Daily Round-up – Walmart starts marketing altruism; pharmacology developments improve chemotheraphy treatment; vaccine against childhood disease in Thailand

17 Dec

1. Walmart becomes the latest corporation to enter the spirit of seasonal goodwill, with its wide-scale “12 days of Giving” campaign. Over twelve consecutive days, Walmart will award a total of $1.5 million to 140 organizations nationwide, providing basic needs and services such as food, shelter, clothing and medical care.

On the seventh day of giving December 16, it donated $165,000 to a 11 charities which enhance job prospects and employability. Each one received an equal share of $15,000. The beneficiaries include Boise Rescue Mission, which help the homeless; and Damascus Road Residential Center, which rehabilitates non-violent juvenile offenders, so they can “avoid layers of future consequences associated with acquiring a juvenile record”. Another worthy organisation, Dress for Success (Des Moines), acts as a sartorial Robin Hood, asking for donations of smart work clothes and suits which are redistributed to those who need to brush up for job interviews.

Perhaps it’s because of Xmas, but the much-criticised ‘multinational corporations’ have started to give back to local communities. Should we enforce community service on Standard Chartered, instead of fines by federal law enforcers?

2. Early success in clinical tests on a new drug to cure B-cell lymphoma (cancer of the blood, or lymph glands, associated with immunodeficiency like that caused by AIDs). Pixuvri is an anthracenedione, a chemotherapydrug which can inhibit damaging side-effects of the more powerful chemotherapy (anthracycline) drug doxorubicin. The anthracyclines, although effective at combating malignant tumours, cause cardiotoxicity through the formation of reactive oxygen species, or long lived hydroxymetabolites (which have the effect of inhibiting uptake of noradrenaline). Pixuvri does not cause these chemicals to form; but more than that, it helps prevent their formation in cardiac tissue samples pre-treated by doxorubicin.

Pixuvri has been granted a conditional marketing authorisation in the EU, though not in the US. The European Medicine Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use has accepted PIX306, CTI’s ongoing randomized controlled phase III clinical trial, which compares Pixuvri-rituximab to gemcitabine-rituximab in patients who have relapsed after one to three prior regimens for aggressive B‑cell NHL  and who are not eligible for autologous stem cell transplant. Results should be out in 2015.

3. Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi , announced that its next generation vaccine against Japanese encephalitis (JE) is now available in Thailand. About 3 billion people in the Asia Pacific Region are at risk of JE for which there is no specific treatment. JE is most common in children under 15 years of age. 20-30% of JE affected people die. It is the leading cause of childhood viral neurological infection and disability in Asia.

There is no specific treatment for Japanese encephalitis and vaccination is the most effective way to be protected, said Kulkanya Chokephaibulkit, Pchemotherapyrofessor of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Siriraj Medical School. This new Japanese encephalitis vaccine has shown to provide seroprotection to 96% of the children just 1 month after one dose and long term protection after a booster.”

elp youthful offenders avoid layers of future consequences associated with acquiring a juvenile record

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