Abbott’s pea-sized implant for congenital heart defects gets FDA approval

FDA approved Abbott for its Amplatzer Piccolo Occluder, the implant designed for premature babies. The device is used to treat patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), a life-threatening opening in the hearts of premature newborns and is a minimally invasive procedure. PDA is an opening between two blood vessels leading from the heart that fails to close during normal development. The open channel is for the flow of oxygen-rich blood from the mother before birth. When the pathway fails to close, the increased blood flow to the lungs can make it difficult for premature babies to breathe normally.

Verona flunks after COPD drug misses phase 2 endpoint

A phase 2 trial of ensifentrine of Verona Pharma has missed its primary endpoint. Verona went into the readout with broadly positive data from another phase 2 in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). But, while the earlier trial linked ensifentrine, earlier known as RPL554, to significant improvements in peak forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1). It was found that it is statistically no better than placebo.

Swiss team halts breast cancer metastasis by bamboozling cells into becoming fat

The scientists at the University of Basel led to a combination of two FDA-approved drugs, in mice, that transformed breast cancer cells into fat cells, and prohibited the tumors from developing. The combo treatment consisted of diabetes drug Avandia (rosiglitazone) of GlaxoSmithKline and cancer treatment Mekinist (trametinib) of Novartis. The Swiss scientists’ experiment was their ability to exploit a developmental phase during which cancer cells are willing to turn into many different types of cells. When cancer cells enter that stage, known as an epithelial-mesenchymal transition, they become more like stem cells, but they also promote metastasis as well.

CellMax Life blood test study detects precancer colorectal polyps with 90% accuracy

A study by CellMax Life found that the company’s blood-based test was able to identify the small, precancerous colon polyps known as adenomas with 90% accuracy. By counting precancer and cancer cells in the bloodstream using its CMx platform, CellMax Life’s FirstSightCRC test also found that increase in cell counts is related with increase in disease severity. The early removal of adenoma polyps from the colon can reduce the mortality rate of colorectal cancer by 53%, according to the Sunnyvale, California-based company, which plans to present the study’s findings at the ASCO Gastrointestinal Cancer Symposium in San Francisco.