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Drug focus

Beauty is now more than skin deep — the emergence of cosmeceuticals

April 2014

Ever wonder if the beauty products that line the shelves in pharmacies really work? Hamde Nazar et al look at various anti-ageing products and examine their actions

Iron is an old product, but recently it has been given a new lease of life

March 2014

Although iron has been recognised for its health-giving properties since prehistoric times. Jenny Bryan finds out why iron therapy is the focus of fresh research interest 

We are all part virus — the role of human endogenous retroviruses

February 2014

Viruses lurk in our genome and science is only now starting to understand the important role that they might play in health and disease. Kalliopi Dodou and Paul Whiteley explain

Despite the debate about the best dose, oxytocin still has its place in childbirth

February 2014

In our latest article on landmark drugs, Jenny Bryan looks at the history of oxytocin and finds out why this drug will not be disappearing from practice anytime soon 

Changing the way dentistry is delivered: novel treatments and therapies

February 2014

Hamde Nazar, Abdullah Nazar and Ali Nazar take a look at some of the latest dental products and therapies on the market, some of which are available in pharmacies

After 30 years, clozapine is still best for treatment-resistant patients

January 2014

There is still “fear” among some clinicians about prescribing clozapine for patients with treatment-resistant schizophrenia. Jenny Bryan takes a look at the drug’s history

How trastuzumab became a major part of our breast cancer treatment arsenal

December 2013 

In our final article on landmark drugs this year, Jenny Bryan takes a look at the long and winding road that trastuzumab travelled from laboratory to clinic

Pharmacogenomics — the key to developing personalised medicines

November 2013  

In our final “-omics” science article, Hamde Nazar takes a look at research and development in the field of pharmacogenomics and its importance in medicine today

Methadone may not be the perfect drug but it has helped many drug addicts

October 2013  

Critics have said that drug users are left in methadone limbo and never come off treatment but, as Jenny Bryan explains, the drug has helped many manage their addictions
Kalliopi Dodou and Paul Whiteley describe the study and analysis of the proteome in this month’s -omics science article

Cytochrome P450: recent developments

October 2013

Better understanding of cytochrome P450 has increased our ability to predict the clinical relevance of interaction studies.

Nalmefene: choice in alcohol dependence

September 2013

Nalmefene, a treatment licensed to reduce the amount of alcohol drunk, is now available although it is not the first drug to be used in this way.

How dornase alfa revolutionised treatment for cystic fibrosis patients

September 2013 

Cystic fibrosis patients generally have a poor quality of life. Jenny Bryan takes a look at how dornase alfa helped changed this for many sufferers

Developing biomaterials for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine

September 2013  

The fields of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine are growing exponentially through better technology and research. Hamde Nazar explains

Developing biomaterials for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine

September 2013  

The fields of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine are growing exponentially through better technology and research. Hamde Nazar explains

Levothyroxine: from sheep thyroid injections to synthetic formulations

July 2013 

Jenny Bryan takes a look at the colourful and interesting history of levothryoxine sodium, and the ongoing debate over combination treatment versus monotherapy

Lipidomics — the science and study of how lipids affect and modify our health

July 2013

Kalliopi Dodou and Paul Whiteley take a look at the growing interest in the research of lipids

June 2013
Baclofen has been used for treating spasticity for many years before losing out to gabapentin. Recently its use in alcoholism has sparked new interest

Using “smart” biomaterials and systems for targeted drug delivery

June 2013

Hamde Nazar looks at the research and development of responsive materials in drug delivery and devices in this month’s science article

Targeting SGLT2 — a new prescribing option for patients with type 2 diabetes

June 2013

Gareth Malson reports on dapagliflozin and its potential in diabetes treatment

May 2013 
Diclofenac has been prescribed widely but recently there has been emerging evidence of its cardiovascular side effects. Jenny Bryan investigates

