With fall in the air in the northern hemisphere, it’s also a week full of noteworthy news in clinical development. New research shines a light on Parkinson’s disease, while a drug traditionally used to treat Parkinson’s shows promise in macular degeneration. Additionally, recent studies show promise in finding treatments for lymphoma and tuberculous, and there is a call in the UK that would allow pharmacists to amend prescriptions and reduce delays in patients’ access to medicines.
Making tuberculosis more susceptible to antibiotics
Chemists have discovered that changing the length of carbohydrates that coat livings cells can dramatically affect cell functions. In a study of mycobacteria, the type of bacteria that cause tuberculosis and other diseases, they found that shortening the length of a particular carbohydrate impairs some cell functions and makes the cells much more susceptible to certain antibiotics, suggesting drugs could be used in conjunction with existing antibiotics to create more effective tuberculous treatments.
Joint letter implores government to allow pharmacists to alter prescriptions
A joint letter addressed to UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock and co-signed by a number of organizations has called for the UK government to change the law regarding pharmacists’ powers to alter prescriptions. The letter asks for pharmacists to be able to alter prescriptions to reduce the impact of medicine shortages on patient care. Currently, they are unable to amend original prescriptions for even minor adjustments, and are required to contact prescribers or refer patients back to prescribers. Patients can experience delays in access to medicines if the specified quantity, strength, or formulation of a medicine is in short supply, with pharmacists being unable to offer a different version of the same medicine as an alternative.
Protein Allows Lymphomas to Develop Immunotherapy Resistance
Cancer treatments can be unsuccessful due to malignant cells surviving radiation, chemotherapy, or by evading apoptosis. A study by researchers in Japan demonstrates how the protein Livin—an apoptosis inhibitor—allows some lymphomas to resist therapy, and how targeting it may prove to be a practical treatment strategy in refractory cases. The researchers’ findings open a new door of understanding into lymphoma development and immunotherapy resistance.
Trials begin for a new weapon against Parkinson’s: light
A first-of-its-kind trial scheduled to launch this fall in France is designed to find out whether light therapy can improve symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. A fiber optic cable implanted in the brain will deliver pulses of near-infrared (NIR) light directly to the substantia nigra of seven patients, a region deep in the brain that degenerates in Parkinson’s disease. Researchers hope the light will protect cells there from dying.
Parkinson's Drug Eyed as Treatment for Severe Macular Degeneration
Dry macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of vision loss in older people. More than 15% of Americans over 70 have age-related macular degeneration AMD, and 10% – 15% of those cases go on to develop the more severe wet macular degeneration, which can cause swift and complete vision loss. Wet AMD is typically treated with injections of medication into the eye; most people need several per year to keep the disease from progressing. But a small, early-stage clinical trial suggests an alternative may be on the horizon: the leading drug used to treat Parkinson's disease.