GeNO LLC Initiates Phase 2 Trial For Nitric Oxide Delivery System

GeNO LLC, a privately held, advanced development-stage technology company, announced commencement of the Phase 2 clinical trial for its stand-alone gas cylinder NITROSYL™ System. The initial indication to be studied for nitric oxide delivered via the GeNO NITROSYL™ System is as a diagnostic agent for administration as an adjunct to right heart catheterization in patients with Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (WHO Group 1) to add information to improve clinical decision making. No agents are currently approved for this indication. Prior to conducting a Phase 3 registration study, GeNO LLC will first conduct this Phase 2, 10-patient pilot study to obtain preliminary safety and feasibility data from short term (15 minute) administration of inhaled nitric oxide via the GeNO Gas Cylinder NITROSYL™ System.

GeNO’s stand-alone gas cylinder stores premixed nitric oxide as nitrogen dioxide in either air or oxygen. The gas is allowed to flow through GeNO’s proprietary cartridge containing ascorbic acid, which generates nitric oxide immediately prior to inhalation. A second cartridge is provided for redundancy

Leading researchers from four major medical centers will participate in the NITROSYL™ Phase 2 trial, including: Robert C. Bourge, M.D., Director, Division of Cardiovascular Disease at University of Alabama at Birmingham; Ioana Preston, M.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Tufts University School of Medicine and the Co-Director for the Pulmonary Hypertension Center at Tufts Medical Center; Robert Schilz, D.O., Ph.D., Medical Director of Lung Transplant and Pulmonary Vascular Disease at UH Case Medical Center; and Fernando Torres, M.D., Associate Professor of Internal Medicine- Pulmonary and Critical Care at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

“As we move forward in our plans for these novel technologies, Phase 2 testing of the NITROSYL™ systems in patients is an important milestone for GeNO,” said GeNO LLC Founder and President David Fine. “As a clinical-stage organization, this trial not only moves the in-hospital solution forward but also enables us to move our other exciting, patent-protected technologies, such as the GeNO Ambulatory NITROSYL™ System, towards clinical development as well.”

Robert F. Roscigno, PhD, Vice President of GeNO, commented, “We believe that this System offers the potential to provide PAH patients, as well as the clinicians that treat them, with a safe and effective diagnostic agent. We look forward to seeing the results of this study, and also to filing additional INDs and completing acute and chronic treatment studies. There is a well-established body of clinical evidence suggesting clinical benefit on the use of inhaled nitric oxide for patients with a variety of serious diseases, and the GeNO NITROSYL™ Systems would add a valuable option for clinicians treating these difficult conditions. GeNO’s system would help address cost, complexity and the lack of portability of current treatment regimens and potentially reach a much larger group of patients.”

The next version of GeNO’s platform to enter the clinic later this year will be the GeNO Ambulatory NITROSYL™ System, which is a hand-held unit with a disposable liquid source. This portable unit snaps into a small, battery operated pump module attaching to a hip or arm holster and provides up to a 4-day continuous supply of inhaled nitric oxide for chronic use. The simplicity and ease-of-use this system has the potential to greatly expand the use of inhaled nitric oxide to many new chronic indications.

Source: GeNO LLC

GlaxoSmithKline Increases U.S. Seasonal Flu Vaccine Shipments

GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:
GSK) announced that it is supplying the U.S. market with a combined
total of 30-35 million doses of the seasonal influenza virus vaccines
Fluarix(R) (Influenza Virus Vaccine) and FluLaval(TM) (Influenza Virus
Vaccine) – up from approximately 25 million doses in the 2006-2007 flu
season. Supplies of the two vaccines are now shipping to U.S. customers for
the 2007- 2008 influenza season.

“Providing an ample and steadily growing supply of flu vaccine has been
a priority for GlaxoSmithKline since entering the U.S. market in 2004,”
said David Pernock, Senior Vice President, GlaxoSmithKline. “Over the
years, GSK has significantly increased its influenza vaccine manufacturing
capacity, and we have taken steps to improve the way this product is
distributed to those who need it.”

In January 2007, GSK launched GSKvaccinesdirect, a new Web site
that allows customers to efficiently place their orders of FLUARIX.
FLULAVAL is delivered through three distributors: ASD Healthcare, McKesson
and Henry Schein Vaccines Direct.

