FDA's Janet Woodcock and Jeff Shuren to join <em>FasterCures</em> Benefit-Risk Bootcamp on Sept. 23 in Washington, D.C. | Find collaborators at Partnering for Cures, Nov. 16 to 18 in New York | Overabundance of synapses linked to autism, study suggests
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August 28, 2014
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Carnegie Mellon establishes BrainHub for brain research
Carnegie Mellon University has announced the creation of CMU BrainHub, an initiative that will explore the relationships among brain structure, brain activity and complex behaviors. The goal is to gain a better understanding of cognition, perception, learning and brain disorders, fueling development of new tools for brain evaluation, analysis and treatment. Initial support for BrainHub's research totals $75 million. Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (8/26)
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News from FasterCures
FDA's Janet Woodcock and Jeff Shuren to join FasterCures Benefit-Risk Bootcamp on Sept. 23 in Washington, D.C.
Novel opportunities are emerging for patient perspectives to shape decision-making in R&D, clinical care and coverage. Join topic experts like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Janet Woodcock and Jeff Shuren, Patient Centered Outcomes Research Initiative's Joseph Selby, Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy's Holly Peay, and more for this one-day event designed specifically for patient organization research and engagement staff members, patient advocates, policymakers, and other stakeholders to help build capacity for expanded participation in the new benefit-risk landscape. Learn more.
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Find collaborators at Partnering for Cures, Nov. 16 to 18 in New York
Register today for Partnering for Cures, which brings together leaders from across all sectors of the medical research enterprise for the express purpose of fostering the collaborations needed to speed and improve outcomes-driven R&D. Speakers include philanthropists, industry executives, patient advocates, nonprofit foundations, and academic and industry scientists engaged in some of the most constructively disruptive approaches to research. Find out more.
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Science and Technology
Overabundance of synapses linked to autism, study suggests
The brains of children with autism have too many synapses, which are usually pruned away by the brain as the child grows in adolescence, according to a study published in Neuron. Researchers suggest that something stops the pruning process, leaving some areas of the brain with an overabundance of synapses causing stimuli overload. The study by the Columbia University Medical Center could help explain how autism develops and lead to possible treatments. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (8/21)
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A look at the "back to biology" approach
A "back to biology" approach to drug development can speed up costly and slow chemistry-focused processes and allow data to generate hypotheses, "rather than the hypothesis blindly 'seeing what sticks,' " writes Niven Narain, co-founder, president and chief technology officer of Berg. Wired.com (8/22)
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Biomarkers for cancer and inflammation are influenced by genetics, lifestyle
In an analysis of 92 protein biomarkers for cancer and inflammation, Uppsala University researchers found that genetic and lifestyle factors accounted for more than 50% of protein variations in healthy individuals. In particular, 16 genes were shown to have a strong effect on protein levels. The findings appear in the journal Nature Communications. Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (8/22), GenomeWeb Daily News (free registration) (8/22)
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Finance and Economics
WHO draft plan: $430M needed to contain worst Ebola outbreak on record
A draft document from the World Health Organization says ending the Ebola outbreak will take more than $430 million, more than half of which would go toward medical care, referral centers and isolation. Support would include in-kind contributions as well as funding from the private sector, development banks and governments. Bloomberg Businessweek (8/25)
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Report: Biotech firms raised $1.84B in Q2 VC funding
The biotechnology industry secured $1.84 billion in venture capital investments during the second quarter, according to a new MoneyTree Report. The number of biotech-related deals reached 122. The life sciences sector as a whole raised $2.5 billion in VC funding, marking its strongest second quarter since 1995. Crain's New York Business (8/26)
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Seattle-based biotech gets $2.37M funding boost
Immusoft, a Seattle-based biotech firm aiming to fight diseases by altering information stored in human cells, secured $2.37 million in funding from several investors. The money will allow Immusoft to expand its research and discuss commencing clinical trials with the FDA, founder and CEO Matthew Scholz said. American City Business Journals/Seattle/Health Care Inc. Northwest blog (8/21)
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Policy and Regulation
Final genomic data-sharing policy unveiled by NIH
A final policy on genomic data sharing that aims to maintain research participants' privacy while expediting the translation of genomics data has been released by the National Institutes of Health. The policy, which will take effect early in 2015, will cover large-scale human and nonhuman genomics research projects funded by the agency. Healthcare IT News (8/28), Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (8/27), GenomeWeb Daily News (free registration) (8/27)
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Society and Ethics
Save extended access/compassionate use from social media
New York University ethicist Arthur Caplan and former Chimerix CEO Kenneth Moch say a new system and clearer regulatory process are needed for compassionate use programs, or medical decision-making will be left at the mercy of social media and politicians. Heart-breaking stories about patients who need help can fuel campaigns that may undermine efforts to get drugs approved for all patients. Forbes (8/27)
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Challenges arise as patients get investigational meds outside trial
Patients receiving experimental drugs outside the clinical trial process can pose a difficult issue for regulators and researchers. Adverse events can affect ongoing trials. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model)/Pharmalot blog (8/22)
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