Snake venom-based antiplatelet drug could cut bleeding risk

February 27, 2018 Some antiplatelet drugs, such as aspirin, work by blocking platelets’ production of thromboxane, a chemical that causes them to stick together, forming a clot.  Another type of antiplatelet drug targets glycoproteins IIb/IIIa and is based on a different protein present in snake venom.  While these drugs can be lifesaving for patients at … Read more

Fire ant venom inspires potential psoriasis treatment

February 22, 2018 The main toxic ingredients in fire ant venom are called solenopsins.  Structurally, these chemicals closely resemble ceramides, which are molecules that help maintain the skin’s barrier against foreign invaders.  Ceramides are used in some skin products; however, they are not always beneficial, said Jack Arbiser, a Professor at the Emory School of … Read more

CVS halts mailings to patients that revealed HIV reference through envelope

February 20, 2018 The incident occurred when the company’s pharmacy benefits management arm, CVS Caremark, mailed pharmacy benefit information to approximately 4,000 members of one of its clients, Ohio’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program, according to a statement from CVS Health.  The mailings included a reference code for the assistance program — PM 6402 HIV — … Read more

Citizen petition calls on FDA to pull powerful opioids from market

February 15, 2018 In their petition, representatives from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, National Safety Council, Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, American College of Medical Toxicology and Coalition to End the Opioid Epidemic urged the FDA that the risks of ultra-high dose opioids (UHDU) aren’t worth “modest” benefits.  Citing potential for misuse … Read more

A selfie and a smartphone app could catch pancreatic cancer early

February 13, 2018 The app, dubbed BilliScreen, uses computer vision algorithms and machine learning algorithms to detect jaundice in a photo of a person’s eyes.  Specifically, it measures elevated levels of bilirubin in the sclera, the white part of the eye.  Jaundice, an early symptom of pancreatic cancer and a number of other diseases, is … Read more

HPV vaccination rates ticking upward, CDC says as it urges more uptake

February 08, 2018 Sixty-five percent (65%) of girls and 56% of boys received at least one dose of the HPV shot in 2016, according to the CDC.  However, only 43% of teens completed the schedule.  The Agency maintains more work needs to be done to further boost HPV vaccination rates.  Rates lagged in rural areas … Read more

FDA targets rogue clinic using Sanofi’s smallpox vaccine in unapproved cancer therapy

February 01, 2018 U.S. Marshals seized five (5) vials of the vaccine, a controlled substance known as ACAM2000, which contains live virus.  The drug regulator said the vaccine, in “excess amounts,” was mixed with stem cells derived from body fat to create a potentially dangerous treatment.  The unapproved therapy was marketed by San Diego-based StemImmune … Read more