Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[Repost] Cancer Care Gets Personal How Tumor Treatments Are Changing

From the January 2018 NIH News in Health article

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Last year more than 1.7 million people were diagnosed with cancer in the United States. Cancer can be difficult to treat because each tumor is unique. Scientists are now gaining a better understanding of the changes that lead to cancer—and figuring out how to target them for personalized treatments.

“Cancer treatment is changing at a very fast pace,” says Dr. Patricia M. LoRusso, an NIH-funded cancer treatment expert at Yale Cancer Center. “What somebody got a year ago may not necessarily be the same treatment recommended for another person today.”

For decades, doctors have treated cancers based on where a tumor first started, such as in the lung or colon. But often, a treatment that works well for one person doesn’t work as well for another.

Read the entire article at https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2018/01/cancer-care-gets-personal

 

February 7, 2018 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News, Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

[Reblog] Recap of clinical trial on skin cancer treatment includes both strengths and weaknesses of the findings

From the January 8, 2018 HealthNewsReview article by Earle Holland, Dan Mayer, and Kathlyn Stone

Our Review Summary

This release reports on a large multi-center clinical trial intended to gauge the preventative value of using a cream containing 5 percent fluorouacil as a means of reducing the occurrence of both squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinomas. It says that the cream appears to reduce the risk of squamous cell carcinomas among the elderly veterans in the trial by 75 percent, although it has no statistically significant effect on reducing basal cell carcinomas. The release also states that the protection appears to only extend for the first year.

The release omits mention of the drug’s hefty price tag but it does clearly state both the benefits and the risks of using the medicinal cream.

More at https://www.healthnewsreview.org/news-release-review/clearly-state-both-the-benefits-and-the-risks-of-using-the-medicinal-cream/

January 10, 2018 Posted by | Health News Items, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] Precision Medicine Initiative: Some quick resources

 

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From the 30 January 2015 post BY PIA CHRISTENSEN  at Covering Health – Monitoring the Pulse of Healthcare Journalism 

 White House has announced its anticipated “Precision Medicine Initiative,” which it describes as an “emerging field of medicine that takes into account individual differences in people’s genes, microbiomes, environments, and lifestyles – making possible more effective, targeted treatments for diseases like cancer and diabetes. ”

….

The practice of medicine has always been personal regarding the treatment of individual patients, but science has fostered a new era of so-called personalized medicine that takes into account each person’s specific clinical, genetic, genomic and environmental information in designing tailored treatment plans

The White House released this fact sheet today.

This interview with the director of the program in personalized health at the University of Utah offers a good explanation of what personalized care is and examples of what it could do.

For Science magazine, Jocelyn Kaiser writes that the Obama precision medicine plan would create huge U.S. genetic biobank. She follows up with more details about the price tag and budget.

The White House released this fact sheet today.

This interview with the director of the program in personalized health at the University of Utah offers a good explanation of what personalized care is and examples of what it could do.

For Science magazine, Jocelyn Kaiser writes that the Obama precision medicine plan would create huge U.S. genetic biobank. She follows up with more details about the price tag and budget.

 

Related articles

“I have been thinking lately about the cultural and business phenomena that are currently shaping and accelerating the adoption of connected health and, in that context, came up with five accelerants.  The best part of the story is that four of the five are already going on and we can see their early-stage effects.

So, at the risk of ‘dumbing down’ adoption, here is my list of five accelerants.  If we could make these go faster, the adoption of connected health would accelerate too.”

1. Increase value-based reimbursement for providers.
2. Create more mechanisms for provider reimbursement for non face-to-face care (like the new CMS CPT code that just took effect).
3. Accelerate consumer choice in the marketplace as well as ‘consumer-driven health care’ (i.e., high deductible plans, health savings accounts (HSAs), etc.).
4. Make the consumer-facing technology truly frictionless.
5. Create a universal privacy/security technology and make it a public good.