FLUARIX and FLULAVAL will be delivered in a phased approach through
September and October with completion anticipated around the end of
October.

The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends that healthcare
professionals order their influenza vaccines early in an effort to increase
the probability of getting the vaccine earlier in the vaccination season.

About Influenza (Flu)

Many respiratory diseases occur every winter, but the flu can be one of
the most severe. The illness is easily passed from one person to another
through the air by droplets released when an infected individual coughs or
sneezes, but may also be spread by direct contact with influenza virus-
contaminated surface. Influenza is a highly contagious and potentially
deadly virus that affects five to 20 percent of the total U.S. population
during each influenza season. Each year, more than 200,000 Americans are
hospitalized and about 36,000 die from flu-related complications. Most
deaths occur in people who are 65 or older. In 1918, before a flu vaccine
was available, a flu pandemic killed an estimated 20-50 million people
worldwide.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the
single best way to prevent flu is to get vaccinated each fall. Groups who
are at risk of serious complications include the very young, people 50
years of age or older, the chronically ill, and women who will be pregnant
during influenza season. Additionally, people who live with or care for
persons at high-risk of complications (including all healthcare workers)
should get vaccinated to help them stay healthy and avoid infecting others.

The beginning, severity and length of the flu season can vary widely
from year to year. While October or November is the best time to get
vaccinated, getting the flu vaccine later can still be beneficial in most
years because influenza activity usually peaks between December and March.

Important Safety Information

FLUARIX and FLULAVAL should not be administered to anyone with known
systemic hypersensitivity reactions to eggs, egg products, egg or chicken
proteins, or any component of the vaccines. FLUARIX and FLULAVAL should not
be administered to anyone who has had a life-threatening reaction to
previous administration of any influenza vaccine, or to anyone with an
acute evolving neurologic disorder. In a placebo-controlled clinical trial
with FLUARIX, adverse events included pain and redness at the injection
site, muscle aches, and fatigue. In comparator-controlled clinical trials
with FLULAVAL, the most common adverse events were pain, redness, and/or
swelling at the injection site and headache, fatigue, myalgia, fever, and
malaise. Most adverse events in clinical trials were mild and self-limited.
(See adverse reactions section of the Prescribing Information for each
product for other potential adverse events.) Vaccination with FLUARIX or
FLULAVAL may not protect 100% of susceptible individuals. If Guillain-Barre
syndrome has occurred within 6 weeks of receipt of prior influenza vaccine,
the decision to give FLUARIX or FLULAVAL should be based on careful
consideration of the potential benefits and risks.

GlaxoSmithKline: A Leader in Flu

GlaxoSmithKline has an active research and development program targeted
at both seasonal and pandemic flu and has recently invested more than $2
billion to expand capacity for manufacturing its flu vaccines FLUARIX and
FLULAVAL and its antiviral flu medication Relenza(R) (zanamivir for
inhalation). GlaxoSmithKline – one of the world’s leading research-based
pharmaceutical and healthcare companies – is committed to improving the
quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live
longer. For company information, visit GlaxoSmithKline at gsk.

GlaxoSmithKline
gsk

Managing Seasonal Allergies – Warmer Weather Often Means Hay Fever For Many Americans

Los Angeles Spring is here and with that often comes sniffling, sneezing,
itchy eyes and coughing. All signs that allergy season is in full swing.

According to the Center for Disease Control, approximately 19 million adults
and 8 million children in the United States have seasonal allergic rhinitis,
commonly known as hay fever. This results in more than 14 million doctor??s
visits each year.

“Weather can be a big factor in determining the severity of allergy season,”
says Sheila Bonilla, M.D., director of the University of Southern
California??s Clinical Allergy and Asthma program. “Here in Southern
California, allergy season can start as early as January. Rain showers can
contribute to worsening allergen counts because pollen allergens and mold
particles increase.”

Hay fever is caused by pollen from seasonal plants or mold particles from
rotten wood, leaves or soil that can trigger the body??s immune system to
release a chemical called histamine into the bloodstream. The histamine
causes swelling and inflammation to prevent the pollen from further entering
the body. Symptoms include sneezing, runny noses, irritated eyes and
fatigue. Generally, people are born with a genetic disposition for seasonal
allergies and will develop symptoms of hay fever before reaching the age of
30 years old.

