21. May 2012 11:23
Statins conventionally used to lower levels of cholesterol may reduce the risk of cancer in patients who have undergone a heart transplant, new research claims.
A Swiss study found patients taking statins were less likely to develop cancer and avoid death compared to those in the placebo group.
Lead author Dr Frank Enseleit said that statins should now be used as a “lifelong therapy in heart transplant recipients”.
The study included 255 patients who were alive a year after a heart transplant at the University Hospital Zurich in Switzerland between 1985 and 2007.
Around 40% of participants were later diagnosed with cancer. However, the study found that 65% of individuals were less likely to develop cancer when using statins.
Eight years after a heart transplant, more than a third of people who were not included in the statin group had developed cancer compared with around 13% of those taking the drugs.
Long-term benefits were also noted during the study. More than 40% of patients not on statins had cancer 12 years after their transplantation, compared with more than a fifth of those receiving the treatments.
“We have shown that statin therapy prevents cancer in heart transplant recipients and it is known that statins also prevent graft atherosclerosis,” said Dr Enseleit.
17. May 2012 15:18
A generic formulation of Pfizer’s blockbuster Lipitor (atorvastatin) has been launched in the UK on the first day of its patent expiry.
Indian pharmaceutical company Ind-Swift, in collaboration with its marketing partner Wockhardt UK, wasted no time in releasing the drug to gain market share.
Sirjiwan Singh, Wockhardt UK Managing Director, said the generic’s prompt launch was down to the partnership between the two companies.
“With increase in demand for cost effective drug for cardiovascular diseases, this generic launch is an excellent example of collaboration efforts of the two companies in leveraging on mutual strengths and competencies,” he said.
Lipitor, used for the treatment of high cholesterol and the prevention of heart attack, is the best selling drug in pharmaceutical history.
Pfizer recently admitted defeat in its fight against generic competition against the drug when it decided to cease marketing the product in the US. However, it is still expected to promote Lipitor in emerging markets, where increased demand may still generate billion dollar sales.
8. May 2012 12:37
Roche has cancelled its dal-OUTCOMES Phase III trial after its cholesterol drug dalcetrapib failed to show any clinically meaningful efficacy.
The independent Data and Safety Monitoring Board recommended stopping the study after dalcetrapib failed to show efficacy when added to standard options of care.
Hal Barron, Chief Medical Officer and Head of Global Product Development, said Roche was “disappointed” the drug didn’t “provide benefit to patients”.
The dal-OUTCOMES trial was part of the dal-HEART global programme involving six studies. More than 35,000 patients were involved in the trials – which have also been scrapped.
Patients in the dal-OUTCOMES trial were evaluated with the use of dalcetrapib when added to existing treatment options in those with stable coronary heart disease following an acute coronary syndrome.
There were no issues regarding the safety of the drug, but the outcome comes as a setback to Roche. The Swiss-based company had hoped dalcetrapib would reach ‘blockbuster’ status and saw its share price drop by 3.5% after the trial’s closure.
“We continue to be fully committed to the development of innovative medicines for people with cardiovascular disease,” said Hal Barron. “Our pipeline remains robust with 23 positive late-stage clinical trials reporting over the past 16 months and a significant increase in New Molecular Entities in late-stage development.”