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As 2013 comes to a close, NSH would like to wish its members, partners and other industry professionals a safe and happy holiday season. As we reflect on the past year for the industry, we would like to provide the readers of Under the Microscope a look at the most exclusive content articles from the year. Our regular publication will resume Jan. 8.



TOP STORIES

New hope for ovarian cancer
By Dorothy L. Tengler
From Sept. 11: Despite advances in treatment, ovarian cancer remains a highly lethal disease, mainly because most women with ovarian cancer are diagnosed when the disease is at a late stage. When ovarian cancer is found in its early stages, treatment is most effective. A new way of screening for ovarian cancer appears to detect the disease in early stages. If confirmed in clinical trials, the test could become a routine screening for women.
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Cutting off the fuel supply: A new approach to the treatment of pancreatic cancer
By Dorothy L. Tengler
From June 26: Pancreatic cancer kills about 38,000 Americans each year and is considered the leading cause of cancer death. After diagnosis with metastatic disease, patients have a life expectancy of three to six months. It is no wonder that researchers are hard at work searching for new treatment possibilities for such a lethal disease. In a recent landmark study, researchers at NYU School of Medicine have begun to understand the mystery about how pancreatic tumor cells feed themselves. This new understanding could lead to future drug targets.
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Pharmaceutical R&D: On the cutting edge
By Rosemary Sparacio
From July 25: The challenges that pharmaceutical companies face continue to grow at an almost exponential rate. Costs of Phase I through IV trials have to be managed. Additionally, the challenges of clinical trials in emerging markets — Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe, Asia and the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) — come with their own set of even greater challenges. But with these challenges — or perhaps because of them — come new advances.
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Light at the end of the tunnel: A potential biomarker for a rare form of kidney cancer
By Dr. Kim Blenman
From April 17: Renal medullary carcinoma is a rare kidney cancer found primarily in individuals with sickle cell disease or the sickle cell trait. It is a highly aggressive cancer predominately presenting in young males with an average age of onset in the mid-20s. Our current medical and scientific understanding of the disease is still quite limited, which results in ineffective therapeutic options. However, recent research may have shed some light on the pathogenesis of the disease.
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Experiment reveals the ugly side of open-source journal industry
By Pamela Lewis Dolan
From Oct. 16: Over the past 10 months, Harvard researcher John Bohannon, Ph.D., has created more than 300 versions of a phony research paper describing the anticancer property of a chemical extracted from a lichen. Despite Bohannon’s efforts to make the papers flawed and unpublishable, nearly 160 medical journal publishers accepted the paper for publishing, despite each one claiming to have a peer review process. It was never Bohannon's intent to actually get the papers published. Rather, his goal was to expose the growing trend of predatory practices among open-source journal publishers that charge fees to publish an author's work.
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The use of microspheres in parenteral drug delivery
By Dr. Afsaneh Motamed-Khorasani
From Aug. 21: Drug formulation and delivery is an important process in drug development, where targeted and sustained drug release plays a crucial role in this aspect. Recently, microsphere systems have been used for the sustained release of proteins and chemical drugs. Microspheres provide direct treatment and are capable of delivering the drug to the disease site with lower drug dosing and negligible systemic side effects.
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Microfluidic systems for screening of aptamers
Dr. Afsaneh Motamed-Khorasani
From Sept. 20: Systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment, or SELEX, is a method to screen the nucleotide ligands from a large library of nucleotide sequences. Aptamers are the nucleotide ligands selected by SELEX method and can be easily and inexpensively produced. Microfluidic devices could provide accurate clinical analysis in less time and could be used for the development of point-of-care devices in the near future.
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Cutting edge: What's new in pharmaceutical R&D
By Rosemary Sparacio
From Nov. 6: It is clear that pharmaceutical companies are tackling serious diseases in therapeutic areas that heretofore were more challenging. But new technology has changed that landscape forever. And patients with diseases like cystic fibrosis, cancer, celiac disease and Crohn's disease — just to name a few — now have a wide variety of drugs to look forward to in the near future. Many pharmaceutical companies are forming alliances with significant monetary investments to improve both their product lines and their bottom lines.
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Steady progress in chemotherapy treatment for biliary tract cancer
By Dr. Afsaneh Motamed-Khorasani
From Nov. 20: Chemotherapy is widely used for the treatment of advanced biliary tract cancer, or BTC, but the treatment methods are not fully developed in comparison with other types of cancers such as lung and colorectal cancers. Combination therapy, including cytotoxic agents and molecular-targeted agents, has been widely evaluated for advanced BTC for first-line settings. Second-line chemotherapy is found to be more effective for advanced BTC. However, more clinical trials are required to understand the effectiveness of the second-line chemotherapy.
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Targeting mitochondrial ROS: A novel therapy for a number of diseases
By Dr. Afsaneh Motamed-Khorasani
From Oct. 23: Reactive oxygen species, or ROS, are generated in a number of physiological reactions in our body. They are responsible for a number of diseases, such as cancer, inflammatory, autoimmune and neurodegenerative disorders. Currently, an effective antioxidant therapy is not available. Therefore, an in-depth knowledge of the mechanisms responsible for the production of ROS and their role in the inflammation pathways is critical for the development of new drugs. Recent publications have demonstrated that the ROS derived from mitochondria were responsible for the up-regulation of cytokines through a number of signal transduction pathways.
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Under the Microscope
Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601
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