“Typically over-the-counter antihistamine medications, including Benadryl
and Claritin, are effective in alleviating allergy symptoms,” say Bonilla.
“I highly discourage my patients from using over-the-counter nasal
decongestants unless properly instructed by their doctor.”

When over-the-counter medications do not address the symptoms, prescription
medications such as corticosteroid nasal sprays are effective in reducing
inflammation and stopping the body from initiating its allergy mechanisms.
In extreme cases, allergy desensitization injections or immunotherapy may be
recommended to help strengthen the body??s tolerance for certain allergens.

Bonilla suggests seeing your doctor on a regular basis as a part of your
health routine. “Definitely go see a doctor when you cannot tolerate your
allergy symptoms anymore and over-the-counter medications are not working.
If you??re pregnant or have asthma, see your doctor right away for
treatment.”

usc

View drug information on Claritin RediTabs.

Disinfecting Water Saves Lives In Rwanda

The United States
Agency for International Development (USAID) is pleased to announce the
relaunch of Sur’Eau, a safe-water solution that reduces the risk of
diarrhea. Sur’Eau is a water purification solution that prevents waterborne
diseases. The chlorine solution can be added to water immediately before
use and is designed to protect people — principally young children and
people living with HIV and AIDS — from deadly diarrheal diseases.

Across Rwanda, nearly 40 percent of urban households and over 70
percent of rural households do not have reliably clean water. Contaminated
water increases the risk of contracting diarrheal diseases, which
contribute to Rwanda’s high childhood mortality rate — one in seven does
not live to age five.

With support from the Government of Rwanda and the American people
through USAID, Sur’Eau is produced locally and available in the public and
private sectors. USAID funds Population Services International (PSI) to
implement this safe-water initiative as part of the five-year, $20 million
Behavior Change and Social Marketing (BCSM) project. The BCSM project
builds the capacity of Rwandan institutions to implement HIV/AIDS
prevention, malaria and child survival programs.

“Safe water is essential for improving the lives of Rwandans,”
explained Ryan Washburn, USAID’s acting director in Rwanda. “All you need
is one cap of Sur’Eau to treat an entire jerry can of water and you’ve
reduced the risk of diarrheal diseases by 50 percent. Sur’Eau is a
cost-effective method for preventing waterborne diseases and saving lives.”

Rwanda’s Minister of Health, Dr. Jean Damascene Ntawukuliryayo, and a
Global Ambassador for PSI Ashley Judd, will be on hand for the launch in
Rubavu District on April 26.

For more information about USAID and its programs in Rwanda, please
visit usaid.

The American people, through the U.S. Agency for International
Development, have provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide
for nearly 50 years.

U.S. Agency for International Development
usaid

New Survey Finds Highest Rates Of Drug-Resistant TB To Date

Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) has been recorded at the highest rates ever, according to a new report published recently. The report presents findings from the largest survey to date on the scale of drug resistance in tuberculosis.

The report, “Anti-tuberculosis drug resistance in the world”, is based on data collected between 2002 and 2006 on 90 000 TB patients in 81 countries. It found that extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB), a virtually untreatable form of the respiratory disease, has been recorded in 45 countries.

The report also found a link between HIV infection and MDR-TB. Surveys in Latvia and Ukraine found nearly twice the level of MDR-TB among TB patients living with HIV compared with patients without HIV.

Based on the analysis of the survey data, WHO estimates there are nearly half a million new cases of MDR-TB a year, which is about 5% of nine million new TB cases of all types. The highest rate was recorded in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, where nearly a quarter of all new TB cases (22.3%) were reported as multidrug-resistant.

Proportions of MDR-TB among new TB cases were 19.4% in Moldova, 16% in Donetsk in Ukraine, 15% in Tomsk Oblast in the Russian Federation, and 14.8% in Tashkent in Uzbekistan. These rates surpass the highest levels of drug resistance published in the last WHO report in 2004. Surveys in China also suggest that MDR-TB is widespread there.

