Genomics Biotechnology & Emerging Medical Technologies Institute e-News
Nov. 21, 2013

The gene machine
Medical Xpress
Scientists have discovered that the human body contains more than 25,000 genes, but what they do remains mostly a mystery. "We don't know the function of the vast majority of genes," says Nevan Krogan, Ph.D., director of the UC San Francisco branch of the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences. Krogan and his team are seeking to crack this conundrum by examining genes and the proteins they encode through a superwide lens, as well as by creating large-scale physical and genetic interaction maps.More

Researchers identify genes that put children at high risk of serious asthma attacks
An international team spearheaded by researchers from the University of Copenhagen has identified the genes that put some children at particularly high risk of serious asthma attacks, including one not previously suspected of being implicated in the disease. In the long term, these new findings are expected to help improve treatment options for the disease, which represents a high cost for families and society alike.More

Genomics could blow up the clinical trial
MIT Technology Review
A novel kind of clinical trial is set to test several new lung cancer drugs based on the molecular profiles of each participating patient's tumor. If successful, the trial could help bring cancer-genome-targeted medicines to patients more quickly than has been possible to date. Trials often only test one new drug at a time, and in cases when researchers do use genomic profiling to match a patient to a new treatment, they may struggle to find suitable candidates.More

American Heart Association launching new personalized medicine heart treatment effort
Reuters via MedCity News
Cardiologists are taking aim at treating and preventing heart disease, the world's No. 1 killer, with a more personalized approach under a new research collaboration that will marry data with the evolving understanding of genetics. The effort, being billed as Heart Studies v2.0, will be a collaboration of the American Heart Association along with Boston University and the University of Mississippi, which oversee ongoing landmark population studies, the Framingham Heart Study and the Jackson Heart Study, respectively. More

Discovery paves way for personalized cancer treatment
Medical Xpress
A prostate cancer researcher at the University of Alberta and his team have discovered how to improve currently available cancer drugs so the medication could be personalized for individual patients. John Lewis, a researcher in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, published his team's findings in the peer-reviewed journal ACS Combinatorial Science earlier this year. He worked with colleagues from Western University in Ontario and the U of A on the project.More

Personalized medicine: The future is now
The difference between science and science fiction is a line that seems ever harder to distinguish, thanks in part to a host of astonishing advances in medical science that are helping to create a new age of promise and possibility for patients. Today cancer drugs are increasingly twinned with a diagnostic device that can determine whether a patient will respond to the drug based on their tumor's genetic characteristics; medical imaging can be used to identify the best implantable device to treat a specific patient with clogged coronary arteries; and progress in regenerative medicine and stem cell therapy using a patient's own cells could lead to the replacement or regeneration of their missing or damaged tissues.More

Stem cells may let transplant organs avoid rejection
The Boston Globe
An organ transplant offers a new lease on life but, as with any lease, there is important fine print: Patients will need to take powerful drugs to suppress the body's immune system and prevent it from attacking the new organ. So even if the transplant takes, patients can become seriously sick, and even die, because of minor illnesses that a fully functioning immune system would ward off easily.More

Scientists create 'mini-kidneys' from human stem cells
Medical News Today
The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Disease states that more than 20 million adults in the U.S. have some form of chronic kidney disease, showing the need for better knowledge and treatment of the condition. Now, scientists have created miniature 3-D kidney structures from human stem cells with the aim of providing just that.More

Therapy using stem cells, bone marrow cells, appears safe for patients with ischemic cardiomyopathy
Alan W. Heldman, M.D., of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and colleagues conducted a study to examine the safety of transendocardial stem cell injection with autologous mesenchymal stem cells and bone marrow mononuclear cells in patients with ischemic cardiomyopathy. An effective proregenerative treatment for ischemic cardiomyopathy would address a major unmet need for many patients. More

Technology and medicine: Applying Google Glass in the medical field
By Rosemary Sparacio
Every day, new strides in technology make headlines in all kinds of areas. Nowhere is it is more prevalent or exciting than in the medical field. And one of the most talked about new tech "gadgets" to come onto the scene and into the consciousness of just about everyone who follows the news is Google Glass. Proponents see the potential for the device's use over a wide range of medical applications, from cutting down the time a physician has to do paperwork — thus giving the physician more time to focus on the patient's problem — to assisting in surgery. More

