Join FasterCures' team | Blood, saliva tests may diagnose head and neck cancer | Heart drugs may help fight Ebola
 
June 25, 2015
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Patients are becoming scientists' partners in drug development
Patients increasingly set the medical research agenda as the FDA, drugmakers and Congress have converged on the idea that medicine should focus on what is important to patients. Asking patients "would you rather" questions helps regulators and drugmakers understand patients' risk tolerance and treatment priorities. In the future, patient preferences and perspectives will be factored in across the entire drug development continuum, from the earliest drug targets to clinical trial design, said FasterCures Managing Director Kim McCleary. BioCentury (6/24)
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News from FasterCures
Join FasterCures' team
FasterCures is now recruiting for two positions to join our entrepreneurial team. The associate director, science of patient input, will report to and work closely with FasterCures' managing director to help define the science of patient input across the continuum of medical product discovery, development and delivery. The associate, administration and policy, will provide administrative, research and operations assistance to the FasterCures team to accelerate our core initiatives. Learn more and apply online.
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Science and Technology
Blood, saliva tests may diagnose head and neck cancer
Researchers from Johns Hopkins University found that using both blood and saliva DNA tests shows promise for detecting head and neck cancer. The dual testing approach was tried in 47 patients, and the approach found evidence of cancer in 96% of cases. The findings were reported in the journal Science Translational Medicine. Although costly now, the tests could ultimately be offered for $50 in clinics, according to the study team, if it is validated and approved. Yahoo/Agence France-Presse (6/24)
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Heart drugs may help fight Ebola
Health care workers in Liberia.
(John Moore/Getty Images)
Ebola patients who took a combination of generic statins and angiotensin receptor blockers were better able to fight the disease, according to a study in the journal mBio. Researchers gave a combination of atorvastatin and irbesartan to 100 Ebola patients in Sierra Leone to combat endothelial cell dysfunction by stabilizing the lining of blood vessels. One patient who was in critical condition before treatment and another patient who was shifted to antiviral treatment died, while the others improved. United Press International (6/23)
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Google offers Broad Institute genomic analysis software
Google Genomics is now offering a cloud version of the Broad Institute's genomic analysis software, part of a race to gain market share in a field also occupied by IBM, Amazon and other tech companies, all seeking to advance treatment of genetic diseases. Reuters (6/24)
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Finance and Economics
Philanthropists donate $20M for Broad Institute research on TB
Baupost Group President and CEO Seth Klarman and Pershing Square Foundation co-founder Bill Ackman teamed up to encourage more than 20 philanthropists and organizations to donate $20 million to the Broad Institute for tuberculosis research. Researchers will use genome technology to study drug resistance and learn more about the bacterium that causes tuberculosis. Researchers will also accelerate development of a rapid diagnostic test and establish a foundation for new drug development. Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (6/22)
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Myelin Repair Foundation to close
The Myelin Repair Foundation will cease operations by Aug. 31, hobbled by rising research costs and a shortfall in donations. All experiments already underway will be completed, and leaders will try to continue the foundation's academic collaborations, MRF President Scott Johnson said. In the 11 years since its inception, the MRF has created a medical research model resulting in three Phase I trials, launched multiple industry partnerships, developed assays to test more than 1,000 compounds and authored more than 135 research papers. Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (6/23)
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Flagship eyes NYC as emerging biotech hub
Cambridge, Mass.-based Flagship Ventures is trying to spur a thriving biotech hub in New York City, searching for potential spinoffs from Rockefeller University, Weill Cornell Medical College, Columbia University and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, among others. Xconomy (6/22)
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Policy and Regulation
Supreme Court upholds ACA tax credits for federal exchange
People who enroll in a health insurance plan are eligible for tax credits under the Affordable Care Act, regardless of whether they enrolled through HealthCare.gov or a state-run exchange, the Supreme Court ruled in the King vs. Burwell case. The justices voted 6-3. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (6/25), The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (6/25)
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NIH on track for funding boost as Senate panel advances bill
Genomic research.
(Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
A Senate panel has approved a $2 billion increase in NIH funding for 2016. The full Senate Appropriations Committee will take up the bill today. A House panel has also approved an NIH funding increase, although the boost is smaller than the Senate is considering. ScienceMag.org (6/23)
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Society and Ethics
Breast cancer doesn't discriminate
Though fewer men than women get breast cancer, the disease does strike men, who are often diagnosed when the cancer is advanced. Men who have survived breast cancer are starting to speak up about it at fundraisers, support group meetings and on social media, and a new film documents some of their stories. Men with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer might be candidates for screening for BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations, experts say. GenomeWeb Daily News (free registration) (6/22)
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On the FastTrack
$13M in grants awarded by Melanoma Research Alliance
Grants totaling more than $13 million have been announced by the Melanoma Research Alliance to support melanoma research projects being undertaken at 25 academic institutions spanning four countries and involving 42 scientists. Research goals include identifying biomarkers, developing new therapies and gaining insight into risks. Learn more.
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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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