In search of biomarkers — the science of metabolomics in pharmacy

May 2013  
In our latest science article Kalliopi Dodou and Paul Whiteley take a look at the study of the of small molecule metabolites found in biological fluids

Even today, morphine remains a popular opioid analgesic for cancer-related pain

April 2013 

Although it has a bad reputation for its addictive and side effects, morphine is still one of the best strong painkillers around. Jenny Bryan takes a look at the history of this drug

Mirabegron: no more dry mouth with OAB tablets

April 2013

Gareth Malson reports on mirabegron, a new treatment for overactive bladder

The use of nanotechnology in disease diagnosis and molecular imaging

April 2013
Continuing our science series theme of nanotechnology (PJ 2012;290:115), Hamde Nazar takes a look at the use of nanoparticles in diagnostics and molecular imaging

How ranibizumab became a major treatment for people with wet AMD

March 2013
In this month’s article on landmark drugs Jenny Bryan takes a look at how ranibizumab helped advance the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration

Microbiomics: its growing significance in the world of medicines testing

March 2013

Gut bacteria are now known to do more than just digest food. Kalliopi Dodou and Paul Whiteley take a look at microbiomics in our latest new science series

Short acting and reversible effects made heparin a great anticoagulant

February 2013 

Heparin remains an important drug for venous thromboembolism. But, in some hospitals, a new era of oral agents has arrived.  Jenny Bryan explains

Actinic keratosis: a new treatment that could result in better compliance

February 2013

Gareth Malson talks to a dermatologist about ingenol and looks at its place in therapy

There is no question that nanotechnology will become increasingly more important in the future of medicine. Hamde Nazar describes some exciting developments

Nicotine replacement therapy’s positive impact on smokers is more than puff

January 2013
Although nicotine replacement therapy is commonly prescribed and used nowadays, its journey to this point was anything but smooth. Jenny Bryan explains

DNA not necessarily your destiny? The role of epigenetics in pharmacy

January 2013
Our 2013 science series will look at the ”new” pharmaceutical sciences that are emerging. Kalliopi Dodou and Paul Whiteley introduce epigenetics in this first article

Rienso: another option for renal anaemia

January 2013
Gareth Malson looks at ferumoxytol and where it might fit in therapy

Folic acid: from a rescue treatment for methotrexate patients to landmark drug

November 2012 

Jenny Bryan looks at folic acid, which started out as a treatment for patients  taking methotrexate and became an important supplement for women

Intrathecal route of drug delivery can save lives or improve quality of life

November 2012

In our final science article for 2012 on pharmaceutics, Kalliopi Dodou takes a look at the less commonly used intrathecal route of drug delivery

Effective, easy to use and affordable — the discovery and use of phenobarbital

October 2012

Phenobarbital continues to be recommended as first-line treatment for adults and children with epilepsy in poor countries. Jenny Bryan looks at the story behind the drug

Perampanel: a weapon against epilepsy

October 2012

Gareth Malson and Lin-Nam Wang report on a new first in class antiepileptic

 

Research and development in novel injectable formulations and devices

October 2012
In this month’s science article on pharmaceutics, Hamde Nazar takes a look at new injectable devices and injectable drug formulations on the market

Why you still need to know about micelles

September 2012

Chris Green and Fyaz Ismail remind readers of what micelles are, how they are used in drug delivery and how they might affect administration of medicines

From cancer to rheumatoid arthritis treatment: the story of methotrexate

September 2012  

In this month’s article on landmark drugs, Jenny Bryan takes a look at how the use of methotrexate evolved from treating cancer to managing rheumatoid arthritis

Exploring the unconventional routes — rectal and vaginal dosage formulations

September 2012   

Although rectal and vaginal routes of drug delivery are not common, Kalliopi Dodou examines the design of new formulations that allow easier insertion and retention

Nasal flu vaccine increases acceptability

August 2012 

A needle-free influenza vaccine is music to trypanophobes' ears, says Gareth Malson