Frontal assault needed

“TB drug resistance needs a frontal assault. If countries and the international community fail to address it aggressively now we will lose this battle,” said Dr Mario Raviglione, Director of the WHO Stop TB Department. “In addition to specifically confronting drug-resistant TB and saving lives, programmes worldwide must immediately improve their performance in diagnosing all TB cases rapidly and treating them until cured, which is the best way to prevent the development of drug resistance.”

For the first time, the global survey includes analysis of XDR-TB. However, because few countries are currently equipped to diagnose it, limited data were available for this report.

The report also points to some successes. Thirteen years ago, Estonia and Latvia were singled out by WHO as drug-resistant TB “hotspots”. Following a substantial investment and a sustained assault on MDR-TB, rates in these two Baltic countries are today stabilizing and TB case notification rates are falling.

The true scale of the problem also remains unknown in some pockets of the world. Only six countries in Africa – the region with the highest incidence of TB in the world – were able to provide drug resistance data. Other countries in the region could not conduct surveys because they lack the equipment and trained personnel needed to identify drug-resistant TB. “Without these data, it is difficult to estimate the true burden and trends of MDR-TB and XDR-TB in the region. It is likely there are outbreaks of drug resistance going unnoticed and undetected,” said WHO TB expert Abigail Wright, the principal author of the report.

WHO estimates that US$ 4.8 billion is needed for overall TB control in low- and middle-income countries in 2008, with US$ 1 billion for MDR-TB and XDR-TB. But there is a total finance gap of US$ 2.5 billion, including a US$ 500 million gap for MDR-TB and XDR-TB.

“The threat created by TB drug resistance demands that we fill these gaps, as laid out in the Global Plan to Stop TB, a roadmap for halving TB prevalence and deaths compared with 1990 levels by 2015,” said Dr Marcos Espinal, Executive Secretary of the Stop TB Partnership. “The Plan also calls for another imperative – sufficient resources for research to find new diagnostics, new drugs effective against resistant strains and an effective TB vaccine.”

Related links

- Tuberculosis: topical overview
- Stop TB partnership
- WHO programme on TB

who.int

American Heart Association Enhances ELearning For Emergency Cardiovascular Care (ECC)

For many years, American Heart
Association research has supported education and training programs for
Emergency Cardiovascular Care (ECC) that save thousands of lives each year.
Now, healthcare providers have more ways to access the American Heart
Association’s research-based ECC programs, as the organization introduces a
significantly expanded eLearning program. That means more people, taking
more courses, and saving more lives.

The expansion of the ECC Web-based eLearning offerings takes advantage
of advances in technology and instructional design to deliver certain
courses in a format that maximizes flexibility and consistency, while also
saving participants time and money. The new eLearning offerings include a
mix of online-only and “blended” courses — which include basic online
instruction with required hands-on training and assessment — depending on
the assessment and certification required. For example, courses involving
strictly cognitive learning can be completed as eLearning modules online.
Programs that rely heavily on effective CPR require skills practice and
testing, and will need to be scheduled with an authorized American Heart
Association Training Center.

Prior to this expansion, the American Heart Association’s ECC program
provided training through traditional instructor-led classroom courses,
“micro-simulation” instruction using computerized manikins, and a limited
mix of stand-alone online modules and blended courses. The new eLearning
courses add to these offerings and help further the American Heart
Association’s commitment to develop learning programs that cover the entire
educational spectrum through the most effective, research-based teaching
methodologies available, no matter the delivery format.

“Changes in technology and a greater general acceptance of eLearning
have made this the right time for the American Heart Association to enhance
its eLearning programs for emergency cardiovascular care training,” said
William W. Hammill, M.D., Director of Cardiopulmonary and Vascular Services
for Martha Jefferson Hospital, and chair, American Heart Association ECC
First Aid Task Force. “Now, healthcare providers will not only have access
to traditional instructor-led classroom courses to complete their training
requirements, but they will also have a greater array of options to
complete certain courses when their schedules allow, without being tied to
a specific classroom at a specific time. The convenience and cost savings
associated with eLearning programs will make them an invaluable component
of a full spectrum of educational and training options.”

