Home' Australian Pharmacist : December 2011 Contents Vol. 30 -- December #12, 2011
Chronic illness R&D
The Pharmacy Guild has announced
funding -- through the Fifth
Community Pharmacy Agreement
(5CPA) Research and Development
Program -- of research into the
role community pharmacies can
play in the care of people with
chronic illness. It will result in a
better understanding of the burden
of chronic illness and lead to
recommendations for developing
better models of care that meet
the needs of consumers and may
reduce the financial burden on the
health care system.
A two and a half year project to be
undertaken by Griffith University
aims to understand consumers'
experiences of chronic illness and
choices or preferences about how
community pharmacists can assist
them in the management of their
A new voluntary database to enable
the sharing of intellectual property
for R&D on medicines and vaccines
will encourage the development
of new medicines and vaccines to
combat neglected tropical diseases,
according to Medicines Australia
chief executive Dr Brendan Shaw.
WIPO Re:Search was launched
last month in Geneva by the World
Intellectual Property Organisation.
Dr Shaw said the database will give
scientists access to intellectual
property such as clinical trial data
and technical know how needed to
develop medicines and vaccines for
diseases like malaria, tuberculosis,
dengue fever and cholera.
Intellectual property licensed via
the new WIPO Re:Search initiative
will be made available royalty-free
for R&D for neglected tropical
diseases in any country.
Party drug's brain tricks
A researcher at the University
of Sydney has for the first time
explained how the increasingly
common street drug mephedrone
affects the brain, helping to explain
why it is potentially such an
Also known by the street name
'meow meow', mephedrone
works like a combination of
methamphetamine (crystal meth or
ice) and MDMA (commonly known
as ecstasy), said PhD student,
He used an advanced technique
to trace the effect of mephedrone
on brain neurons. 'When you look
at the pattern of neurons activated
by the mephedrone, it is as if the
effect of ecstasy and the effect of
methamphetamine on the brain's
neurons had been laid on top of
' he said.
'The findings confirm the anecdotal
reports from mephedrone users
that the drug combines the
euphoric, sociable effects of
ecstasy with an addictive hook
comparable to drugs such as
cocaine or methamphetamine.
The research, which has been
published online in the journal
Addiction Biology ahead of print
publication, uses a technique called
c-Fos, which tracks proteins in the
brain that indicate which neurons
were activated by mephedrone
The brains of rats which were
dosed with mephedrone were
compared to those that weren't,
allowing researchers to detect
which neurons were reacting to
'Mephedrone is similar to ecstasy
but with a strong addictive
component. Rats really like this
drug, they'll spend hours working
to get it,
' Motbey said.
Mephedrone is a relatively
new recreational drug that has
been available in Australia for
approximately two years. It is
already in widespread use in the
UK and Europe, and is one of the
so-called designer drug created to
circumvent bans on existing drugs.
Mr Motbey's superviser and
co-author of the paper, Professor
Iain McGregor, will lead a project
that has received $386,250 from
the National Health and Medical
Research Council to study
mephedrone's effects on the brain
in more detail, including the long
term damage to users.
The work will be done in
conjunction with the UK National
Addiction Centre, London, a
leading authority on mephedrone.
Professor McGregor, head
of the University of Sydney's
said, 'Mephedrone is one of the
new breed of party drugs that are
exploding in popularity around
the world. The evolution of party
drugs is very rapid at present,
and the chemistry behind them
is often clever and devious.
Scientists and health authorities
must move urgently to define the
psychological and physical dangers
these drugs pose to young people'.
(For more on the origins of
mephedrone see page 1034.)
A consortium of pharmaceutical
companies working with NGOs
to combat the rise of HIV/AIDS in
Papua New Guinea has won the
Australian medicines industry's
2011 Pat Clear Award.
The Collaboration for Health
in PNG brings together five
companies -- Pfizer, MSD,
Ingelheim and Gilead.
Through the consortium, more
than 50,000 people in Papua New
Guinea have accessed professional
counselling and 3,000 are currently
receiving HIV care.
Medicines Australia chief executive
Dr Brendan Shaw said 'The
Collaboration for Health in PNG
is making a material difference to
the lives of people living with HIV/
AIDS in Papua New Guinea.
2008 more than 10 Australian
HIV specialists have mentored 80
colleagues from PNG on HIV/AIDS
treatment and care.
Links Archive Australian Pharmacist January 2012 November 2011 Navigation Previous Page Next Page