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  • Aging and Lifespan

    Breathing and Aging

    I’ve written about the idea that aging is related to oxidative damage (most recently on June 3.) There’s a lot of support for it, and the documented life-extending properties of caloric restriction are thought by many to be tied into this hypothesis. CR has worked in (for example) fruit flies and rodents, and some slow-moving… Read More
  • Toxicology

    The Ames Test and the Real World

    Back to the question: what does the Ames test tell us? One thing it does is something that all toxicological tests do – that, as Paracelsus put it, “the dose makes the poison.” There’s hardly a more important tox principle than that. You can get a lot of things to show positive for mutagenicity if… Read More
  • Toxicology

    The Ames Test

    One hears a lot about the Ames test (as a measure of carcinogenicity and other Bad Things.) It’s sometimes held up by animal-rights types as a model of the sort of testing that could be done if, presumably, we weren’t all so much into torturing the lesser species. I thought a look at the test… Read More
  • "Me Too" Drugs

    Our Buddies at the FDA

    Another question I’ve had posed to me is whether the FDA standards for drug approval are too tight (no one who writes to me seems to worry that they might be too loose, although you can find groups who’d argue just that.) Overall, I don’t think so. There are really two sets of standards, for… Read More
  • Animal Testing

    What to Do When the Rats Die on You

    I’ve had some e-mail asking if the diabetes drug I mentioned the other day is dead or not, and if not, why not. I don’t have any direct contacts in the companies involved, not that they’d tell me all about it even if I did, but I can make some informed guesses. They’ll illustrate what… Read More
  • Birth of an Idea

    Experimental Update

    For the six or eight of you who might be wondering, the experiments that I’ve been talking about on and off for a few months now are back on again. (To catch up newer readers, I’ve been irritating folks with breathless references to an idea I’ve had, that I can’t detail for proprietary reasons. It… Read More
  • Toxicology

    And Always Keep Ahold of Nurse, For Fear of Finding Something Worse

    Since the Coleridge quote went over well the other day, I thought I’d return to the line above (from Hilare Belloc) to talk about why things advance slowly in the tox field. It’s fear. Justifiable fear. When toxicologists find something that seems to work, they stick with it. They’re not easily convinced by the latest… Read More
  • Animal Testing

    Rats, For Fear of Worse

    I’ve had some mail asking a good (and Frequently Asked) question: how good are the alternatives to animal testing? How close are we to not dosing animals to get toxicology information? My short answer to the second question is, simultaneously, “A lot closer than we used to be” and “Not very close, for all that.” Read More
  • Drug Prices

    More on Drug Prices

    I can strongly recommend this piece from Robert Bartley in the Wall Street Journal today. It’s a clear-eyed look at the issues involved. There are a couple of misconceptions in it, though. He mentions an “acquisition” of Imclone by Bristol-Meyers Squibb, but their deal was always about clinical candidates, not acquisition. BMS did… Read More
  • Animal Testing

    You’ll Only Get Answers

    I mentioned the other day that I’ve usually had a good response when I tell people about what I do for a living. There are exceptions, though. A few years ago, my wife and I were walking through a shopping mall, when we were stopped by two scruffy teenage survey takers. “Would you like to… Read More