Here we take a brief look at 4 such revolutionary developments:
1. Next generation opioidsFor patients in serious pain, doctors often prescribe morphine, oxycodone, pethidine, and tramadol. After surgery or major injuries, painkillers aid in the recovery process. In an individual’s last moments of life for, morphine grants them a much need relief from untreatable pain.
However, the unreliable crop size of poppy plants, and diversion into the lucrative trade of
To counter such shortfalls of medications derived from plants, synthetic biology professor Christina Smolke is developing a method to synthesise opiates from yeast. This could radically reduce the cost of opiates by 90% and may pave the way to produce other medications that are currently plant-based.
Her long-term goal is to achieve poppy-free, commercial-scale production of opiates in a few years, and perhaps even a non-addictive form of opium within a few years.
2. New Alzheimer’s medication enhances grip strengthU.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted approval
This first-in-class drug is the first medication available for MMN, and in clinical trials, has been shown to improve mean grip strength in the affected hand by 23% compared to a placebo. In addition to improving the grip strength, it has enabled lower deterioration rates of 1.5 times as compared to placebo. Additionally, the treatment was so effective that 69% of participants on placebo were allowed to switch to reap the benefits of this new drug.
3. Oncology – Multi-cancer drugCurrently termed as VAL-083, this is a first-in-class drug developed by
Research has shown that VAL-083’s unique mechanism of action is radically different from current platinum-based chemotherapy and exhibit lesser susceptibility to drug resistance mediated by the p53 gene, which plays a central role in the protection of the body from cancer, and is responsible for initiating programmed cell death, when a cell becomes cancerous or damaged.
In a phase I clinical trial involving brain cancer patients, it was remarkable that more than 20% of patients have survived for more than twelve months following the current drug’s failure to treat such patients.
4. Alternative cancer treatmentCurrently, those who are diagnosed with solid cancer, the hardest type of cancer to treat, have no alternative other than to undergo chemotherapy. A novel drug, Kevetrin, allows such patients to have access to more treatment options.
As the CEO of Kevetrin’s manufacturer, Leo Ehrlich explains: “Kevetrin is unique in that it is not a chemotherapy [drug] and acts by targeting multiple biochemical pathways to control
In the pre-clinical trial testing, it has proven to be extremely effective. After three weeks of tests on pancreatic cancer, it showed an average tumour volume shrinkage of 67% and a delayed growth of greater than 94% with no significant weight loss in the animals.
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