Genomics Biotechnology & Emerging Medical Technologies Institute e-News
Mar. 12, 2015

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Autism is largely down to genes, twins study suggests
BBC News
Genetic influences on autism are estimated to be between 74-98 percent, a Medical Research Council study of 258 twins suggests. The King's College London team said 181 of the teenagers had autism, but the risk was far higher in identical twins where one twin had autism, as they share the same DNA.More

Genes from dad used more than genes from mom
Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News
Although we inherit equal amounts of genetic mutations from our parents — the mutations that make us who we are and not some other person — we actually use more of the DNA that we inherit from our dads. In this context, “use” refers to the expression of genes, specifically, allelic gene variants.More

23andMe and the promise of anonymous genetic testing
The New York Times
The FDA has allowed 23andMe to market genetic tests for mutations directly to the public. The agency said that, for the most part, so-called carrier tests would no longer need advance approval before being marketed this way. But 23andMe is also offering access to its data for research, opening up questions about privacy and anonymity.More

Considerable potential savings with generic medicines
Medical Xpress
Substituting branded medications with drugs containing the same active ingredients can save considerable amounts of money. A study at the Center for Medical Statistics, Informatics and Intelligent Systems at the MedUni Vienna in cooperation with the Main Association of Austrian Social Security Institutions, has calculated the potential savings from generic medications used in the treatment of common conditions such as hypertension, hyperlipidaemia and diabetes mellitus.More

Researchers devise new method to identify disease markers
Drug Discovery & Development
UCLA life scientists have created an accurate new method to identify genetic markers for many diseases — a significant step toward a new era of personalized medicine, tailored to each person’s DNA and RNA.More

Imperial scientists develop new test that uses human stem cells to predict side effects of drugs
News-Medical.net
Scientists at Imperial College London have developed a test that uses combinations of cells from a single donor's blood to predict whether a new drug will cause a severe immune reaction in humans. The test could avert disasters like the 2006 trial of the drug TGN1412, which led to six healthy young men being admitted to intensive care with multiple organ failure.More

Limited self-renewal of stem cells in the brain
Medical Xpress
Stem cells in the brain can produce neurons and are consequently seen as a hope for treatment. A team of researchers from the Helmholtz Zentrum München and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München has now discovered that the self-renewal rate of the stem cells is however limited, explaining why their number drops over the course of a lifetime.More

The promise of stem cells
Phys.org
Surprising insights and the latest ground-breaking advances in stem cell research are put under the microscope at this year's Cambridge Science Festival, which started on Monday and runs for two weeks. The potential use of stem cells to treat disease, including diabetes, heart disease, dementia and cancer, and the possibilities for cell, tissue and organ repair are astounding.More

Is healthcare the future of wearable technology?
Bloomberg
Our medical data is worth billions. And thanks to wearable technology, that data is now more available than ever. The Apple Watch will measure your fitness, but an increasing amount of products are going even further. Bloomberg’s Jessica Howard reports. More

Most healthcare organizations planning IT investments this year
iHealthBeat
A majority of healthcare organizations plan to spend money on the transition to ICD-10 in 2015, with many also expecting to invest in other health IT priorities, according to a peer60 report, FierceHealthIT reports.More

ACOs are learning to use big data
Dark Daily
Early adopter accountable care organizations are establishing data warehouses. This is a first step in collecting and analyzing healthcare big data. The move toward integrated care makes big data critical to an ACO’s success. Pathologists and clinical laboratory managers will want to follow the healthcare big data trend because laboratory test results will be a major component of that data.More

700 physicians to form ACO in Portland
Becker's Hospital Review
The Portland, Oregon, InterHospital Physicians Association has announced plans to launch a new accountable care organization called Care Connect Northwest. Twelve physician organizations, with approximately 700 primary care physicians and specialists, plan to participate in the new ACO.More

FDA approves 1st US biosimilar; hold your breath on cost savings
Forbes
In a much-anticipated decision, the Food and Drug Administration announced this morning the approval of filgrastim-sndz, the first non-brand, complex biopharmaceutical — or biosimilar — in U.S. pharmaceutical history. The drug, made by Sandoz, will be sold in the U.S. under the much simpler brand name, Zarxio.More

A breakthrough treatment for lung cancer approved
TIME
On March 5, a novel way to treat lung cancer won approval from the Food and Drug Administration. The latest drug, Opdivo, has showed promise with other cancers, and is the first to use the immune system to tackle hard-to-treat lung tumors. Here’s what you need to know.More

Does your health insurance cover alternative medicine?
U.S. News & World Report
About a third of U.S. adults use some form of alternative medicine, and most of them likely pay for it out of their own pocket. Alternative methods — from supplements to acupuncture — are used in preventive care as well as the treatment of chronic and acute conditions, but they often aren’t covered by health insurance.More

A roadmap for how many people could lose their health insurance
The New York Times
So how many people in how many states could be affected by the big Supreme Court case about Obamacare’s insurance subsidies? Good question. A combination of data problems and legal ambiguities make some basic facts about the case difficult to summarize easily. Last week, news media coverage included widely ranging numbers of people who could lose their insurance and where they live. Here’s why it’s hard to estimate.More