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North Carolina 307 articles

Camp Lejeune’s toxic water supply may have sickened half a million

As many has half a million people who lived on or near the Marine Corps base at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina have been exposed to highly toxic chemicals that infiltrated the camp’s groundwater from 1957 to 1987. The U.S. government and the Marine Corps blame a now-closed dry cleaning company that once operated off-base but in the area of the camp, in addition to toxic chemicals that leaked from underground storage tanks and unsafe chemical disposal procedures on base.The Marine Corps began closing Camp Lejeune’s wells in 1984, after tests showed dangerously high levels of two industrial solvents in ... Read More

Researcher awarded NIH grant for development of synthetic heparin

A researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill received a $1.48 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to support research into Recomparin, a synthetic version of the blood thinner heparin, according to the Triangle Business Journal. Associate Professor of Pharmacy Jian Liu invented the synthetic anticoagulant and hopes the grant money will help him perfect the drug and find better ways of synthesizing it. Heparin is routinely given to patients before certain types of surgery and prior to treatments such as kidney dialysis to prevent blood clots from forming. Clots that do not naturally dissolve ... Read More

Two sentenced for role in tainted heparin, saline syringes

In an effort to ship heparin– and saline-filled syringes faster, workers at a facility in North Carolina failed to check sterility and then falsified manufacturing dates to make it appear those safeguards were followed, according to an Associated Press report. Those syringes, as it turned out, were tainted with a bacteria known as Serratia marcescens and may have lead to five deaths and hundreds of infections in those who received them. Earlier this week two former workers at the plant, plant manager Aniruddha Patel and quality control director Ravindra Kumar Sharma, were sentenced in federal court to more than four ... Read More

Will customers have to pay for TVA’s coal ash disaster?

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) may turn to its residential customer base to help pay for the escalating costs to clean up the widespread damage caused when one of its coal ash ponds failed last December, pouring more than a billion gallons of toxic ash and sludge onto 300 acres of rural east Tennessee, according to the Jackson Sun. The massive spill is considered one of the worst environmental disasters, destroying homes and damaging property. The toll on wildlife, plant life and, ultimately, human life, is yet to be determined. Cleanup efforts are expected to cost TVA between $525 million ... Read More

Diabetic questions safety of insulin in light of heparin scandal

Meet Allie Beaty. As a diabetic, her life depends on insulin. She wants to make a difference for others like her, make “the world safer for people with diabetes,” she says on her Web page, Alliesvoice.com. So Allie established a diabetes think group and shares ”Love Diabetes” videos on YouTube to push her mission. Allie recently posted a video on YouTube in light of the heparin scandal, asking “Is my insulin tainted?” Last year, more than 80 Americans died and hundreds more were sickened after receiving doses of the blood thinner heparin. An investigation found that batches of heparin manufactured ... Read More

Scientists on road to modifying, customizing human heparin

Scientists at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have learned to modify the human enzyme that produces heparin, which may lead to a more effective synthetic version of the blood thinner, according to Newswise Medical News. “Previously it was nearly impossible to change the nature of the heparin generated by the enzyme,” said Jian Liu, Ph.D., associate professor at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy medicinal chemistry and natural products division. “The degree of difficulty was 10-plus. Now it’s more like a two or three, which opens the door to the possibility of improving on the natural product.” The ... Read More

Drug industry seeks tests to spot side effect risks

Seven major pharmaceutical companies are banding together to develop genetic tests that predict which patients will have adverse side effects from drugs. The group, a nonprofit organization dubbed the International Serious Adverse Events Consortium (SAEC), will conduct two studies, one to look at drug-related liver toxicity and the other aimed at a rare drug-related skin condition called Stevens-Johnson syndrome. “SAEC’s focus is to identify and to validate DNA variance or genetic markers that are useful in predicting a drug-induced serious adverse event,” Arthur Holden, the chairman of the group, said during a midmorning teleconference Thursday. The findings of the consortium ... Read More