Experts emphasize the importance of funding medical research | Video explains why medical research matters and must be a national priority | Personalized medicine puts a new face on drug research
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February 7, 2013
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Proven strategies can reduce global cancer death rate, groups say
Low- and middle-income countries can use proven strategies to reduce cancer deaths and meet the World Health Organization goal to reduce premature deaths from noncommunicable diseases by 25% by 2025, the Union for International Cancer Control and the International Agency for Research on Cancer say. That cancer is a disease of the wealthy, elderly and developed countries is a myth, the groups say, and more cancer deaths occur in less developed countries. The groups are working to raise awareness of proven prevention and treatment strategies and overcome cultural barriers to early treatment. CNN (2/6)
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News from FasterCures
Experts emphasize the importance of funding medical research
Scientific funding should be seen as an investment, and congressional budget decisions being made now, in the shadow of possible sequestration on March 1, will influence drug development and scientific discoveries for the next 100 years, said FasterCures founder Michael Milken at a Capitol Hill event Wednesday. An analysis by the group United for Medical Research projects an economic loss of $3 billion if sequestration is allowed to happen. "Clearly this is not a time to cut when we are poised to really reap the benefits of extraordinary advances in scientific discovery," said FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg, who was also on hand. CQ.com (subscription required)/HealthBeat News (2/6)
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Video explains why medical research matters and must be a national priority
FasterCures is proud to present our new Medical Research Matters video from the Time=Lives campaign, which weaves together short, personal stories from patients, researchers, drugmakers and policymakers about the power of medical research to deliver cures and save lives. If you like it, LIKE it, and help us spread the word.
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Science and Technology
Personalized medicine puts a new face on drug research
Drugmakers increasingly use genetic data to select for early-stage clinical trials patients who are likely to benefit from the experimental drug. The strategy could reduce the time it takes to get a new drug approved with less money wasted on ineffective trials, experts say. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (2/7)
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Alliance encourages open-source publication
The Health Research Alliance, made up of 52 nongovernmental funders of health research and training, is encouraging its members to support open-access publishing of research. A task group studied the issue and developed the HRA Public Access Initiative, which includes resources for members to use when adopting a public-access policy. Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition (1/31)
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Scientists want restrictions on open-access papers
Researchers are warming to the notion that results of publicly funded research should be publicly available, but researchers publishing in the open-access journal Scientific Reports chose restrictive licensing options 95% of the time. Many researchers do not want commercial entities re-using their work for profit or associating advertisements with their work, experts say. Publishers are concerned about loss of income when open-access works are republished. Nature (2/6)
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Finance and Economics
Foundations pick up slack as nations cut global health funding
Funding for global health initiatives grew by 2.5% in 2012, compared with an average annual growth rate of 11% between 2001 and 2010, a report from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation says. As the U.S., France and Germany reduced annual contributions, the GAVI Alliance and U.N. Children's Fund increased spending. The U.K. and Australia also increased their donations. Bloomberg (2/6)
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Group lists top clinical trial failures, causes for 2012
The suspension of a Phase IIb trial of Bristol-Myers Squibb's BMS-986094 nucleotide polymerase inhibitor resulted in a $1.8 billion write-off. Other expensive failures include a joint Pfizer-Johnson & Johnson candidate for Alzheimer's disease, an AstraZeneca and Targacept adjunct to antidepressant treatment, and an Eli Lilly & Co. schizophrenia drug. Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News/Insight & Intelligence blog (2/5)
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Ironwood goes old-school with focus on long term
Instead of focusing on a rare disease and trying to make itself an attractive buyout target as many other biopharmaceutical companies are doing, Ironwood Pharmaceuticals is staffing up and marketing a drug with blockbuster potential. Ironwood and its partner, Forest Laboratories, have skipped television ads in favor of an Internet search engine optimization strategy and are talking with payers to ensure reimbursement and low patient copays. Xconomy/Boston (2/6)
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Policy and Regulation
Sequester could cut access to medicines, cost 20K jobs
FDA operations will be limited by budget sequestration if lawmakers don't move to stop an 8.2% automatic cut before March 1, the consulting firm Avalere Health warned. "An underfunded FDA could lead to FDA review clocks being reset or delayed, which would affect a sponsor?s ability to obtain product approval -- thus delaying patient access to cutting edge medical innovations," Avalere's report said. Cutting the NIH's budget could cost the nation 20,500 life science jobs and $3 billion in economic activity, advocacy group United for Medical Research said. The Hill/Healthwatch blog (2/5), The Hill/Healthwatch blog (2/6)
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Society and Ethics
Study: Alzheimer's disease epidemic looms
On its current trajectory, the U.S. could be dealing with 13.8 million residents who have Alzheimer's disease in 2050, researchers report in the journal Neurology. Clinical trials are getting under way to test drugs earlier in people who have beta-amyloid brain plaques, which researchers believe may lead to Alzheimer's disease, but many people are unaware that they can participate. HealthDay News (2/6), Reuters (2/6)
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Prime source of STEM talent is often overlooked
Encouraging pupils with autism to pursue post-secondary education might increase the number of students in science, technology, engineering and math. Students with autism are more likely than their nonautistic peers to choose a STEM major, but their college enrollment rates are lower, a study published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders found. Researchers at the Center for Education and Human Services at SRI International are studying ways to get more young people with autism to enroll in college. ScientificAmerican.com/Budding Scientist blog (2/1)
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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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