Pseudoephedrine is a tough product to challenge as a nasal decongestant

July 2012  

Although pseudoephedrine has had its fair share of negative publicity in recent years, Jenny Bryan looks at why it is still one of the best decongestants around

New drug delivery formulations via the lungs are worth holding your breath for

July 2012 

In our latest article on pharmaceutics, Hamde Nazar takes a look at new developments on the horizon for drug delivery via the pulmonary route

A new antibiotic to tackle C difficile

July 2012

A look at fidaxomicin, a first-in-class macrocyclic antiobiotic

Azilsartan: the new sartan on the block

June 2012

Will a new sartan offer any benefits over the ones already in use?

Although topical hydrocortisone is freely available in pharmacies nowadays, prejudice against its use continues and some patients are still under-treated, explains Jenny Bryan

Oral formulations adapted for the old and the young and to prevent misuse

June 2012 

In the second of two articles, Kalliopi Dodou and Hamde Nazar examine some novel oral formulations for those with difficulty swallowing or which prevent misuse

A natural remedy, Chinese superdrug and antimalarial: the story of artemisinin

May 2012 
Recent news of the emergence of artemisinin-resistant malaria has dealt a blow to the war against this disease. Jenny Bryan takes a look at the history of artemisinin

Research and development in oral controlled release drug formulations

May 2012 
In the first of two articles, Hamde Nazar and Kalliopi Dodou take a look at some oral controlled release drug formulations and the pharmaceutics behind their design

The holy grail of diabetes treatment that saves lives: the story of insulin

April 2012
Insulin is one of the most powerful drugs the medical community can use against diabetes. In this month’s article on landmark drugs, Jenny Bryan looks at the history of insulin

Research and developments in buccal and sublingual drug delivery systems

April 2012

In this month’s science article, Kalliopi Dodou examines the pharmaceutics behind buccal and sublingual drug delivery and looks at new developments in this area

A drug that does exactly what it says on the tin — the story of allopurinol

March 2012   

Alllopurinol is not exactly a “glamorous” drug but its discovery and use has changed the lives of patients who suffer from gout, an embarassing ailment. Jenny Bryan investigates

There is more to the technology behind ocular delivery than meets the eye

March 2012  

There are many challenges to overcome in ocular drug delivery. Hamde Nazar takes a look at the pharmaceutics and recent developments in this area

There’s no doubt that goserelin helped advance prostate cancer treatment

February 2012 

Goserelin played an important role in the significant developments in the treatment of prostate cancer that have occurred over the past 25 years. Jenny Bryan investigates
February 2012  
The transdermal drug delivery market has gone from strength to strength over the past decade and continues to grow. Kalliopi Dodou examines current and future developments

How spironolactone became the next best thing for severe heart failure

January 2012

In our first article on landmark drugs this year, Jenny Bryan takes a look at how spironolactone was given a new lease of life as a treatment for severe heart failure

Trajenta looks set to buck renal trend

January 2012

Gareth Malson looks at when linagliptin may be a preferred prescribing option for diabetes

The potential for delivery of drugs via the nasal route is not to be sniffed at

January 2012

Pharmaceutics and modes of drug delivery will be under the spotlight in our series on science for 2012. In the first article, Hamde Nazar takes a look at nasal administration

Even today, aspirin continues to fight for acceptance by the medical industry

November 2011

Our final landmark drugs article of 2011 by Jenny Bryan takes a look at aspirin, arguably one of the most well known drugs this century, despite continued debate about its use

Boceprevir boosts hepatitis C treatment

November 2011

Gareth Malson finds out how a new medicine for genotype 1 hepatitis C is likely to be used

Current treatments and research in the management of acute migraine attacks

November 2011

John Sherwood and Tania Jones take a look at the current standard treatments for migraine attacks and see what is on the horizon for future developments