The eLearning course lineup includes the following options:

Stand-alone online courses

– Basic ECG Rhythm Recognition, called Learn Rhythm – Adult, which covers
basic heart rhythms, arrhythmias and rhythm recognition, and which is
an excellent educational tool for healthcare workers holding Basic Life
Support certification who seek to take Advanced Life Support (course
available soon online)

– Stroke Prehospital Care Online, which will cover risk factors,
diagnosis, assessment and management of potential strokes

Blended courses

– The AHA Healthcare Provider Course, HeartCode(TM) BLS Anywhere (course
available soon online)

– BLS Healthcare Provider (HCP) Online Renewal

– Heartsaver(R) First Aid Online

– Heartsaver(R) First Aid Online With CPR and AED Renewal

The American Heart Association’s ECC eLearning initiative corresponds
with research by the American Society for Training and Development that
shows the use of technology-based training delivery methods increased by
nearly five-fold between 1999 and 2005. In addition, research by the
healthcare compliance company HCPro, Inc. indicated that education and
human resource leaders at 34 of the nation’s largest multi-facility
healthcare systems viewed online instruction as an extremely effective,
convenient and time-efficient training method. The reasons for such a
positive view are that eLearning helps overcome many barriers that prevent
people from completing required training, such as inflexible schedules,
difficulty in attending training sessions or unease in traditional
classroom environments.

The new ECC eLearning modules fulfill a wide range of learning needs,
including preparing for success in a traditional classroom course, updating
professional skills and preparing for a medical emergency, following
through on a commitment to ongoing training, and earning CE credit or
achieving certification. While the first eLearning courses are primarily
targeted to healthcare providers who need to keep their skills current,
ultimately there will be more courses directed toward the general public,
reflecting the American Heart Association’s commitment to teach lifesaving
skills to a greater number of people.

“Being able to reach so many more people through these expanded
eLearning programs will be a critical factor in meeting the American Heart
Association’s goal of training 20 million people in emergency
cardiovascular care by 2010,” said Dr. Hammill. “Combining the
research-based nature of our courses with the convenience and flexibility
of eLearning can help improve outcomes for patients, which ultimately is
the goal of our emergency cardiovascular care training.”

About the American Heart Association

Founded in 1924, the American Heart Association today is the nation’s
oldest and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to reducing
disability and death from diseases of the heart and stroke. These diseases,
America’s No. 1 and No. 3 killers, and all other cardiovascular diseases
claim over 870,000 lives a year. In fiscal year 2005-06 the association
invested over $543 million in research, professional and public education,
advocacy and community service programs to help all Americans live longer,
healthier lives.

American Heart Association
onlineaha

InterMune Announces Progress On Pirfenidone In IPF

InterMune, Inc.
(Nasdaq: ITMN) announced that it will initiate an open-label
roll-over study to evaluate the long-term safety of pirfenidone in patients
with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). The roll-over study will be open
to patients who complete one of the two concurrent Phase 3 CAPACITY studies
of pirfenidone in IPF. InterMune expects that the first patient will enter
the roll-over study in August 2008. Additional information regarding the
design and objectives of the pirfenidone roll-over study will be available
at clinicaltrials within approximately one week. The
anticipated 2008 costs of conducting the study are included in InterMune’s
expense guidance of February 7, 2008.

Regarding the progress of CAPACITY, the company noted that patient
retention and overall study conduct remain excellent, with a low rate of
patient dropouts to date. InterMune anticipates that top-line results from
CAPACITY will be available in January 2009. Data from the CAPACITY trials
will remain blinded during the extension study enrollment period.

The company also provided an update on the publication plans of
Shionogi concerning its Phase 3 study of pirfenidone in IPF performed in
Japan. The abstract of the Tuesday, May 20 presentation by Shionogi of the
results of this study at the American Thoracic Society (ATS), entitled, “A
Phase III, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial of Pirfenidone
in Patients with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis in Japan” [Session C95], is
now posted at thoracic.

About IPF

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a disabling and ultimately fatal
disease that affects a total of approximately 200,000 people in the United
States and Europe, with approximately 30,000 new cases developing in the
United States alone, each year. There are no medicines approved by the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or European Medicines Evaluation Agency
(EMEA) for the treatment of IPF. IPF is characterized by inflammation and
scarring (fibrosis) in the lungs, hindering the ability to process oxygen
and causing shortness of breath (dyspnea) and cough. IPF is a progressive
disease, meaning that over time, lung scarring and symptoms increase in
severity. The median survival time from diagnosis is two to five years.