  • Integrated approach to customer relationship management and patient relationship management (From the 28 January 2015 post at Health Care Conversation)

    A comprehensive consumer and patient engagement model should help providers attract and engage individuals in the key areas they value:

    • Help in understanding and navigating the health care system
    • Personalize information and care based on an individual’s needs
    • Easy access and communication with provider and care team
    • Support in managing an acute episode or a chronic illness
    • Secure access to personal health records

 

Read the entire article here

February 1, 2015 Posted by | health care, Medical and Health Research News | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Press release] Chemists find a way to unboil egg whites: Ability to quickly restore molecular proteins could slash biotechnology costs

From the 23 January 2015 University of California- Irvine press release

UC Irvine and Australian chemists have figured out how to unboil egg whites – an innovation that could dramatically reduce costs for cancer treatments, food production and other segments of the $160 billion global biotechnology industry, according to findings published today in the journal ChemBioChem.

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Chemistry major Stephan Kudlacek and professor Greg Weiss have developed a way of unboiling a hen egg.
Credit: Steve Zylius / UC Irvine

“Yes, we have invented a way to unboil a hen egg,” said Gregory Weiss, UCI professor of chemistry and molecular biology & biochemistry. “In our paper, we describe a device for pulling apart tangled proteins and allowing them to refold. We start with egg whites boiled for 20 minutes at 90 degrees Celsius and return a key protein in the egg to working order.”

Like many researchers, he has struggled to efficiently produce or recycle valuable molecular proteins that have a wide range of applications but which frequently “misfold” into structurally incorrect shapes when they are formed, rendering them useless.

“It’s not so much that we’re interested in processing the eggs; that’s just demonstrating how powerful this process is,” Weiss said. “The real problem is there are lots of cases of gummy proteins that you spend way too much time scraping off your test tubes, and you want some means of recovering that material.”

But older methods are expensive and time-consuming: The equivalent of dialysis at the molecular level must be done for about four days. “The new process takes minutes,” Weiss noted. “It speeds things up by a factor of thousands.”

To re-create a clear protein known as lysozyme once an egg has been boiled, he and his colleagues add a urea substance that chews away at the whites, liquefying the solid material. That’s half the process; at the molecular level, protein bits are still balled up into unusable masses. The scientists then employ a vortex fluid device, a high-powered machine designed by Professor Colin Raston’s laboratory at South Australia’s Flinders University. Shear stress within thin, microfluidic films is applied to those tiny pieces, forcing them back into untangled, proper form.

“This method … could transform industrial and research production of proteins,” the researchers write in ChemBioChem.

For example, pharmaceutical companies currently create cancer antibodies in expensive hamster ovary cells that do not often misfold proteins. The ability to quickly and cheaply re-form common proteins from yeast or E. coli bacteria could potentially streamline protein manufacturing and make cancer treatments more affordable. Industrial cheese makers, farmers and others who use recombinant proteins could also achieve more bang for their buck.

UCI has filed for a patent on the work, and its Office of Technology Alliances is working with interested commercial partners.

January 28, 2015 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Press release] Loyola website helping cancer researchers make sense of a deluge of genetic data

From the 12 December 2013 Loyola University press release

MAYWOOD, Ill. – A newly improved Internet research tool is helping cancer researchers and physicians make sense out of a deluge of genetic data from nearly 100,000 patients and more than 50,000 mice.

The tool, called the Gene Expression Barcode 3.0, is proving to be a vital resource in the new era of personalized medicine, in which cancer treatments are tailored to the genetic makeup of an individual patient’s tumor.

Significant new improvements in the Gene Expression Barcode 3.0 are reported in the January issue of the journal Nucleic Acids Research, published online ahead of print.

Senior author is Michael J. Zilliox of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. Zilliox is co-inventor of the Gene Expression Barcode.

“The tool has two main advantages,” Zilliox said. “It’s fast and it’s free.”

The Gene Expression Barcode is available at a website designed and hosted by Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. The website is receiving  1,600 unique visitors per month.

