Disrupting the health care system | Introducing the Patients Count Leadership Council | A cancer researcher struggles to find a cure before it's too late
September 29, 2016
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Americas achieve a historic first in eradicating measles
A 22-year vaccination effort against measles has resulted in eliminating the disease in the Americas, says the Pan American Health Organization, which acts as the World Health Organization's regional office. "This is truly a historic deed," said PAHO Director Carissa Etienne.
Reuters (9/27) 
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News from FasterCures
Disrupting the health care system
FasterCures is driving the patient-centricity movement forward by holding partners accountable, asking tough questions and advocating for regulatory reform. "We want to see things move faster and more efficiently, and that requires more conversations between all stakeholders, including patients," Margaret Anderson, executive director, said in an interview with The Economist Intelligence Unit.
The Economist (tiered subscription model) (Sept. 2016) 
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Introducing the Patients Count Leadership Council
Through our Patients Count program, FasterCures aims to expand opportunities for patients' perspectives to shape the processes by which new therapies are discovered, developed and delivered. The Patients Count Leadership Council is comprised of key opinion leaders and stakeholders who share our interest in using patient input to shape decision-making at all levels of R&D.
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Learn more about FasterCures:
FasterCures Home | Milken Institute
Science and Technology
A cancer researcher struggles to find a cure before it's too late
Medicinal chemist Tom Marsilje is angling to get into a clinical trial of a neoantigen vaccine -- a novel immunotherapy technique that prompts the immune system to respond to neoantigens planted on the surface of malignant cells. Marsilje's colon cancer, diagnosed when he was 39, has metastasized to his lungs and distant lymph nodes, and despite his savvy as a cancer researcher, he has struggled to navigate the health care system and participate in clinical trials.
STAT (9/26) 
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Medtronic's artificial pancreas wins FDA approval
The FDA on Wednesday gave Medtronic approval for its MiniMed 670G, an artificial pancreas that features a glucose sensor and an insulin pump, allowing the device to monitor blood glucose every five minutes and infuse insulin as needed. The device, which is expected to be available next spring, is indicated for patients with type 1 diabetes ages 14 years and older.
Reuters (9/28),  The Associated Press (9/28) 
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Summit's ezutromid fast-tracked for Duchenne muscular dystrophy
Summit Therapeutics' investigational Duchenne muscular dystrophy treatment ezutromid has received a fast-track designation from the FDA. The drug is in a midstage study, with results expected by the second half of 2017.
Seeking Alpha (free registration) (9/26) 
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Finance and Economics
Color Genomics to expand DTC testing service after raising $45M
General Catalyst Partners led a financing round in which direct-to-consumer genetic testing company Color Genomics raised $45 million. The company announced plans to offer its saliva test that screens for 30 genetic markers for $50 to first-degree relatives of people diagnosed with an inherited cancer-associated genetic mutation.
Business Insider (9/27),  Bloomberg (9/27) 
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Sanofi gets $43.2M BARDA grant for Zika vaccine development
(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Sanofi will receive $43.2 million from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority for the midstage development of a purified, inactivated Zika virus vaccine. The vaccine is being developed in partnership with the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research under an agreement signed in July.
Reuters (9/26),  European Pharmaceutical Review (U.K.) (9/27) 
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Mechanobiology center to be created thanks to $24M NSF grant
The National Science Foundation has awarded Washington University in St. Louis a grant worth close to $24 million to create a center for mechanobiology, which looks at how mechanical forces affect cell function in plants and animals. The Science and Technology Center for Engineering MechanoBiology's main focus will be to study ways to treat cancer and improve crop yields.
KWMU-FM (St. Louis) (9/28) 
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Policy and Regulation
House trims funding in Cures bill
House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee members agreed to cut about $4.75 billion dollars in NIH funding and about $200 million in FDA funding in a revised version of the 21st Century Cures Act, Rep. Gene Green, D-Texas, said. The cuts are an attempt to make the legislation more attractive in the Senate, and negotiators in both chambers said they would try to pass the bills after the election.
The Hill (9/28) 
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Society and Ethics
Patient groups are integral to biotech drug development
Early-stage biopharmaceutical companies and patient advocacy groups increasingly work together to raise awareness and funds, design and fill clinical trials, and bring promising therapies to market. "The science should not be dictated by patients, but the patients' voice should be heard," said Annie Ganot, head of patient advocacy at Solid Biosciences.
The Boston Globe (tiered subscription model) (9/29) 
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Patient advocates caught in the middle of drug-price debate
Most patient advocacy groups have stayed quiet amid the controversy over drug prices, and some of those that have weighed in on the issue have taken the pharmaceutical industry's stance of placing blame on payers. Many advocacy groups receive funding from drugmakers and work closely with them on drug development and approval.
The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (9/27) 
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On the FastTrack
MMRF shares data with NCI to advance cancer research
The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation will incorporate its genomic and clinical data into the National Cancer Institute's Genomic Data Commons as part of a recently announced collaboration between MMRF and NCI. The Genomic Data Commons is a publicly available resource that enables precision medicine in oncology. Read the press release.
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FasterCures is an action tank that works across sectors and diseases to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the medical research enterprise. FasterCures, a center of the Milken Institute, is nonpartisan and independent of interest groups.
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