Thursday, July 06, 2006

Symphony Medical advance their novel treatment of atrial fibrilation into phase 2 development...Schering-Plough establish IL-23 as a molecular target

Todays Headlines from across the DailyUpdates network (6th July)- for all of today's content click here
  • Breaking News (from DailyUpdates-Cardiovascular Diseases): Symphony Medical advance their novel treatment of atrial fibrilation into phase 2 development: The current prevalence of atrial fibrillation in the US is now considerably larger than the 2.2 million commonly quoted 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 (for a detailed look at this condition see our report Atrial Fibrillation: Emerging drug discovery targets and therapeutic candidates). Treatment options are currently sub-optimal largely depending on the use of rate controlling agents and anticoagulants. The global antiarrhythmic market is set to enter a period of revival reaching $3.5 billion by 2015. This resurgence is being led by Cardiome's RSD1235 which is expected to enter the market imminently and predicted to command 27% of the whole market by 2015. Competing with pharmacological treatments are interventional approaches which can be curative. Catheter ablation has been recently replaced by Minimaze surgical procedures as the standard curative approach to atrial fibrillation due to the occurrence of fistulae with the former. In general the invasive nature of interventional approaches have represented a barrier to uptake however this is not the case in a subgroup of patients who are undergoing surgery for related conditions such as mitral valve replacement. Invasive procedures would also be suitable for patients at risk of developing arrhythmias subsequent to thoracic surgery. This is a sizable population since up to 30% of coronary artery bypass patients and up to 60% of patients who undergo a combination valve replacement and bypass procedure develop atrial fibrillation. Cardiologists believe that a prophylactic approach is suitable for such patients and in this respect Symphony Medical have announced that patient enrollment is underway in its Phase II multi-center human clinical trial of a procedure comprising the injection of a biopolymer into the epicardial fat pads that prevents the development of persistent atrial fibrillation. This achieves temporary modulation of the autonomic nervous system of the heart by blocking the vagal inputs to the heart than can serve as an initiating trigger for atrial fibrillation. The biopolymer then dissipates over the next 30 days [Source:Symphony Medical via PR Newswire]
  • Featured Journal Article (from DailyUpdates-Immunology & Inflammatory Diseases): Schering-Plough establish IL-23 as a molecular target for multiple sclerosis treatment Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune human disease that affects about 350,000 people in the US and ranks as one of the major causes of nervous-system disability in young adults between the ages of 15 and 45 years. The primary symptoms of multiple sclerosis are the direct effect of myelin destruction and include tremor, nystagmus, paralysis, and disturbances in speech and vision. Current therapeutics focus mainly on control as the disease cannot be cured using current options although the recent reintroduction of Biogen-IDEC's Tysabri (Natalizumab; formerly known as Antegren) offers new hope for improved treatment. Although the disease has traditionally been viewed as a CD4+ Th1-mediated disease, this view is changing and autoreactive CD8+ cells are gaining increasing attention as being involved in the etiology of disease. Regulatory T cells are also involved in multiple sclerosis and in our recent in depth look at T cell molecules as candidate targets for new therapies we suggest that manipulating this subtype of T cell could eventually provide a cure. Today‚Äôs featured journal article from Schering-Plough describes IL-23 as another candidate for multiple sclerosis drug discovery efforts. This cytokine is a member of the IL-12 cytokine family that drives a highly pathogenic T cell population involved in the initiation of autoimmune diseases. The study published in the May edition of JCI demonstrates that therapeutic treatment with anti-IL-23p19 antibody during active disease prevented subsequent disease relapse [J Clin Invest. 2006 May;116(5):1317-26]

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