Merck starts Alzheimer’s drug trial
WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. — Merck has started a clinical trial that it hopes will eventually enroll 1,700 patients to evaluate an experimental drug for Alzheimer’s disease, the company said.
Merck announced the start of "EPOCH," a combined phase-2 and phase-3 study of the drug MK-8931, a 78-week trial in which patients will take either the drug in the 12-mg, 40-mg or 60-mg doses or placebo.
"Merck is committed to advancing the understanding and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease," Merck Research Labs SVP and head of neuroscience and ophthalmology Darryle Schoepp said. "As the global health and financial burden of Alzheimer’s disease grows, innovative research is critically needed, and we need to accelerate this research wherever possible."
Diabetes drug appears to improve survival in women with ovarian cancer
NEW YORK — Women with ovarian cancer and diabetes who took the generic diabetes drug metformin showed better survival rates than those who did not take the drug, according to a new study led by the Mayo Clinic.
The study, published in the journal Cancer, enrolled 61 patients who took metformin and 178 who didn’t. Of those who took the drug, 67% were surviving after five years, compared with 47% of those who didn’t take it. Further analysis indicated that patients taking metformin were almost four times likelier to survive than those not taking it.
"Our study demonstrated improved survival in women with ovarian cancer that were taking metformin," study co-author and Mayo Clinic gynecologic oncology fellow Sanjeev Kumar said. "The results are encouraging, but as with any retrospective study, many factors cannot be controlled for us to say if there is a direct cause and effect. Rather, this is further human evidence for a potential beneficial effect on a commonly used drug [that] is relatively safe in humans."
The researchers said the results could pave the way for using metformin in large-scale trials in women with ovarian cancer.
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Gallup poll: Nurses, pharmacists most trusted professionals across all professions
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Medical professionals continue to rank among the most-trusted officials, according to the latest annual Gallup survey around popular perception of professional honesty and ethics, particularly pharmacists.
"Six medical professional categories were included in this year’s update," the poll taker posted Monday on its web site. "Nurses’ high rating this year is not unexpected; they have scored at the top of all professions every year since they were first included in the list in 1999 — apart from 2001, when Gallup asked about ‘firefighters’ on a one-time basis after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Nurses receive a 10-percentage-point higher rating than pharmacists, who in turn are five points above medical doctors."
The honesty ratings of all of these medical professions are at the highest levels in Gallup’s history, the research firm added. "Pharmacists are two points higher than their previous record. Pharmacists routinely topped the list before Gallup began including nurses."
"An impressive 75% of respondents categorized pharmacists very high/high by the honesty and ethics standard," noted National Community Pharmacists Association CEO Douglas Hoey. "Since the audience is the American people, this ranking is a testimony to the good will generated by the patient-friendly approach of pharmacists who are accessible, responsive and take tremendous pride helping patients achieve the best health outcomes at the lowest costs," he said. “In the Gallup’s more than three-decade-old survey the level of respect for pharmacists has been consistently high. … Our hope is that the decision makers in the private and public sector who make policy and choose prescription drug plans will tap further into the expertise and results pharmacists can bring to health care. For example, the trust that Americans place in their pharmacists makes these highly trained health care professionals a prime resource to help improve outcomes and reduce costs by boosting patient compliance with their prescribed medication regimen.”
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