Genomics Biotechnology & Emerging Medical Technologies Institute e-News
Mar. 6, 2014

Rare mutation kills off gene responsible for diabetes
The New York Times
A new study based on genetic testing of 150,000 people has found a rare mutation that protects even fat people from getting Type 2 diabetes. The effect is so pronounced — the mutation reduces risk by two-thirds — that it provides a promising new target for developing a drug to mimic the mutation's effect.More

Sequencing genes can pinpoint rare illnesses — Might it also help with other problems?
New Scientist via The Washington Post
Born prematurely, Lillian Yuska struggled to feed, and she suffered from chronic gastrointestinal problems and repeated infections. After years of shuttling her from specialist to specialist, Lillian's parents turned to cutting-edge technology: They had their daughter's genetic code mapped. This genomic sequencing, which began when Lillian was 4, revealed that she had tricho-hepato-enteric syndrome-2, a condition caused by a gene mutation that disrupts gut function and immunity. Only six other children worldwide are known to have the condition.More

Viruses in 700-year-old human feces have antibiotic resistance genes
Medical News Today
Though digging through a latrine from the 14th century is not the most glamorous of tasks, scientists have found viruses that contain genes for antibiotic resistance in fossilized human feces from ancient Belgium. The feces are from a time long before antibiotics were used, and the investigators say it provides evidence that the human gut has remained unchanged after centuries.More

Risk prediction, personalized medicine still in their infancy
While risk prediction and personalized therapies are advancing in some areas, there's much work to be done to make such efforts effective, according to an article in BMC Medicine. Daniel F. Hayes of the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center advocates for better industry oversight for tumor biomarker tests and the need to know whether a particular biomarker is significant clinically — whether to give or withhold a particular treatment More

New tool may hold key to personalized medicine applications in the future
Stars, diamonds, circles. Rather than your average bowl of Lucky Charms, these are three-dimensional cell cultures generated by an exciting new digital microfluidics platform, the results of which have been published in Nature Communications by researchers at the University of Toronto. The tool, which can be used to study cells in cost-efficient, three-dimensional microgels, may hold the key to personalized medicine applications in the future.More

Reconstructing faces using human stem cells from fat
Medical News Today
Researchers in London, U.K., are investigating the effectiveness of stem cell therapies for facial reconstruction. A joint team, from London's Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and University College London's Institute of Child Health, has published the findings of their research in the journal Nanomedicine.More

Alzheimer's in a dish: Stem cells from patients offer model and drug-discovery platform for early-onset form of disease
Medical Xpress
Harvard stem cell scientists have successfully converted skins cells from patients with early-onset Alzheimer's into the types of neurons that are affected by the disease, making it possible for the first time to study this leading form of dementia in living human cells. This may also make it possible to develop therapies far more quickly and accurately than before.More

Telemedicine: The future of medicine
Rosemary Sparacio
There are many reasons for the increasingly prevalent use of telemedicine. What may have started out as a way to deliver improved health care services to rural areas, has now exploded to include ways to extend the availability of services to everyone and produce cost benefits both to health care providers and to the patient. More

Baby boomers push medical technology to new heights
HIT Consultant
Since they came into the world, baby boomers have been changing it. The U.S. Census Bureau defines a baby boomer as someone born between 1946 and 1964 — that makes them 75 million strong. Now that they are reaching retirement age at the rate of three million per year, baby boomers are poised to change the face of healthcare with technological advances that meet their demand for smart, savvy and easy solutions to cope with the issues of aging.More

Rare mutation kills off gene responsible for diabetes
The New York Times
A new study based on genetic testing of 150,000 people has found a rare mutation that protects even fat people from getting Type 2 diabetes.More

Modern genes reveal 100 major population shifts in human history
Popular Science
Violence and love, conquest and assimilation, they're all in your DNA. Literally.More

10 ways mobile technology will save your life in the future
The medical and healthcare sectors are in the midst of rapid change, and it can be difficult to see which new technologies will have a long-lasting impact.More

Insurers invoking all-product clauses to fill exchange plan networks
Pamela Lewis Dolan
Some physicians are experiencing confusion and surprise by learning they are contracted to accept patients covered by insurance exchange plans despite the fact they rejected offers to participate in those plans. Plans are invoking what is known as an “all-product clause.” This is a provision many physicians may not be aware are present in their contracts, but essentially force physicians contracted in a particular payer plan to participate in all of the plans offered by that payer in the state, including those offered through the exchanges. More

Government expands help for buying health insurance
The Washington Post
With just a month left for Americans to select health plans this year through new insurance marketplaces, the Obama administration is bending some rules to prevent people from being stranded without coverage because of state-run exchanges riddled with computer problems. In states with dysfunctional insurance marketplaces, the government will for the first time help pay for certain health plans that consumers buy on their own.More

Healthcare's next innovation? The answer is in the data
As the healthcare industry goes digital, all of those doctor visits and other health-related transactions are creating terabytes of highly valuable data. In too many places, however, that data isn't shared as widely as it could be. Outdated systems and processes limit availability to the department that generated the data.More

Group wants heart attack warning on testosterone
The Associated Press via ABC News
A consumer advocacy group is calling on the Food and Drug Administration to add a bold warning label to popular testosterone drugs for men in light of growing evidence that the hormone treatments can increase the risk of heart attack. The group Public Citizen says the agency should immediately add a "black box" warning — the most serious type — to all testosterone medications and require manufacturers to warn physicians about a higher risk of heart attack, stroke and death with the treatments.More

Critics oppose FDA approval of painkiller Zohydro
A new narcotic painkiller is due to come on the market in March, and critics want the FDA to reverse its approval of the drug, Zohydro ER. They claim it could become the next OxyContin, another opioid that's become a popular drug of abuse. Critics of the FDA's ruling include attorneys general from 28 states and FED UP!, a union of consumer groups, addiction treatment providers, drug and alcohol prevention programs and other interested groups. More

Could new hepatitis C drugs bust state budgets?
USA Today
Two new medications to treat the deadly epidemic of hepatitis C promise millions of Americans a better chance of a cure, shorter periods of treatment and fewer side effects than older drugs. They also threaten to bust state budgets and raise private insurance rates.More