Research & Development

New developments in diabetes treatment

TeaWorld Diabetes Day is held annually on 14 November, and on the eve of this year’s commemoration, new evidence emerged of Rooibos’ anti-diabetic potential.

The discovery is the result of a joint study conducted by the Diabetes Discovery Platform from South Africa’s Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Agricultural Research Council’s (ARC) Infruitec-Nietvoorbij Institute.

Anabolics and post-marketing studies

Osteoporosis – industry data releases from major pharmaceutical companies

This year’s American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) conference, held in Minnesota from 10 to 15 October, had several industry data releases from major pharmaceutical companies. Clinical trial results presented at the meeting primarily revolved around new and existing treatments for osteoporosis, a metabolic disorder in which bone resorption outpaces bone formation, resulting in low bone density and increased risk of fracture. Several big players that presented trial data at ASBMR included Amgen, Merck, Eli Lilly, and UniGene. These competitors within the osteoporosis space are moving in two directions, with the development of both anabolic drugs and biologics. Only Merck’s cathepsin K inhibitor is small-molecule, while both UniGene’s and Eli Lilly’s drugs are human parathyroid hormone therapies that are stimulators of bone formation. Results for Amgen’s late-stage pipeline anabolic drug, AMG 785, were notably absent from ASBMR.

Vitamin K2-7

During the last three decades there has been intensive research with the vitamin K and its analogues which has surfaced the role of vitamin K2-7 (natural) and K2-4 (synthetic) in the human physiology in multiple functions. The newly discovered functions extend throughout the body in the calcium metabolism, giving rise to the label ‘Calcium Paradox’ because calcium gets deposited in the vasculature instead of the required target bones.

Higher strength insulin on the cards?


InsulinThe European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) has made a recommendation to give marketing authorisation to insulin degludec, a new basal analogue insulin for the treatment of diabetes mellitus in adults. It is introduced in a pre-filled pen in two formulations – 100 units/ml and 200 units/ml.

Phase III HERA trial results


Breast cancer_ribbonRoche and the Breast International Group (BIG) on 1 October announced final results from the Phase III HERA trial, which confirmed that one year of Herceptin (trastuzumab) treatment remains the standard of care for people with early-stage HER2-positive breast cancer. These data showed that there was no difference in the time women lived without their disease returning (disease-free survival) when they received Herceptin for two years versus one year, a secondary endpoint of the study. After a median follow-up of eight years, the improvements in disease-free survival and overall survival for women who received Herceptin for one year remained statistically significant compared to women who underwent observation alone. There were no new safety findings in the study.

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