Despite its problems, terfenadine did set a new standard for hay fever treatment

October 2011

In this article on landmark drugs, Jenny Bryan takes a look at how terfenadine, although not in use today, paved the way for research into non-sedating antihistamines

Xifaxanta for traveller’s diarrhoea

October 2011

Lucy Hedley looks at a new alternative to ciprofloxacin and azithromycin (unlicensed use) for treating traveller’s diarrhoea: rifaximin

Current research in and development of treatments for rheumatoid arthritis

October 2011

In this month’s science article, Deanne Marshall and Tania Jones take a look at current pharmacological treatments for rheumatoid arthritis and potential new drugs

September 2011

In this month’s article on landmark drugs, Jenny Bryan looks at the discovery of taxanes and how they revolutionised the treatment of breast cancer

Current research in and development of treatments for Parkinson’s disease

September 2011

Tania Jones and Richard Murray examine the pathophysiology of Parkinson’s disease, its current treatments and the latest research

Yellox: just another ocular NSAID?

July 2011 

Gareth Malson looks at possible benefits of bromfenac eyedrops after cataract surgery 

How minoxidil was transformed from an antihypertensive to hair-loss drug

July 2011

In this month’s article on landmark drugs, Jenny Bryan takes a look at how a side effect of minoxidil changed it into a popular hair-restoring product in pharmacies today

Gilenya: an alternative to MS injections?

July 2011

Gareth Malson shines a spotlight on fingolimod, a new treatment for multiple sclerosis

Current therapies for and research in the treatment of thromboembolism

July 2011

In this science article, Judith Heed and Mark Ashton examine the molecular basis of thrombosis, and current treatments and research and development of the disease

Xiapex for Dupuytren’s contracture

July 2011

Collagenase Clostridium histolyticum marketed as Xiapex (Pfizer) is the first licensed injectable treatment for adults with Dupuytren’s contracture with a palpable cord.

Still going strong at 30: co-amoxiclav

June 2011

In an era when bacterial resistance represents one of the greatest challenges to global health, it seems remarkable that the 30-year old antibiotic co-amoxiclav can still cure thousands of chest infections each winter. Jenny Bryan reports

Current pharmacological treatments and research and development in HIV

June 2011

Progress in the research of HIV treatments has seen the disease move from a fatal to a chronic condition. Mark Ashton and Manjul Medhi take a look at the current drugs available and research and development into new treatments

A flexible drug with a wide range of doses — why oxybutynin is so useful

May 2011

In this month’s article on landmark drugs, Jenny Bryan looks at oxybutynin’s longevity in the world of overactive bladder treatments and why it is still one of the most highly used drugs in the UK

Halaven: a new breast cancer option

May 2011

Eribulin, marketed as Halaven (Eisai), is licensed as monotherapy for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer whose disease has progressed despite them having received two previous chemotherapy options for advanced disease

Current therapies and research and development in the treatment of asthma

May 2011

There are around 5.4 million people in the UK receiving treatment for asthma. In this science article, Mark Ashton and Kay Crockatt look at the pathophysiology of asthma, current drug treatments and research and development into new therapies

How synthetic surfactants allowed those with RDS to breathe more easily

April 2011

In The Journal’s latest article on landmark drugs, Jenny Bryan looks at the role of synthetic surfactants in the competitive market for treatments of respiratory distress syndrome in premature babies

Current and future options for the management of heart failure

April 2011

In this science article, John Sherwood, Mark Ashton, Claire Newton and Sumita Biles examine the pathophysiology of heart failure, current treatments available, and research and development into new treatments

“Kwik-Fiximab” — how a monoclonal antibody transformed care of Crohn’s

March 2011

In this article on landmark drugs, Jenny Bryan takes a look at how monoclonal antibodies transformed the lives of millions of people with
autoimmune disorders

New drugs and developments in the research into diabetes treatment

March 2011

In this science article, Mark Magas takes a look at current research and development in the treatment of diabetes, including ways of manufacturing and delivering insulin

