Can a Common Anti-depressant Slow Down Alzheimer’s?

It seems it may be able to.  Research carried out at the University of Pennsylvania has shown that a commonly used SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) may have an effect on the rate that beta amyloid protein grows in the brain. Citalopram is usually sold under the names of Cipramil and Celexa.

If the beta amyloid protein grows too fast it brings on problems with memory, behavior and the ability to think, particularly in those who have Alzheimer’s disease.  There are two ways the protein works against a person: first, a plaque is formed in the brain, between nerve cells, by the beta amyloid. Second, tangles may form inside the nerve cells. These tangles are strands of protein, twisted up, called Tau. [Read more...]

How Medications Are Developed

Science plays a vital role for everyone. Drugs are some of the things created through this. These drugs are developed to treat diseases, allowing people to have good health and feel better. From over the counter medications for simple headaches to prescription medicines, they undergo a long process before they are made available to people. Aside from their effectiveness to treat a specific illness or disease, these medications must also be safe for use. Here are the most common steps taken when developing a drug. [Read more...]

MTAA Super Promotes Medical Research

imagesThe superannuation fund MTAA has announced that it is partnering with the Australian medical research firm Garvan Institute of Medical Research to promote medical research into serious diseases. This includes diseases such as multiple sclerosis, AIDS, certain cancers and other currently incurable diseases. The partnership is designed to raise awareness and provide more investment into the medical research industry. MTAA is also going to be participating in fundraising activities to support this worthy cause. In addition to this, MTAA members will be given the opportunity to donate to medical research – with all donations being fully tax deductible. Members will also be provided with regular updates and will have the option of subscribing to regular newsletters.

A Super First
This is the first partnership of this kind between a super fund and a medical research company. This is a very positive step for collaboration between an investment fund and medical research. We would hope that similar partnerships open up in the future and that investment funds start to see the medical research field as a potential viable investment. Australian superannuation traditionally relies on investing in major companies and projects, but encouraging investment in medical research would be a positive step for both industries. We congratulate both MTAA Super and the Garvan Institute for this partnership and hope that it will be the first of many such collaborations. You can find out more details about MTAA Super at http://www.smsfreviews.com.au/superannuation-fund-reviews/mtaa-super-performance-and-fund-review/, including membership numbers and fund performance.

The State of Medical Research Funding
Funding for medical research is in somewhat of a sad state of affairs. The government does provide funding in this area, but it doesn’t always get distributed to the right sources. Bank loans for medical research are almost unheard of so this source of funding cannot be relied upon. Private funding also makes up an important part of medical research funding, but this can be difficult to access. Donations from the public are also a considerable factor and thankfully the Australian people are very generous. However, donations fluctuate with the economy and can dry up in harsh economic conditions. The Coalition government has announced a $20 billion medical research fund to begin in 2015, but on the other hand almost $500 million in funding has been removed from a number of important science agencies. It is also worth remembering that the $20 billion does not go directly to medical research. Instead it is invested in a fund and the earnings from this fund are put into medical research. This means that the planned distributions in the next financial year are just $20 million!

Funding for medical research is essential to get us closer to cures and treatments that can improve the quality of life for patients with serious disease. Medical funding also creates a thriving industry that supports workers in the field and creates jobs. Fostering relationships between medical research firms and financial providers is one of the best ways that we can secure medical funding into the future. We can no longer rely on government funding or donations from the public.

The Search for Cure for Cancer Over?

The cure for cancer is long overdue. With the incredible feats of technologies (robots and spacecrafts, anyone?), you’d be hard pressed to think why there are still no cure for cancers available in the market today.

The answer is simple. There are promising cures for cancers but the pharmaceutical giants aren’t supporting it. Four years ago a group of scientists at the University of Alberta, Canada, have stumbled upon a simple procedure to beat cancer.

Turning On Mitochondria

According to them, cancer develops when the “self-destruct button” of cells shuts off. When cells lack oxygen, they switch to glycolysis to produce energy. This deactivates the mitochondria, the powerhouse that contains the self-destruct button. When this happens, cells cease to die and keep on replicating. Tumor thus develops. Lactic acid is also produced which enables these cells to eat through tissues, escape, and form other cancers throughout the body.

If this is the cause, the researchers figured that turning on the mitochondria will stop glycolysis and the cells will die and cease to form a tumor. Mitochondria can be turned on by administering dichloroacetate (DCA), a medication used to treat metabolic disorders.

After 15 months of treating five patients with glioblastoma, the cancer cells all died. It also killed lung and breast cancer. Prior to that it was tested among rats with sever tumors. Tumors died after feeding on water with DCA.

Cancer-Resistant Blind Mole Rat

Another recently published research by Professor Aaron Avivi and his team from the Haifa University, Israel showed successful results. It proved that blind mole rats are resistant to naturally and artificially-induced carcinogens. These rats live underground and can survive hyspoxia or the lack of oxygen. This ability also allows them to evade most other diseases so that they survive 20 years longer than other types of rats.

This 16-year study is so promising but Avivi admitted that it’s difficult to get adequate funding. Major sponsors reject research proposals because the rat is unfamiliar to them.

Why No Major Hype?

Although it is in its early stages, researches are showing promising results. So why is there no major media coverage? Why aren’t pharmaceutical conglomerates jumping on it? Because they cannot patent it. If they can’t patent it, they can’t profit. This is the same case with most other drugs out there. There are so many variants of analgesics but they do the same thing. Natural remedies are constantly berated as ineffective and a form of quack medication. There are lots of drugs that do the same exact thing because it is profitable.

This may sound harsh but in a world run by capitalism, this is the truth. The field of medicine has undergone many setbacks and breakthroughs, and these have shaped the lives of the entire humanity. From simple colds to severe tuberculosis, treatments have already been found and marketed. But much of this progress is directed by profitability. No sane pharmaceutical companies will ever promote cheap and easy ways to treat an illness lest they will lose a lot.

In an era of major technological breakthrough, the need for alert and informed consumerism is needed. We see only what we are trying to see.