Knowing how a patient’s cancer genes are expressed can help a physician devise an individualized treatment. In a tumor cell, for example, certain genes are turned on (expressed) while other genes are turned off (unexpressed). Also, different types of cancer cells have different patterns of gene expression. Genes are expressed through RNA, a nucleic acid that acts as a messenger to carry out instructions from DNA for making proteins.

Research institutions have made public the genetic data from nearly 100,000 patients, most of whom had cancer, and more than 50,000 laboratory mice. In raw form, however, these data are too unwieldy to be of much practical use for most researchers. The Gene Expression Barcode applies advanced statistical techniques to make this mass of data much more user-friendly to researchers.

The barcode algorithm is designed to estimate which genes are expressed and which are unexpressed. Like a supermarket barcode, the Gene Expression Barcode is binary, meaning it consists of ones and zeros – the expressed genes are ones and the unexpressed genes are zeros.

Zilliox co-invented the Gene Expression Barcode, along with Rafael Irizarry, PhD. (At the time, Zilliox and Irizarry were at Johns Hopkins University.) Zilliox joined Loyola in 2012, and Irizarry now is at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Zilliox and Irizarry first reported the Gene Expression Barcode in 2007. In 2011, they reported an improved 2.0 version. The Barcode already has been cited in more than 120 scientific papers, and the new 3.0 version will make it even easier and faster for researchers to use, Zilliox said.

The Gene Expression Barcode is supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health and Loyola institutional funds.

In addition to Zilliox and Irizarry, co-authors of the article describing the Barcode 3.0 version are Matthew McCall of the University of Rochester, Harris Jaffee of Johns Hopkins University, Susan Zelisko of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine and Neeraj Sinha and Guido Hooiveld of Wageningen University.

In the paper, the authors thank Joseph Koral, Baimei Guo, Corey Sartin and Ron Price of Loyola’s Informatics and Systems Development for their computational support.

The article is titled “The Gene Expression Barcode 3.0: Improved Data Processing and Mining Tools.”

The Loyola University Chicago Health Sciences Division (HSD) advances interprofessional, multidisciplinary, and transformative education and research while promoting service to others through stewardship of scientific knowledge and preparation of tomorrow’s leaders. The HSD is located on the Health Sciences Campus in Maywood, Illinois. It includes the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, the Stritch School of Medicine, the biomedical research programs of the Graduate School, and several other institutes and centers encouraging new research and interprofessional education opportunities across all of Loyola University Chicago. The faculty and staff of the HSD bring a wealth of knowledge, experience, and a strong commitment to seeing that Loyola’s health sciences continue to excel and exceed the standard for academic and research excellence. For more on the HSD, visit LUC.edu/hsd.

 

December 13, 2013 Posted by | health care, Medical and Health Research News | , , , | Leave a comment

Advances in Cancer 2012

 

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From the 28 December 2012 article by at The Health Care Blog

 

The 30,000 member American Society of Clinical Oncology is the world’s leading group of cancer physicians. ASCO is dedicated to curing cancer, supporting research, quality care, reducing treatment disparities and a heightened national focus on value. This month they released their annual Report on Progress Against Cancer, which highlights research, drug development and cancer care innovations.  This hundred-page document is important reading for anyone who wants to be up-to-date regarding cancer care.

Cancer related deaths in the United States are dropping, but still totaled 577,000 in 2012.  While world cancer research funding is rising, in the USA it continues to decrease, with the purchasing power of the largest funding source, the National Cancer Institute, having fallen 20% in the last decade, and a further 8% cut slated for January 1, 2013.   Development is dependent on government and private funding, as well as the willingness of more than 25,000 patients a year who volunteer to be involved in cancer trials.  All these critical supports are threatened. The Federal Clinical Trials Cooperative of the National Cancer Institute (FCLC, NCI) supports research at 3100 institutions in the USA.

The report discusses the many types of cancer which continue to be naturally resistant to cancer treatment, particularly chemotherapy.  In some cases, drugs do not penetrate a part of the body, such as the brain, in other cases even when they reach the tumor, they are not effective. ..

 

Read the entire article here

 

December 29, 2012 Posted by | health care | , , | Leave a comment

   

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