This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Star Scientific's 'Flint' Study Flops

Stocks in this article: STSI

GLEN ALLEN, Va. ( TheStreet) -- Star Scientific's (STSI) "Flint" study is a flop.

Follow along as I pick apart Star's latest press release spin job designed to bamboozle investors about its Anatabloc dietary supplement.

Here's what Star Scientific said Wednesday:

The "Flint" study... is a multi-site study of the safety, tolerability, dosing, and biological effects of the anatabine citrate used in Rock Creek Pharmaceutical's Anatabloc product. Subjects in the study are individuals with high levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) in the blood, which is a marker of systemic inflammation in a number of common medical conditions. The subjects were screened for eligibility and then were studied for three months. In the first month they were given placebo, in the second month they were given the Anatabloc supplement, and in the third month they were given placebo again. Blood samples were taken at the beginning of the study and also were taken after each treatment period... The intent of the study is to determine if the Anatabloc supplement is helpful in lowering CRP.

It's true that CRP is a biomarker for systemic inflammation and can be a risk factor for cardiovascular and other diseases. But assessing CRP levels in a vacuum is clinically meaningless because 1) the correlation between increased CRP levels and disease is disputed and unclear, and 2) FDA doesn't approve drugs based on an ability to lower CRP.

Anatabloc lowers CRP? So what, lots of stuff lowers CRP. Aspirin, NSAID anti-inflammatories and a host of other drugs lower CRP. Exercise and dieting can lower CRP, as can vitamins E and C. Heck, even eating dark chocolate lowers CRP by 17%, according to Italian researchers. If you don't like chocolate, eat more fruits and vegetables because they lower CRP, too.

Maybe Anatabloc does a really super job of lowering CRP? Maybe the over-the-counter diet supplement is more effective than chocolate?

Not so much. Here's Star Scientific again:

The subjects who showed relative reductions in CRP were diabetics on metformin, the most common drug used to treat diabetes. The diabetics were twice as likely to have a reduction in CRP levels, as compared with other subjects in the "Flint" study who had other non-diabetes medical disorders. After one month of supplementation, CRP levels dropped in 26% of the subjects with diabetes, compared with a drop in CRP levels in 12% of the general trial population of subjects who did not have diabetes.

The goal of the study was to find specific sub-populations in which the Anatabloc supplement might be of benefit; therefore, this finding, though based on a small number of diabetics (18 in the total study population), is very encouraging. The investigators are currently evaluating whether to modify the rest of the study or conduct a study focused on diabetes.

Let's do some math. Star Scientific at the top of today's press release that 100 patients completed the Flint study. Later in the release, Star says 117 patients completed treatment.

Let's go with the 100 patients, of which 18 had diabetes, according to Star. CRP levels dropped in 26% of diabetic patients after one month of Anatabloc, which equates to five (!!) diabetic patients.

It also means that 13 diabetic patients either had CRP levels that remained unchanged or went up!

Of course, Star also neglects to tell us anything about the numerical reduction in CRP levels. What was the mean baseline CRP level for diabetics entering the Anatabloc study? How low did CRP levels go? Star Scientific doesn't disclose. Why not? If Anatabloc lowers CRP as the company claims, then tell us by how much.

More math: If there were 18 diabetic patients analyzed, that leaves 82 non-diabetic patients, of which 12% or 10 patients, showed lower CRP levels after swallowing Antabloc.

Again, that implies 72 non-diabetic patients had CRP levels that remained unchanged or went up.

Star Scientific calls these results positive. I call them a total joke and completely misleading. The timing of today's release is also interesting, coming one day after disclosure of the paltry $5 million settlement in the long-running legal spat with R.J. Reynolds.

If you want to lower CRP levels, take an Advil or buy a chocolate bar.

-- Reported by Adam Feuerstein in Boston.

Adam Feuerstein writes regularly for TheStreet. In keeping with company editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in TheStreet. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Feuerstein appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!

Markets

DOW 17,804.80 +26.65 0.15%
S&P 500 2,070.65 +9.42 0.46%
NASDAQ 4,765.38 +16.9840 0.36%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs