The Health News – 26 Nov 2014

Overview

  • NewLink Genetics Corp United States’ second biggest pharmaceuticals company announced it will buy worldwide commercial rights to an experimental vaccine against the Ebola virus.
  • A world-first human trial set to begin in Brisbane and Melbourne has the potential to be one of the biggest breakthroughs in the treatment of brain cancer, researchers say.
  • Two of the leading figures in the fight against family violence, Victorian Police Commissioner Ken Lay and Rosie Batty, led more than 1,000 people through the streets of Melbourne today in a march to stop violence against women.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 26th November 2014. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-25/us-second-biggest-pharmaceutical-company-buys-rights-to-ebola-v/5914962

The United States’ second biggest pharmaceuticals company has announced it will buy worldwide commercial rights to an experimental vaccine against the Ebola virus.

NewLink Genetics Corp, whose subsidiary licensed commercial rights to the rVSV-EBOV vaccine in 2010, said it would receive $50 million plus royalties from Merck & Co Inc.

Large late-stage trials of the product could begin early next year, said Merck, one of the world’s biggest makers of vaccines.

Merck, which would be able to speed up and significantly boost production, would take over development of the vaccine and any follow-on products.

The Public Health Agency of Canada, which originally developed the vaccine, would retain non-commercial rights to it.

The deal between Merck and NewLink, a tiny biotechnology company based in Ames, Iowa, came as other drugmakers were also racing to test and scale-up production of treatments and

preventive vaccines for Ebola, which has killed more than 5,400 people this year.

It is the worst Ebola outbreak on record. Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia account for all but 15 of the deaths.

The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases were conducting early-stage trials of the NewLink vaccine.

The trials involved healthy volunteers and were testing whether the vaccine was safe and provoked a protective immune response.

If Phase I studies proved favourable, large late-stage trials would be set to begin early next year.

The World Health Organisation was also coordinating early-stage trials in Switzerland, Germany, Kenya and Gabon.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-25/human-trials-begin-on-brain-cancer-treatment/5917512

A world-first human trial set to begin in Brisbane and Melbourne has the potential to be one of the biggest breakthroughs in the treatment of brain cancer, researchers say.

Scientists are confident an antibody created to prolong the lives of people suffering from almost-always fatal Glioblastoma tumour may even offer a cure.

As part of the trial, 20 patients with the recurrent brain tumour will be treated at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and the Austin Hospital in Melbourne with the antibody that

specifically targets a cancer protein on the surface of the tumour cells.

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute’s professor Andrew Boyd discovered that cancer protein, EphA3, more than 20 years ago.

He also developed the antibody that has been shown to specifically target cancer cells which express EphA3.

 

It has been adapted for human use by American biotech company KaloBios Pharmaceuticals to create the KB004 clinical drug.

A clinical trial of the drug is already underway in leukaemia patients after a successful study.

Dr Brett Stringer, who along with Dr Bryan Day lead the research at QIMR Berghofer, said the upcoming Glioblastoma trial would be the first test of the drug against solid tumours, as opposed to blood cancers.

The Cure Brain Cancer Foundation will provide $500,000 to the study over the next three years.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-25/thousands-march-in-melbourne-against-family-violence/5917700

One woman is killed by a violent partner each week in Australia.

Two of the leading figures in the fight against family violence, Victorian Police Commissioner Ken Lay and Rosie Batty, led more than 1,000 people through the streets of Melbourne today in a march to stop violence against women.

On the United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Mr Lay said Australia could not arrest its way out of the situation.
..
There were also calls for doctors and health officials to do much more to stop family violence, with new research published in The Lancet.

Professor Kelsey Hegarty, who co-authored the Lancet paper, is a GP and the head of primary care at the University of Melbourne’s Department of General Practice.

She said the health system needed to be more focussed and streamlined when it came to addressing family violence.

“What we’re really looking for health professionals to do is provide a first line response that listens, validates, acknowledges what women and girls have been through in terms of violence against women and provides them with a pathway to safety and healing,” she said.

“To do that we need to strengthen the role of the health sector.”

In January 2013 Professor Hegarty called for GPs to be trained to recognise signs of domestic violence.

Since then, she said the health system had been slow to recognise the need for change.

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