About Pirfenidone

Prior in vitro evidence has shown that pirfenidone inhibits collagen
synthesis, down-regulates profibrotic cytokines and decreases fibroblast
proliferation. Data presented from one Phase 3 study and four Phase 2
clinical trials in more than 400 patients suggest that pirfenidone may
positively affect lung function and disease progression in patients with
IPF. In these clinical studies, pirfenidone was generally well tolerated
with the most frequent side effects reported being photosensitivity rash
and gastrointestinal symptoms. Pirfenidone has been granted orphan drug
designation in the both the United States and Europe for the treatment of
IPF.

About InterMune

InterMune is a biotechnology company focused on the research,
development and commercialization of innovative therapies in pulmonology
and hepatology. InterMune has a research and development portfolio
addressing idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and hepatitis C virus (HCV)
infections. The pulmonology portfolio includes the Phase 3 program,
CAPACITY, which is evaluating pirfenidone for the treatment of patients
with IPF and a research program focused on small molecules for pulmonary
disease. The hepatology portfolio includes the HCV protease inhibitor
compound ITMN-191 (referred to as R7227 at Roche) in Phase 1b, a
second-generation HCV protease inhibitor research program, and a research
program evaluating a new target in hepatology. For additional information
about InterMune and its R&D pipeline, please visit
intermune.

Forward-Looking Statements

This news release contains forward-looking statements within the
meaning of section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended,
that reflect InterMune’s judgment and involve risks and uncertainties as of
the date of this release, including without limitation the statements
related to anticipated product development timelines. All forward-looking
statements and other information included in this press release are based
on information available to InterMune as of the date hereof, and InterMune
assumes no obligation to update any such forward-looking statements or
information. InterMune’s actual results could differ materially from those
described in InterMune’s forward-looking statements.

Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, but
are not limited to, those discussed in detail under the heading “Risk
Factors” in InterMune’s most recent annual report on Form 10-K filed with
the SEC on March 14, 2008 (the “Form 10-K”) and other periodic reports
filed with the SEC, including the following: (i) risks related to the long,
expensive and uncertain clinical development and regulatory process,
including having no unexpected safety, toxicology, clinical or other issues
or delays in anticipated timing of the regulatory approval process; (ii)
risks related to failure to achieve the clinical trial results required to
commercialize our product candidates; (iii) risks related to timely patient
enrollment and retention in clinical trials; and (iv) risks that the
results of the InterMune CAPACITY trials of pirfenidone may differ
materially from those of the Shionogi & Co., Ltd. Phase 3 trial of
pirfenidone. The risks and other factors discussed above should be
considered only in connection with the fully discussed risks and other
factors discussed in detail in the Form 10-K and InterMune’s other periodic
reports filed with the SEC, all of which are available via InterMune’s web
site at intermune.

InterMune, Inc.
intermune

National study shows 82 percent of U.S. homes have mouse allergens

Scientists at the National Institute of Environmental Health Science (NIEHS), one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), have found that detectable levels of mouse allergen exist in the majority of U.S. homes. NIEHS researchers analyzed dust samples, asked questions, and examined homes in the first National Survey of Lead and Allergens in Housing, a survey of 831 homes. Allergen levels were studied and related to demographic factors and household characteristics.

82 percent of U.S. homes were found to have mouse allergens. The findings by Cohn et al. appear in the June 2004 issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

The survey was conducted using established sampling techniques to ensure that the surveyed homes were representative of U.S. homes. The homes were sampled from seventy-five randomly selected areas (generally counties or groups of counties) across the entire country. The 831 homes included all regions of the country (northeast, southeast, midwest, southwest, northwest), all housing types, and all settings (urban, suburban, rural).

The selection of homes was controlled to be a representative sample of U.S. homes. For statistics derived from the 831 homes, the contribution from each home was weighted as necessary to ensure that the statistics are representative of the U.S. population.

