Don't miss FasterCures' Top 10 Medical Research Issues & Trends to Watch in 2017 | Access FasterCures' digital directory of nonprofit research funders and assets | Animal tissue database designed to facilitate sharing
More than a year before the recent Ebola epidemic began, over 20 laboratories formed a global collaboration to develop treatments for Ebola and other severe threats, and the collaborative strategy that led to the first Ebola drug could serve as a model, write Erica Ollmann Saphire, John Dye, Gary Kobinger, Larry Zeitlin, Kartik Chandran and Robert Garry.
While some issues will be closely linked with the people and policies of the new presidential administration, we think all will be important to continuing the progress toward faster cures and treatments. We're keeping an eye on direct-to-patient R&D, data sharing, digitization of health and more. Read the full list.
If you were looking for organizations that have patient registries and that partner with industry, where would you search? FasterCures has a resource for that! Patients Count Network is open to patient-based organizations worldwide that seek to accelerate medical progress. Organizations of all sizes, scopes and stages of growth are invited to participate! Learn more about the Patients Count Network now.
Valerie Speirs, a professor of experimental pathology and oncology at the University of Leeds, and her colleagues have developed a free online prototype database that scientists can use to find and share tissues developed through animal research on breast cancer. "By facilitating a mechanism of sharing, leftover animal material may serve the wider research community at the conclusion of a project, saving researchers time and money, and providing scientists with new opportunities to broaden the impact of their work," Speirs writes.
A study by scientists with Baylor College of Medicine and the Texas Children's Hospital Cancer and Hematology Centers found the diabetes drug metformin can activate a gene that initiates production of fetal hemoglobin. A clinical trial of the drug's potential as a treatment for sickle cell disease has begun enrolling patients.
Epigenetic changes involving activation of genes that protect cancer cells from oxidative stress appear to fuel pancreatic cancer metastasis, according to a study published in Nature Genetics, and the findings may have identified a new drug target. The researchers found large regions of tumor genomes that had lost both DNA methylation capability and heterochromatin, unlocking the genomes to genetic activation.
Donors have raised nearly $500 million to form the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, a partnership focused on stopping global epidemics such as Ebola before they become major problems. "We'll have to make sure we do better than we did against Ebola," said Bill Gates of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the major donors along with the UK's Wellcome Trust and the Japanese and Norwegian governments.
The University of California at San Francisco will receive a $500 million donation from the Helen Diller Foundation that will support its biomedical innovation activities, including investments that could result in the creation of biotech startups.
The University of Colorado Cancer Center will receive a $3 million grant to allow more patients to take part in clinical trials. The center is one of 30 facilities chosen for the Lead Academic Participating Site grant from the National Cancer Institute.
The Affordable Care Act authorized creation of the Prevention and Public Health Fund for efforts to prevent chronic disease, smoking, suicide and other public health concerns, and the fund was expected to help pay for the 21st Century Cures Act. Repeal of the ACA could eliminate the fund.
Patients are taking the most risks and have the most to gain from medical products and treatments, and they should have a strong voice in the development of those products and treatments, says FasterCures Managing Director Kim McCleary. She sees growing interest in and commitment to engaging patients as partners and co-creators throughout the drug development continuum, and she is encouraged by the number of organizations and companies getting involved in patient engagement.
The American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics recently issued a position statement calling for "broad sharing" of laboratory and clinical data derived from genomic testing, saying that such information "should be treated neither as intellectual property nor as a trade secret when other patients may benefit from the knowledge being widely available." Laboratory and clinical information should be standardized to facilitate interoperability and enhance data compatibility, the group said.
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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