How chlorpromazine improved the treatment of schizophrenic patients

February 2011

In The Journal’s latest article on landmark drugs, Jenny Bryan takes a look at the discovery of chlorpromazine and how its use has revolutionised the care of patients with schizophrenia

Current research and development of new treatments for schizophrenia

February 2011

In this science article, Mark Ashton and Adam Todd examine the pathophysiology of schizophrenia, current treatments on the market and research into new treatments

Benefits versus risks — the rise and fall of hormone replace therapy

January 2011

In this article on landmark drugs, Jenny Bryan takes a look at hormone replacement therapy’s rapid rise in popularity in the 1990s and its subsequent decline in popularity after studies linking it to breast cancer were published

Current and future options for the management of hypertension

January 2011

In this science article, John Sherwood, Mark Ashton and Hugh Ferriman take a look at current pharmacological treatments for hypertension and examine research and development into new treatments

Donepezil — a major breakthrough in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease

December 2010

The acetylcholinesterase inhibitor Donepezil had a major impact on the lives of patients with Alzheimer’s disease but right from the start there were budgetary concerns. In this month’s “Landmark drugs” article, Jenny Bryan looks at donepezil and the future of it and other AChE inhibitors

Research and developments of vaccines and drug treatments for influenza

December 2010

Infections with influenza occur predominantly during a six-to-eight week period during winter. Keith Lumbard and Mark Ashton describe current treatments for influenza and look at research into new vaccines and drug treatments

How the discovery of Australia antigen led to the creation of hepatitis B vaccine

November 2010

Although eradication of hepatitis B remains a distant goal, the development of the hepatitis B vaccine has, nonetheless, reduced infection rate and deaths. Jenny Bryan takes a look at the development of the vaccine in this month’s article on landmark drugs

Current research and developments in pharmacological treatments for obesity

November 2010

An article from Helen Simpson and Mark Ashton that describes current drug treatments for obesity and highlights potential new developments

Clomifene’s role in fertility treatment has never been usurped by its rivals

October 2010

In this article on landmark drugs, Jenny Bryan takes a look at how clomifene became one of the most successful fertility pills of all time

How erythropoietin transformed the lives of kidney disease patients

September 2010

In this article in the landmark drugs series, Jenny Bryan takes a look at erythropoietin alfa, which allowed people with advanced kidney failure to look healthy, go to work and exercise again

The process of drug development from the laboratory bench to the market

September 2010

In this science article, Timothy J. Snape and Alison M. Astles discuss the processes involved in drug discovery and the methods used in developing new drugs from the laboratory bench to the market place

The transformation of chemotherapy by the 5-HT3 antagonist ondansetron

August 2010

An article on landmark drugs from Jenny Bryan looks at how ondansetron emerged from a research programme in the mid-1980s and was shown to be more effective than older antiemetics in controlling nausea and vomiting for patients undergoing chemotherapy

The rational redesign of penicillins to help combat penicillin resistance

August 2010

August 2010's science article explores the link between chemical structures of penicillins and their clinical importance. Timothy J. Snape and Alison M. Astles re-emphasise the link between chemistry and pharmacy practice in order to shed some light on why there is a need for so many penicillin antibiotics

How alendronate became the most widely used bisphosphonate in the UK

July 2010

Continuing with our monthly articles on landmark drugs, Jenny Bryan takes a look at how alendronate was shown to reduce both vertebral and non-vertebral fractures, which gave it an advantage that etidronate and other early bisphosphonates were not able to match

Take a close look at citalopram and you can predict its contraindications

July 2010

In this science article, Timothy J. Snape and Alison M. Astles go back to basics with some revision of fundamental chemistry principles and look at how they are directly applicable to current pharmacy practice, using citalopram as an example

