Briggs seizes opportunity to reshape conversation about women in science | Check out the latest FasterCures Track newsletter | Skin cancer drug helps brain cancer patient
March 26, 2015
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FDA culture change, NIH investments spark drugmaker innovation
Investors and drugmakers are more optimistic as the FDA approves more drugs more quickly than in the recent past. The FDA has undergone a cultural shift and sees itself as "a catalyst for innovation," said FasterCures fellow and InnoThink Center for Research in Biomedical Innovation founder Bernard Munos. In addition to new FDA policies and advances in gene sequencing technology, NIH investments in basic research have boosted innovation, says Brookings Institution fellow Gregory Daniel. Bloomberg (3/23)
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News from FasterCures
Briggs seizes opportunity to reshape conversation about women in science
LaTese Briggs, director of FasterCures' Philanthropy Advisory Service, recently participated in a working group organized by the New York Stem Cell Foundation to identify strategies for advancing women in science, medicine and engineering. Following the publication of an article about this work in the journal Cell Stem Cell, Briggs took a few minutes to explain why she was eager to get involved and why everyone is affected by the group's recommendations. Read the blog.
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Check out the latest FasterCures Track newsletter
The most recent monthly newsletter from FasterCures features items on our upcoming webinar on the FDA's Patient-Focused Drug Development initiative, our response to the Senate HELP Committee's innovation report, our latest thought leadership in the news and more. Read the March issue and subscribe today.
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Science and Technology
Skin cancer drug helps brain cancer patient
Doctors sequenced the genome of a woman's glioblastoma and found mutations commonly seen with skin cancer. The patient subsequently enrolled in a so-called basket trial, in which a drug is tested on people who have genetically similar cancers. Though her cancer has been kept at bay for a year, doctors warn that the drug might stop working. WNYC-AM/FM (New York Public Radio) (3/26)
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Drugmaker takes another look at a drug that caused severe side effects
A drug that caused serious side effects in clinical trials nine years ago is showing promise at a lower dose in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. This time around, scientists tested the drug on human cells in a laboratory to determine a safe starting dose. Reuters (3/24)
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Genomes of unprecedented number of Icelanders sequenced
The genomes of more than 2,600 Icelanders have been sequenced, giving scientists a unique look at gene mutations within a large human population. Scientists at genetics firm Decode have collected a vast array of data, enabling them to extrapolate on the genomes of about a third of the country's population, according to a series of papers on the research published in Nature Genetics. The previously undiscovered gene mutations may provide information on such diverse diseases as Alzheimer's, gallstones and cancer. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (3/25)
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Open Humans Network lets people open-source their biological data
An online platform called "Open Humans Network" asks volunteers to let any legitimate researcher use data on their genomes, gastrointestinal bacteria and viruses. Volunteers can join ongoing studies and agree to have their names linked to their data. The project is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Medscape (free registration)/Reuters (3/24)
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Pediatric database to collect data on genetic disorders
A national database that will store genetic data from pediatric patients who are diagnosed with rare genetic conditions will be developed and maintained by Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center with a $2.2 million NIH grant. The Longitudinal Pediatric Data Resource is expected to help uncover patterns in patient clinical and molecular data to advance diagnosis and treatment. GenomeWeb Daily News (free registration) (3/24)
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Finance and Economics
Cancer documentary spurs educational grant program
Stand Up To Cancer and PBS are launching an educational grant program under which PBS LearningMedia will provide one-year grants and one-on-one mentoring to in an effort to get disadvantaged high-school students interested in science careers focused on cancer research. The program is an offshoot of acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns' upcoming series, "Cancer: Emperor of All Maladies." Genentech, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Novartis are among the organizations funding the grant program. MedPage Today (free registration) (3/24)
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U.K. groups to fund multidisciplinary cancer research
Britain's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and Cancer Research UK will offer joint funding of more than $55 million for multidisciplinary cancer investigations. "We need to push the boundaries, exploring the integration of engineering and physical sciences into cancer research," said Oxford University professor Mike Brady, who will chair the review committee. PharmaTimes (U.K.) (3/25)
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Policy and Regulation
Opinion: Proposed patent law would harm drug development
Legislation aimed at curbing patent trolls may shut down the development of new drugs, argue Robert Nelsen and Hans Bishop. The proposal puts university spinoffs and venture capital-backed startups, the true engines of innovation, at a disadvantage in patent lawsuits, they write. Forbes (3/24)
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Society and Ethics
Study: Many patients are not notified of Alzheimer's diagnosis
Only 45% of people diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease were told immediately of their diagnosis, an Alzheimer's Association study of patients and caregivers found. Doctors are more likely to tell patients of their diagnosis only after the disease advances, the research found. Patients who are not told immediately of their condition might miss out on clinical trial participation and are denied the right to make decisions about their lives and care, said Beth Kallmyer and Keith Fargo of the Alzheimer's Association. HealthDay News (3/24)
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