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Anthrax Vaccine Shows Promise in Monkey Trial

Posted 1 Jul 2016 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, July 1, 2016 – A vaccine made with a component of the bacteria that causes anthrax protected monkeys from the deadly infection in a preliminary trial. Previous research showed that this component – the anthrax capsule – played a pivotal role in providing protection, the researchers said. In this study, the same team of scientists at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) tested a higher dose of the anthrax capsule vaccine in monkeys exposed to lethal inhaled levels of anthrax spores. All the monkeys that received the vaccine survived, while the non-vaccinated monkeys died from anthrax, according to the study published online June 27 in the journal Vaccine. The results suggest that anthrax capsule is a highly effective vaccine ingredient and should be considered for use in future anthrax vaccines, the researchers said. Current anthrax ... Read more

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Drones Could Deliver Vaccines in Developing Countries

Posted 25 Jun 2016 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, June 24, 2016 – Right now, people often associate the use of drones with warfare. But in the future they could serve humanitarian purposes, such as delivering aid to people in developing countries. For example, the pilotless flying machines might offer a cheaper and better way to deliver vaccines. And that could potentially boost vaccination rates in areas that can be difficult to reach now, a new study suggests. Using a computer model, researchers concluded that sending drones to deliver vaccines in low- and middle-income countries would be cheaper and quicker than by land-based vehicles. Cars and trucks are limited by road conditions and have high fuel and maintenance costs, the researchers said. "Many low- and middle-income countries are struggling to get lifesaving vaccines to people to keep them from getting sick or dying from preventable diseases," said senior study ... Read more

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U.S. Pays Highest Prices for Cancer Meds: Study

Posted 6 Jun 2016 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, June 6, 2016 – The United States pays the highest prices in the world for generic and brand-name cancer drugs, a new study has found. However, as the world's wealthiest nation, the United States is better able to pay for those pricey drugs than poorer countries with somewhat lower medication prices, added study lead author Dr. Daniel Goldstein. People in China and India are much less able to afford cancer drugs than Americans, he said, even though U.S. monthly drug prices are about three to six times higher in the United States. That doesn't mean America came out on top in overall drug affordability, however. Developed nations such as Australia, England and Israel had the "best deal" in the world on cancer drugs, thanks to government programs that regulate drug pricing, the study found. "America is the wealthiest nation, but its drug prices are significantly higher – so much ... Read more

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Childhood Vaccinations Rarely Spur Seizures, Study Finds

Posted 6 Jun 2016 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, June 6, 2016 – Certain vaccines can trigger fever-related seizures in young children, but the risk is so low that pediatricians might see one case every five to 10 years, a new study estimates. It has long been known that some vaccines carry a small seizure risk. But the researchers said the new report offers some hard numbers. And it suggests that even when babies and toddlers get three vaccines at once, they only develop fever-related seizures at a rate of 30 per 100,000 – at most. The findings should be "reassuring" to parents, said lead researcher Dr. Jonathan Duffy, of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Looking at the big picture, the benefits of vaccination are much greater than the risk of febrile [fever-related] seizures," Duffy said. Up to 5 percent of young children will have a fever-related seizure at some point, according to the CDC. It usually ... Read more

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'Precision' Cancer Treatment May Extend Lives

Posted 20 May 2016 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, May 19, 2016 – "Precision" cancer treatment that's guided by genetic clues from the patient's own tumor appears to outperform traditional chemotherapy, a new research review finds. Patients given precision – or personalized – treatment experienced a tumor shrinkage rate six times that attained by regular chemotherapy. But, that only happened if doctors used genetic information to choose the appropriate targeted therapy, said lead researcher Maria Schwaederle. Those patients also experienced nearly double the length of time before their cancer resumed growing, according to the analysis of nearly 350 clinical trials. "It is not just that the therapies are better, but that targeted therapies must be given to the right patients," said Schwaederle, who's with the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine's Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy. She will present ... Read more

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Toxic Chemicals May Weaken Infants' Response to TB Vaccine

