HEALTH

Pharmacy professor develops anti-HIV cream

BY Michael Johnsen

KINGSTON, R.I. A University of Rhode Island pharmacy professor is finalizing development of a cream that could be used by women during intercourse to prevent Human Immunodeficiency Virus transmission, the University of Rhode Island announced Monday.

Keykavous Parang, an associate professor of biomedical and pharmaceutical sciences in the College of Pharmacy, in collaboration with the Eastern Virginia Medical School’s Clinical Research Center, is conducting research on the cream with a $288,0000 grant from the Contraceptive Research and Development Program.

“Women face a greater risk of acquiring HIV and are four to 17 times more likely to contract HIV because of economic, social and biological factors,” Parang stated. “So there is an urgent need to develop a safe over-the-counter intravaginal/intrarectal microbicide for prevention of HIV transmission in women.”

He said the goal of the project is to develop anti-HIV-1 microbicides with or without spermicidal activity by combining agents having different mechanisms of action. Some of these microbicides are in pre-clinical studies, Parang said. In addition to this two-year project, Parang has already received $274,000 through the same program since 2003.

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Report to House committee finds imbalance between FDA demands and resources

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON The nation’s public health is at risk, as are the regulatory systems that oversee the nation’s drug and device supplies, read an FDA Science Board report presented at a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing Tuesday.

The committee attributed the deficiencies to soaring demands on the FDA; and resources that have not increased in proportion to those demands. They conclude that “this imbalance is imposing a significant risk to the integrity of the food, drug, cosmetic and device regulatory system, and hence the safety of the public.”

“Over the last decade, complex scientific advances, globalization and challenging new safety issues have combined to multiply the responsibilities of the FDA,” noted Mark McClellan, former FDA commissioner and chairman of the Reagan-Udall Institute. “As the FDA Science Board report makes clear: our expectations cannot exceed the resources we give FDA to accomplish its mission.”

The result of a year-long review by a distinguished panel of experts, the 300-page report concludes that the state of FDA’s scientific and regulatory programs could not be separated from the lack of resources available to support the agency’s scientific base, hire and train a broadly-capable scientific workforce, and build a sophisticated and modern information technology infrastructure.

“FDA can’t improve its science, prepare for the future, or protect American consumers without significant additional resources,” stated Don Kennedy, another former FDA commissioner and editor-in-chief of Science. “The Administration and Congress are starting now on the FDA’s FY 2009 budget and must fix this critical problem.”

Peter Barton Hutt, who served as the FDA’s general counsel in the 1970s, suggested a doubling of the agency’s $2 billion annual budget and a 50 percent increase in its staff over two years.

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NuVim gets featured beverage spot, gears up for 2008 ad campaign

BY Michael Johnsen

PARAMUS, N.J. NuVim on Wednesday announced that its nutritional beverages have been chosen by “Eye on America” as the featured beverage for 2008. T

A five-minute television NuVim story will be aired on CNN Headline News and Regional News networks starting in the second quarter of 2008, featuring interviews with national nutrition experts Ruth Carey and Coni Francis. Additionally, in 2008 a total of 1,100 30-second commercial spots featuring NuVim will air regionally on ION, ESPN2, FSN and possibly nationally on WE, Oxygen and ABC Family Channel, on the following shows: “Today’s Family,” “Health Forum,” “Competitive Edge” and “Eye on America.”

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