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Medical researchers find hypertension drug may reduce MS

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Patients with multiple sclerosis must often treat their disease with expensive biotech drug regimens, but scientists at Stanford University may have found a cheaper way.

In a paper published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Stanford School of Medicine researchers found that patients with MS had high levels of an enzyme that produces angiotensin, a hormone that causes high blood pressure.

The researchers next tested the hypertension drug lisinopril on mice bred to develop brain lesions and symptoms similar to those in MS patients and found that it alleviated their paralysis when given after the mice had developed full-blown MS symptoms.

Currently, MS patients must rely on expensive biotech drugs such as Elan Corp.’s Tysabri (natalizumab), which carries a wholesale price of $2,184.62 per vial. Lisinopril, originally marketed by Merck & Co. as Prinivil and by AstraZeneca as Zestril, is available as a generic.

“If multiple sclerosis patients can be treated with lisinopril at something like 1% of the price of treatment with Tysabri, then far more patients will receive adequate therapy, at a substantially lower cost to those paying for it,” Imperial College London immunologist Marc Feldmann, who is familiar with the study but did not participate in it, said in a statement.

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FDA tentatively approves Mylan’s generic HIV treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

PITTSBURGH The Food and Drug Administration has given tentative approval to a generic drug for treating HIV under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

Generic drug maker Mylan announced Tuesday the tentative approval of subsidiary Matrix Labs’ fixed-dose combination tablets containing 600 mg of efavirenz, 200 mg of emtricitabine and 300 mg of tenofovir disoproxil fumarate. The drug is a generic version of Gilead Sciences’ Atripla tablets, used to treat HIV infection in adults.

“This critical approval only further strengthens Mylan and Matrix’s efforts to expand access to life-saving affordable AIDS treatments for people living with HIV/AIDS in developing countries,” Mylan president Heather Bresch said in a statement. “Matrix’s generic fixed-dose combination will dramatically improve access to this more patient-friendly medication while reducing the cost of treatment.”

Atripla had sales of $1.6 billion for the 12 months ending June 30, according to IMS Health data.

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‘The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3’ coming to DVD, Blu-ray

BY Allison Cerra

CULVER CITY, Calif. Two of Hollywood’s biggest stars go head-to-head in director Tony Scott’s summer box office action hit.

“The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3” will be available in Blu-ray, DVD, PSP and Digital Download formats on Nov. 3 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. A remake of the 1974 suspense classic, based on a 1973 novel by Jon Godey, “The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3” stars two-time Academy Award winner Denzel Washington teamed with John Turturro to battle against John Travolta  and Luis Guzman in a heart-pounding story full of action, thrills and suspense deep inside the New York Subway system. After criminal mastermind Ryder (Travolta) takes a subway train hostage, MTA Dispatcher Walter Garber (Washington) finds himself thrown into the middle of the explosive situation as he must find away to rescue all the hostages while not letting Ryder escape.

Bonus material on the Blu-ray and DVD releases include commentary from director Tony Scott, writer Brian Helgeland and producer Todd Black. Also included are behind-the-scenes featurettes, including “No Time to Lose: The Making of Pelham 123” and “The Third Rail – The NYC Subway System.”

The Blu-ray version exclusively includes a Digital Copy of the film for PC, PSP, Mac or iPod. “The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3” will be available on Blu-ray for $39.95 SRP, DVD for $28.96 SRP and UMD for $24.94 SRP.

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