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Micrograph of human skin

Atopic dermatitis: dupilumab and crisaborole could herald a new era in treatmentSubscription

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Atopic dermatitis can have a devastating effect on quality of life, but there have been no major changes to the way it has been treated for over 15 years. Now, two new therapies — dupilumab, a biologic for severe disease, and crisaborole, a topical small molecule drug for milder disease — could herald a new era in the treatment of this distressing condition.

Pharmacist and patient in a pharmacy consultation room

The Murray review: moving in the right directionSubscription

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On 20 December 2016, six days after the long-awaited report by the King’s Fund’s Richard Murray on the provision of clinical services in community pharmacy was published, health minister David Mowat described the review as “an essential road map that sets out how we are going to move the community pharmacy network away from a remuneration model”.

  • Photopharmacology concept with light spectrum and switch

    Photopharmacology: using light to activate drugsSubscription

     Drugs that contain synthetic light-switching molecules could help target therapies to particular parts of the body, limiting side effects. Researchers have started using this approach to tackle blindness, cancer, diabetes, and antibiotic resistance, but questions remain about the clinical practicality of the field.

  • Collage of the key players in the pharmacy funding cuts

    Pharmacy funding cuts: the story so farSubscription

    When the Department of Health revealed in December 2015 that it was planning to cut community pharmacy funding in England by 6%, shockwaves ran through the sector. Now, over a year later, community pharmacies are beginning to feel the impact.

  • Illustration of stem cells

    Stem cells: will they redefine stroke treatment?Subscription

    Researchers are investigating whether stem cells can be used to restore brain tissue and reverse disability in people who have suffered a stroke, or even to stop the damage from happening in the first place. Recent trial results indicate that the field is making progress towards human application.

  • Toddler suffering from epilepsy undergoing electroencephalogram (EEG) examination

    Cannabis for epilepsy: is there enough evidence of efficacy?

    Parents of children with treatment-resistant epilepsy are searching for something to help, and some are turning to cannabis to try to reduce seizure frequency. With clinical trials of cannabidiol-based drugs under way, evidence for this treatment option may soon be forthcoming. However, concerns remain about side effects, such as sedation, interactions with other drugs, and potential disturbances of brain development.

  • Pharmacy mortar and pestle with powdered 2016

    The people behind the biggest pharmacy stories of 2016

    In our review of 2016, The Pharmaceutical Journal highlights the people behind the biggest pharmacy stories of the past 12 months. These are men and women who we considered to be the most strongly connected with the news stories that had the biggest impact on our readers.

  • Close up of a bioelectronic chip manufactured by GSK

    Acting on the potential of action potentials: will bioelectronic medicines be the next biologics?Subscription

    Bioelectronic medicine is a new approach to treating major chronic diseases that could give doctors and patients alternatives to costly mainstream medicine and may become as commonly prescribed as chemical or biological drugs. Some researchers and pharmaceutical companies are already taking this potential new class of treatments seriously and, as promising results emerge, others are expected to follow.

  • Illustration of migraine showing a brain surrounded by barbed wire

    Targeting the CGRP protein could lead to a preventative treatment for migraineSubscription

    It’s been a long time coming, but a new class of drugs targeting the CGRP protein could be the first preventative treatment specifically developed for migraine to hit the market.

  • Dispensing pharmacist talks to a patient during a minor ailments consultation at Copes Pharmacy

    Local versus national: minor ailments services across Great BritainSubscription

    Different parts of Great Britain have taken different approaches to offering minor ailment services. A national service provides consistency, whereas local schemes can adapt to local needs. 

  • Montage of COPD, research and a drop in funding

    Inadequate funding hampers research into chronic obstructive pulmonary diseaseSubscription

    A lack of funding for research into chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, as well as difficulties in conducting clinical trials, make finding new treatments for this respiratory condition challenging. But there are glimmers of hope, such as reversing steroid resistance and identifying subpopulations of patients in order to speed up clinical trials.

  • HIV particles budding from a CD4+ T cell

    Seeking a cure for HIVSubscription

    Efforts to find a cure for HIV were reinvigorated in 2008 when the case of Timothy Ray Brown showed that a cure is possible. Researchers and pharmaceutical companies are now seeking out the virus in its hiding places in an attempt to eradicate it completely.

  • Tim Hanlon, chief pharmacist and clinical director of pharmacy and medicines optimisation at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust

    Standardise, upskill and scale up: how one acute trust is facing the Carter challengeSubscription

    Staff working at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust share their thinking around plans to deliver financial savings and improved care for patients in light of the Carter review. 

  • Abstract image of interconnecting networks made of gold wires linking golden pegs on rustic wood

    Professional associations: adapting to remain relevant in a digital ageSubscription

    In a world where technology and social media allow individuals to gather information and network online for free, professional associations are evolving and changing their offering to members in order to stay relevant.

