Last year a new drug to treat Alzheimer’s arrived on the scene called aducanumab, trade name Aduhelm, made by Biogen in Cambridge Massachusetts. It’s claimed this drug is different to its predecessors because it targets the causative biology of the disease – but it’s not without some controversy. To explain, let’s first look at whatContinue reading “Controversial Alzheimer’s drug”
Author Archives: Pharmablogology
The world’s most expensive drug is not a drug
Reports have appeared in the media recently headlining “the world’s most expensive drug” The subject of these headlines is Libmeldy, but the media seems obsessed with its cost, rather than what Libmeldy actually is. And, by the way, Libmeldy is no more a drug than my bird-watching binoculars are the James Web Space Telescope, butContinue reading “The world’s most expensive drug is not a drug”
Covid-19 and the brain
A common symptom of Covid-19 is anosmia (loss of the ability to smell) which suggested to some that the virus could get into the brain. More recent evidence seems to bear this out, although there is still a lot of speculation. I once attended a lecture by Martin Rees, the UK’s Astronomer Royal, who astonished theContinue reading “Covid-19 and the brain”
Spinal muscular atrophy and Zolgensma
Reports have appeared in the UK media of the NHS administering the most expensive drug in the world to a 5-month-old boy. Onasemnogene abeparvovec (sold as Zolgensma), costing around two and a half million US-dollars (£1.79 million),* is a gene therapy agent to treat spinal muscular atrophy. The headlines quoted the price but gave scantContinue reading “Spinal muscular atrophy and Zolgensma”
A Crisis of Infection
It’s amazing what humankind can achieve with the right amount of political will and resources. After the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Roosevelt oversaw the rebuilding of the Pacific fleet in only 6-months. Driven by rivalry with the Soviet Union, Kennedy announced in May 1961, “…we choose to go to the moon …”Continue reading “A Crisis of Infection”
Magic mushrooms and depression
Recent trials have suggested the active ingredient of magic mushrooms, psilocybin, might be a treatment for depression. This might be linked to widely used antidepressants such as Prozac.
What has opioid addiction got to do with cats?
Cat lovers will know the effect of catnip on their beloved pets only too well. Catnip (Nepeta cataria) is a member of the mint family and along with a similar plant called silver vine (Actinidia polygamy) it elicits a feline euphoria followed by a period of placid tranquillity, lasting perhaps 15-30 minutes. The effects wereContinue reading “What has opioid addiction got to do with cats?”
Maradona and a Biochemist
I start this blog post with, “I don’t want to sound bitter but…” and then I’ll go on to probably do just that. The media is full of tributes to Diego Maradona; some call him a genius, some a deeply flawed legend. For me personally, he was a cocaine addict connected to the Mafia whoContinue reading “Maradona and a Biochemist”
Pfizer-BioNTech are making a mRNA vaccine, but what is that?
Covid-19 blog for the non-expert The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for Covid-19 is all over the media. What hasn’t been in the headlines so much, is that this is a mRNA vaccine and if successful, it’ll be the first of its type. Some say they will not take it because it’s “rushed” but this misses the pointContinue reading “Pfizer-BioNTech are making a mRNA vaccine, but what is that?”
90% effective Covid-19 vaccine
The headlines are jubilant with “Covid-19” vaccine 90% effective. As one of those skeptical scientists, I’m in a difficult position because I don’t want to dampen any hope, but at the same time it’s worth questioning the headline to see what’s really behind it. The announcement was from Pfizer and BioNTech, and the media areContinue reading “90% effective Covid-19 vaccine”