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Skin cancer drug is effective against flu, HIV & Ebola

By Tim Sandle     Jul 14, 2016 in Science
A skin cancer drug, currently undergoing clinical trial, could be effective against a range of other diseases. These include viral infections like influenza and HIV. We look at this and bring a round-up of other drug development news.
With the skin cancer drug, a pharmaceutical company is taking the medication through clinical trials. Parallel research also suggests the medication has an application as anti-viral drug. This is based on analysis by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University.
The drug is coded OSU-03012. The research suggests the medication could be effective against the viral disease influenza, mumps, and measles; and perhaps even the Ebola virus and some strains of HIV. With this news, biologist David Maizenberg (@biologypartners) tweeted: "Promising new protein target GRP78 hit in pre-clinical study by celocoxib derivative (OSU-03012) and viagra(?!) combo."
This is because the drug, when used in conjunction with phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors, appears capable of targeting a protein called GRP78. This protein is needed for the replication of almost every type of pathogenic virus.
The research has been published in the Journal of Cell Physiology. The research paper is titled β€œAR-12 Inhibits Multiple Chaperones Concomitant With Stimulating Autophagosome Formation Collectively Preventing Virus Replication.”
In further pharmaceutical news, the second-biggest selling drug in the world is set to be challenged by lower-cost competitions, according to Pharmaceutical Processing magazine. In the U.S., a federal panel has endorsed an alternative version of a drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.
With this move, an advisory body to the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisers agreed that Amgen's version of AbbVie's Humira could be used as an alternative. This has been passed under the relatively new biosimilars framework.
The third drug related story comes from Juno Therapeutics. A study of an experimental treatment for leukemia, that was halted last week (as reported by Digital Journal) following two patient deaths, is set to resume. This is after the FDA requested some modifications.
The trial was suspended after three patients died. The FDA are satisfied that the deaths did not occur due to the experimental drug but from an established chemotherapy drug used as a pre-treatment step.
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