  • Picture from the PReDicT (Predicting Response to Depression Treatment) emotion recognition

    Personalised treatment for depression on the horizon: predicting response to antidepressantsSubscription

    Only one-third of patients with depression benefit from the first antidepressant they try, but researchers are striving to find biological features that predict how a person will respond to particular drugs so they can tailor treatment from the beginning.

  • Angela Alexander, professor of pharmacy education at the University of Reading

    Improving prescribing practice to ensure patient safety Subscription

    The competency framework for prescribers was updated in July 2016 with the aim of making it a more comprehensive and rationalised document, one that is relevant to all prescribers.

  • Micrograph of herpes simplex virus particles

    Oral and genital herpes: four experimental treatment strategiesSubscription

    Herpes simplex virus causes recurrent outbreaks of painful genital or oral lesions and in some circumstances can be lethal. But treatment is currently limited to antivirals, which are only 50% effective at reducing transmission. New treatments are desperately needed — here are four of the most promising pipeline strategies.

  • Collage showing MRSA, research and antibiotics

    New approaches to overcoming antimicrobial resistanceSubscription

    As antibiotic resistance continues to threaten the treatment of various infections, researchers are looking for new ways to supplement and in some cases replace failing antimicrobial drugs.

  • Micrograph of a group of tumor-specific T cells attacking a tumor cell

    T-cell therapies for cancer: from outsider to pharmaceutical darlingSubscription

    Less than a decade ago, work on T-cell therapies by a handful of researchers was snubbed by their peers but now the field has exploded, money has poured in and there is a race on to see who can bring the technology to patients the quickest.

  • The vanguard clinical pharmacists at the Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

    New care models: the role of pharmacy in vanguard pilotsSubscription

    Pharmacists are taking on roles in vanguard projects, working in both hospital and community settings as part of multidisciplinary teams that are developing new models of care.

  • Illustration of an anxious person, close-up of eyes with hand over head

    Anxiety drugs: stressing the importance of innovationSubscription

    Current treatments for anxiety disorders are not effective for all patients and are associated with significant side effects but several drugs in development have novel mechanisms of action and are showing promise.

  • Alistair Gray, clinical services lead pharmacist, East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT)

    Transfer of care: how electronic referral systems can help to keep patients safeSubscription

    Schemes designed to enable accurate transfer of information about discharge medication are in operation across the UK and aim to improve patient safety.

  • Painting of a sleeping person

    Fresh evidence points to a cause and possible treatments for chronic fatigue syndromeSubscription

    Chronic fatigue syndrome, or myalgic encephalomyelitis, has been largely dismissed as psychological. But recent trials of antiviral and immunosuppressant drugs have yielded encouraging results, suggesting a complex disease mechanism at play that researchers are hopeful they might be able to treat.

  • Mariya Savinova winning the 800 metres athletic competition during the 2012 London Olympics

    Rio Olympics: how will scientists outpace drug cheats?Subscription

    Some athletes are willing to take huge risks by using drugs to gain a competitive advantage. But anti-doping scientists are working hard to improve detection methods and develop new strategies to ensure a fair competition and to protect athletes’ health.

  • Michelle Sullivan, pharmacy technician at Barts Health NHS Trust in London, speaks with one of the hospital staff

    The rise of the pharmacy technician: the next stepsSubscription

    Pharmacy technicians are taking on more responsibilities to free pharmacists to carry out clinical services, but the role is being interpreted differently across pharmacy settings and there is no clear definition of what the role should entail.

  • X-ray of lungs with cystic fibrosis

    Developing gene therapy to treat cystic fibrosis: challenges and successesSubscription

    More than 25 years after the gene for cystic fibrosis was discovered, there are signs that correcting this genetic deficit could soon be possible.

  • Illustration of Auguste Rodin's sculpture "The Kiss"

    Overcoming the challenges in developing male contraceptivesSubscription

    With several hormonal and non-hormonal male contraceptive candidates in the pipeline, researchers are hoping to ignite interest from a wary pharmaceutical industry.

  • View of different open booths where users can inject their drugs

    Making the case for drug consumption roomsSubscription

    For the past 15 years, drug users living in Sydney, Australia, have had access to a safe place to inject their drugs, supervised by trained medical staff. Is it time for other cities to follow suit?

  • Illustration of research and multiple sclerosis showing scientists, brain with multiple sclerosis and a demyelinated sheath of a nerve fibre

    Search for progressive multiple sclerosis treatment is gathering momentumSubscription

    There are currently no effective treatments to slow or stop progressive multiple sclerosis (PMS) but recent advances in understanding the complex pathogenesis of the disease, as well as efforts to improve outcome measures, identify biomarkers and refine clinical trial design, mean progress is speeding up.

  • Illustration of man with alopecia and drugs ruxolitinib and tofacitinib targeting the disease

    Finding new treatments for alopecia areata patientsSubscription

    There are no clinically proven therapies for the autoimmune hair loss disease alopecia areata, but genetic discoveries may point the way to new treatment targets.

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