Senior Correspondent, London
Ben's Feed
Sep 1, 2014

Cyberonics device improves heart function after Boston flop

BARCELONA (Reuters) – A nerve stimulation device from Cyberonics improved cardiac function in heart failure patients in a small clinical trial, in contrast to an unsuccessful study backed by Boston Scientific.

However, the Cyberonics trial reported on Monday did not contain a control arm – unlike the one using the Boston device in which some patients received sham treatment – and experts said further research was now needed.

Sep 1, 2014

Astra heart pill safe to use in ambulance but no extra benefit

BARCELONA, Sept 1 (Reuters) – AstraZeneca’s
blood-thinning drug Brilinta is safe to use in the ambulance
when heart attack patients are being rushed to hospital but
giving it early in this way does not provide any extra benefit.

That is the conclusion of a clinical study presented on
Monday at the European Society of Cardiology congress, which
suggests the drug is a flexible treatment option for doctors.

Aug 31, 2014
Aug 31, 2014
Aug 31, 2014

Early data suggest Sanofi, Regeneron drug may halve heart risk

BARCELONA (Reuters) – An experimental cholesterol-lowering drug from Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals roughly halved the number of heart attacks and strokes in a clinical trial, researchers reported on Sunday.

The result is not conclusive, because the analysis was done retrospectively, but it provides the first evidence that targeting a protein known as PCSK9 could slash cardiovascular risks for millions of patients.

Aug 31, 2014
Aug 31, 2014

Clockwork heart pacemaker does away with batteries

BARCELONA, Aug 31 (Reuters) – Swiss engineers, famous for
making the world’s finest watches, are turning their hands to
cardiology with a prototype battery-less pacemaker based on a
self-winding wristwatch.

Current pacemakers, which help the heart beat more
regularly, offer a lifeline for many patients with cardiac
problems but the need for battery power is a limiting factor,
since replacing them requires a surgical intervention.

Aug 30, 2014
Aug 30, 2014

New Novartis drug may upend heart failure treatment

BARCELONA, Aug 30 (Reuters) – A new medicine from Novartis
could replace drugs that have been central to treating
heart failure for a quarter of century, after proving remarkably
effective in reducing deaths in a keenly awaited study.

The experimental treatment, known at LCZ696, cut the risk of
both cardiovascular death and admissions to hospital by a fifth,
boosting hopes for a product seen as a multibillion-dollar
seller – thanks, in part, to its expected premium price.

Aug 30, 2014

Boston Scientific nerve device no help in heart failure study

BARCELONA (Reuters) – A Boston Scientific device that stimulates the vagus nerve – a superhighway connecting the brain to the rest of the body – failed to help patients with heart failure in a mid-stage clinical trial.

Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), which involves delivering mild electrical pulses to the nerve in the neck, is already used to treat epilepsy and depression – and researchers have been looking to expand its use to other conditions.

    • About Ben

      "Ben Hirschler is European pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and healthcare correspondent, based in London. Previously, he was in charge of British company news and before that was posted to Johannesburg, covering the economic challenges facing post-apartheid South Africa."
    • More from Ben

    • Follow Ben