of patients following first line treatment. Yesterday, Lilly reported that following FDA approval, Gemzar will now represent an alternative to paclitaxel as a carboplatin adjunct. Gemzar’s approval was based on a Phase III study comparing Gemzar plus carboplatin against carboplatin alone in locally advanced or metastatic disease in patients previously treated with platinum-based therapy such as carboplatin or cisplatin. Results showed a median progression-free survival increase of 48% in the combination arm compared to the carboplatin monotherapy arm (8.6 months vs. 5.8 months). Gemzar has previously been approved for non-small cell, pancreatic and breast cancer [source: Eli Lilly]


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