Headlines: August 22, 2011
by Tony Kikendall
A debate is currently ongoing regarding the use of triclosan, the active ingredient in antibacterial soap. The chemical has been used for 40 years, but is currently being reviewed by the FDA, while some consumer groups are fighting against it. Triclosan is pervasive, being found in soap, scrubs, and toothpaste, amongst other products. The FDA will not release the results of its findings until next year.
Roche Holding AG and Daiichi Sankyo Co.'s new drug, Vemurafenib, won approval from the FDA. The drug specifically targets tumors which have a particular genetic mutation, making the drug a therapy for specific patients. This drug marks a new step in the health industry's movement towards personalized treatment of diseases based on genetic patterns.
Scientists are developing new methods to 'reposition' drugs, that is, use old drugs in new manners to treat different illnesses. Such methods are a response to rising costs of developing new drugs. Professor Atul Butte of Standford Medicine led a team which created a computer program which would match up illnesses with older drugs, which has improved the prospects of repositioning.
Tony Kikendall is a rising second-year law student at Boston University. Please feel free to email him with any questions, comments, suggestions, or concerns.