3 technologies that will change the face of medicine over the next 10 years
The Motley Fool
What technologies will emerge as game changers for the practice of medicine by the end of 2023? Predicting the future isn't an easy task. What seems like a sure-fire success often turns out to be a colossal failure. However, several technologies in their infancy today hold tremendous potential to radically change the face of medicine over the next 10 years. Here are three that will most likely make an enormous impact in the near future.More

Efforts underway to help physicians find best apps to recommend
Pamela Lewis Dolan
As patient engagement becomes an increasingly important aspect of a reformed healthcare system, mobile health applications are often thought to hold great potential for getting patients more involved in their healthcare. With more than 43,000 health-related apps available on the iTunes store alone, and new apps being introduced every day, there is no shortage when it comes to available tools. But due to sheer volume, the ability for doctors to assess and analyze these tools for their safety and efficacy is lacking. More

The gene machine
Medical Xpress
Scientists have discovered that the human body contains more than 25,000 genes, but what they do remains mostly a mystery. "We don't know the function of the vast majority of genes," says Nevan Krogan, Ph.D., director of the UC San Francisco branch of the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences.More

HPV can damage genes, chromosomes directly by inserting own DNA into human DNA
The virus that causes cervical, head and neck, anal and other cancers can damage chromosomes and genes where it inserts its DNA into human DNA, according to a new study led by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center.More

Scientists found the Wolverine healing gene
Deep within our bodies are all kinds of genes that turn on and off over the years, including the very genes that make you grow a body in the first place.More

Private website touted as interim alternative to
By Pamela Lewis Dolan
Despite doubts from many, President Barack Obama remains confident that the technical glitches that overshadowed the launch of the federal health insurance exchange in October will be fixed by Nov. 30. Obama said while the site was getting better each week, supporters should remind their friends and family that isn't the only place consumers could enroll for insurance. He said enrollment could happen over the phone, in person and by mail. What Obama didn't mention was that there is also an alternative website where consumers could shop for plans. And it's gaining a lot of attention. More

Report: Rise in healthcare spending lowest on record
USA Today
Healthcare spending since the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act has risen by 1.3 percent a year, the lowest rate ever recorded, and healthcare inflation is the lowest it has been in 50 years, a report released by the White House shows. An economy hobbled by the recession and 2008 economic crisis played a role in some of the reduced spending growth, officials said, but the report cited "structural change" caused, in part, by the law.More

The dirty little secret of how to choose the best surgeons
By Dr. Jonathan Kaplan
Someone finally figured it out. How do you choose the right surgeon for your procedure? Online reviews? Statistical data in which it's unclear how the data was collected and what variables were used? As you may have gathered from these rhetorical questions, none of these methods is adequate in choosing the right surgeon. But a research group in Michigan has figured out how to choose the best surgeons for your surgery. Unfortunately, we don't have access to this method of choice. More

Bill on drug compounding clears Congress a year after a meningitis outbreak
The New York Times
A bill that would give the FDA more power to police compounding pharmacies passed its final hurdle in Congress, in what experts said was an important step to a safer drug supply in the United States. The bill, which cleared the Senate without opposition, stops short of giving the FDA complete authority over pharmacies that tailor-mix drugs for individual patients, a process known as compounding.More

FDA approves drug for rare blood cancer
The Wall Street Journal
Pharmacyclics Inc. said it would sell its drug Imbruvica for more than $130,000 annually, making it one of the most expensive new cancer drugs on the market. The drug, which will be co-marketed with Johnson & Johnson and is known generically as ibrutinib, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat patients with mantle cell lymphoma, a rare and aggressive type of blood cancer for which nearly 5,000 patients in the U.S. undergo treatment, according to Kantar Health, a consulting firm.More

Will the new hepatitis C drugs trigger a battle over cost?
As excitement mounts among physicians and investors over a new batch of drugs for treating hepatitis C, there is also concern that patients in developing countries may not have sufficient access due to high prices. But a recent poster presentation at a medical conference suggests that drugmakers can produce these new medicines for relatively little cost and should be compelled to do so.More