Healthcare online Keeping you up-to-date
VOL. 10  ISSUE:  4  April  2012 Medical Services Department

SQUARE Pharmaceuticals Ltd.


Brain Tumor Vaccine !




P G Dip. Business Management

A. S. M. Shawkat Ali

MBBS, M. Phil





Dear Doctor,

Welcome to this edition of 'e-SQUARE'.

Our current issue focused on some interesting features like -

"Prostate Cancer Genes !", "Appendicitis & Antibiotics !", "Blood Clot Risk !", "Brain Tumor Vaccine",  "Depression Marker !", "Mental Illness & Genes !".

In our regular feature, we have some new products information of SQUARE Pharmaceuticals Ltd. as well.

We will appreciate your feedback !

Click on to reply mode.

Yours sincerely,


Editorial Team

Reply Mode      : e-square@squaregroup.com

The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect those of its editor or SQUARE Pharmaceuticals Ltd.

 Prostate Cancer Genes !

  Researchers Find Genes Linked To Aggressive Prostate Cancer

The discovery of two inherited genetic variations may help doctors identify men at greater risk for aggressive prostate cancer, a new study suggests. A man's risk for the disease could triple or even quadruple depending on the genetic variant they have, according to the researchers. This study shows that there is inherited information in the non-coding areas of the genome that appears to play a strong role in development of cancer. Having a family history of prostate cancer is the strongest risk factor for the disease. As a result, the researchers tried to find DNA that is deleted or duplicated in the genetic information of men with prostate cancer compared to those who do not have the disease. In order to do that, investigators analyzed 1,900 blood samples from men involved in the Tyrol Early Prostate Cancer Detection Program in Austria, with age range from 45 to 75 since 1993. Of the men participating in the study, 867 had cancer and 1,036 did not. The study showed these so-called copy number variations (CNVs) play a significant role in the development of prostate cancer. The researchers discovered two CNVs that were significantly different between men with aggressive prostate cancer and those without cancer. They were also able to duplicate that finding in a group of 800 patients in the United States. In testing the effect of the two inherited variants in a lab, the investigators showed that the variants helped cancer cells grow and invade, putting some men at four times greater risk for prostate cancer. In the general population, up to 3 percent of men inherit these variants. This percentage is much higher among men with aggressive prostate cancer, the authors pointed out. However, these variants are not the only cause of aggressive prostate cancer and likely contribute to other risk factors that can lead to development of prostate cancer. Researcher noted that they are looking for other variants, which could help them develop a comprehensive DNA test to identify men at risk for aggressive prostate cancer.  

SOURCE: HealthDay News, April 2012

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 Appendicitis & Antibiotics !

Study Finds Antibiotics Best For Appendicitis

For people suffering from uncomplicated appendicitis, a course of antibiotics may be just as good as having the appendix removed, British researchers report. The researchers reviewed studies involving hundreds of patients to determine that treatment with antibiotics could be a safe alternative to surgery, which has been the so-called "gold standard" of care for an inflamed appendix since 1889. Starting antibiotics when the diagnosis of uncomplicated acute appendicitis is made will prevent the need for most appendectomies, reducing patient morbidity, researcher said. Since better diagnostic tools are now available to diagnose appendicitis, it is safe to adopt a careful ‘wait, watch and treat’ policy for those who have uncomplicated appendicitis. A meta-analysis of four studies in which a total of 900 patients with appendicitis were randomly assigned to surgery or antibiotics. Among patients treated with antibiotics, 63 percent did not need any further treatment after a year. In addition, antibiotic use resulted in 31 percent fewer complications than surgery, the researchers found. Among the more than 400 patients treated with antibiotics, 68 had recurrent symptoms. Of those, 13 had serious appendicitis, 04 had a normal appendix and 03 were successfully treated with antibiotics, investigators noted. The researchers also found no real differences in the length of hospital stays or the risk of complicated appendicitis between people treated with antibiotics and those who underwent surgery. Patients must be willing to accept an initial failure and subsequent recurrence rate of about 40 percent in exchange for the possibility of foregoing surgery and its associated risks.  However, appendectomy does not have a lot of complications, while the researchers found that antibiotic treatment resulted in a 20 percent chance of recurrence (with a perforated or gangrenous appendix) within a year. These results therefore should be interpreted with caution. Further studies are needed regarding this. The best for a patient can done is making an informed choice by asking questions. 

SOURCE:  HealthDay News, April 2012

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 Blood Clot Risk !

Certain Birth Control Pills May Carry Higher Blood Clot Risk: FDA

U.S. health officials announced that birth controls pills containing drospirenone a man-made version of the hormone progesterone may be associated with a higher risk of blood clots and will require new labels. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said the updated labels will inform users that the pills may carry as much as a tripled risk for blood clots compared to birth control pills containing other types of progesterone (also called progestins) such as levonorgestrel. The agency findings came from observational studies, some of which found increased risk for blood clots while others did not, the FDA noted in its medication safety alert. These newer contraceptives have been successfully marketed on the premise that they have fewer of the unwanted side effects of older hormone pills such as bloating, mood swings and acne. The risk of clotting with the newer pills is a low risk but the risk exists. The idea of the FDA looking at this and potentially increasing the warning has no downside. If anything, it increases awareness and that can only be a good thing. Previously, the panel members had voted that the newer contraceptives, which gained initial FDA approval in 2001, are a viable method of birth control, and that the benefits of preventing pregnancy outweigh the health risks.

