21st Century Cures roundtable | Apply now to pitch your mobile/digital health technology at P4C | Mayo Clinic, IBM to use Watson to boost patient enrollment in clinical trials
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September 11, 2014
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Competition for scarce funds forces some scientists to give up
As federal funding for biomedical research has declined, fewer research projects can be funded, and many scientists simply give up. Scientists who soldier on often give up on cutting-edge ideas because only the safest projects with the highest chances of success get funded, some scientists say. "You actually have to be much more conservative these days than you used to, and being that conservative I think ultimately hurts the scientific enterprise," said Ian Glomski, a former University of Virginia scientist who went from researching anthrax to running a liquor distillery. National Public Radio/Shots blog (9/9)
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News from FasterCures
21st Century Cures roundtable
FasterCures Chairman Michael Milken joined House Energy & Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, NIH Director Francis Collins, medical innovators and more than a dozen members of Congress at the 21st Century Cures roundtable to talk about a better #Path2Cures.
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Apply now to pitch your mobile/digital health technology at P4C
Apply by Sept. 30 for FastPitch at this year's Partnering for Cures (Nov. 16 to 18 in New York). During this session -- a new addition to the P4C agenda -- top entrepreneurs will pitch ideas to show how their mobile/digital health technology will increase patient participation in biomedical R&D. Moderated by a panel of seasoned entrepreneurs and philanthropic organizations, FastPitch will position four innovators with transformative products in front of a cross-sector audience ready to change the R&D paradigm. Learn more.
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Science and Technology
Mayo Clinic, IBM to use Watson to boost patient enrollment in clinical trials
A partnership was formed between IBM and the Mayo Clinic to use the Watson supercomputer in a pilot program to speed up patient enrollments in clinical trials. To efficiently match patients with appropriate clinical trials, Mayo and IBM experts are training the system to assess patient data and clinical trials criteria. IBM is designing a special version of Watson for the Mayo Clinic, and experts from both groups are working to add data from all Mayo Clinic trials to Watson's knowledge base, as well as information from public databases such as ClinicalTrials.gov. Health Data Management (9/9)
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Physician-entrepreneur shoots for the moon with new health care model
Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong is launching an ambitious plan to transform the U.S. health care system using interconnected biometric monitoring devices, genetic analysis tools, software to keep doctors updated on the latest research and other technologies. A 34-hospital, not-for-profit health system operating in Alaska, California, Montana, Oregon and Washington state will be among the first to test the new system. Forbes (9/10)
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Aging could be slowed by activation of key gene, study finds
Activation of the AMPK gene in certain organs could slow aging and disease, a study in the journal Cell Reports suggests. University of California, Los Angeles, researchers found the method extended the lives of fruit flies by about 30%. "Instead of studying the diseases of aging -- Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, cancer, stroke, cardiovascular disease, diabetes -- one by one, we believe it may be possible to intervene in the aging process and delay the onset of many of these diseases," said researcher David Walker. Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (9/9)
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Finance and Economics
Map shows economic impact of NIH funding and funding cuts
Advocacy group United for Medical Research recently updated a map showing how many NIH research dollars flow to each state and the economic impact of those dollars. For example, research institutions in Washington state received $835.2 million in NIH funding in 2013, directly supporting 13,771 jobs. The NIH funding affected 29,281 jobs and 1,303 businesses in the biomedical industry in Washington. Roll Call (free content)/Healthopolis blog (9/10), American City Business Journals/Seattle/Health Care Inc. blog (9/9)
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Caprion gets Fox Foundation grant for Parkinson's biomarkers research
The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research awarded Caprion a research grant that will be used to identify biomarkers related to Parkinson's disease. The project aims to identify and validate biomarkers that would allow for early detection and diagnosis of Parkinson's disease, and that could also be used to monitor disease progression and evaluate effectiveness of investigational drugs. Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (9/9)
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Gates Foundation commits $50 million for Ebola outbreak response
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced it will give $50 million to the United Nations and other groups dealing with the escalating Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa. The foundation pledged an immediate $2 million to the CDC. The donations will help accelerate the development of drugs, vaccines and diagnostic tools. Reuters (9/10), The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (9/10)
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Projects on autism spectrum disorder receive $7.9M in NIH grants
The NIH has awarded 12 grants totaling $7.9 million to projects relating to autism spectrum disorder. "The funding will help to provide models for the delivery of needed services to children, youth, and adults with ASD, across different communities and care settings, appropriate to each age and individual," the NIH said in a statement. MedicalDaily.com (9/10)
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Policy and Regulation
21st Century Cures roundtable yields strategy for advancing research
Government investment supports scientific discoveries and new technologies that fuel private-sector growth, experts said at a House committee meeting on the 21st Century Cures initiative. The U.S. led the Human Genome Project and reaped tremendous economic benefit from it, but a steady decline in NIH funding has left the nation behind China in terms of investment and leadership, NIH Director Francis Collins said. The 21st Century Cures roundtable discussions have yielded a number of recommendations for improving science, including ensuring stable funding, updating FDA regulations to advance precision medicine, engaging patients as partners in research and offering robust incentives for developing treatments for the most challenging diseases. The Morning Consult (9/9), Health Data Management (9/11)
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Society and Ethics
Study makes the case for releasing raw clinical trial data
Releasing the raw data from clinical trials could save lives and affect clinical decision-making, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found. Researchers led by Stanford Prevention Research Center Director John Ioannidis were able to find only 37 published reanalyses, and found that 35% of those follow-ups arrived at conclusions that were different from those in the initial trial. Applying different statistical methods can lead to different conclusions that affect clinical practice, and some reanalyses can reveal errors in the initial conclusions. HealthDay News (9/9)
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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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