Genomics Biotechnology & Emerging Medical Technologies Institute e-News
Jun. 7, 2012

Doctors try to make sense of cancer's genetic jumble
Not too long ago, knowing the organ where a cancer first takes hold was generally all a doctor needed to determine what treatments to use. Not anymore. Advances in understanding cancer at the molecular level mean doctors can better select the drugs that will most help individual patients. To do so, they must identify which genetic mutations are driving the growth of a patient's tumor, and that shift is making their work much harder.More

'Female' gene to blame for migraines
Daily Mail
A "female" gene may be to blame for migraine — explaining why women are more likely to suffer from the debilitating headaches, research shows. A study found a new region on the X chromosome as having a link to migraines, providing new evidence their might be a "susceptibility" gene involved.More

Study: Black girls don't benefit as much from exercise
In a new study of U.S. preteen and teen girls, daily exercise was strongly linked to weight and obesity in white girls but not black girls. Although it's still important to promote physical activity in all young people, according to the researchers that may not be enough to prevent black girls — who have a higher rate of obesity to begin with — from gaining weight.More

Gene test model may help in non-small cell lung cancer
MedPage Today
A multicenter study in Germany might point the way to better access to personalized medicine for patients with non-small cell lung cancer, a researcher said. While clinical research has found several genetic variants that could guide therapy for the disease, access to testing for them is often restricted to patients treated in large academic centers.More

The 'smart bomb' therapy that blasts breast cancer
This Week
Researchers are excited about a new cancer therapy that explicitly targets breast cancer cells while leaving healthy ones alone. The experimental "smart bomb," which attaches directly to tumors before killing them, is being hailed as "a major step forward" in the fight against cancer and could potentially reach the market within a year. More

Researchers working to repair brain injuries
The Tampa Tribune
Researchers are experimenting with the use of hyperbaric chambers and stem cells to treat traumatic brain injury. They're working with rats, treating them after a brain injury, then examining them for signs of change. But they expect to connect the dots all the way to apply their findings to veterans, stroke victims and others who've suffered brain trauma.More

Scientists report potential impact of olfactory stem cells as therapy
Medical Xpress
A study characterizing the multipotency and transplantation value of olfactory stem cells, as well as the ease in obtaining them, has been published in a recent issue of Cell Transplantation. According to the study, olfactory neural stem cells can be derived from a patient's own cells, they are readily available by a minimally invasive biopsy technique, and they can be expanded in vitro.More

Controlling high blood pressure, through the kidney
The Wall Street Journal
Medical-device makers have rallied to a new experimental treatment for stubborn hypertension: Singeing the walls of nerve-lined arteries leading to the kidneys, blocking the organs' ability to raise blood pressure. Little evidence yet backs the treatment, but initial clinical trials including fewer than 300 patients have shown that the "renal denervation" procedure significantly lowers blood pressure in some patients.More

Trial of 'touchless' gaming technology in surgery
BBC News
Doctors in London are trialing "touchless" technology, often used in TV games, to help them carry out delicate keyhole surgery. The system allows them to manipulate images with their voice and hand-gestures rather than using a keyboard and mouse.More

Most dual eligible care still paid for under FFS model
Healthcare Finance News
A new study found that most low-income people dually eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid continue to receive benefits separately via fee-for-service arrangement and that gaps in data may hinder deliberations on how to effectively manage care for this population.More

Doctors often order tests, recommend treatment when they shouldn't
Consumer Reports via The Washington Post
Doctors often order tests and recommend drugs or procedures when they shouldn't — sometimes even when they know they shouldn't. The problem has become so serious that such groups as the American College of Physicians and the National Physicians Alliance and others have compiled lists of tests and treatments that doctors themselves say are done too often. More

FDA to let women try new breast drugs earlier
Regulators are moving the goal posts in testing new drugs for breast cancer in the hopes of giving more women with aggressive, early-stage cancers the chance to try breakthrough drugs while they have the best shot at a cure.More

FDA rejects Merck's bone cancer treatment
The Wall Street Journal
Merck said the Food and Drug Administration rejected its new drug application for an investigational maintenance treatment for patients with metastatic soft tissue or bone sarcoma. The company said it received a complete response letter from the FDA, which said further clinical trials of the treatment — ridaforolimus — would be needed to assess its effectiveness and safety before any potential approval. More