Heart attack and cancer deaths could be cut by a new drug …

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Heart attack and cancer deaths could be cut by a new drug …

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Hi,

Heart attack and cancer deaths could be cut by new drug

A study on an anti-inflammatory shows a 15% reduction in heart attack risk and the number of cancer deaths cut by half.

Stock photo ID:627196908
Upload date:January 04, 2017
Image: Results of the trial have been described as ‘very exciting’

A new drug that could help reduce the risk of heart attacks and cut cancer deaths has been hailed as an “exciting” breakthrough.

Canakinumab, an anti-inflammatory, was used in a trial involving more than 10,000 patients, all of whom have had a heart attack but had not been diagnosed with cancer.

 

They were treated with the drug, which is given by injection, once every three months and monitored for up to four years.

The study showed a 15% reduction in the risk of heart attacks and strokes and the number of cancer deaths cut by half.

One of the researchers, Dr Paul Ridker of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, said the findings have “far-reaching implications”.

He said: “For the first time, we’ve been able to definitively show that lowering inflammation independent of cholesterol reduces cardiovascular risk.

“It tells us that by leveraging an entirely new way to treat patients – targeting inflammation – we may be able to significantly improve outcomes for certain very high-risk populations.”

The benefits seen in the patients were “above and beyond” those seen in patients who just took statins, the hospital said.

Dr Ridker said: “In my lifetime, I’ve gotten to see three broad eras of preventative cardiology.

“In the first, we recognised the importance of diet, exercise and smoking cessation. In the second, we saw the tremendous value of lipid-lowering drugs such as statins. Now, we’re cracking the door open on the third era.

“This is very exciting.”

Regarding the cancer findings, Dr Ridker said more research was needed but there was the “possibility of slowing the progression of certain cancers”.

Gary Gibbons, director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, said: “Although this trial provides compelling evidence that targeting inflammation has efficacy in preventing recurrent cardiovascular events, we look forward to findings from additional trials, such as the NHLBI-funded Cardiovascular Inflammation Reduction Trial, to further refine the best therapeutic strategies for preventing cardiovascular disease.”

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     Greg_L-W
Greg Lance-Watkins
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I just want to say sorry for copping out at times and leaving my wife Lee and friends to cope!
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I do make a lousy patient!

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07-Jun-2011 – If You Have To Wait In Pharmacy

07-Jun-2011 – If You Have To Wait In Pharmacy

Hi,

as you wait interminably in pharmacy you might feel like remembering the complexity of the drugs available!


Drug Parody of Beatles Obladi Oblada from Gordon Stevens on Vimeo.

I just want to say sorry for copping out at times and leaving Lee and friends to cope!
Any help and support YOU can give her will be hugely welcome.
I do make a lousy patient!

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If YOU want to follow my fight against Cancer from when it started and I first presented with symptoms see The TAB just below the Header of this Blog. called >DIARY of Cancer< just click and it will give you a long list of the main events in chronological order.
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Thoughts and comments will be in chronological order in the main blog and can be tracked in the >ARCHIVE< in the Right Sidebar.

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YOU are welcome to call me if you believe I can help in ANY way. .

Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
tel: 01291 – 62 65 62

26-May-2011 – THE COSTLY WAR ON CANCER

26-May-2011 – THE COSTLY WAR ON CANCER

New cancer drugs are technically impressive. But must they cost so much?

CANCER is not one disease. It is many. Yet oncologists have long used the same blunt weapons to fight different types of cancer: cut the tumour out, zap it with radiation or blast it with chemotherapy that kills good cells as well as bad ones.

New cancer drugs are changing this. Scientists are now attacking specific mutations that drive specific forms of cancer. A breakthrough came more than a decade ago when Genentech, a Californian biotech firm, launched a drug that attacks breast-cancer cells with too much of a certain protein, HER2. In 2001 Novartis, a Swiss drugmaker, won approval for Gleevec, which treats chronic myeloid leukaemia by attacking another abnormal protein. Other drugs take different tacks. Avastin, introduced in America in 2004 by Genentech, starves tumours by striking the blood vessels that feed them. (Roche, another Swiss drug giant, bought Genentech and its busy cancer pipeline in 2009.)

These new drugs sell well. Last year Gleevec grossed $4.3 billion. Roche’s Herceptin (the HER2 drug) and Avastin did even better: $6 billion and $7.4 billion respectively. Cancer drugs could rescue big drugmakers from a tricky situation: more than $50 billion-worth of wares will lose patent protection in the next three years.

