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Weekly News Round Up - October 19, 2011

Ferriprox Receives Accelerated Approval For Iron Overload

Ferriprox (deferiprone) approved for thalassemia patients as second-line therapy for iron overload due to blood transfusions Read More...

FDA’s accelerated approval program allows promising new drugs that fill an unmet medical need to be approved for patients with serious medical illnesses. Post-approval clinical studies are conducted to confirm the new drug’s clinical utility. Ferriprox (deferiprone) received accelerated approval this week for thalassemia patients with iron overload due to blood transfusions. Thalassemia is a genetic blood disorder that causes anemia, leading to frequent blood transfusions and resultant iron overload. Ferriprox is to be used as a second-line agent, after iron chelation therapy such as Desferal (deferoxamine) or Exjade (deferasirox) proves to be inadequate.

New Guidelines Expand Age Range for ADHD Diagnosis and Treatment

Preschoolers and older teens included in guideline update; consider behavioral therapy first for 4 to 6 year old child Read More...

The American Academy of Pediatrics has updated the Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) guidelines to include children as young as 4 and as old as 18 years. The guidelines emphasize behavioral treatment as a first-line step in the smallest of the children, the 4 to 6-year old range, unless there is a serious ADHD issue. Originally targeting the 6- to 12-year old child, the recent guidelines build upon new evidence showing that ADHD is increasingly recognized as a chronic condition that may continue into adolescence and even adulthood. While treatment with medications such as Ritalin (methylphenidate) or Adderall (amphetamine/dextroamphetamine) are very effective, experts recommend that both behavioral and drug therapy may be best when possible.

Time is Still On Your Side - But Get That Flu Vaccine Now

Few current U.S. flu outbreaks means that now is a good time to time to get the flu vaccine Read More...

It’s hard to ignore that it’s time for the flu vaccine: you see it everywhere - news, pharmacies, even offered at the state fair. Yet many people skip flu protection every year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), influenza activity is currently low in the U.S., which means most everyone 6 months and older can still get protected before influenza activity kicks up. It takes roughly two weeks post-vaccination for the body’s immunity to build, so it’s best to get vaccinated now before the virus starts circulating. An added bonus: the flu strains that have been seen are well matched for this season’s vaccine, which means it will provide good protection. And remember, even if you don’t like shots, you might be able to use the nasal flu vaccine. Ask your health care provider.

Research Study: Vitamin D May Help Boost Immunity in Tuberculosis

Research finds that vitamin D contributes to T-cell generated immune response to ward off tuberculosis infection Read More...

For many years, tuberculosis (TB) patients traveled to sanatoriums often located in sunny spots. It seemed when TB patients were exposed to sunlight, patients got better. But why? When the skin is exposed to sunlight, endogenous vitamin D synthesis is triggered. New research has shown that vitamin D plays a key role in jump-starting the body’s ability to activate interferon-releasing T-cells. The release of interferon triggers TB-infected cells to synthesize and deliver proteins that kill the TB bacteria. Researchers state that more research will be needed to determine if vitamin D supplements will enhance human resistance to TB or other infections.

Investigational Malaria Vaccine Shows Promise in African Children

Investigational vaccine against the malaria parasite reduces rate of malaria by close to half Read More...

Malaria is fatal in close to 800,000 people in sub-Saharan Africa each year, and sadly many of these victims are children. An experimental vaccine to reduce rates of infection by Plasmodium falciparum, the causative parasite in malaria, is underway in African children between the ages of 6 to 12 weeks and 5 to 17 months. Early Phase 3 results, as reported in the New England Journal of Medicine this week, revealed a 47 percent decrease in the rates of serious malaria and a 56 percent decrease in less-severe cases in the 5 to 17 month-old group.  While the investigational vaccine effectiveness is not 100 percent, the vaccine could potentially prevent tens of millions of cases of pediatric malaria, according to experts. The vaccine may be available by 2015.