New Hope for Women

New Hope for Women

05.13.11 | By Kate Connors

Healthcare providers know that no two patients are alike. And just as the saying goes that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, their bodies (and the ways in which they require care) are often worlds apart.

For example, heart attacks plague both genders, but the symptoms often vary. Women often metabolize medicines differently from men in ways that aren't explained simply by differences in body sizes. They are also more prone to diseases like multiple sclerosis, lupus, migraines, osteoporosis and fibromyalgia.

Recognizing these differences, PhRMA today released a new medicines in development report, which finds that America's biopharmaceutical research companies now have 851 medicines in the pipeline for diseases that exclusively or disproportionately affect women.

For example, some of the greatest strides are being made in understanding and treating autoimmune diseases such a multiple sclerosis, which is two to three times more prevalent among women than men. Currently, more than 100 medicines for autoimmune diseases are in the pipeline, meaning they are in clinical trials or awaiting Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review.

Of course, many of the most-common cancers only or predominantly affect women: Companies are working on 139 medicines for these cancers, such as ovarian cancer and breast cancer.

And, let's not forget that innovation is cyclical and often cumulative: A growing and more sophisticated understanding of the differences between men and women is providing great promise for treatments that could benefit both sexes.

As a researcher from one company put it in our related press release, "It's a very exciting time for women's health." I agree. I'm sure I'm not alone by being able to list grandmothers who battled cancer, an aunt with lupus, a family friend with multiple sclerosis, and more. To see what the pipeline may have in store for my loved ones and yours, take a moment to scan through the report.

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