Despite the dramas, “the pill” has no doubt been a remarkable drug

June 2010

As the oral contraceptive pill approaches its 50th birthday, Jenny Bryan looks at how this landmark drug continues to be subject to intense scrutiny

Current and potential new therapies for the treatment of psoriasis

June 2010

In our latest article on science, Adam Todd, Roz J. Anderson, Paul W. Groundwater and Suja Elizabeth George look at current treatments for psoriasis, discuss scopes for new therapies and look at some new agents in development

Nifedipine: from the treatment of angina to the treatment of hypertension

May 2010

In The Journal’s latest article on landmark drugs, Jenny Bryan looks at how nifedipine’s indication and popularity expanded

May 2010

Alzheimer’s disease is a debilitating condition that causes enormous suffering. In this science article, Adam Todd, Adrian Moore, Mark Ashton and Son Van look at current research and development into new treatments for this disease

April 2010

In this article on landmark drugs, Jenny Bryan looks at how the meningitis C vaccine has reduced the annual number of cases of this infection

April 2010

In The Journal’s latest article on science, Wasim Baqir and Carmel Copeland look at some of the current treatments and upcoming novel treatments for managing osteoporosis and fracture risk

How sumatriptan transformed the lives of millions of migraine sufferers

March 2010

In our latest article on landmark drugs, Jenny Bryan looks at how the discovery of sumatriptan started a revolution in migraine treatment

Targeting the thioredoxin system in the treatment of certain cancers

March 2010

In the fourth and final science article on cancer treatments, Adam Todd, Roz J. Anderson, Grace Pickles and Paul W. Groundwater look at the thioredoxin system and its association with cancer, and how it offers a new therapeutic target for anticancer drug design

Why warfarin was an important step forward in anticoagulation therapy

February 2010

It has taken over half a century for landmark drug warfarin to face serious competition at the forefront of anticoagulation therapy and, even now, with a new generation of drugs snapping at its heels, rumours of its demise are, as Mark Twain would say, “an exaggeration”

Current advances and research in the treatment of pancreatic cancer

February 2010

In the third of four science articles on cancer treatments, Steve Williamson, Adam Todd, Roz J. Anderson and Paul W. Groundwater discuss current and novel treatments for pancreatic cancer, including one which is derived from a flower

Phortress: the smart antitumour agent which induces its own metabolism

January 2010

In the second of four articles on cancer treatments, Tracey Bradshaw introduces a new antitumour agent, Phortress, currently under clinical evaluation, which offers a novel mechanism of action, with a smart approach to selectivity

Botox: from specialist ophthalmology clinics to suburban Botox parties

December 2009

The 20-year odyssey from orphan drug to billion dollar blockbuster has seen botulinum toxin travel from specialist ophthalmology clinic to suburban Botox party, and its clientele extend from grateful patients with previously untreatable muscle spasms to multi-millionaire X Factor judges in search of youthful skin

Isotretinoin: an enormous landmark in the treatment of severe acne

November 2009

Like it or loathe it, the acne treatment isotretinoin has transformed the lives of thousands of teenagers since it was licensed in the UK in 1983. At a time when dermatologists resorted to leprosy drugs and systemic steroids to treat the most severe cases of acne, the arrival of isotretinoin was widely welcomed despite its teratogenic properties which were recognised from the start

An overview of cancer treatments

November 2009

As part of our series of science articles, Roz J. Anderson, Paul W. Groundwater, Adam Todd and Adrian Moore present the first of four articles on cancer treatments. The first provides an overview of traditional anticancer therapies, their mechanisms of action and their limitations

How the rise of sildenafil transformed the management of erectile dysfunction

October 2009

Sildenafil is “younger” than the drugs discussed to date in this series, but its major impact guarantees its place as a landmark drug. The drug transformed both the management of erectile dysfunction (ED) and the understanding of its cause

