Researchers work to boost radioisotope production for medical imaging, treatment | PCSK9 inhibitor may cut heart, stroke risks in patients with CVD | Study: Gentle touch may improve brain responses for preemies
March 22, 2017
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News for nuclear medicine and molecular imaging professionals
The Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory increased production of cardiac imaging radioisotope Sr-82 by more than 50% in 2016 with its newly installed "beam raster" system. Brookhaven researchers are also working with the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory to bolster production of isotope Ac-225 for clinical trials proving its efficacy in treating prostate cancer, said Brookhaven's Cathy Cutler.
A study in The New England Journal of Medicine showed use of the cholesterol-lowering drug Repatha, a PCSK9 inhibitor, along with statins, was associated with lower risks of heart attack, stroke, cardiovascular revascularization and extended major adverse cardiovascular events, but the drug's annual $14,523 price tag could put it out of reach for some. The study involved 27,564 adults who had experienced a heart attack or pain associated with narrowed arteries in the lower extremities.
Infants born preterm had reduced brain response to gentle touch than those born full-term, and those who underwent more painful medical procedures had the least likelihood of brain response, according to a study in Current Biology. However, the findings, based on data involving 125 babies, showed increased brain responses among those born preterm who had more gentle contact with parents and clinicians in the NICU.
Researchers may have to turn to rats, instead of mice, for studies of drug candidates to treat autism, as most clinical trials based on promising mouse models have failed, scientists said. Rats can be more difficult and expensive to work with but have bigger brains than mice, and scientists said they may offer new insights into autism.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has recommended against National Health Service use of Janssen's Darzalex, or daratumumab, as a treatment for adult patients with relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma. NICE said the clinical evidence presented left it uncertain on the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the drug.
Threshold Pharmaceuticals and Molecular Templates have agreed to merge to establish a single company focused on developing cancer immunotherapies. The combined company, which will use the Molecular Templates name, will have two early-stage clinical compounds -- Threshold's evofosfamide, or TH-302, a hypoxia-activated prodrug of a bis-alkylating agent for patients with severe hypoxic tumor, and Molecular's MT-3724, which targets CD20 cell-surface antigen in leukemias and lymphomas.
Study data show an increase in colorectal cancer cases among younger adults, who may not associate common symptoms with the disease. Dr. Mark Pochapin, treasurer of the American College of Gastroenterology and of the New York University Langone Medical Center, said physicians need to be vigilant and not dismiss the possibility of CRC in younger patients who present with symptoms.
The CMS has postponed expansion of the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement pilot and implementation of the Cardiac Rehabilitation Incentive Payment Model program from July 1 to Oct. 1, and the joint replacement final rule effective date has been pushed to May 20. Although it's possible all bundled payment implementation timelines will be pushed into next year, the announced delays will be open for comment for 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.
Patients are not optimizing use of their health data because their information is not aggregated into a single EHR, highlighting the need for an interoperable, streamlined system, according to the Government Accountability Office. Patient records are still siloed with separate login information for each health care provider's portal, technology to collect and aggregate disparate data is not widely used, and records often lack data not legally required to be included, such as clinicians' notes and radiology images.
Attend the "PET/CT of the Skeleton - Using CT Findings to Increase the Specificity of PET" webinar, presented by Gary Ulaner, on Tuesday, April 4, at 12:00 p.m. ET. This members-only webinar series is being offered through a joint initiative of ACNM and SNMMI and is complimentary for ACNM and SNMMI members. Space is limited. ACNM members, learn more and register. SNMMI physician/scientist members, learn more and register.
The article processing fee for articles accepted for publication in Molecular Imaging is waived for SNMMI members through the end of May. This journal, published now by SAGE, is edited by Henry VanBrocklin, PhD.
To different minds, the same world is a hell, and a heaven.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer
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