Climate change a key factor in rise of tick-, mosquito-borne diseases | Armed conflict complicates strategy to contain Ebola outbreak in DRC | Scientists study antibodies' potential therapeutic value against Ebola
August 13, 2018
News for the transfusion medicine and cellular therapy community
Vector-borne diseases have increased threefold in the US between 2004 and 2016, according to the CDC, and experts say temperature shifts caused by climate change are a contributing factor. Improved surveillance as well as community engagement to help enhance disease detection and prevention are needed.
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Public health officials used a ring vaccination strategy to contain the last Ebola virus outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but that strategy will not work with the current outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri, where more than 100 armed groups are fighting over power and resources. Health workers will receive an experimental vaccine, and people with Ebola infections will receive the vaccine as well as experimental antibody and antiviral drugs, but hundreds of thousands of people have fled the violence, and some of them may be carrying the virus.
An international group of researchers from the Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Immunotherapeutic Consortium is working to determine which Ebola-fighting antibodies are best and why to create a combined therapeutic cocktail that could disable the infection machinery of the Ebola virus and trigger the patient's immune system to combat the virus. The research was published in Cell.
An RNA and DNA sequencing platform developed by investigators from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York helps determine the best drug therapies for patients with late-stage and drug-resistant multiple myeloma. Details of the methodology were published in the journal JCO Precision Oncology.
A multi-site Phase Ib clinical trial has been initiated by biotech firm OncoPep to assess the safety and tolerability of its experimental vaccine candidate PVX-410 to treat smoldering multiple myeloma. Two different combinations will be tested in about 20 patients, with the first consisting of PVX-410 plus Celgene's investigational histone deacetylase inhibitor citarinostat and the second a combination of PVX-410, citarinostat and lenalidomide.
The FDA has approved Alnylam Pharmaceuticals' Onpattro, or patisiran, for the treatment of polyneuropathy in patients with hereditary ATTR amyloidosis, making it the first gene-silencing drug to win US approval. Onpattro will carry an annual list price of $450,000 for the average patient, and several insurers, including Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, agreed to cover the drug through value-based deals with Alnylam.
A complimentary primer on trauma hemostasis and oxygenation research (THOR) is available as a member-exclusive offering through Aug. 15. The primer contains three reports from Transfusion that discuss findings from the Remote Damage Control and Resuscitation (RDCR) Symposium, including a recap of the RDCR Symposium's first five years, an update from the 2017 Symposium and a sneak preview of an article that is scheduled to appear later this year in Transfusion.