Dust samples used in the study were collected from kitchen and living room floors, upholstered furniture, beds, and bedroom floors. Kitchen floor concentrations exceed 1.6 micrograms of allergens per gram of dust in about one in five homes (22 percent). The amount of these allergy-triggering particles on the kitchen floor is high enough to be associated with allergies and asthma. Residents of high-rise apartments and mobile homes are at greatest risk, but the allergen is also present in all types of homes.

The NIEHS study, with collaborators at Constella Group, Inc. and the Harvard School of Public Health, characterized mouse allergen prevalence in a representative sample of U.S. homes and assessed risk factors for elevated concentrations. The odds of having elevated concentrations were increased when rodent or cockroach problems were reported.

Exposure to mouse allergen is a known cause of asthma in occupational settings. Until now, exposure to these allergens had not previously been studied in residential environments on a national scale. Clinicians should consider these risk factors when treating allergy and asthma patients.

NIEHS conducts and supports research to reduce the burden of human illness and dysfunction from environmental causes by understanding environmental factors, individual susceptibility and age and by discovering how these influences interrelate.

For further information on study:
Dr. Darryl Zeldin, NIEHS scientist, 919-541-1169.
Dr. Rich Cohn, Constella Group, 919-313-7700.

Contact: John Schelp
schelpniehs.nih
919-541-5723
NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

“Dust Alert” Exposes Dangerous Invisible Pollution, Pollen And Construction Waste

Worried that dust from a nearby construction zone will harm your family’s health? A new Tel Aviv University tool could either confirm your suspicions or better yet, set your mind at rest.

Prof. Eyal Ben-Dor and his Ph.D. student Dr. Sandra Chudnovsky, of TAU’s Department of Geography have developed a sensor called “Dust Alert” – the first of its kind – to help families and authorities monitor the quality of the air they breathe. Like an ozone gas or carbon monoxide meter, it measures the concentration of small particles that may contaminate the air in your home. Scientific studies on “Dust Alert” appeared recently in the journal Science of the Total Environment, Urban Air Pollution: Problems, Control Technologies and Management Practices.

“It works just like an ozone meter would,” says Prof. Ben-Dor. “You put it in your home or office for three weeks, and it can give you real-time contamination levels in terms of dust, pollen and toxins.” Functioning like a tiny chemistry lab, the device can precisely determine the chemical composition of the toxins, so homeowners, office managers and factories can act to improve air quality.

Using the measurements, Prof. Ben-Dor can sometimes find a quick remedy for a dusty or pollen-filled home. The solution could be as easy as keeping a window open, he says. “We’ve found through our ongoing research that some simple actions at home can have a profound effect on the quality of air we breathe.”

Instant results

Based on a portable chemical analyzer called a spectrophotometer, the invention can be installed and begin to collect data within minutes, although several weeks’ worth of samples produces the best assessment of air quality. The longer period allows for fluctuations in both internal and external environments, such as changing weather patterns.

The “Dust Alert” fills an important need. Polluted air, breathed in for weeks, months and sometimes years, can have fatal consequences, leading to asthma, bronchitis and lung cancer. With findings from Prof. Ben-Dor’s invention, urban planners can provide better solutions and mitigate risks. “We can certainly give an accurate forecast about the health of a home or apartment for prospective home owners. If somebody in your family has an allergy, poor air quality can be a deal breaker,” says Prof. Ben-Dor.

Prof. Ben-Dor’s device may be most useful in the aftermath of disasters, such as chemical fires, heavy dust storms, hurricanes or tragedies like 9/11. Survivors of these situations are usually unaware of the lingering environmental problems, and the government can’t do enough to protect them because no accurate tools exist to define the risk. Using a Dust Alert, residents could be advised to vacate their homes and offices until the dust has cleared, or to take simple precautions such as aerating hazardous rooms in a flat, suggests Prof. Ben-Dor.

Putting dust on the map

According to Prof. Ben-Dor, the Dust Alert could also be used by cities and counties to develop “dust maps” that provide detailed environmental information about streets and neighborhoods, permitting government authorities like the EPA to more successfully identify and prosecute offenders. Currently, for example, there is no system for demonstrating how construction sites compromise people’s health.

“Until now, people have had to grin and bear the polluted air they breathe,” says Prof. Ben-Dor. “The Dust Alert could provide crucial reliable evidence of pollution, so that society at large can breathe easier. We can see the dust on the furniture and on the windows, but most of us can’t see the dust we breathe. For the first time, we are able to detect it and measure its more dangerous components.”

