Vice President Joe Biden emphasized during a visit to the Cleveland Clinic the importance of investing in research, collaborating, and sharing and aggregating patient data. Speaking at an innovation summit, Biden said all the elements are in place to make significant strides in understanding, treating and preventing cancer.
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Infectious disease specialist Kate Rubins, who is in the midst of a four-month assignment aboard the International Space Station, put off applying for an NIH grant and applied to be an astronaut. She described her research in a video chat with NIH Director Francis Collins and said she has sequenced more than a billion base pairs so far using a compact DNA sequencing device.
A study published in Nature Materials showed that Harvard University researchers have 3D printed a heart-on-a-chip made from synthetic material, which includes integrated sensors capable of measuring heart beats. Researchers said the printed organ is not designed as a substitute for failing human organs, but can be used for research.
IBM Watson Health and Quest Diagnostics launched a tumor genome sequencing joint venture to identify mutations that might respond to targeted therapies. The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard will provide additional sequencing capabilities, and data from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center's OncoKB precision oncology knowledge base will supplement Watson's knowledge base.
The California Institute for Biomedical Research has entered into a strategic affiliation with the Scripps Research Institute to form a combined research entity that will translate discoveries into new treatments. The partnership aims to develop less-expensive treatments by integrating Calibr's early-stage translational research with basic scientific research from Scripps.
National Cancer Moonshot Executive Director Greg Simon says the initiative will leverage funding to begin projects that spur more research and investment. "If the Moonshot can show how much faster and more efficiently government can move now, then think how much faster we can move with new money," Simon said.
The NIH has awarded a $5.2 million grant to a collaboration of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Cincinnati Children's Hospital and Boston University to study ways to regenerate lungs. "The aim of our consortium is to harness the innate power of stem and progenitor cells in the lung to promote repair and regeneration and target them using emerging techniques for promoting tissue regeneration," said Edward Morrisey of the University of Pennsylvania.
The University of Arizona Health Sciences' Center for Innovation in Brain Science has been awarded a $10.3 million grant from the NIH to study Alzheimer's disease in women. The study will try to determine why women are more likely to develop Alzheimer's than men.
The FDA and the CMS have announced they are extending indefinitely their parallel review program for innovative medical devices, which aims to shorten the period between the issuance of a de novo or a pre-market approval and a Medicare coverage decision. The pilot program prioritizes technologies that are "expected to have the most impact on the Medicare population" and are likely to secure approval, the agencies said.
The number of polio cases around the globe declined from 350,000 in 1988 when the Global Polio Eradication Initiative was established to only 27 so far in 2016, said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden. However, new cases in Nigeria and endemic disease in Pakistan and Afghanistan should prompt the CDC and the World Health Organization to bolster disease surveillance and monitoring, increase child vaccination efforts, transition polio services and programs in endemic countries, and properly contain and destroy remaining polio virus in laboratories, Frieden 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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