2012: Banner Year for New Drugs

Fueled by new cancer therapeutics, last year the annual new molecular and biological entity approval count from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) saw its highest year since 1997. One-third of the novel products approved by the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) are used to treat cancers of the blood, breast, colon, prostate, skin and thyroid.

FDA approved

NIH Director Discusses Accelerating Translation of Biomedical Research to the Clinic

TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, is a nonprofit devoted to “Ideas Worth Spreading.”  The annual TED conference brings together some of the world’s most fascinating people to talk briefly about science, business, the arts and global issues facing our world.  TEDMED, an independent event operating under license from the TED conference, is a three day annual conference where cutting-edge science and technology leaders “connect, understand and inspire” to advance the art of health and medicine with new ideas, the latest science and innovative technology.

Warning To Parents: “Choking Game” is Popular, Dangerous

A new study published in the medical journal Pediatrics reports on the prevalence of youth participation in a dangerous strangulation game, commonly referred to as the “Choking Game” [1]. The game involves obstructing blood flow to the brain by tightening a scarf, rope or belt around the neck. When the belt is removed and blood returns to the brain, the participant experiences a euphoric high. The game, researchers report, is played purely for the purpose of experiencing a high; it is non-sexual in nature and is not the same as autoerotic asphyxiation.

Belt

NIH and Lilly Collaborate, Aim to Make Drug Development Pipelines More Productive

Over the past decade, collaborative research efforts to support the discovery and development of medicines has increased dramatically. Last month, the National Institutes of Health and Eli Lilly and Company announced a new collaboration: they will generate a publicly available resource to profile the effects of thousands of approved and investigational medicines in a variety of advanced disease-relevant testing systems [1]. In-depth knowledge of the biological profiles of these medicines may enable researchers to better predict treatment outcomes, improve drug development, and lead to more specific and effective approaches.

NCATS/Lilly collaboration

Increasing Percentages of New Drugs are Failing Phase II and III Trials

In the drug discovery pipeline, Phase I trials are first used to evaluate if a new drug is safe, then Phase II trials are done to assess the drug’s efficacy, and finally Phase III trials are performed to monitor side effects and compare the drug to similar compounds already on the market. Each consecutive phase includes more people to refine the results obtained in the previous phase. A recent analysis by the Centre for Medicines Research in the UK has concluded that since 2008, the failure rate for drugs in Phase II and III clinical trials has been rising [1-2]. Phase II success rates are currently at 18%, lower than at any other phase of drug development.

Drug development pipeline