This month Pfizer, an American company, announced that America’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would speed up its review of a cancer drug called crizotinib. Roche submitted an FDA application for a new medicine, vemurafenib. The industry is pouring money into clinical trials for cancer drugs (see chart).
This is part of a shift in how big drug firms do business. For years they have relied on blockbusters that treat many people. Now they are investing in more personalised medicine: biotech drugs that treat small groups of patients more effectively.

Last year the FDA approved Provenge, developed by Dendreon of Seattle to train the immune system to fight prostate cancer. In March the FDA approved Yervoy, Bristol-Myers Squibb’s drug to treat melanoma. And there are promising drugs in the pipeline. Pfizer’s crizotinib attacks a protein encoded by a gene found in fewer than 5% of patients with non-small-cell lung cancer. Roche’s vemurafenib attacks advanced melanoma by blocking the mutated form of a gene, B-RAF. Both Pfizer and Roche are developing tests to help doctors identify suitable patients for their drugs.

The snag, from society’s point of view, is that all these drugs are horribly expensive. Last year biotech drugs accounted for 70% of the increase in pharmaceutical costs in America, according to Medco, a drug-plan manager. This trend will continue as drug firms develop new ways to treat, for example, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Cancer plays a huge role in raising costs. America’s National Institutes of Health predict that spending on all cancer treatment will rise from $125 billion last year to at least $158 billion in 2020. If drugs become pricier, as seems likely, that bill could rise to $207 billion.

Not all these new drugs work. In December the FDA said that Avastin’s side effects outweighed its meagre impact on breast cancer. (Genentech will argue otherwise in a hearing in June.) More generally, some people reckon that new cancer drugs offer small benefits at an exorbitant price. Provenge costs $93,000 for a course of treatment and extends life by an average of four months. Yervoy costs $120,000 for three-and-a-half months. Some patients live much longer, which fuels demand for the drugs. But others spend a lot and get little. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, calls the new treatments “the next frontier”, but adds: “We are not buying a lot of life prolongation with these drugs.”

Britain’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, a public body that judges whether medicine is cost-effective (ie, what Sarah Palin would call a “death panel”), has rejected several new cancer drugs. That so upset patients and tabloid editors that the British government back-tracked and created a separate fund to pay for expensive oncology drugs. The government now plans to introduce “value-based pricing” by 2014, with a system to price drugs not just for their efficacy but also for their “wider societal benefits”.

America does things differently. The government health programme for the elderly is barred from considering price at all when it decides whether to cover injected drugs under something called Medicare Part B. Under Part B’s loopy reimbursement system, the more a drug costs, the more the oncologist who prescribes it is paid. Patients have little reason to demand cheaper drugs. Part B usually covers 80% of a drug’s price, and most patients have additional insurance to cover the remainder. Americans hate to be denied any kind of treatment: a delay in Provenge’s approval prompted furious talk of rationing.

Private insurers have started to make patients pay a larger share of their drug bills. But drug companies often help to pay the patient’s share, which stops the public from getting angry about soaring costs. Even when prices are high, demand for cancer drugs is largely inelastic, says Tomas Philipson of the University of Chicago. Dying patients understandably place a high value on life, so they are willing to pay more for treatment. All this means that firms can charge steep prices. “At some point it’s just corporate chutzpah,” says Peter Bach of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre in New York. “There’s no check in the system.”
America’s propensity to pay has one important benefit: it encourages investment in research. Drugmakers recoup their investments in America; other countries take a free ride. New research may yield better treatments. And today’s cancer drugs may prove more effective when tested in combination with others, predicts Todd Golub, director of the cancer programme at the Broad Institute, a genetics research laboratory.
Who will reform this unsustainable system? Private insurers may haggle harder. Patients may grow restive—a recent study found that 10% of cancer patients (not covered by Part B) fail to take prescribed drugs, largely because of the cost. Barack Obama’s reforms are supposed to cajole all health-care providers into becoming more cost-effective, but that will require political bravery to enforce, and few politicians are brave enough to do anything that sounds like rationing grandma’s cancer drugs. Congress recently authorised more than $1 billion to compare the efficacy of drugs—while explicitly ignoring their cost.

To view the original article CLICK HERE

I just want to say sorry for copping out at times and leaving Lee and friends to cope!
Any help and support YOU can give her will be hugely welcome.
I do make a lousy patient!

.
If YOU want to follow my fight against Cancer from when it started and I first presented with symptoms see The TAB just below the Header of this Blog. called >DIARY of Cancer< just click and it will give you a long list of the main events in chronological order.
.
Thoughts and comments will be in chronological order in the main blog and can be tracked in the >ARCHIVE< in the Right Sidebar. You may find the TABS >MEDICAL LINKS< and also >CANCER LINKS< of help.
.
YOU are welcome to call me if you believe I can help in ANY way.
.

Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
tel: 01291 – 62 65 62