Current research and development into new antibacterial agents

October 2009

Following on from their first article (PJ, 12 September 2009, p281), which discussed new techniques employed to detect pathogenic bacteria, Adam Todd, Alan J. Worsley, Roz J. Anderson and Paul W. Groundwater outline recent research in antibacterial chemotherapy

The discovery of benzodiazepines and the adverse publicity that followed

September 2009

No other landmark drug has been associated with as much adverse publicity as Valium (diazepam) and the extended family of benzodiazepines which it spawned. Even nearly five decades after the first benzodiazepine was launched, and almost 30 years since the Department of Health warned against long-term use, an estimated 1.5 million people are addicted to benzodiazepines

The technology and techniques used in the detection of pathogenic bacteria

September 2009

In our latest science article, Paul W. Groundwater, Adam Todd, Alan J. Worsley and Roz J. Anderson give an introduction to some of the methods used in bacterial detection and explain how these methods could impact on the future of antibiotic prescribing

Rational drug design — designing a molecule that binds to a target

August 2009

In the second part of our science article on rational drug design, Adam Todd, Roz Anderson and Paul W. Groundwater describe how a molecule that binds to a target is designed, using angiotensin-converting enzyme as a worked example to illustrate the process

Superseding antifungal creams and pessaries — the story of fluconazole

July 2009

When the antifungal agent fluconazole reached British pharmacies in 1990, there was a pressing need for effective treatment for oral candidiasis, which was afflicting a significant proportion of HIV or AIDS patients, whose prognosis had been newly improved with antiretroviral treatment

Rational drug design — identifying and characterising a target

July 2009

Structure-based drug design is now a common method used by the pharmaceutical industry to identify a lead compound and take it forward for further development. Adam Todd, Roz Anderson and Paul W. Groundwater describe the methods used to identify and characterise a target for structured drug design and illustrate how pharmacists can play an important role in this process

How the prescribing of omeprazole took off — and never looked back

June 2009

For a product that spent its early life with cancer scare stories hanging around its neck, the first proton pump inhibitor (PPI), omeprazole, has not done badly. Licensed for the treatment of duodenal ulcer and other acid-related disorders, omeprazole hovered at or near the top of the world’s best seller charts through much of the 1990s

The development of modern vaccines

June 2009

Jim Brewer and Virgil Schijns describe how modern vaccination approaches have developed and how animals will continue to play a fundamental role in understanding the control of the immune response to vaccines and the development of novel vaccines

Current and future incretin-based therapies for the treatment of diabetes

May 2009

Diabetes mellitus is becoming increasingly prevalent. In this article, Brian Furman discusses the development of therapies for type 2 diabetes based on the incretin hormones glucagon-like peptide-1 and glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide 

From snake venom to ACE inhibitor — the discovery and rise of captopril

April 2009

In the early 1980s, hypertension conferences were routinely enlivened by the poisonous Brazilian viper, Bothrops jararaca. With its striking zig-zag markings and aggressively protruding tongue, images of the snake were a welcome break from graphs and tables in presentations about captopril — the first of the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, whose effects on blood pressure mechanisms mimicked those of the snake’s venom

Current treatments and development of modern therapies for stroke

April 2009

Stroke is the third most common cause of death and disability. Currently, there is an unmet need for better drug treatments for this complex disease. In this article, Felicity N. E. Gavins discusses current treatments and the potential for new drugs for stroke

How the discovery of ibuprofen helped pave the way for other NSAIDs

March 2009

Looking at the rows of branded and generic packs that now sit prominently on the shelves of every pharmacy, it is hard to believe that some of the first rheumatologists who tested ibuprofen raised doubts about its future as a treatment for rheumatoid  arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis

Development of treatments targeting the renin-angiotensin system

March 2009

The renin-angiotensin system plays an important role in regulating cardiovascular function and there has been major successes with drugs targeting it. Will Ford discusses the mechanisms underlying this system and the development of therapeutics that target it

