Can a blood pressure drug protect the brain from Parkinson's?

CATHARINE PADDOCK | April 23, 2019

article image
A prescription drug already in use for the treatment of high blood pressure could be effective against conditions such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and Huntington's, in which toxic proteins build up in brain cells. Scientists at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom and the Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health in China suggest that the hypertension drug felodipine could be a promising candidate for "repurposing" as a treatment for neurodegenerative conditions.

Spotlight

The Health Foundation

The Health Foundation is an independent charity committed to bringing about better health and health care for people in the UK. Our aim is a healthier population, supported by high quality health care that can be equitably accessed. From giving grants to those working at the front line to carrying out research and policy analysis, we shine a light on how to make successful change happen. We use what we know works on the ground to inform effective policymaking and vice versa.

OTHER ARTICLES

Advance Your Pharma Supply Chain Planning during a Pandemic

Article | March 20, 2020

One predominant and common element within our pharmaceutical industry, is our devotions to patients. Within supply chain there is always a focus on ensuring the right product is delivered to the right place at the right time in order to ensure patient safety and the continuity of medicinal supplies. With the spread of COVID-19 across 117 countries and counting, every supply chain needs to evaluate their global footprint and develop contingency plans within their end to end operations.

Read More
VIEWS AND ANALYSIS

New Dimensions of Clinical Trial Optimization

Article | March 20, 2020

For much of the past three decades, even as methodologies for clinical trial design have advanced and refined, the idea of the optimized clinical trial has centered on optimal patient samples, target enrollment rates, and generally the most efficient uses of scarce resources in the form of patients. Yet anyone who has had to design and optimize a clinical trial, knows that trial optimization occurs within an ecosystem of choices; a series of choices that stretch from the time it takes to implement a clinical trial and submit clinical data for analysis, to general concerns about the cost and power of a clinical trial. A true clinical trial optimization process would try to unify a number of these choices into a single framework for trial optimization. The complexity of clinical trial optimization comes from the need to align priorities on the one hand, and to understand opportunities on the other. We know that at a very general level, clinical operations specialists benefit from simplicity in clinical trial design, and that commercial teams prefer shorter clinical trials to longer ones. We also know that the statistical design of a clinical trial can influence both simplicity and duration. Yet how many sponsors have their clinical operations and commercial teams, sit with their R&D teams to review various statistically nuanced design options? For many sponsors, the reason this process does not occur as often as it should, is because the nuanced statistical parameters of a clinical trial design are very difficult to communicate to non-statisticians. Yet a trial optimization tool like Solara, equipped with data visualizations and the ability to see tradeoffs intuitively, can overcome this challenge. The real challenge is often convincing the non-statistician that they have a stake in clinical trial design. Cytel recently had a client that thought it needed a sample size re-estimation design, because it had a very strict limit on the number of patients it could enroll. After a few hours of working with Solara, though, a statistician discovered that a much simpler Group Sequential Design would deliver comparable power using about the same number of patients. The gains from the more complex design were minimal from the optimization perspective, when understood as the eco-system of choices. Similarly, most commercial teams pressure their clinical trial designers to have the most accelerated clinical trial imaginable, but as we all know, the longer the clinical trial the more likely there will be a higher number of events that demonstrate the effectiveness of a new medicine. So commercialization teams have a stake in longer clinical trials, even when their rule of thumb is to shorten them. Therefore, it is absolutely essential to communicate the benefits of various statistical designs to multiple stakeholders in a way that makes tradeoffs clear. Aligning on priorities early during the clinical trial design process is essential to selecting the optimal clinical trial. Yet for this statisticians need to be equipped for both a strategic and communicative role in the R&D process.

Read More

3 Big Pharma Stocks Plunging the Most During the Coronavirus Stock Market Crash: Are They Buys?

Article | March 20, 2020

Big pharma stocks have been clobbered during the coronavirus-caused stock market crash. You can count the number of drugmakers with market caps of $25 billion or more whose shares haven't dropped by double-digit percentages on one hand -- and have several fingers left over. Three big pharma stocks have plunged the most: AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV), Bristol Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY), and Pfizer (NYSE:PFE). But are these stocks smart picks to buy right now?

Read More

How Can Medical Cannabis Help to Manage Pain Conditions? – The Cannabis Exchange

Article | March 20, 2020

Pain management is one of the most common reasons for the use of medical cannabis products. However, despite many jurisdictions – including Canada, Germany, and the Netherlands – now allowing the prescription of medical cannabis for this purpose, there remains little ‘high-quality’ evidence to support, or oppose its efficacy. Madden et al. (2018) set out to review the evidence available in order to determine the efficacy of medical cannabis when employed in the management of various forms of musculoskeletal pain. The researchers analysed various studies that assessed the use of cannabinoids in the treatment of arthritis pain; back pain; postoperative pain; and trauma-related pain. It is estimated that up to 30% of the population may suffer from a non-cancer-related pain condition. As such a high percentage of people suffer from these conditions, the development of simple and safe therapies is an essential area of research. This is particularly important as the therapeutic options for people with chronic pain are increasingly limited.

Read More

Spotlight

The Health Foundation

The Health Foundation is an independent charity committed to bringing about better health and health care for people in the UK. Our aim is a healthier population, supported by high quality health care that can be equitably accessed. From giving grants to those working at the front line to carrying out research and policy analysis, we shine a light on how to make successful change happen. We use what we know works on the ground to inform effective policymaking and vice versa.

Events