Genomics Biotechnology & Emerging Medical Technologies Institute e-News
Jun. 27, 2013

Genes known to cause birth defects may also lead to mental illness
Fox News
Genetic mutations known to cause major birth defects in developing embryos are now being implicated in another significant health condition: Mental illness. Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco examined mutations of the gene Dact1 in mice, which disrupts the encoding of the Dact1 protein — and leads to the disruption of cell signaling pathways during embryonic development. More

Reading DNA, backward and forward: Biologists reveal how cells control the direction in which the genome is read
MIT biologists have discovered a mechanism that allows cells to read their own DNA in the correct direction and prevents them from copying most of the so-called "junk DNA" that makes up long stretches of our genome. Only about 15 percent of the human genome consists of protein-coding genes, but in recent years scientists have found that a surprising amount of the junk, or intergenic DNA, does get copied into RNA — the molecule that carries DNA's messages to the rest of the cell.More

DNA found outside genes plays largely unknown, potentially vital roles
Science Codex
A new UC San Francisco study highlights the potential importance of the vast majority of human DNA that lies outside of genes within the cell. The researchers found that about 85 percent of these stretches of DNA make RNA, a molecule that increasingly is being found to play important roles within cells. They also determined that this RNA-making DNA is more likely than other non-gene DNA regions to be associated with inherited disease risks.More

Medication misuse costs US $200 billion annually
Clinical Advisor
Misuse of prescription drugs costs the U.S. $200 billion annually, according to a press release by IMS Health regarding a recent study. Those unnecessary costs represent about 8 percent of the yearly national healthcare expenditure, and could have paid for the healthcare of 24 million uninsured patients, by the study's calculations.More

10 startups fueling pharma in social media
Slow-moving regulators have kept the rules of engagement on social media platforms fuzzy for pharma players. Yet rather than sit on the sidelines waiting for the FDA to take a firm stance on dos and don'ts, many pharma companies have taken a shot at safe moves in the social realm. Every big pharma company has at least some presence on social platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. More

Combination of evidence-based medicine and personalized medicine can result in optimal healthcare
There are two popular models when it comes to delivering the best healthcare — using evidence-based guidelines or applying personalized medicine. Each method has its own merits and drawbacks, but according to one Northwestern Medicine cardiologist, when the two theories are integrated the result is an optimal healthcare delivery model that is both less expensive and better for the patient.More

Stem cells market is expected to reach $119.51 billion globally in 2018
PRNewswire via The Sacramento Bee
The market growth is majorly attributed to therapeutic research activities led by government support worldwide owing to the growing number of patients with chronic diseases across the globe. In addition, rising awareness of regenerative treatment options and growing importance of stem cell banking services are also fostering the growth of the market. More

Study sets guidelines for stem cell transplants in older patients with myelodysplastic syndromes
A new study by an international team led by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientists provides the first statistically-based guidelines for determining whether a stem cell transplant is appropriate for older patients with myelodysplastic syndromes — the most common blood disorders in people over 60 years of age, and frequently a precursor for leukemia.More

Surgeon uses Google Glass in the OR to share endoscopic surgery
MedCity News
When Dr. Rafael Grossman of Eastern Maine Medical Center decided to strap on GoogleGlass to do the first surgical procedure using the technology, it highlighted yet another way to advance telemedicine. It can provide an innovative approach for surgeons and physicians teaching medicine, helping with consults and simulations, from their point of view. The procedure involved inserting a feeding tube in a procedure called Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy. More

Providers navigate potential uses for Google Glass in healthcare
It's time to think about how physicians — and not just techies at Google Headquarters — can use Google Glass. For example, Rafael Grossman, a surgeon at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, can think of a few ways he'd use the technology, as he outlines in a new blog post. He points out one of the key advantages of Google Glass for a physician — that only the user can see and hear what's going through the Glass. That, he says, ensures that telemedicine can be private and personalized. More

Genes known to cause birth defects may also lead to mental illness
Fox News
Genetic mutations known to cause major birth defects in developing embryos are now being implicated in another significant health condition: Mental illness. More

Robotic surgeries on the rise, but are there risks?
NBC News
The majority of the hundreds of thousands of robotic surgeries performed in the U.S. each year are done safely. However, as use of the machine increases, so are reports of injuries.More

Our genes, their secrets
The New York Times
The Supreme Court's unanimous ruling, barring patents on human genes, was a wise and balanced decision that clears away a major barrier to innovation in the areas of biotechnology, drug development and medical diagnostics.More

Conversion to new government codes for healthcare providers could spark more confusion
If you think the issue of healthcare is already a big source of confusion, wait until medical providers try to divine the new diagnostic "codes" the government has prescribed to describe diseases and hospital procedures for insurance companies to pay the costs involved. These codes may turn out to be more complex than the Da Vinci Code. More

US unveils healthcare website and call center
The New York Times
The Obama administration announced new steps to expand coverage under the federal healthcare law, less than a week after the Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan investigative arm of Congress, found that the federal government and many states were "behind schedule" in setting up marketplaces where Americans are supposed to be able to buy insurance.More

3 tips for handling the ACA patient influx
The incoming 32 million patients entering the healthcare system in 2014 due to the Affordable Care Act should be a reason for physicians to rejoice. After all, more patients should mean more money for practices, right? Unfortunately, many physicians aren't ready to reap the rewards of a patient increase. About 48 percent of physicians lack the resources necessary to accept any of these new patients. More

FDA raises concerns about the cybersecurity of medical devices
The Food and Drug Administration has raised concerns about the vulnerability of medical devices to cyberattack. The FDA recommended that device companies and medical facilities "take steps to assure that appropriate safeguards are in place to reduce the risk of failure due to cyberattack, which could be initiated by the introduction of malware into the medical equipment or unauthorized access to configuration settings in medical devices and hospital networks." More

FDA: Intuitive Surgical failed to report warning
The Food and Drug Administration says Intuitive Surgical, which makes the da Vinci surgical robot, broke procedures when it warned customers about problems with the robot without first alerting regulators. In what is known as a "483" letter following a recent inspection the FDA said that between January 2010 and December 2011 Intuitive received 134 complaints and filed 83 medical device reports related to "tip cover issues."More