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Biotech industry can help tackle neglected diseases

Biotech industry can help tackle neglected diseases

Source: Nature Biotechnology

17 April 2009 | EN

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Biotech can inject innovation into neglected-disease product development

Argonne National Laboratory/Flickr

The biotech industry provides rich resources and expertise that could help tackle neglected diseases, say Joanna E. Lowell and Christopher D. Earl from BIO Ventures for Global Health in Washington DC.

Biotech has several advantages over the pharmaceutical industry, argue the authors. Companies are younger and more entrepreneurial so can take higher risks, are focused on innovation, and specialise in creating methods to find drug targets that should be amenable to drug discovery for neglected diseases. Biotech companies have become the engines of innovation for global pharmaceutical development, say the authors.

Many neglected diseases — including malaria, tuberculosis and lymphatic filariasis — suffer from an ‘innovation gap’, where too few drug discovery programmes are in place to ensure a steady stream of approved treatments. More drug discovery is critical to sustaining a pipeline of new medicines — and it could come from the biotech industry, argue the authors.

But to get involved, biotech companies need educating about the opportunities, incentives and markets available to the application of their technologies. Connecting companies to academic experts who understand the biology of neglected diseases, and with larger companies accustomed to running clinical trials in the developing world, is also essential.

Link to full article in Nature Biotechnology

Infections Specialist Library

The Infections Specialist Library (ISL) provides convenient and comprehensive access to the highest quality evidence on the investigation, prevention, treatment and control of infectious diseases from a clinical perspective. This is intended to keep health professionals up to date with the burgeoning amount of infectious disease evidence that is emerging daily.

What does the library provide?

Resources in the library include:

  • Reviews and Systematic reviews (e.g. Cochrane Library, CKS, DARE)
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  • International guidelines (if no suitable UK guidelines exist, e.g. WHO, CDC)
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Find out more at http://www.library.nhs.uk/infections

“TRIP Answers: because clinicians ask questions”


A great new resource from TRIP (Turning Research Into Practice)

TRIP Answers:

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Coming soon: A vaccine for diabetes?

A team in Britain has found proof that Type I diabetes is caused by a virus after they spotted traces of an infection in more than 60% of sufferers

PTI

London: Scientists have claimed that a vaccine to prevent children from developing diabetes could be developed in 20 years, after they discovered a link between a family of viruses and the disease.
A team in Britain has found proof that Type I diabetes is caused by a virus after they spotted traces of an infection in more than 60% of sufferers and it will now pinpoint the exact virus involved and subsequently a vaccine to prevent the disease, the Diabetologia journal reported.
Team member Noel Morgan of Peninsula Medical School said: “We are genuinely excited by the findings of our study. This is the first time that scientists’ve been able to provide such extensive evidence for relationship between enteroviral infection of beta cells and development of type 1 diabetes.
“The next stages of research — to identify which enteroviruses are involved, how the beta-cells are changed by infection and the ultimate goal to develop an effective vaccine — will lead to findings that we hope will drastically reduce the number of people around the world who develop type 1 diabetes, and potentially type 2 diabetes as well.”
In their study, the scientists tested the pancreas of 72 young patients who had died of Type 1 diabetes over the past 25 years. The findings showed that in 60% of cases the children’s organs contained evidence of infection by viruses known as enteroviruses.
“There is nothing I am doing that could cure diabetes, but the work I am doing is to prevent the process starting at all,” team member Dr Alan Foulis of Glasgow Royal Infirmary was quoted by The Daily Telegraph as saying.
Type 1 diabetes usually starts in young people and results from the destruction of the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, in turn regulating blood sugar levels.