With their dust maps, TAU scientists have already correlated urban heat islands with high levels of particulate matter, giving urban planners crucial information for the development of green spaces and city parks. Prof. Ben-Dor also plans to develop his prototype into a home-and-office unit, while offering customized services that can help people decode what’s left in the dust.

Source:
George Hunka

American Friends of Tel Aviv University

Results From One-Year Study Suggest Advair(R) Provides Important Benefits For African American Patients With Asthma

African American
patients with asthma treated with Advair Diskus, a combination of the
long-acting beta-agonist (LABA) salmeterol and the inhaled corticosteroid
(ICS) fluticasone propionate, had a lower rate of exacerbations when
compared with patients who received treatment with the ICS Flovent
Diskus(R) (fluticasone propionate inhalation powder) alone, although the
difference was not statistically significant. Patients in the Advair group
also showed improvements in lung function measures, nighttime awakenings
due to asthma, and reductions in daily symptoms and rescue inhaler use
compared to Flovent. The data was published in the June 2008 issue of
Current Medical Research and Opinion.

This large prospective trial, which followed 475 patients who received
either twice-daily Advair Diskus 100/50 (fluticasone propionate and
salmeterol inhalation powder) or twice-daily Flovent Diskus 100mcg for a
year, was the first prospective study to assess the addition of a LABA to
an ICS compared to ICS alone in African Americans with persistent asthma.

In this study, Advair provided important benefits to patients and no
increased rate of adverse events compared with Flovent in the African
American patient population. The findings of the study also contribute to
the body of evidence which has found that salmeterol (a LABA) is not
associated with an increase in serious asthma-related events when used with
an ICS, but rather provides clinical benefits for patients who require more
than ICS treatment alone to control their asthma.

“Uncontrolled asthma is a critical public health issue for African
Americans, and this research is reassuring for clinicians whose patients
are not controlled on an ICS alone that treatment with Advair helps improve
day-to-day asthma control,” said William Bailey, M.D., lead author and
Director of the Lung Health Center at the University of Alabama at
Birmingham. “Preventing exacerbations and improving lung function are
important goals of asthma management.”

Current treatment guidelines recommend the addition of a LABA to an ICS
in patients with moderate to severe asthma who are uncontrolled on an ICS
alone. Taken in combination, an ICS and LABA fight the two main components
of asthma — inflammation (swelling in the airways) and airway constriction
(the tightening of muscles that surround the airways). Inhaled
corticosteroids treat the inflammation, while LABAs treat the airway
constriction. Optimal therapy for many patients with persistent moderate to
severe asthma requires treatment of both these components.

The study was designed to primarily show that Advair improved the rate
of exacerbations compared to Flovent. While Advair patients had a lower
exacerbation rate than those patients in the Flovent group, the difference
was not statistically significant. On most of the secondary endpoints,
patients given Advair performed better than patients who used Flovent.
Forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) improved in Advair patients.
Both morning and evening peak expiratory flow (PEF) were also improved in
the Advair group. Patients using Advair were also less likely to awake at
night due to asthma-related breathing difficulties. Additionally, the
Advair group showed reductions in the rate of daily symptoms and the need
for a rescue inhaler.

Both Advair and Flovent were well tolerated. Over a one-year period,
the overall incidence of adverse events was similar between the two groups.

Important Information about Advair Diskus

Advair Diskus won’t replace fast-acting inhalers for sudden symptoms
and should not be taken more than twice a day. Advair Diskus contains
salmeterol. In patients with asthma, medicines like salmeterol may increase
the chance of asthma-related death. So Advair Diskus is not for people
whose asthma is well controlled on another controller medicine. People
should speak to their doctor about the risks and benefits of treating their
asthma with Advair Diskus. People taking Advair Diskus should see their
doctor if their asthma does not improve. People should tell their doctor if
they have a heart condition or high blood pressure. Some people may
experience increased blood pressure, heart rate, or changes in heart
rhythm. Advair Diskus is for patients 4 years and older. For patients 4 to
11 years old, Advair Diskus 100/50 is for those who have asthma symptoms
while on an inhaled corticosteroid.

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