Genomics Biotechnology & Emerging Medical Technologies Institute e-News
Oct. 31, 2013

11 new gene variants linked to Alzheimer's disease
CBS News
In the largest genetic analysis of Alzheimer's ever completed, scientists have discovered 11 new genes that may be tied to the late-onset form of the dementia disease. Scientists scanned the brains of 74,076 older volunteers with Alzheimer's and others who did not have the disease in 15 countries to come up with their findings.More

Obesity may be caused by 'hunger gene'
Medical News Today
Some people are able to tuck into chocolate every day and not gain weight, while others struggle to keep their weight down regardless of what they eat. Exactly why this is has been unclear, but now researchers point to a genetic mutation as the cause. Researchers from the University of Cambridge in the U.K. say that mutation of a gene called KSR2 may cause continued hunger pangs in patients who are obese, as well as slow their metabolism — the rate at which the body burns calories.More

Next-generation sequencing identifies genes associated with speech disorder
Medical Xpress
A collaborative team of researchers has used next generation sequencing to identify clinically relevant genetic variants associated with a rare pediatric speech disorder. The findings are published in the Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders.More

Ubiome wants to unlock the health secrets of the human
Fast Company
For $99, genetic testing startup 23andMe will analyze your DNA, telling you how to live smarter and longer — and what disease might kill you. But there's another inner frontier to explore in personalized medicine: the bacteria in your gut. For $89, Ubiome, a startup founded by Jessica Richma — a doctoral candidate at Oxford who did stints at Google and McKinsey after graduating from Stanford in 2009 — will send you a kit that harvests the organisms that live inside your body.More

FDA report outlines approach to personalized medicine
In a detailed new report, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has outlined its approach for regulating new personalized therapies and devices. The report, Paving the Way for Personalized Medicine: FDA's Role in a New Era of Medical Product Development, outlines the fundamental ways in which the FDA has modified its traditional approaches to drug and device regulation in the new era of products that are tailored toward specific patient subtypes, rather than broad diagnostic groups.More

New insights into treating Parkinson's from yeast, stem cell experiments
The Boston Globe
A team of scientists at the Cambridge-based Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research have identified a compound that can reverse some of the toxicity that occurs in brain cells created from Parkinson’s disease patients’ stem cells. The work, described in a pair of studies published in the journal Science, is still very early — the researchers aren't even using the word "drug" when describing the small molecule that jumped out when they screened a chemical library of about 200,000 compounds.More

A new take on efficient delivery in regenerative medicine
Health Canal
An international research group has successfully tested the use of a new type of porous material for the efficient delivery of key molecules to transplanted cells derived from stem cells. These results can lead to improvements in the way stem cell-based neurodegenerative diseases are treated. A group of researchers based in Sweden, Denmark and Japan has successfully tested in animal models the use of a new type of porous material for the efficient delivery of key molecules to transplanted cells derived from stem cells. More

Invuity launches handheld illuminator with suction for trauma surgery
Invuity recently announced the full commercial launch of the Eigr Saber Waveguide with Yankauer, which is a handheld illuminator combined with a traditional Yankauer suction platform. The Eigr Saber Waveguide illuminator projects thermally cool, brilliant, white light uniformly into a surgical cavity and, according to a press release, significantly improves visualization in patients during trauma and reconstruction surgery. More

Optical technology helps surgeons see cancer tissue
R&D Magazine
OnTarget Laboratories LLC has teamed with partners in academia to test a novel optical imaging technology developed at Purdue Univ. that could help surgeons see cancer tissue during surgery. The technology, developed by Philip Low, the Ralph C. Corley Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at Purdue, is based on the over-expression of specific receptors on solid cancerous tumors and enables illumination of the tumor tissue during surgery. More

A simple fix to eliminate toxicity in 3-D printed medical implants
Mixing naturally occurring vitamin B2 into the liquid used in 3-D printers eliminates the toxicity commonly found in the printed objects, a new study finds, taking medicine one step closer to using 3-D printing to create medical implants. "This opens the door to a much wider range of biocompatible implant materials, which can be used to develop customized implant designs using 3-D printing technology," says senior study author Roger Narayan, a professor in the joint biomedical engineering department at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. More

11 new gene variants linked to Alzheimer's disease
CBS News
In the largest genetic analysis of Alzheimer's ever completed, scientists have discovered 11 new genes that may be tied to the late-onset form of the dementia disease. More

'Pain genes' identified by DNA sequencing
Medical News Today
Researchers have identified hundreds of variants in a patient's genetic code that predict which people are more susceptible to persistent chronic pain following amputation.More

Environmental factors 'turn on and off' cancer related genes
Medical Xpress
Research performed at the Center of Research and Advanced Studies has identified that certain food and lifestyle habits can turn on or off the expression of cancer related genes.More

Health insurance options aren't limited to government exchanges
The New York Times
With so much attention being paid to the troubled debut of the Obama administration's health insurance exchanges, another alternative has largely gone unnoticed: Unless you live in Washington, D.C., or Vermont, you can also buy insurance outside the exchanges — by going directly to insurance brokers, agents or company websites.More

From uninsured to covered: PAs at the forefront of the ACA
By Maria Frisch
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was first signed into law on March 23, 2010, and has remained on course for full implementation in January 2014. It has been contended that this law will fundamentally change nearly every aspect of healthcare, from insurance to the final delivery of care. The largest and most important provision of the act is the so-called "individual mandate," which will effectively require all Americans to purchase health insurance by taxing those who do not do so by the 2014 deadline. What does all of this mean for physician assistants?More

A Medicare primer just in time for 2014 enrollment
Tampa Bay Times
Healthcare has dominated the news lately, but do not confuse Obamacare with Medicare. They have nothing to do with each other. Medicare will operate pretty much as it always has. If you are new to Medicare, or just want a refresher, here are some questions and answers on the basics.More

Pure hydrocodone, stronger than Vicodin, approved by FDA
The Associated Press via CBS News
The Food and Drug Administration has approved a stronger, single-ingredient version of the painkiller hydrocodone, the widely-abused prescription medicine for chronic pain. The agency said in a statement it approved the pill Zohydro ER for patients with pain that requires, daily, around-the-clock treatment that cannot be addressed with other drugs.More

FDA shift on painkillers was years in the making
The New York Times
When Heather Dougherty heard the news that the Food and Drug Administration had recommended tightening how doctors prescribed the most commonly used narcotic painkillers, she was overjoyed. Fourteen years earlier, her father, Dr. Ronald J. Dougherty, had filed a formal petition urging federal officials to crack down on the drugs.More

FDA approves Perjeta for neoadjuvant breast cancer treatment
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted accelerated approval to Perjeta as part of a complete treatment regimen for patients with early stage breast cancer before surgery. Perjeta is the first FDA-approved drug for the neoadjuvant treatment of breast cancer. Perjeta was approved in 2012 for the treatment of patients with advanced or late-stage HER2-positive breast cancer. More