SOURCE: HealthDay News, April 2012

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 Brain Tumor Vaccine !

Brain Tumor Vaccine Shows Promise In Early Trial

A vaccine made from brain cancer patients' own tumor cells led to a nearly 50 percent improvement in survival times for those stricken with glioblastoma multiforme, the same malignancy that claimed the life of U.S. a new study suggests. A phase 2 multicenter trial of about 40 patients with recurrent glioblastoma an aggressive brain cancer that typically kills patients within 15 months of diagnosis showed that the vaccine safely increased average survival to nearly 48 weeks, compared with about 33 weeks among patients who didn't receive the treatment. The six-month survival rate was 93 percent for the vaccinated group, compared with 68 percent for 86 other glioblastoma patients, who were treated with other therapies. About a quarter of the 18,500 brain tumors diagnosed each year are glioblastomas, which are more common in men and typically occur between the ages of 50 and 70, according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS). The vaccine used in the trial, known as HSPPC-96, was created with tumor cells from patients who had undergone surgery to remove as much tumor as possible. The vaccine was then injected into their bodies to induce an immune response against the tumor. Side effects among participants were minimal. Investigators hope that, if vaccine's impact validated with a randomized study in the near future could be a ‘total game-changer’. Survival of 15 months may increase to five years, a meaningful difference.

SOURCE: HealthDay News, April 2012

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 Depression Marker !

Researchers Develop Blood Test For Depression

Researchers have developed a blood test that could one day help diagnose teens with depression. Researchers identified 26 potential biological markers for depression. Then they tested the markers in a small group of teens and found that a handful of them could distinguish the teens with major depression from those without depression. It would be more accurate to diagnose depression with a blood test. The biomarkers now have to be studied in a larger group of teens. Currently the diagnosis for depression is subjective and involves doctors talking with patients about their moods.  Having an objective diagnosis that relies on biomarkers could also make it an easier diagnosis for teens to hear and ease some of the stigma associated with depression. Between 17 percent and 25 percent of adolescents and young adults experience depression, according to study background information. Teens who develop depression have a worse prognosis, marked by illness, substance abuse and suicidal behavior, compared to people who are diagnosed later in life. The current study involved 28 white and black teens. Half of the teens had depression. The researchers compared the levels of the 26 potential biomarkers in blood samples from the teens and found that 11 of them were present at higher or lower levels among the teens with depression. In addition, they found that 18 of the biomarkers could accurately predict whether teens with depression also had an anxiety disorder. In a clinical setting, a screening test for depression would involve a panel of biomarkers. Some of them would give the doctor a yes/no answer about whether the teen could have depression and need further evaluation, while others could reveal information about the depression and how to treat it, such as its severity and whether it is accompanied by anxiety, the researcher explained. Hope is that these tests not only can identify depression, but also potentially discriminate between different types of depression. Larger studies will tell us a lot about how useful these biomarkers could be, said the investigators. There are as yet no biomarkers available for diagnosing depression at any age. The discovery of these biomarkers gives researchers to pursue as potential antidepressants. Having a reliable blood-based diagnostic for depression might also help identifying high-risk populations, such as having family history of depression. It could also open the door to treating people before symptoms appear. 

SOURCE: HealthDay News, April 2012

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 Mental Illness & Genes !

 Researchers Identify Genes That May Determine Mental Illness

Genes that increase or reduce the risk of certain mental illnesses and Alzheimer's disease have been identified by an international team of scientists. The researchers said they also pinpointed a number of genes that may explain individual differences in brain size and intelligence. Investigators looked for factors that cause tissue atrophy and reduce brain size, which is a biological marker for hereditary disorders like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, Alzheimer's disease and dementia. The team of more than 200 scientists at 100 institutions worldwide measured the size of the brain and its memory centers in thousands of MRI images from more than 21,100 healthy people and screened the participants' DNA at the same time. In people with smaller brains, the researchers found a consistent relationship between subtle differences in the genetic code and smaller memory centers. They also found that the same genes affected the brain in the same ways in people in different populations. Millions of people carry variations in their DNA that help boost or lower their brains' susceptibility to a vast range of diseases. The researchers also found that a variant in a gene called HMGA2 may affect brain size and intelligence. Researcher found fairly unequivocal proof supporting a genetic link to brain function and intelligence. For the first time, they have watertight evidence of how these genes affect the brain. Searching for clues to disorders such as autism and schizophrenia, the researchers also plan to look for genes that influence brain wiring. For that task, investigator will use diffusion imaging, a new type of brain scan that tracks communication pathways among brain cells.

SOURCE: HealthDay News, April 2012

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New Products of SQUARE Pharmaceuticals Ltd.

  Product Meganta Plus®
  Generic Name Megaldrate Simethicone
  Strength 480 mg 20 mg 
  Dosage form Chewable Tablet
  Therapeutic Category Antacids, Antiulcerants
  Product Siglita®
Generic Name



50 mg, 100 mg

Dosage form Tablet
Therapeutic Category Oral Antidiabetic Drugs
  Product Dexonex-C® Eye/Ear Drops
  Generic Name Dexamethasone Chloramphenicol

0.1%   0.5%

  Dosage form Eye/Ear Drops
  Therapeutic Category Corticosteroid Eye/Ear

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