Posted 18 Dec 2015 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Dec. 18, 2015 – Exposure to toxic chemicals while in the womb or in early life may weaken a baby's immune system response to the tuberculosis (TB) vaccine, researchers say. The study focused on two common toxins: PCBs, an industrial chemical; and DDT, used in pesticides. These so-called "persistent" pollutants are not easily broken down and remain a health threat years after being banned. PCBs were banned in the United States in 1979. DDT is banned in the United States, but is still used in some countries to control malaria-carrying mosquitoes, the study authors, from the University of Rochester in New York, said in a university news release. The researchers analyzed blood samples and immune responses from 516 pairs of mothers and infants in an area of Slovakia heavily contaminated with environmental toxins. Each baby received the tuberculosis vaccine in their first four days ... Read more

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Most First-Time Moms Plan to Follow Vaccine Schedule

Posted 20 Nov 2015 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Nov. 20, 2015 – Three-quarters of first-time expectant mothers plan to follow the recommended vaccination schedule for their children, a new study finds. But the survey of 200 American women pregnant with their first child also found that 10.5 percent planned to spread out the recommended vaccination schedule, 4 percent planned to have their child receive some but not all of the recommended vaccines, and 10.5 percent were still undecided in their second trimester of pregnancy. First-time mothers who weren't planning on following the recommended vaccination schedule said they got most of their information about childhood vaccines from online sources or family and friends. This shows the need to find ways to provide these women with information from pediatricians and family doctors, according to study co-author Glen Nowak, director of the Center for Health and Risk Communication ... Read more

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California Vaccine Refusers Cluster in Rich, White Areas

Posted 12 Nov 2015 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Nov. 12, 2015 – California's anti-vaccine sentiment tends to concentrate in wealthier, largely white areas of the state – a pattern that has left certain communities with childhood vaccination rates as low as 50 percent, a new study finds. The study, published online Nov. 12 in the American Journal of Public Health, is the latest to delve into the issue of personal belief exemptions for vaccines. Right now, 20 U.S. states permit the exemptions, which allow parents to opt out of routine childhood vaccinations based on philosophical objections. California is technically still one of those states, but a law passed earlier this year will end personal belief exemptions in that state in July 2016, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). The new law came largely in response to this year's measles outbreak, which sickened 189 people in 24 U.S. states and ... Read more

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Vaccines Rarely Cause Life-Threatening Allergic Reactions: CDC

Posted 15 Oct 2015 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Oct. 15, 2015 – A U.S. government study has reassuring news for concerned parents – vaccines rarely trigger serious and potentially fatal allergic reactions. Just 33 people had a serious, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction – also known as anaphylaxis – out of 25 million vaccines given, according to research from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That's 1.3 people in every million who gets a vaccine. "Vaccination is one of the best ways parents can protect infants, children and teens from 16 potentially harmful diseases. This is a good time to remind parents that vaccines are safe and effective – the odds of having an anaphylaxis-related reaction following the administration of a vaccine are very slim," said study author Dr. Michael McNeil, of the CDC. For the study, the researchers reviewed records from more than 17 million visits and more ... Read more

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Despite Pockets of Resistance, Most U.S. Kids Getting Vaccinated

Posted 27 Aug 2015 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Aug. 27, 2015 – More than nine out of 10 U.S. children entered kindergarten last school year protected with the proper immunizations, federal health officials reported Thursday. But, vaccination rates continue to lag in a number of states – a worrisome finding, especially in light of the recent measles outbreak, officials said. Average vaccination coverage for new kindergarteners was 94 percent for the measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine. It also was 94 percent for the diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis vaccine in the 49 reporting states and the District of Columbia for the 2014-15 school year, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers found. About 94 percent of kindergarteners also received the two-dose vaccine for chickenpox in the 39 states where it is required, the findings showed. "Overall, the news is gratifying. Though they may not always get the ... Read more

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Start of School Year Calls for Vaccine Check

