Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

IOM and NAE launch collegiate challenge aimed at solving health problems

IOM and NAE launch collegiate challenge aimed at solving health problems
Through creative technology development

Go Viral Challenge Image

From the February 17, 2011 Eureka News Alert

(National Academy of Sciences) “Go Viral to Improve Health: IOM-NAE Health Data Collegiate Challenge” was launched today by the Institute of Medicine and National Academy of Engineering to promote interaction among future health professionals, engineers, and scientists and to spur interest in harnessing new technologies and data to solve vexing health issues.

WASHINGTON — “Go Viral to Improve Health: IOM-NAE Health Data Collegiate Challenge” was launched today by the Institute of Medicine and National Academy of Engineering to promote interaction among future health professionals, engineers, and scientists and to spur interest in harnessing new technologies and data to solve vexing health issues. The challenge calls on university and college students studying engineering, computer science, and health disciplines to work in interdisciplinary teams to transform health data into new mobile apps, online tools or games, or other innovative products that can improve health at the community level.

The first place team will receive a $3,000 prize and the opportunity to demonstrate their product during the plenary session of the annual Community Health Data Initiative Forum on June 9, 2011. The second and third place teams will receive awards of $2,000 and $1,000 respectively, and both will have the chance to display their winning technologies in the exhibit hall at this national gathering of software engineers, developers, and health leaders. All winning teams will be reimbursed for up to $1,000 of their travel costs to the forum.

Participating teams must develop a web-based or mobile product that tackles a health issue in a creative way and encourages people in a community to interact with one another. The launch of the challenge coincides with the debut of the Health Indicators Warehouse, a vast collection of health data and indicator sets made available by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Teams must tap this online warehouse to create their interactive technologies. Entries will be judged on how well they integrate health data from the warehouse and other information sources as well as their creativity, design, usability, and potential for the product to make an impact on the health issue selected by the team.

Both undergraduate and graduate students may compete. Teams must consist of a minimum of two and up to five individuals and include at least one member pursuing a degree in engineering or computer science and at least one member pursuing a degree toward a career in any of the health professions. The submission deadline is April 27, 2011. A detailed description of “Go Viral to Improve Health: IOM-NAE Health Data Collegiate Challenge” can be found at IOM website and NAE website and on Facebook. Questions can be directed to goviral@nas.edu.

“The IOM-NAE Health Data Collegiate Challenge seeks to tap the creativity and skills of the nation’s brightest young minds because we believe they have the ability to harness health data in novel ways that will make a healthy difference to their communities and to the nation as a whole,” said IOM President Harvey V. Fineberg. “This challenge provides a unique chance to showcase the innovation that can result from interdisciplinary collaboration and also an opportunity for students to gain experience and skills that we hope they will carry into their careers.”

“The trove of health data made available by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides a wonderful opportunity for creative young people to design the next ‘viral app’ — one that can improve personal health and extend lives,” said NAE President Charles M. Vest. “‘Advancing Health Informatics‘ was one of 14 Grand Challenges for Engineering identified by the NAE as game-changers in the 21st century, and the interdisciplinary collaboration being encouraged between the fields of engineering and health by this challenge is a key to meeting that goal.”

 

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The Institute of Medicine and National Academy of Engineering along with the National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council make up the National Academies. They are private, nonprofit institutions that provide science, technology, and health policy advice under a congressional charter. For more information, visit http://national-academies.org.

 

    February 19, 2011 Posted by | Health News Items | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

    NCI announces plans to reinvigorate clinical trials

    NCI announces plans to reinvigorate clinical trials
    Consolidation of cooperative group program is designed to bring enhanced efficiencies to oncological sciences

    National Cancer Institute

    From the NIH release

    The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has announced major changes to be made in the long-established Clinical Trials Cooperative Group Program that conducts many of the nationwide trials of new cancer therapies. In a major transformation, NCI intends to consolidate the nine groups that currently conduct trials in adult cancer patients into four state-of-the-art entities that will design and perform improved trials of cancer therapies. These changes are designed to provide greater benefits for cancer patients and more information for researchers. These moves come in response to an NCI-requested April 2010 report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM)**, which called for a series of changes to the cooperative groups program, including restructuring….

    ….The April IOM report noted that the current trials system is inefficient, cumbersome, underfunded, and overly complex. The report recommended consolidating existing adult cooperative groups into a smaller number of groups that could function in a more closely integrated manner….

    …For the past several decades, clinical cancer trials have used one or a combination of drugs or other treatment modalities, such as surgery or radiation, in comparison to the prevailing standard of care to see if the new treatment was superior. Recently, some trials have begun to depend on the genetic profiling of tumors. For example, one ongoing NCI-sponsored breast cancer study, called TAILORx, is examining whether genes that are frequently associated with risk of recurrence for women with early-stage breast cancer can be used to assign patients to more appropriate and effective treatments.

    These types of studies necessitate the screening of large numbers of patients in order to find subsets of patients with tumors that demonstrate changes in specific genetic pathways. These trials therefore require acquisition and distribution of many tumor specimens, DNA sequencing, and the matching of genetic information with treatment options. The increased complexity of these trials provides a rationale for modernization and simplification of the current cooperative group structure…..

    ..On Jan. 1, 2011, NCI will impose new deadlines, formulated by its Operational Efficiency Working Group, which will reduce by half the time to initiate new clinical studies and will terminate studies not begun within two years of concept approval….

    **The IOM Web site has over 50 results with the search phrase clinical trials, including the most viewed Biomedical/Health Research report (as of Dec 27, 2010) – Transforming Clinical Research in the US: Workshop Summary

    General Information about Clinical Trials (select Web sites)

    • Clinical Trials (MedlinePlus) has overviews, related issues (as informed consent and ethics), directories, and more
    • Understanding Clinical Trials (ClinicalTrials.gov) answers many basic questions relating to participation, safety, ethics, and types of clinical trials
    • ClinicalTrials.gov is a registry and finding aid for clinical trials. It currently has 100,613 trials with locations in 174 countries. One can search by topic (as a particular drug or disease) or use the advanced search to use limiters as location, conditions, age groups, and sponsors. Results give contact information for individual clinical trials.The page How can I find the results of a clinical trial? provides places where they might be found, including the ClinicalTrials.gov Web site.

    December 27, 2010 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources, Finding Aids/Directories, Librarian Resources, Medical and Health Research News | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

       

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