Genomics Biotechnology & Emerging Medical Technologies Institute e-News
Jul. 12, 2012

Genetic test changes game in cancer prognosis
The New York Times
A new test identifies one of two gene patterns in eye melanomas. Almost everyone in Class 1 — roughly half of patients — is cured when the tumor is removed. As for those in Class 2, 80 to 90 percent will die within five years. No test has ever been so accurate in predicting cancer outcomes, researchers said. While for now the ocular melanoma test is in a class by itself, cancer researchers say it is a taste of what may be coming as they continue to investigate the genes of cancer cells.More

Genome study highlights risk factor for multiple sclerosis
Like diabetes, most forms of cancer and other common diseases, there is no single gene that causes the autoimmune condition multiple sclerosis. Dozens of genetic variations act in concert with environmental factors to cause the debilitating neurological disease. Yet a single genetic variant may explain why drugs that treat other autoimmune diseases tend to make MS symptoms worse, and could identify other MS patients who might benefit from the therapies.More

A new treatment's promise brings heartbreaking ups and downs
The New York Times
Scientists had compared the entire genetic sequences of the tumor cells invading Beth McDaniel's body with those in her healthy cells, searching for mutated tumor genes that could be thwarted by drugs approved for other cancers or even other diseases. That had led them to give her an expensive drug approved just a month earlier for melanoma patients. In theory, the drug should have killed her. Instead, it seemed to have halted or even reversed her cancer.More

FDA approves genetic test for use with cancer drug
The Wall Street Journal
The Food and Drug Administration approved a genetic test made by Qiagen N.V. aimed at determining which colon cancer patients would benefit from the cancer drug Erbitux, the company said. Erbitux is approved to treat a certain group of patients with advanced colon cancer as well as head and neck cancer. More

New devices improve diabetes control
WebMD Health News
By combining insulin pumps with continuous blood sugar sensors, people with diabetes get better blood sugar control than those using finger-stick testing and insulin shots, new research suggests. The findings come from an analysis of studies comparing new technologies to traditional methods for monitoring and controlling blood sugar.More

Arthritis stem cell jab 'could ease pain for millions'
Daily Mail
An injection of stem cells taken from body fat could one day help patients recover from crippling osteoarthritis. The treatment, which has been successfully trialed on animals, helps the body regrow tissue and cartilage that has been damaged by the degenerative condition.More

Diabetes drug may someday repair Alzheimer's damage
MyHealthNewsDaily via Fox News
The diabetes drug metformin may spur the growth of new brain cells, which could have benefits for Alzheimer's patients, a new Canadian study on mice suggests. The study showed metformin caused brain cells to divide, producing new cells.More

Emergency caesarean simulator helps train doctors
BBC News
An emergency caesarean simulator has been launched in the U.K. to help train doctors to perform complex C-sections. The "pregnant" abdomen, made from silicone and plastic, mimics advanced labor — where the baby's head gets stuck in the mother's pelvis.More

Ultra high-speed camera rapidly detects circulating tumor cells
Quickly detecting circulating tumor cells would be a major boon for cancer diagnostics, but serious challenges persist because CTCs in infected blood are rarer than needles in haystacks. Visual microscopy is a good way of identifying CTCs, but millions of flowing cells have to be photographed very quickly, and researchers at UCLA have developed a new kind of camera to do just that.More

Payment raise proposed for primary care providers
Healthcare Finance News
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is sending some sunshine in the direction of primary care providers. In a proposed rule, CMS is offering payment increases for family physicians and other primary care providers as well as proposals to better pay for the range of care primary care providers give patients.More

New obesity treatment guidelines herald coverage changes
Kaiser Health News
Recently revised guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommend clinicians screen patients for obesity, which is defined as having a body mass index of 30 or higher. The revised guidelines strengthen the previous recommendations, experts say. It's unclear whether employers and insurers will welcome the change, though.More

FDA announces new safety plan for opioid use
The Food and Drug Administration has announced new safety measures for a class of opioid medication used to treat moderate to severe chronic pain. But if they fall into the wrong hands or are used for recreational purposes, these medications can cause serious harm, including overdose and death.More

HPV vaccine shows evidence of herd protection
The Medical News
The HPV vaccine not only has resulted in a decrease in human papillomavirus infection in immunized teens but also in teens that were not immunized. The study is believed to be the first to show a substantial decrease in HPV infection in a community setting as well as herd protection — a decrease in infection rates among unimmunized individuals that occurs when a critical mass of people in a community is immunized against a contagious disease.More