From breast cancer treatment to prevention: the story of tamoxifen

February 2009

When the anti-oestrogen tamoxifen (Nolvadex) was first tested in advanced breast cancer in the early 1970s, endocrine therapy was falling out of favour because powerful combinations of cytotoxic drugs were starting to yield better results

Development of disease-modifying treatments for rheumatoid arthritis

February 2009

The treatment paradigm for rheumatic arthritis has now developed from one of controlling pain and inflammation to one of preventing joint destruction. Michael Seed discusses the development of novel drugs and the role of animal models in their development 

Levodopa — still the gold standard after 40 years of successful treatment

January 2009

Levodopa, still the gold standard treatment for Parkinson’s disease almost four decades after it was launched, has achieved a place in pharmaceutical history that few drugs will ever match. Yet, when it was introduced as Larodopa by Roche, only those who had witnessed Parkinson’s patients get out of their wheelchairs after levodopa treatment would have put money on such succes

Myths and facts about animals in biomedical research and development

January 2009

In this first article in a new series on pharmaceutical sciences, Kathy Banner, an industrial pharmacologist at Novartis, and Brian Furman, University of Strathclyde, explore some of the myths surrounding the use of animals in biomedical research and drug developmen

How ciclosporin changed attitudes towards organ transplantation

November 2008

When the antirejection drug, ciclosporin (Sandimmun, Neoral), was extracted from the fungus Tolypocladium inflatum in the Swiss laboratories of Sandoz (now part of Novartis) in 1971, organ transplantation was strictly for the mavericks. Sandoz were looking for antibiotics, not immuno-suppressants, for which there was practically no market

Simvastatin and the study that allayed fears of cancer, suicide and murder

September 2008
Nearly 20 years after its name first appeared on prescription pads, an estimated 2.5 million people in the UK are taking simvastatin to lower cholesterol. A further million or so take rival statins, and heart disease tsar Roger Boyle has predicted that the total could double when Government plans for wider heart disease checks are implemented

Interferon: the drug that changed our understanding of multiple sclerosis

August 2008

Revolutionising the way a disease is treated is the primary requirement for a landmark drug to be included in this series. But few of the drugs featured so far have made doctors ask fundamental questions about the pathophysiology of a disease in the way that interferon has. The drug has changed our understanding of multiple sclerosis (MS)

Interferon: an important step forward in treating hepatitis C infection

June 2008

When American liver disease specialist Jay Hoofnagle reported giving alpha interferon to 10 patients with hepatitis C in 1986, the virus that causes the disease had not even been identified, and the disease was still called “non-A, non-B hepatitis”. But there was no doubting the efficacy of the treatment. In eight of the 10 patients, liver enzyme levels fell rapidly and eventually reached normal or near normal levels

Prozac — is it worthy of the hype?

January 2008

Prozac (fluoxetine) was a member of a new class of antidepressants, the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs as they quickly became known. Its development came from a combination of serendipity and self-interest but for a long time its future was in doubt. Its discoverers, researchers working for Eli Lilly, were unconvinced that it would have any value as an antidepressant, and it languished for 16 years from its discovery in 1972 to its launch in 1988

Inderal — a forerunner of a radically new generation of products

November 2007

When beta-blockers dropped off the first-line therapy list for hypertension in last year's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence and British Hypertension Society (BHS) guideline update, it was the end of an era for a group of drugs that were a major advance for blood pressure treatment. Starting with Inderal (propranolol), they were also the first real fruit of the receptor research that shaped pharmaceutical investigation during the second half of the 20th century

Ventolin remains a breath of fresh air for asthma sufferers, after 40 years

October 2007

When Allen & Hanburys launched the first selective Beta 2-receptor agonist, Ventolin (salbutamol), in 1968, the drug was an instant success. With asthma mortality peaking at over 2,000 deaths per year in the mid 1960s, an effective broncho-dilator that specifically targeted the Beta2-receptors of the lungs was immediately seen as an important advance