Elderly underrepresented in clinical trials despite high disease rate

Older persons are significantly underrepresented in clinical trials even though this population represents the majority of those who receive drugs and treatments for medical conditions, according to a recently released issue brief by the International Longevity Center ? USA. “People aged 65 and over are woefully underrepresented or even excluded from clinical trails, which evaluate the safety and efficacy of drugs and treatments.” Dr. Robert N. Butler, president and CEO of the ILC-USA and co-author notes in the preface. “This can result in adverse reactions, inappropriate dosages or treatments, and the misperception that older people cannot tolerate or benefit from new drugs and procedures.”

Firefly molecule could quickly shed light on how well new drugs work

The process that makes fireflies glow bright in the summer night can also shed light on how well new medicines work, showing immediately whether the drugs are effective at killing cells or causing other effects. That’s the conclusion of a team of scientists who report that they have inserted the gene for a firefly’s glow-producing molecule into mice with cancer, and kept it from producing its telltale beacon of light until the cells started to die in response to cancer treatment.

Valium-like drug helps treat lupus

A cousin to the anti-anxiety drug Valium has been shown in mice to reduce some of the symptoms associated with lupus. Lupus is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues. “The best available therapies for lupus haven’t changed for many, many years,” says U-M’s Gary D. Glick, Ph.D., one of the lead authors on the study. “It’s a disease where the mechanisms that normally prevent the immune system from attacking components of one’s own body are defective. Because we do not yet understand what triggers lupus, it has been very difficult to develop lupus-specific therapies.”