Posted 21 Aug 2015 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Aug. 21, 2015 – With the start of a new school year, many parents are searching for vaccination records and hoping they're current, but what does "up-to-date" look like these days? That depends on whether it's what the school requires or what pediatric experts recommend. "Not all vaccines that we recommend on the schedule are required by schools," said Wendy Sue Swanson, a pediatrician at Seattle Children's Hospital. "But schools help us keep up-to-date and have an annual assessment" of vaccine status. Swanson explained that during childhood, three key school transitions coincide with vaccine schedules. The first, she said, is when a child enters kindergarten. Then, "typically, at sixth grade, we refresh again. And there are updates that we provide kids at the end of high school as get they ready to go to college," she added. Each of these turning points usually means exposure ... Read more

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U.S. Oncologists Decry High Cost of Cancer Drugs

Posted 23 Jul 2015 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, July 23, 2015 – Soaring costs for cancer drugs are hurting patient care in the United States, a group of top oncologists claim. "High cancer-drug prices are affecting the care of patients with cancer and our health care system," Dr. Ayalew Tefferi, a hematologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., said in a Mayo news release. Tefferi and his colleagues made a number of recommendations on how to address the problem in a commentary published July 23 in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices is one of the suggestions the team of 118 leading cancer experts offered as a possible solution. Along with their recommendations, the group also expressed support for a patient-based grassroots movement on change.org that is demanding action on the issue. "The average gross household income in the U.S. is about $52,000 per year. For an insured patient with ... Read more

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New Trial Tests Whether TB Shot Fights Type 1 Diabetes

Posted 9 Jun 2015 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, June 9, 2015 – Researchers are launching a clinical trial to see if a vaccine approved long ago to prevent tuberculosis may also hold promise as a treatment for type 1 diabetes. The proposed five-year study is designed to investigate whether repeated injections of the tuberculosis vaccine bacille Calmette-Guerin (or BCG vaccine) can quiet the immune system attack that causes type 1 diabetes and improve blood sugar levels in people with long-standing diabetes. "BCG is showing so much promise in worldwide trials [for conditions such as multiple sclerosis]," said study author Dr. Denise Faustman, director of the immunobiology laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. While some may hold out hope that BCG will reverse type 1 diabetes in people, findings from Faustman's earlier – albeit smaller – human trial suggest the effects are likely to be far more subtle. "The ... Read more

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Anti-Vaccine Parents Cluster in Rich, White Areas

Posted 3 Jun 2015 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, June 3, 2015 – Parents who cite "personal beliefs" to get their children exempted from routine vaccinations are typically white and well-to-do – at least in California, a new study finds. The results, published June 1 in Pediatrics, confirm what other studies have suggested: Anti-vaccine sentiment in the United States appears strongest among wealthier white families. But the study also found another pattern that surprised experts: California schools with high rates of personal-belief exemptions often had high rates of exemptions for medical reasons, too. "There's no clear explanation for why that would be," said Dr. Paul Offit, chief of infectious diseases at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, who was not involved in the study. But the concern, he added, is that some children exempted for medical reasons could be put at risk if their classmates are not vaccinated against ... Read more

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Too Few Prostate Cancer Patients Get Bone-Strengthening Meds: Study

Posted 3 Dec 2014 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Dec. 2, 2014 – Many men on hormone therapy for prostate cancer aren't getting bone-strengthening drugs they may need, new Canadian research contends. Hormone therapy, which suppresses male hormones called androgens, helps stop cancer cells from growing. But one consequence of the treatment is weakening of the bones, which can lead to fractures. To reduce this risk, men can be given oral bisphosphonates, such as Fosamax, or an intravenous treatment once a month or once a year with similar drugs, such as Reclast. "There seems to be a clear mismatch between Canadian guidelines regarding bisphosphonate usage in men undergoing hormone therapy for prostate cancer and actual clinical practice," said lead researcher Dr. Shabbir Alibhai, a senior scientist at the University Health Network in Toronto. While the low rates of bisphosphonate prescriptions may be appropriate for patients ... Read more

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